Biting after girthing - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Usually, if there is no physical reason for being girthy, the reason for this is because th girth is drawn up to tight to quickly and it can take ages before it stops.

Put the saddle on and girth so it is just held in place.

When you lead the horse out tighten another hole and when you do this hold the far rein slightly tighter so he cannot get his head around to bite. Then do the final tighten which should only be another hole, and do the same with the rein. Mount and then after a few minutes check whilst mounted the girth is tight enough.

A well fitting saddle does not need over girthing. I like to be able to get a couple of fingers between the girth and horse.
^^^^^This.
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I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #12 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
is he wearing a blanket at night? and the saddle is not pushing down on his withers, and you are careful to lift the saddle pad up into the gullet before you tighten up , right? my friend's horse is STILL girthy, years after the source of the pain (saddle too wide that put downward pressure on his wither bones. ). the saddle fit was fixed, but the blanket he wore kept enough pressure downward on the wither bones that it aggravated him. all you had to do was shift the blanket a little and he'd really give you a stink eye.
Nope, no blanket at night. Only for turnout on the most bitterly cold days.
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post #13 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Usually, if there is no physical reason for being girthy, the reason for this is because th girth is drawn up to tight to quickly and it can take ages before it stops.

Put the saddle on and girth so it is just held in place.

When you lead the horse out tighten another hole and when you do this hold the far rein slightly tighter so he cannot get his head around to bite. Then do the final tighten which should only be another hole, and do the same with the rein. Mount and then after a few minutes check whilst mounted the girth is tight enough.

A well fitting saddle does not need over girthing. I like to be able to get a couple of fingers between the girth and horse.
Thanks Foxhunter. My feeling is also that the girth does not need to be that tight. But I don't want my daughter (or myself) to end up under his belly either.
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post #14 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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Some great replies here, giving me some ideas.

To clarify: he is fine with being ridden. No soreness, no hollowing of the back. A saddle fitter evaluated him and the saddle and says the saddle fits him well. I got a Thinline saddle pad to improve shock absorption. He really is a lovely horse to ride and actually seems very happy being ridden. His disposition changes completely once I get on him - like he forgets all about the girth. We can even mount him easily and he doesn't move an inch.

Also, the vet (and the trimmer, and the equine massage therapist) looked him over and did not feel there were any signs of ulcers. They did not scope him because in their professional opinions, it is highly unlikely. Sure, I could push for some expensive tests, but I am coming off as an overprotective horse-mom already and I have to trust in their professional opinions or else I'll be alienating all the horse experts around me (he was actually seen by two different vets who said the same thing). We have added a probiotic to his diet because he has loose stool. Maybe that will help?

As for the behavior itself, it isn't severe, as in, he doesn't try to turn and bite me when I'm girthing him. He just does it whenever I'm near his head, like when I'm leading him to the indoor. And it's not like a teeth bared, ears back kind of movement. More like a little head jerk and touching with the lips. After he's ridden, I can lead him around all I want. I can also do it with his halter on - never any attempt to nip them. At first I thought maybe it was the bridle, because he would try to avoid that, but I worked on it and he is now happily putting his head down into the bridle and basically putting it on himself so clearly that doesn't bother him.

Also, I've tried the elbow, but he knows I'm going to react when he attempts a "fake-nip" and pulls away before I can reach him.

So from reading all the replies, I'm going to take it slow with the girth. I may have tightened it too quickly when I first started doing it because it had been so many years since I'd had horses. However, he was girthy from the day we went to see him at the seller's - she tacked him up in front of us and I could see him react when she tightened it. So this is not a new behavior. He just doesn't like having that girth tightened. At this point, I'm just chalking it up to sensitivity.

The moving around in the arena remains problematic. I do put my arm through the reins and pull on the right rein as soon as he shifts when I'm pulling the girth up from the left, but it doesn't keep him from taking several steps away from me. I may try the treats so I'm rewarding good behavior rather than punishing bad. What kinds of treats can I give a bridled horse? Can he have a piece of carrot or will it be awkward? Because he is definitely food driven! I would also consider clicker training as it's something I've done with my dogs, but a verbal cue seems easier because I don't have to use my hands. He's very smart so it will not take him long to figure it out. Maybe if he associates the girth with getting treats he will be more accepting?
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post #15 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 08:11 AM
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When I bo't a gelding over 20yrs ago, he'd been kneed in the ribs to get him to deflate. This I witnessed. You can imagine his association with a saddle. At home he'd stand well for saddling but as soon as he felt the cinch he'd try to bite, kick, expand his body, everything he could think of to intimidate me. I discovered he had a particular spot on his neck he loved to have scratched so I started by barely moving the cinch and if no reaction, he got a scratch. He'd almost melt into it. It took about 20 min but I got him cinched up with no fuss. When barely tight he was walked a few steps then retightened. Within about 5 sessions he gave up on trying to intimidate me.



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post #16 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 08:13 AM
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Fairfax Long Girth | Old Mill Saddlery

Prolite GP Girth

These are new girths tried and tested to alleviate 85% of girth pressure. The first is the original and the second a knock off.

The Fairfax has a video on their page showing how they tested the pressure.

Not cheap at all!
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Last edited by Foxhunter; 02-19-2016 at 08:29 AM.
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post #17 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Fairfax Long Girth | Old Mill Saddlery

Prolite GP Girth

These are new girths tried and tested to alleviate 85% of girth pressure. The first is the original and the second a knock off.

The Fairfax has a video on their page showing how they tested the pressure.

Not cheap at all!
Very cool... but WOW, that's expensive. A quick search has not shown anyone carrying either of these in Canada either. If anyone knows of a supplier in Canada, or even in the US, let me know. I'd be curious to see how much these cost!!! BTW, we currently use a fleece girth.

Meantime, I will try Saddlebag's suggestion of going really, really slow.
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post #18 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post
Usually, if there is no physical reason for being girthy, the reason for this is because th girth is drawn up to tight to quickly and it can take ages before it stops.
I agree with most of this...sometimes though there is that 1 in 58349857348 chance that it is something physical. My mare acted the same way as OP's horse. The chiropractor came out and adjusted her, she was still the same. He came out again, noticed her ribs were out and adjusted her and she hasn't been cinchy since.

It was completely by chance that we figured it out this way.

OP, has he always been like this, or is it worse in the winter months?

Could you take a close up picture of the girth and billets when he is cinched up next time?

If it isn't physical- Foxhunter is absolutely right, it can take a very long time to correct the behavior.
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post #19 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
The moving around in the arena remains problematic. I do put my arm through the reins and pull on the right rein as soon as he shifts when I'm pulling the girth up from the left, but it doesn't keep him from taking several steps away from me.
I'm assuming you're alone when riding so can't have someone hold him to stop the dancing?

If that's true, use the arena to your advantage. Put him facing into a corner when you tighten the girth, this will limit the amount he can move if there's a wall on one side (his right side), a wall in front of him, and you on his left side tightening the girth
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post #20 of 72 Old 02-19-2016, 09:21 AM
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Do you stretch his legs forward before tightening the girth fully? Maybe he is getting skin pinched.

And got to love an ayrab, that he wants to play with the thing you are trying to poke him with!
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