View Full Version : Girthing, mounting and Dismounting

26-01-08, 06:47 AM
I have just started working my new horse after a 12 month recovery from laminitis.
He is extremly quiet (Tb, had 4 race starts 3 years ago, this is the first time ridden in 3 years), he has now had 5 rides and i have a few quieries when i girth him up, mount and dismount.
Withthe girthing, he from the start did the uausl not too happy head toss, nothing really bad, but today he did turn to threaten to bite (by threaten i mean he turned and looked at me with ears back - he isnt nasty just didnt like it), i gave him a little get away msg.
Each time i have mounted i have to be careful where i put my left foot as i get up, he gets upset (the head goes up with ears back) if i press it too hard into him in the girth area. He doesn't move or attempt to buck or anything like that he just isnt happy.
Then getting off i started getting off with both feet out of stirrups, leaning over whither and swinging off, he hates the leaning over whither, again head goes up ears back but doesn't move.
The last coupld of times i left the left foot in stirrup to lift up instead of lean over whither, he is a bit better with this but still not entirely happy.

Wondering if anyone has any ideas? Being early i am being nice to him and just trying to get him confidence that is won't hurt him. I'm thinking he may have previously been jabbed there. He isn't sensitive in the girht area in that i can rub him there and he won't flinch. He is a fine skinned horse though and i will watch incase any gall areas become visible with the girhting up, but yeh the mounting and dismounting are interesting..

26-01-08, 07:11 AM
Hi my OTTT was getting really girthy until i had his back checked and his muscles were all out, once i had this frixed he was heaps better so i'd def be getting a chiro/physio out to check him over

26-01-08, 07:17 AM
He might have a problem other than the girth area which is causing him pain.

He's giving you feedback in the form of his head going up, ears back and finally biting. If you don't get the problem fixed before getting back on him, the next step might be bucking/bolting/lunging etc when you go to get on.

Do you have access to a good bodyworker/therapist or chiropracter who can check him for you? He might have a shoulder problem or even a pelvis problem (ie one side higher than other which is apparently quite common in young TB's who are frequently on one lead)

Has he had his teeth done recently by a good dentist?

I know you mentioned he has had lamintis, what did the farrier/trimmer recommend? Does he wear boots or is he shod?

Has a vet seen this horse recently? If yes, what did he/she recommend?

What about saddle fit? How wide is his saddle? It could be pinching him when you get on and off.

Apart from getting on and off, have you walked and trotted him? If yes, how did he go? Any resistence?

Apologies if you have checked these things already, I'm just running through my check list. :)

26-01-08, 07:39 AM
I agree with hailz, it's more than likely a vet/chiro would identify & fix. Mine has found many horses have a problem with pressure just above the rib cage which identifies with girthiness & mounting (pressure over the area) so I'd get this checked 1st & please, get a fully qualified one as the others all appear to have their specialty areas of success which isn't good enough imho.
Just click on your State.

26-01-08, 07:45 AM
Thank You

I will try to get onto a good chirpotractor, they are hard to find in our area though. I think i know of a bowen theraphy person around here.
His teeth were done about 8 months ago and he has only been eating hay and grass since then so i don't think that will be a problem.
The farrier has been slack, he was suppose to reshoe him on tuesday but never showed so not sure when he will be back out. But his feet are pretty good now, i put elaserplast on to help them stop breaking while he is not shod but other then that farrier is pretty happy with them, just normal shoes nothing special on him anymore.
The vet has not seen him since i had him x-rayed for lamintis probably now 13 months ago. He hasn't had any reason to go and it was very obviously his feet had come good.
The saddle in my knowledge of fitting appers to fit well, its just a synthetic wintec i use as my paddock saddle ( i like to keeo my show saddles only for shows). I will put the gel pad on just to gicve him that bit extra though.
He is extremyl quiet to walk, trot and canter (we have only done a few strides here and there in canter though - waiting for the shoes to get back on before we get too hard). He isn't even lame without the shoes.
He is typically a lazy horse but when really asked to go forward he goes off, bobs the head a little bit but thats more as we are getting him to soften and round which he has accepted very easily and apart from few stubborn acts of head bobbing has been very willing and will hold a good frame fairly consistently for a unfit horse.
He has good weight on so good coverage over his back, although does need more topline muscle but is not ribby, hasn't appeared to be sore in the back when i feel alone there.

