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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, on to the latest in the “Teddy’s problems” series. This one concerns his girth. I rode him a lot over the winter, in a standard fake fleece girth from Dover. I didn’t notice anything until late this spring when the barn owner pointed out that his girth area looked really bad – he had lost a lot of fur and he had a gall. I think it must have gotten bad when he started shedding out.

I went about five weeks without riding him, and the fur mostly grew back, but the gall is still there (although smaller). I bought a new girth on the recommendation of the salesperson at Dover – it looked something like one of the stock photos below. It was neoprene with a large belly area, and the idea was that it would stick to him and not slide around, and distribute pressure. The first time I rode him in it, he seemed a little bothered, but it was the first time I had ridden him after his time off, so that could have been it as well. It seemed like he was sort of nipping at it, though, so I just took the whole thing off and rode him bareback a little, which went a little better. I rode him in it a few days later and he seemed OK, but not great. It seemed to me like it was pulling and pinching his skin, and a lot of fur came off.

So I went back and got this simple anatomic leather girth, which is really smooth, so I thought it would maybe slide around smoothly rather than catching and pinching, like the big one did, or rubbing, like the original fake fleece one did. I have ridden him in it twice, and he seems to really like it. BUT, I’m worried because more fur is coming off. I took these pictures after I rode him today.

Does anyone have any thoughts about this? Should I be worried? Not worried? With both the new leather girth and the neoprene one, I made sure they weren’t contacting what’s left of the gall (pictured). But if he loses this much fur after each ride, I’m afraid he’s going to get rubbed raw. Or maybe he always had this much fur rub off, and I didn't notice. Teddy has thin, sensitive skin and (in the summer) thin fur to begin with. So I am worried about continuing to ride him if he’s going to lose this much fur each time. (When I put a girth on him now, I do stretch his front legs out to try to keep the skin from getting caught underneath)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@rambo99 actually that's what he looks like now, after five weeks off and only four short rides after that. He looked a lot worse before.

If neoprene isn't a good idea, then what will help him? The leather seems smoother and not pinchy, but it still seems to be pulling his fur off.
 

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I really dislike neoprene...girth, cinch or saddle pads...just no.
Many humans are allergic to certain kinds of rubber gloves...I = this to our horses can be allergic too.

I really like mohair girths for my horses in western tack.
They do make them also for English tack, pricey but...if it makes comfy that is success to me.

The ones I've seen do not have elastic ends so be careful how tight you girth up as tight is tight...however, I find when I use mohair girths I don't need to snug as tight either and no saddle movement happens.

You could try using a fleece girth cover and see if the softer material helps but damage is done, sorry.
I would also be very careful that is not a skin infection, a form of rain rot.
Skin is so delicate that once it is irritated it is so difficult to calm those nerves and encourage regrowth of hair on the area...
You also need to try to alleviate those bumps cause every time you girth-up...irritation begins.
Gently stretching out the legs so no folds of skin getting caught under the girth might help some too...
Sometimes you need to do a gentle stretch then do a second one when the horse will also give the leg a bit further forward...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@horselovinguy how much would you expect to pay for a true mohair girth for an English saddle? I found one that looked just like the one you pictured, on Amazon, for $36, which seems suspiciously cheap to me. I don't really trust third-party sellers on Amazon to begin with.

Also, I've been treating the black parts with Betadine just to be on the safe side. I've also increased the supplements he gets for skin and fur, and his general supps, and added one for immune function (he was losing a lot of hair on his chest the first part of spring and the vet thought it was allergies, but fortunately that's grown back in now). I'm also going to start applying a balm all over that area before we ride.

If it comes down to it, and I have to, I'll try riding him bareback. I first rode him bareback many months ago, and it was really painful due to his poor topline (at the time). When I rode him bareback last week it wasn't as bad. I actually really like riding bareback in general, but not so much when I've got someone's spine trying to drive a wedge up my youknow.
 

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Think BigD's tack had them for over a hundred less than two hundred...
Mohair is expensive...
I googled and came up with several places in prices from what you found to just under $200.
Try Dover, Stateline, Riders Warehouse....those come to mind as legit businesses.
You might find close-out pricing on new merchandise that could indeed be legit, check out the business and their ratings.


