Check your girth!

scruffyponies

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Slightly horrified.
20 mins into a ride, and after a great blast of canter, little 'J' shouts a request for a stop to tighten her girth, which she thinks is loose. We realise at this point that J (9) had tacked up and mounted by herself, so nobody had checked it before we set off. Poor form on the part of the 5 or 6 adults present.

I hop off... to find her balanced calmly on a saddle with the girth so loose that I could easily have passed a small dog or possibly even a riding hat between girth and pony. Not loose like she didn't tighten it enough; loose like she attached the ends then got distracted and forgot to finish the job. Lord alone knows how she managed to get on the pony.

All I can say is that the larking about bareback has clearly paid off. There's nothing wrong with her balance.
 

Snowfilly

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Good lesson! No injuries and a decent scare. She won’t do it again.

Get her to try the Met Police ride thing of taking the saddle and girth off while she’s riding next.
 

Coblover63

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I once took my mare for a short, fast hack and when I got back to the yard, before I dismounted I started chatting to a friend and then offered for her to have a short ride on on my horse, there and then. We took her into the school for 5 mins and I absent-mindedly (read deep in conversation 🤣) automatically held the offside stirrup so that friend could mount. She ambled around for a couple of minutes, then asked for trot. Mare came round the short side at trot whereupon friend started leaning to the outside as my saddle slipped. She promptly fell off, leaving my saddle nearly underneath my mare's belly! Mare immediately stopped as if to say "oops!". Clearly I had ridden with my girth a bit loose (with no balance issues). I was mortified, but friend was fine and forgave me.
 

Pippin and Poppy

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I dislike the way girths are sometimes 'over tightened' for RDA riders and tend myself to have a rather loose girth by comparison, especially on our newly broken ponies. I've broken 5 mares for myself and none have girthing issues after being started this way. This is another area where I think more consideration should be given to horses.
 

sbloom

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I dislike the way girths are sometimes 'over tightened' for RDA riders and tend myself to have a rather loose girth by comparison, especially on our newly broken ponies. I've broken 5 mares for myself and none have girthing issues after being started this way. This is another area where I think more consideration should be given to horses.
I think many on here would agree with you, it's a minefield. And puhlease don't start with the "only elasticated girths can be overtightened" (and it being a good reason not to use them) - has no-one ever seen a rider take a fixed girth and, from on board, heave on it with all their weight to do it up?!
 

Elf On A Shelf

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I think many on here would agree with you, it's a minefield. And puhlease don't start with the "only elasticated girths can be overtightened" (and it being a good reason not to use them) - has no-one ever seen a rider take a fixed girth and, from on board, heave on it with all their weight to do it up?!
I'm not even going to start on what some of our work riders do ...

I ride with what I would consider a tight girth, maybe a touch tighter than a normal person as the horses at work don't exactly have bellies. Yet when one of the lads hops of to school the horse I have just handed over the girth goes up 2 or 3 holes 🤦‍♀️

I have also ridden with girths so loose they swung.
 

SEL

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I finished a course of jumps on a high speed pony as a kid and one of the spectators told me my girth looked a little loose. I'd tacked up and attached it to the last 2 girth straps which broke. Oops. I got in a lot of trouble for that 😩

Microcob has obviously had the girth over tightened before. You think it's tight then start the faster work and realise you can fit a fist in it. One day I'll forget to check before we canter and get splatted
 

scruffyponies

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I should say that I usually make a point of checking the novices and youngsters, not so much because they won't have tightened it, but because the girth grooves on ponies are pretty forward. An unsupervised novice will often have it a couple of inches behind the groove, which on a tubby pony leaves quite a bit of slack when it eventually finds the narrow bit.
 

spotty_pony

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I once got on without tightening my girth and went splat on the floor. Damaged my achilles tendon, and suffered with it for a couple of years after that. Needless to say, I didn't forget to tighten my girth again!
 

Leandy

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I dislike the way girths are sometimes 'over tightened' for RDA riders and tend myself to have a rather loose girth by comparison, especially on our newly broken ponies. I've broken 5 mares for myself and none have girthing issues after being started this way. This is another area where I think more consideration should be given to horses.
Interesting. I'd be specifically careful to ensure a girth is firm and not loose on a newly backed horse as I'd be concerned they would panic if a saddle began to slip or rider fell off and would much prefer to avoid the risk of a scare on a flighty youngster. If girths are tightened slowly and gradually there shouldn't be any reason for girthiness.
 

Pippin and Poppy

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As part of their training I deliberately condition them to a slipping saddle. I have an old Trekker, the flat carpet type that I would never ride on. I girth loosely enough to allow the saddle to slip. (This after I have spent time putting the same saddle on their backs and pushing it off to the ground the other side.) Our ponies are acclimatized very, very slowly to being ridden.
Edited to add, I also get them used to an unbalanced weight that shifts around on their backs.
 

Errin Paddywack

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I once rode for approx 20 minutes with a completely broken girth, another rider pointed it out, dangling.....
I did this once. Messing about in a little sand quarry. I was coming down a steep bit when people started calling out to me. Jumped off at the bottom and found that girth had snapped under pony's stomach. He had two fairly narrow cotton girths and both had snapped. I managed to sort of knot them together in the middle and it held up till we got home. That was when I worked at a RS back in the 60's and we were mid ride. I was very lucky.
 
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My son was on a pony with a 'humane girth' and a girth strap broke. Instead of having at least one intact strap securing him, the whole girth swung loose. I don't use those types now.

I never, ever start with a girth more than loosely 'attached' at tacking-up, then go gradually up, with the final check once I am on. I'll go one looser rather than tighter. It hasn't let me down yet.
 

sbloom

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Interesting. I'd be specifically careful to ensure a girth is firm and not loose on a newly backed horse as I'd be concerned they would panic if a saddle began to slip or rider fell off and would much prefer to avoid the risk of a scare on a flighty youngster. If girths are tightened slowly and gradually there shouldn't be any reason for girthiness.
Overtightening the girth isn't generally a cause of girthiness, I should have been specific in my response, it's more likely to cause tension and postural issues, as well as softening the adipose tissue under the stirrup bar area, making the saddle more likely to collapse in front with a rider on board. Girthiness is more usually saddle or ulcers.

My son was on a pony with a 'humane girth' and a girth strap broke. Instead of having at least one intact strap securing him, the whole girth swung loose. I don't use those types now.

I never, ever start with a girth more than loosely 'attached' at tacking-up, then go gradually up, with the final check once I am on. I'll go one looser rather than tighter. It hasn't let me down yet.
I believe they're banned by the Pony Club for that reason, they also put a lot of pressure concentrated on the double D ring, not a fan!
 
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