Girth Shy horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Hillsdale County, Michigan
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Question Girth Shy horse

My horse has just recently become girth shy, she tries to nip at me when I go to tighten the girth. When I first got her 3 months ago she was not like this, she would stand calmly and accept the girth. When I go to mount she sidesteps away from me. I rode her bareback 2 days ago and she did very well. Even standing still when I mounted her. I have had the same saddle and everything the entire time I have owned her. I am just not sure what is happening and why she might be acting like this. If anyone has any advice please let me know.
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 09:00 AM
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Jax never seemed to mind the girth or being tacked up and then he began getting really girthy. It was the same saddle, same girth that I had always used. I decided that was a great excuse to go shopping and bought him a new girth. This one had more padding and after a few days with the new one, he is back to his old self. Sometime girths change shape as the get older and what did not bother your horse before, is uncomfortable now. Also check to make sure that your girth is clean.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 09:37 AM
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Ditto, something has changed to make her get girthy all of the sudden, I'd try a new girth first. May I ask what kind you're using? As much as I know you don't want to hear this if you don't have any luck with the new girth you may need to look into the saddle fit.
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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I am using a fleece girth on her, she is a draft and i think the girth may be a little small on her. I mean it fits her belly but there is a little less of the strap left than would be on a normal horse to tie it with. I am looking into getting a neoprene girth that is longer, but since no tack shops around here sell Draft tack I have to shop online. The saddle I am using was a custom made wide tree saddle and I have only put about 3 or 4 hours in the saddle on it. The only other difference is that I put an extra saddle blanket under the saddle because I feared the saddle was rubbing on her. I am using 2 of the woven navajo blankets at the moment. She also has high withers but I make sure I pull the blankets up so it's not resting on them. Thank You both for the advice. I will try a new girth and see if that solves the problem.
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 10:21 AM
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I would also double check that your girth is clean. Most people don't, and they can get stiff, crunchy or start to rub when they become dirty or sweat logged. Fleece girths are really really bad for this, they can have little dirt clumps or just clump up and get lumpy from sweat. One little mud clump the size of a pea or even smaller is enough to send any horse running from a cinch. You have to remember that with the cinch being so tight, any little thing will just dig into your horses skin.

Also, make sure you are slowly tightening her up. Some horses are really sensitive to someone yanking the cinch tight suddenly. With both my western and dressage saddles I always put it on and have the girth/cinch just tight enough to touch Cin's tummy and hold it in place if he moves in the cross ties. Then I get my helmet and other gear together, bridle him, then go back and tighten a bit more. Then we walk to the mounting block and I do the final tighten. He used to be really girthy too but now he always stands still or turns his head as if to say "be careful back there."

And last, make sure the cinch is even...meaning there is the same amount on both sides of the horse. If the part that is supposed to be under the center of the belly is on her side, that isn't too comfortable either. Imagine having to run a marathon with your bra twisted so that you have a cup in the middle of you chest and on your side instead of where they go....

Last edited by Cinnys Whinny; 07-14-2011 at 10:24 AM. Reason: added info
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 10:53 AM
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Double check your saddle fit. It could be causing pain....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
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And love like crazy"
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-15-2011, 05:17 AM
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Absolutely Farmpony.

Firstly it could be saddle fit. Increasing the thickness of the padding will alter the dimension of the saddle and the virtual angles so that could be a problem.

Secondly it could be the opposite too. Navajo blankets alone do not offer great padding or cushioning alone, and western saddles have no other padding.

Thirdly it is very probable it is how you have been tightening up. Many many people girth too tight. Especially with Western saddles this should really not be needed. Also the position of buckles, for example I see them in line with the elbow, so when the horse strides he is hitting the buckle etc. There are many many reasons to consider.
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post #8 of 8 Old 07-15-2011, 09:25 AM
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If after ruling out the saddle/girth fit... how are you cinching her? Do you just pull hard right away (tightening it really fast)? With my mare I had to tighten it just enough to make it snug. Then I would clean hooves or do something. I would then come back and tighten it again (she likes to blow her belly out). After that I will walk a bit and then do a final tighten before getting on. She isnt nearly as cinchy anymore.

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