Monday, August 1, 2011

Off But Not Off

I've been dealing with girth galls the past month. Periodically Phantom's string girth rubs a spot but a few days later he's back in action. This time, however, each time I tacked up after the spots started to heal, the girth rubbed them again. And that occurred on the longe line before I even got on. *sigh*

So I went through the check list. Same girth, same saddle. I stretched Phantom's legs to prevent wrinkles under the girth before snugging it up. I did change saddle pads to one that's a little thicker. And Phantom (and herd buddies) plumped up on the new grass in their pasture. So I went back to a thinner pad -- without success. I noticed horses at the dressage show wore their girths in the approximate location of the illustration above, but on Phantom my saddle rests such that the girth lays right behind his elbow. Problem is, my mutton-withered little Arab is so short coupled there is nowhere else for the saddle to settle.

I decided to try a longer girth to raise the buckles above his elbows. I was positive I was using a 24" dressage girth so I ordered a 26" string girth online. When it arrived I took it to the barn only to discover I was already using a 26" girth. Duh! So I went back online to order a 28" string girth. I used it last Friday and it seemed to do the trick. The buckles are now located above Phantom's elbows and it's long enough that I can leave a smidge more room between elbow and girth. I'm not yet considering it a success. We'll see what happens today.

The whole thing began with Phantom appearing "off but not off" on the longe line. Not head-bobbing-limping lame. Just a barely perceptible shortening of his left front leg. Hmmm. Same thing in the saddle. A little off but not really off, a tendency to scramble at the trot when pushed, but a normal stride at the walk. Then when I got off and removed the saddle I found the culprit. Not as serious as an abscess or lameness issue, but still troublesome and enough to give Phantom some "vacation" time in July.

So, I'm hoping he's on the mend. Not that I'm doing much with my riding of late anyway. But saddle time is saddle time and, as Winston Churchill said (or thereabouts), the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man (or woman!).


gowestferalwoman said...

girth cover - dont leave home without it ;D!

I have the same issue and found that a girth cover cuts down on the chafing bigtime - might be an investment, but its one of those necessities for the summer!

Oregon Equestrian said...

I tried a stretchy heavy-duty elastic dressage girth that chaffed on about the third use. I encased it in a fleece cover and it chaffed on the second use. :-(

The plain string girth is the most affordable and least chaffing girth I've found thus far. It is fine 98% of the time. It's the other 2% that's frustrating.

Thanks for the link; however, the Dover sheepskin cover is waaaay too expensive and it appears to be too thick based on the picture. Phantom seems to have a close elbow that doesn't leave room for cushy fleece. His loss, since I'd splurge tax refund money on the Dover sheepskin cover if I thought it would work.

I do appreciate your thoughts!

Vaquerogirl said...

We use either a leather rolled girth or a Professional Choice western style girth. Neither has ever rubbed. I am a nut about new girths- I change mine every yearalong with the billets( for Western saddles). The string girths never get really clean, even when you wash them, and I feel they tend to hold any fungus or dirt.

Karla said...

Hi Mary,

Echo's got a really forward girth groove. The Ovation Contour girth has really worked for us.

Pretty good price at

Cathi will be teaching at Two's A Team on Aug. 7 and 21 if you feel like stopping by.

Have a good day.


Oregon Equestrian said...

Thanks all for your suggestions!

Karla: Appreciate the dates for Cathi's teaching schedule.

achieve1dream said...

That must be horribly frustrating! I hope the longer girth does the trick.