3yo with girth problem / I feel like a failure

Thank you really :pray:

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Thank you!! :pray:

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Don’t think just oats. I refuse to give my horses any feed or pellets that have oats, corn or molasses.

Asking with zero snark intended:
Are oats different in Australia?
I have fed rolled, crimped & whole oats to a variety of horses for over 15yrs.
Including 27yo TB & teen WB.
Current herd of 20yo Hackney Pony, 18yo TWH & 6yo mini* all in great health as verified by my vet on this grain. Supplemented only with BOSS.

*Mini switched to TC Sr after a founder scare in May.
Per vet, oats did not contribute, frosty grass was the culprit.
Switch made as added safeguard.

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I have no idea as I have never been to America. Oats and corn are a heating feed. Molasses I dont feed because of the sugar content which I don’t think is healthy.

I have never had a mini or a pony. I have tbs that others find very hard to fatten and use grain. With a tb oats can ‘go to their head’.

There is a saying 'it is one thing to have a fat TB in your paddock, but it is your fault if you can’t ride it.

My latest TB, the seller was completely honest. He doesnt just buck, he leaps in the air and bucks. Whenever she lunges him he bucks the whole time. She has to ride him 3 days a week or he is unrideable, yadda, yadda, yadda. She did not want a horse that had to be ridden 3 days a week, so she was selling him and buying a pony.

A vet nurse so he was getting top care and every thing recommended including grain.

This is a conformationally correct horse. One my instructor when I took him there echoed exactly what her instructor had told me but I took with a grain of salt as working for the seller. He can take the weight behind, he will take you up the levels, this is the horse you should be riding.

He was trained in dressage, she was a preliminary rider so he was on the forehand but she had gone through the not wanting to go on the right lead only the left and he was started in shoulder-in. His leads were now perfect. He was for sale for $1,500.00.

You could see his ribs. I have heard of horses being soft before. He was soft. As in he did not feel right under your hand when you stroked on his rump. That I can not explain. He looked like a stock horse

The first thing I do is take them off all grain. Grassy hay only. I am an experienced lunger and for me he has never bucked on the lunge. In fact on the lunge he is foot perfect and now lunging quite advanced.

He did do that leaping in the air buck on me once but I had taken him away from everyone and was checking fences. When I went to remount he was shaking. Whether that was out of fear or excitement the result was the same. He did it on the steep bit up of a dip. O M G No wonder she sold him. The power and the strength. It was very steep so he really only ended up going forward 2 inches. I have no idea what would have been the result on flat ground. He did it to her at a cross country group lesson. So probably excited.

I always walk him up a dip now!

Fast forward and he is the perfect horse. I can get on him after 3 weeks off. We started feeding him Equisport when in work which is grain free.

Then the worst drought locals have seen. 100 acres and not a blade of grass. We had to sell off just about all our herd of cattle. We put our old mare down.

We were given a tonne of Barley by our instructor who grows it, but the seed was not growing, so they had to get rid if it to replace.

I was boiling it and feeding them up to 7 times a day. I didnt want then eating the ground. I wanted them to have something going through their system all the time. Lucerne chaff, barley and carrots, the easi ride. No riding as it was silly to be paying to keep them alive then riding it off them.

One is over 20yo. The other is 17yo. The one I bought has been here a few years or more and is still under 10 yo

We are out the other end. We have hay again. They are now getting the Easi going instead of the Easy Ride which is extruded and has more protein than the Easi Ride.

All 3 tbs have been hoof perfect. No bucking, no ribs showing. My instructor is very happy with them. I see no reason to change.

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Just to make sure all bases are covered, are you tightening her girth gradually or are you cranking it tight as soon as you get the saddle on? Is there any possibility that the people who tacked her up while she was in training tightened the girth immediately vs gradually?

IME, one of the primary reasons (if not related to underlying health/physical issues) that a horse gets “girthy” is that someone is tightening the girth too much, too quickly. Babies, especially, tend to find having the girth tightened abruptly uncomfortable and learn quickly to anticipate that discomfort.

