Horse thinks he is a balloon

This topic contains 16 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe 2 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 17 total)
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  • Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    My boy insists on holding his breath when I do his girth. Even though I can get him to exhale some, he always manages to keep enough so that the saddle slips a bit while I am riding. He knows I cannot reach the billets to tighten it, and there is no one around to do it for me. Suggestions?

    It is never the horse's fault

    KiRin_Kiger
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 9

    Although it sounds mean, what your horse is doing is dangerous to you, so give this a try (my Aunt Kathy used to have to do this to her horse): With your girth ready to tighten, kick your knee hard into his ribs just behind the girth to knock the breath out of him, and at the same time, complete the tighten-up.

    Of course this is assuming your horse is not going to retaliate. If he does, time for a respect lesson in the round pen! Horses are like human children, so give them love when good, discipline when bad.

    "Ride fearlessly, but think carefully"

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    That is not something I would ever do. It is an old trick, but not (my opinion) an option.

    It is never the horse's fault

    KiRin_Kiger
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 9

    In that case, you just have to wait until he lets it out and be quick about it 🙂

    "Ride fearlessly, but think carefully"

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I need longer arms! I ride with a dressage saddle, and he is such a little tyke that his girth is only 22″ – no way I can stretch down far enough to reach, without getting seriously dizzy.

    It is never the horse's fault

    KiRin_Kiger
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 9

    Can you use a longer girth? I ride an Aussie saddle with an extra long girth.

    "Ride fearlessly, but think carefully"

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    No, even this one is a tad long. The billet straps come down nearly to his elbows.

    It is never the horse's fault

    KiRin_Kiger
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 9

    One more idea: distract him with a carrot!

    "Ride fearlessly, but think carefully"

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Did – do not ask me how he can eat something while holding his breath, but he is a genius! Either that, or he can catch and hold his breath way better than I. It isn’t a problem when there are other people around, but I am getting tired of riding bareback (his spine is like a knife, sharp side up) because I don’t like to ride with a loose saddle. Arabians are too smart for their own good. Charming, but think too much.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    Have you tried saddling with a loose cinch and walking him in a circle, then cinching more, walk again, cinch up?

    I was taught not to cinch up tight in the beginning, just enough to keep it in place while you do other things. (I position the saddle first, then pick feet, then bridle). I always walk a horse after final cinching to test for freedom of movement. The multi-step cinching has eliminated the blowing up because I usually catch them off guard with the tightening step.

    The 4finger rule is my guide on tightening. I make the cinch tight, but I should be able to get 4 fingers under it or it is too tight.

    Also perhaps you need a stickier saddle pad for routine riding? I recommend the supracor especially in summer as they really do keep the horse’s back cooler, and they aren’t slippery.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I have tried everything except a different pad. I don’t tighten it all the way – a little bit, stretch his forelegs (which he actually does for me), tighten a bit more, walk out to the ring, tighten again and mount. Even with all that, he has managed to find some breath to hold until I am on and he knows I cannot reach without getting off. He smirks about it, thus adding insult to (possible) injury. I will see about the supracor. If that doesn’t work, maybe sandpaper?

    It is also possible that his narrow chest contributes to the slipping.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    In that case, I’d shake up my routine. Tighten. Walk. Tighten. Walk. Tighten. Walk. It isn’t called a ‘cinch’ for ‘nuthin’. Do you have an all leather girth or one with some elasticity? On both my saddles I have some elasticity in the girth. (one is rigged English, the other Western). And if I had a smarty pants, I’d adjust the saddle from the right side as well (this may take some adjustment – try letting out the right side one inch before you throw it on – cinch as usual and then walk to the other side and pull it up the rest of the way.)

    The Dodger is using your routine against you because he is prepared. He can’t hold his breath the whole time, so you have to catch him off-guard.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    My girth is not very elastic. Haven’t seen a dressage girth with elastic, and I do not attach the girth at all until after I have put on the pad and saddle. It is not slipping in such a way or so much that it is unsafe to ride, but cannot possibly be comfortable for him when it slides backwards. Maybe a breastplate? It is not so loose that it would slip sideways due to my weight. Dressage things are not only excessively expensive, they are a foreign language! So is that saddle pad you suggested! When one thing costs so much more than I paid for the horse, it is difficult to justify on the chance that it might help.

    I do not at all recommend that anyone get a horse that is smarter than the owner. Even a really cute horse with tons of personality. Trying to outwit him gets harder every day.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: added more words

    It is never the horse's fault

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    My issue with elastic is that it stretches out, usually at the worst possible time. However, there is another choice, and one that works well with horses that have serious objections to the girth being tightened. These girths are usually called “comfort girths”, not sure why, but what makes them different from standard girths is that with a standard girth, each end strap & buckle is attached to one side or the other of the girth. “Comfort girths” unlike standard girths, have the straps at each end set up on a pulley system, anchored in the middle of the girth, so each strap pulls against the center of the girt & the other strap/buckle, not one side or the other. This means that you don’t have to have both buckles in the same holes on the billet straps, the girth adjusts correctly with each buckle in a different hole. This pulley system seems to work well with horses that suck air in to prevent the girth from being tightened correctly, but without the elastic, so while there is give between the two straps/buckles at each end, you can get the girth tight enough so the horse has some breathing room before you mount, but the girth will not be loose because the elastic has stretched. I don’t know why the pulley system seems to work better than having each buckle attached to one side or the other, but it could be that this system tightens the whole girth with each adjustment to one or the other strap/buckle, not just one side of the girth, which is what happens with a standard girth.

    I like the “comfort girth” concept, but I wanted a nylon dressage length girth that would be machine washable, and that had a fleece lining sewn onto the underside, so it could not move or wrinkle like the fleece sleeves can. Nobody made a girth like this, and since I have a big Adler 205 sewing machine, the heavy thread, and found a source for 4″ wide heavy nylon webbing, have access to all the hardware, and the knowledge to make girths, I started making these fleece lined, machine washable girths (but you do have to line dry them, not put them in a dryer) in dressage sizes. One friend wanted a hunt seat girth like this, so we tried out the concept in the correct hunt seat length for her, but found that while the 4″ wide webbing works excellently for dressage length girths, for reasons I don’t quite understand, did not work for hunt seat lengths, as the hunt seat girth did not want to stay in the “girth groove”. LuckillyI also have the same nylon webbing in a 3″ width, and the 3″ wide version sat correctly in the “girth groove.” So I now make these girths, along with the same type of machine washable fleece lined girth in a western cinche version, although the western version just has the typical single large buckle at each end, instead of 2 straps with buckles.

    I added photos of the 3 different girth versions as this type of girth makes more sense if you can see it. The 1st & 4th photos are of the Dressage version, the 2nd is the Hunt Seat version, and the 3rd is the Western version.

    Joe-Joe Original Poster Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    G&S – can you email me about these girths? I would want a 22″ dressage one. Thanks! Or, I can email you?

    It is never the horse's fault

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