It really is only the getting on and off that is a problem, and not a real problem, just there is a bit of resistance there.

26-01-08, 08:03 AM
Dani5 - hi! If not a health issue, sometimes this can can be just a bad habit that hangs on from bygone days /experience.

Do you do the girth up slowly, just to stay put, then do something else, then hitch up another hole or two, gradually? Over time, doing this can ease the tension in the horse and change the behaviour.

Also - what kind of girth do you use? I'd recommend a stretchy one (Wintec has a good one) that is more 'giving' than some other non-stretchable ones, as it adjusts to the horse's girth.

Just a couple more things to consider! Good luck solving the issue!


26-01-08, 08:15 AM
My thought was that it may be a previous bad habit. He did only every race and i know that track riders don't care what the horse does as he gets on or off so he may have had some bad experience here?

I do need to change girth, it is not one that would pinch or necessary prone to galling but it isn't a real good one either and a bit old and rusted buckles.
So good girth ideas are helpful.... i do like the wintec ones i have one of those on my show saddle so might swap it over for now.

I do the girth up slowly as you have mentioned, get it up to that point where it is not going to slip but not tight, do something else, pull it up again, then when after i lead him over to where i mount do it up again. Again i think the girth biting issue might be better once i get the other girth so it doesn;t slide through the buckles real easily with the rust there.

26-01-08, 08:24 AM
I would also check out the chiro/physio option as it could be pain like someone above wrote.

It is not uncommon in thoroughbreds to be a bit girthy, often they have been piched when saddled and it can take a hell of a lot for them to get over it.

We bought a mare who is a happy brood mare now, when we bought her we were advised of her dislike for being girthed. She is a sweet natured thoroughbred who is great to handle, don't try saddling her or brushing her, she would rip your arm off, she has a very passionate dislike to girths and brushes in the girth region. It has taken me three foals to be able to rub her very pregnant tummy without having to dodge her teeth. I am certain that this mare has had an unthoughtful saddler at some stage and has been ruined for life as far as this goes. None the less she is a wonderful broodmare and a very good mother.

Some times these issues can be very deep seated


26-01-08, 09:31 AM
Excellent suggestions already. Could be pain somewhere; could easily be anticipating and expecting previous experience.

The other thing to eliminate is saddle fit. Are you extra sure your saddle fits him? The most common problem (and probably unlikely with a TB I know) is the gullet being too narrow, and pinching the horse's shoulders.

The reason I mention it, is this behaviour is exactly the same as the behaviour I had with my boy, about 6 months after I got him. I was using my usual saddle that had fit every other horse I had. he started being antsy about being saddled, then he got increasingly aggressive about it, and didn't want to stand for mounting either.

When I got a good saddler, it turned out my saddle was too narrow for him and was pinching him. Once I got a saddle that fitted (in my case I was using a leather stock saddle with the usual gullet and had to move to a synthetic wintec stock with the wider gullet), it only took about two rides for him to settle down and become perfectly calm about saddling and mounting.

Worth checking out. Good luck with finding the cause.

28-01-08, 05:21 AM
Get a saddle fitter out - don't just rely on "the saddle in my knowledge of fitting appers to fit well"!! Sorry don't mean to be rude but unless you're a qualified saddle fitter you just can't tell.

If the saddle fits and your horse is still acting in the same way get a chiro out. If you don't get this fixed it'll just get worse and worse, and will cost you a lot more money in the long run.

28-01-08, 05:29 AM
yes! what everyone else has said - get massage therapist out, and get saddle checked. It's likely to be pinching him because of the reaction you get to leaning forward when dismounting. That immediately tells you something is wrong.

28-01-08, 10:30 AM
I would have thought if it was a saddle fitting problem though that it would be an issue while he was working not just with the mounting/dismounting?
I am not a certified saddle fitter, but did go into it fairly well while i was at uni so do have a fair idea, although i do admit that i may be wrong. But it wouldnt be my first thought as he is so well behave once i am on him?

i do thing i will try get the chiro/massage to him though.

28-01-08, 02:15 PM
Did you work him much after he came off the track? Jockeys are generally legged up onto the horse so having someone put their foot in the stirrup can be a bit uncomfortable for them. Same with getting off. Just a thought.

29-01-08, 07:49 AM
He went to the paddock for 3 years when he had finished at the track, so this is the first time he has been ridden.
I did think that it may be just strange for him to have someone get off normally and was therefore careful about how i got off when i started him.