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  • Writer's pictureredrocksstud

Girthy Horses and Buckers

Does your horse get cranky when you girth up? Swishing their tail, pinning ears, cow kicking, and nipping? Clearly, they are uncomfortable. If you push on it can lead to bucking and bucking is dangerous. It is a desperate communication attempt from your horse and it can cause injury for the rider.

So what causes girthy horses? There are a few options. Sometimes it's training, a horse that hasn't been properly habituated to a girth, and the tightening process can be nervous and upset. So also was girth up by degrees, don't just zip them up tight as you can. Let the horse breathe and ask them to walk around a little before tightening again.

The next issue might be saddle fit, does your saddle actually fit your horse? If it pinches and rubs there's a chance your saddle is causing pain. Your horse wants to let you know it is uncomfortable. If in doubt ask a saddle fitter to check out your horse. It may need a corrective pad or a whole new saddle. Just as you wouldn't be able to perform in shoes that didn't fit your feet, your horse cannot carry you comfortably with an ill-fitting saddle.

Thirdly it might be a body work issue. It could be shoulder issues. I often see trapezius and scapula issues in horses I treat. Horses unlike humans don't have a collar bone. their front leg is held on by muscle. So any issues with the front end can be difficult to treat and cause the horse a great deal of discomfort. When you girth up you squeeze your horse and if he's sore the saddle may aggravate that and cause him to buck. If your saddle fits then it's time to book a body work session.

Finally, gastric ulcers (stomach ulcers) can be to blame for your horse not wanting to be girthed up. Horses are prone to ulcers from stress, recovery from injury, medications, unbalanced diet, not enough fiber, and forage. We use Tuffrock GI as both a preventative measure and to treat ulcers. It is a safe oral liquid that is palatable and fast acting. It both repairs and soothes the gut.

Generally horses dont want to bite and buck, this is simply the only way they feel they can communicate discomfort and to prevent themselves from being ridden while in pain. So before you punicj your horse for bad behaviour take a moment to consider what the horse is trying to tell you.

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