Girth - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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So I am very close to getting my own horse. I can perfectly handle the horse I am thinking of buying both on the ground and in the saddle. He is kind, caring, and gentle. Yet I simply cannot tighten the girth enough. Nope, no matter how hard I try, I simply end up more tired than from a jumping lesson. I am not particularly weak although not a weight lifter type either (I am a 138 pound woman). Is there a trick that I am simply not aware of? Or do I need more arm strength? My trainer tries to show me but I never improve. Or does buying a particularly type of girth help. Please help me- I cannot buy a horse if I am unable to put a saddle on him
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 06:28 AM
Green Broke
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The girth doesn't need to be very tight and you shouldn't need to try that hard. Many people over tighten girths, theoretically you can even ride without them, although I certainly wouldn't jump without one.

One thing can be hard is if you're short, the angle for a girth on a tall horse can be strange to do. Try standing on a mounting block and see if it helps. You can also tighten the girth from in the saddle, the extra height and angle helps, and with your weight in the saddle there is more play in the girth. Again, don't overtighten.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Saskia View Post
The girth doesn't need to be very tight and you shouldn't need to try that hard.
That is dependent on many things, including how round and flat your horse's back is and how tall you are versus your horse. That's like saying people don't need a belt to keep their pants depends on many factors.

My friend has one of these lovely girth tightener tools. It grabs the strap and gives you the leverage needed if you're too short or not strong enough to raise the strap above your head. Works like a charm.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 07:59 AM
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It may also have to do with the kind of buckle on your girth....
A "roller buckle" glides easily up the billet...
where as..
A "bar buckle" you can tug and pull with all your might and barely moved it...

Here is what I refer to...
A "bar buckle"
Collegiate Girth Extender
A "roller buckle"

If you are using a bar buckle, try a roller buckle and see if it makes a difference.
It will. Your arms will love you, your saddle will love you too for saving the billet straps from harsh wear and tear....
BTW...if you don't have billet protectors {slides on the billet straps over the buckle area to protect your flap from wear holes made over time},get them!!
Ovation Replacement Saddle Billet Guards

Now it can also be the style of girth used...
You may have a few things that need "tweaking" to make your life easier...
A elastic end girth only needs to be snug, NOT so tight the horse can not breathe.
If you are using a brand new elastic end girth, well....those ends only stretch and become easier to use and stretch by fighting with them as you girth tighten.
I don't know if there is any way to "loosen" the elastic strength but by pulling, tugging and riding with the thing....

Just some other ideas......

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 08:04 AM
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I also believe people tend to over tighten, but that is neither here nor there.

Stand on a mounting block to help with leverage. You can use the strength in your legs versus just arm strength.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 09:06 AM
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Ditto the mounting block. Our horse is tall and I find tightening the girth to be at an odd angle and it's hard.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 09:43 AM
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If you have to tighten the girth to that extreme that it's difficult, most likely the saddle doesn't fit the horse. Can you post pictures of the saddle minus the saddle pad on the horse from the front, both sides, and back, please?
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-10-2016, 11:23 AM
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Some horses are masters at puffing up! Get it slightly snug, give the horse a minute to relax, then take it up another notch. It's a lot more comfortable for the horse to not get it as tight as possible the first try. Personally, I prefer snug, not tight.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-11-2016, 03:06 AM
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I like to be able to slip a hand between the girth and the horse when the girth is tight, there are exceptions with some but, generally even with a rotund horse a girth comfortably tight (as above) with a well fitting saddle, will not move over any terrain.

I would saddle and do the girth up, when I went to lead the horse away to the mounting block I would go up another hole, then maybe another before mounting and finally if need be, again from the saddle.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-11-2016, 08:36 AM
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Hi Pavlusha!

What others have said.

I would suggest that if you're uncomfortable riding with a relatively loose cinch/girth, you need to work on your balance. This is just incredibly important.

That said, roller buckles are great, and I like elastic on both sides of the girth; so does my horse :-) With our western/endurance saddle we use a slightly stretchy mohair cinch, with a roller buckle, but even so, I never tighten it more than snug. I like to be able to fit my fingers between the cinch and horse.

Georgie T. is as round as a barrel, with no withers at all, and no amount of "tight" will keep his custom-made-for-him Synergist saddle from moving sideways; I absolutely _have_ to use a step-up to get on. We ride in all kinds of technical terrain with a four-finger loose girth. Balance is your friend.

ByeBye! Steve and George
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