I use to use Vitamin E cream on things like that to keep the skin soft and supple after applying medicinal things that can dry.


I would try using a girth cover of either sheepskin or the fleece ones and see that combines with carefully releasing caught skin not help your issue.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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I, too, hate neoprene. It is pinchy and sweaty and rubs.

I ride western, but my choices would be mohair and/or alpaca, or wool felt. I have a hand made mohair cinch now, but used a wool felt cinch before with no concerns.

I don't know if applying a balm before riding is a good idea. I would make sure the area is clean and dry, and your girth is clean and dry before saddling. You don't really want your girth slipping and sliding -- that seems like it would cause more issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't know if applying a balm before riding is a good idea. I would make sure the area is clean and dry, and your girth is clean and dry before saddling. You don't really want your girth slipping and sliding -- that seems like it would cause more issues.
That's part of what is confusing me. Looking online, I see some recommendations to get a smoother girth or to use something like vaseline to promote smooth movement, because smoothness means no friction means no rubs. Then on the other side are the proponents of neoprene who like it because it supposedly doesn't move, so no movement means no friction means no rubbing.

Neither Pony nor Moonshine, nor any other horse that I have ridden regularly, has ever had this problem, so I feel like I'm just throwing random things at it and hoping that something will work. I don't know, maybe that's the best I can do? Just keep trying until I find what works for him in particular? But all of the solutions I'm trying are so expensive, LOL. I don't mind paying for something that's going to help, but I have already bought two expensive girths and at least one of them is not working out. I'm strongly considering the mohair one, but of course that's another not-cheap option that might not even work.

Sorry, I don't mean to sound gripey, I am just sort of at a loss for what to do here. Teddy is a sweet boy who tries hard, and I want to do what's right by him. I just don't know what that is right now.
:cry:
 

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I hear you and empathize a million times over. Salty is like Teddy -- one thing after another. Bits saddle pads, even saddles... you spend $100 to try to fix the issue, and end up with another useless item in the tack room. Some horses are just more sensitive and quirky!
 

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Sometimes it is not "slippage" but heat retention that is the culprit.
I never honestly ever had a problem with a leather girth ever but if you get a fold of skin and subsequent pinch, well..that is the start to many issues you then play catch-up to correct and fix the problem{s}.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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For a horse with very sensitive skin I've had issues with both fleece and neoprene. Leather can be better but may have issues also.

Agree that mohair has worked the best for me. Usually the price relates to the length. I've paid as little as $80 for a shorter one. At Action Rider Tack you can get a Montana Cincha dressage girth up to 36 inches long for $85.
https://www.actionridertack.com/Montana-Cincha-Dressage-Girths-Natural-Mohair-p/engenssm[dr].htm


At windridertack.com you can also get a variety of mohair girths for $110-130. However, if you need a longer length for short english billets, it may cost more. You can special order lengths of Montana Cincha girths. I believe my longest one cost $170 and I didn't get any fancy shaping or pads under the buckles. Still, it works well.
 

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You can also try a sheepskin, wool, or other girth cover/sleeve for your neoprene girth. Those tend to help. Check that your girth is sitting correctly compared to the billets of your saddle. If it isn't, that can cause rubbing.

https://www.smartpakequine.com/search/search?searchTerm=girth cover
https://www.smartpakequine.com/search/search?searchTerm=girth sleeve

Other popular options are things like these:

https://www.ridingwarehouse.com/Tot...f_Jump_AP_English_Girth/descpage-TSFSREG.html
(They also make a cheaper synthetic version.)

https://stubbennorthamerica.com/product/equi-soft-girth/
(They make longer lengths but you have to call and ask for it.)

https://stubbennorthamerica.com/product/231-contour-girth/
(I use this one, it's super squishy but it DOES create quite a bit of heat. Need to get a cover for it.)

https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/wintec-chafeless-elastic-girth-long-16950
(Wintec might be cheap, but this girth did not chafe and I believe it has elastic all the way through it. I'd ask others about their experience with it to be sure, and you can always get a cover for it.)
 

