Is he capable of driving?
I have an equine question. Thought you might be able to help me out. I want to rescue a registered Holsteiner gelding. I want to get into driving. Anyway, he's 4 yrs old and large (17.3-18.0),intelligent, easy going, mindful and always wants to please. When he was a yearling he suffered a bout of colic. Pretty severe, it was hours before the owner was called. He was throwing himself on the ground by time the owner arrived. He was operated on for a twist of over 900 degrees. He was opened and he was untwisted, but intestines were never cut. He seemed to recoup just fine. Then at the age of 3 (last yr) he entered training to become a hunter jumper. When the trainer saddled him and added the girth and cinched it, he got an erection and maintained it until the girth was uncinched. The vet removed him from training, saying he needed to age for another yr. The Vet thought it might be some sort of nerve damage from the colic. The owner is frustrated and will not listen to the possibility of training him to "drive". She's only into the Hunter Jumper/ Dressage arena. Over the last year he basically hasn't had any kind of work done. Now she wants to find him a good, "non-riding" home. I don't want to see this great guy be a "yard ornament". A Holsteiner needs to do something. I'm not educated on driving yet (just getting started), so....just how tight must the girth be cinched in a driving situation? I realize that that is how the cart or wagon is attached to the horse to stop the cart. Is the girth as tight as it would be with an english jumping saddle? Any info would be appeciated, I figured you might be able to help. Hopefully I end up with the big guy,but he needs some sort of "Job", to keep him busy. I think he'd be an awesome driving partner. Thanks.
I'm not sure about the nerve damage being a correct diagnosis. Was this backed up by some actual evidence? If he showed no other problems, I'd say try again. It could of been a fluke. We have a twelve year old gelding who had a bad bout of colic twice as a three and four year old, had surgery once, recovered fine, and is a western pleasure mount now. But anyways...
Harnesses do need to be cinched up fairly tight. Most likely not as tightly as a saddle (never really compared) but they do have to be tight enough not to move around and create sores or the wrong tension on a horse's back. If you're sure he can't be ridden, I'd say go for driving him! He sounds like a lovely animal and you're right. He needs to do something!
Any harness that I have used has been done up to the same standards as a girth...snug, but still have the ability to stick two fingers in and give a slight tug.
I wouldn't say that the girth is what stops the carriage, but more so the breeching, along with the shafts attach to the harness with the tugs. (More stopping with the breeching then the tugs though). Just like pulling comes from the collar.
Thanks...I appreciate the quick response. I'm hoping it is a "fluke".There is also some problems with the trainer. She is a really small lady, and "Ricky" is very intimatating (just like a Holsteiner,...only on steroids). He had to have some shoes for a little awhile to correct some bad trimming, and the Ferrier had to order them. He didn't have anything that big ( he needs draft size shoes). If all he can be is an ornament, that is fine. He's a great buddy. But, I'd really like to not only save him....but to drive him, and have him be just as sucessful as his hunter jumper & dressage parents and siblings.That would be awesome! Thanks
I tighten but so I can still get my hand in between as it's a little thicker than the fingers. Too tight and the pads create soreness.
I agree with Saddlebag, been driving 3 years in all kinds of terrain, was taught snug but not as tight as for a riding/jumping.
I'm not sure if you'd be willing to look into some alternative medicine, such as acupuncture. This guys sounds like he has a different form of 'girthy-ness' and I don't blame him after such a big surgery. The brain damage just sounds like an excuse of a diagnosis. I'd say you should get an acupuncturist down to check out the energy meridians under his stomach. If the muscles in his stomach are too tight they start to block the energy, and my hypothesis is that he was trying to release his stomach with that erection. You'll see a lot of horses do that just hanging out in the pasture. If you got an acupuncturist down to work on him a few times he should be just fine in the girth. They definitely don't cost as much as a vet with no answers if you'd be willing to try it. He sounds like he'd be a great driving horse. Lots of fun!
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