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I ended up getting an anatomical leather girth, a "jumping" one actually, just because it fit best. I* always stretch both leggies out once after doing up and once before getting on (princess much?) to get out the creases. In my paranoid days when trying new girths I'd reach down at a walk and stick a finger under to see what was going on under there haha. Not saying you do this but a pet peeve of mine that I see really common is people cranking girths up. It's why I liked the humane girth but even then some people work their hardest to have both buckles on the same one, not accounting for their belleh. Also about doing up the girth evenly from both sides (compared to left on bottom holes and right on top). I like mine snug but as comfortable as if I was wearing it myself. I rather go a little loose than cut tight. Agree that all the neoprene girths I got even the expensive ones were horrible for heat and rub, for extended rides. I now have a wool fleece on mine and it does a wonderful job soaking up that sweat. Shedding was a PITA but got by with a good curry beforehand. I used to just curry the saddle zones and ride with a dirty horse if I didn't have much time before a lesson and do a full groom after. But always saddle zones before getting on.

Seriously. One horse. A million girths and bridles. What to do ? I know the feels >.< I really want a mohair too but the ones available to me weren't big enough. Maybe will look again. Good luck!
 

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I feel you re the rubs!
Had my mare at the trainer's and within the first session she had 2 palm-sized rubs/sores from the neoprene cinch :cry:

It took a good month to really heal and the area remained super-sensitive for almost a year. I used to ride with a mohair girth before (100% mohair, no blend), but that suddenly didn't work anymore and started rubbing after a few minutes.
For us, real sheepskin, anatomically shaped (TSF shoulder relief) solved the problem. Expensive, yes, but it was the only thing that worked.
In the process I bought a few (expensive) girths, but the good thing is that they normally hold their value really well and are easily sold again...

Good luck on finding what works for Teddy!
 

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Do you stretch his front legs forward before mounting? That's one more thing that might help. Smooths out those behind-elbows skin wrinkles to reduce chafing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Do you stretch his front legs forward before mounting? That's one more thing that might help. Smooths out those behind-elbows skin wrinkles to reduce chafing.
Yes, I didn't use to do that, but I started doing it after I realized that he was getting rubs. It's actually good because he has an old injury that makes it difficult for him to stretch like this, which makes him really worried when he sees the farrier, so I'm hoping that we are also working throught that a little at the ame time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much everyone. I ended up ordering a true wool fleece cover. I only found one manufacturer I trusted to be actually selling 100% wool, and it looked like they were discontinuing the product, so (1) it was on sale and (2) seems like I need to buy it while I can. I felt like the wool on top of the leather might work well for him. Having two layers sometimes helps me with blisters from hiking, so I thought it might work for rubbing from a girth. It also looks really soft and fuzzy and comfortable.

If it doesn't work out, I will try the mohair string girth. I have seen so many people recommending those, but it's just that when I look at it, it doesn't look very comfortable at all. I guess I had a hard time getting past my own preconceptions.

Thanks again.
 
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See you found something new to try, but I'll just jump in with another vote for mohair. It works great for us on our dressage saddle, and got the stamp of approval from our saddle fitter. But most importantly, from my horse :wink:


You could order from one of the endurance tack supplier. Mine is from Montana Cincha (purchased through Distance Depot) and they have styles to fit all different types of saddles: https://www.thedistancedepot.com/searchresults.asp?Search=mohair&Submit=


For that current rub, if you are still riding, you might try something called "Body Glide" which might offer a little protection.
 

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Looking at your girth...
Does it have a elastic end so some give or is it mohair right to the buckle?
I've only used them western so no idea but know they exist English.
I know on my one horse the mohair finally made him comfortable after so many fails... :smile:


When dirty I swish vigorously in a bucket of soapy water, rinse well and hang to drip dry.
I just rub the cinch against itself to loosen ick...seems to work.
Any better ideas for cleaning the thing?
No machine washing for mine though.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@egrogan thanks for the link. I looked at that site, but all of the lengths are too short. Even the "English" girths only go up to like 34 inches. That would be fine for Pony and his dressage saddle, but Teddy has a typical jumper saddle with the shorter billets. I found that at a couple of other places, too -- all of the lengths were way to short. Why is that?
 
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