Tightening the girth should be done gradually - initially, just tight enough to keep the saddle from slipping, then a little tighter after the horse as been walked to the mounting/schooling area, maybe a bit tighter after you lunge and/or change any jumps or obstacles in the arena. Horses generally won’t get resentful of the girth if the rider is tactful about tightening it. (Unless, of course, there is an underlying condition so it’s always a good idea to check with your vet, as you’re doing, just in case there is an underlying condition. :slight_smile: )


The padded girth sounds like a plan. You could also try mohair, which many horses (including mine) just love, or one of those Total Saddle Fit things that are shaped to relieve pressure: https://www.totalsaddlefit.com/

All this could get awfully spendy, so I’d borrow whatever you can just to try, and then buy the one your mare likes best.

You might also call in a saddle fitter if you can, since the discomfort might actually be in some part of the saddle rather than the girth itself.


What do you mean by a ‘small’ dressage saddle? Do you mean one that has less than a 17" seat? Or one that is a narrow or narrow-medium tree? Do you know how to properly fit the saddle to the horse to make sure it fits them well?

Truthfully, I wouldn’t mess with her (aside from grooming/feeding) until the vet does their exam and you know if she has ulcers or not (I will bet you money she does, though). It’s not uncommon to start a 3-year old under saddle, then give them the winter off, let them mature a bit, and come back in the spring as a 4-year old to start some real work. She’s had what, two months under saddle? That’s not very long. If she was mine, I wouldn’t work her with a saddle at all until I knew exactly what I was dealing with and it was resolved.

Young horses are a totally different things from horses in general. Experience with older horses, already trained, doesn’t equate to having experience with young, green horses. Find an instructor who can work with both of you on a regular basis.


Since even at her home at the breeder she was annoyed by the girth I tight it not even enough to keep the Saddle on when I’m tacking up, I walk her and I tight up a little, I walk again and tight up again for lunging and the last tightening I did when getting on, but still its very possible that I pinched her skin with that damned girth and now she remembers/ is still hurt by it

It’s very ignorant to give certain veterinary diagnosis to a horse you didnt even see. And definitely you didn’t read the other comments I already left.
I really don’t know why yall think you need to show other that you are SO MUCH better when you know nothing about the person that you’re talking to.
If you have self consciousness problems you should deal with them not come on a forum and try to put down others just because you think youre do much better. If there’s one thing I learned from horse riding is to shut up until I really know everything about horse/rider. Your notions I can find anywhere, you’re not bringing anything to the table, only being nasty.

“young horses are totally different” no way!! I definitely didn’t know!!!

The girth I bought is anatomically shaped, not the same as the one you’re suggesting but it’s something similar
I can’t really get a hold of a saddle fitter here because if you call them it’s because you want to buy one of their saddles, and this is not the case (broke equestrian yey) but I’ll tell the vet to touch her back to see if she does have any discomfort even though talking with a trainer they told me that her back is so short if she was hurt on the back it will show immediately, especially under saddle, but under saddle she’s an angel, that’s why I’m pretty positive is the girth but also the whole situation:
New stable with different boxes
New owner
Different routine
A slightly different food
Also she is very small and was in the paddock until June where her brothers/sisters where beating her up and didn’t let her eat so she was very submissive, but here she’s gaining weight, muscles, strength and confidence so I think her true personality is showing up and she does have a very strong personality
So I think it’s all this problems put together :blush:

Sometimes (depends on how the horse, saddle and girth fit together) the anatomically shaped girths actually make quite a ridge of pressure along the back of them. When you do try again, be sure to (carefully) put your hand in right at the bottom, from both the front and back to see if the pressure is even across it’s width.

I have no idea what this means, but I personally wouldn’t rule out saddle fit issues just yet - especially since, as you say, your horse is growing and filling out by the day.

Do you have an older or more experiences friend who can do a saddle fit evaluation for you? (Not being condescending here! Other posters are right to point out that this is subtle, complicated stuff.) Could you longe with and without the saddle, and see if there’s a difference in movement? A horse in a poorly fitting saddle will often hollow out rather than stretch down, be reluctant to go forward, and just generally look less than happy.

If your horse is really tiny and short-backed, she may simply have been stuck into a series of too-big saddles. The fact that she’s been “an angel” for a week or so really doesn’t prove all that much. “The first few rides are a gift,” as they say, and you’re at the beginning of a very long process in which things can go from fabulous to WTF?! in a matter of a seconds.


If it was me, I’d go very slowly here, doing in-hand work and longing while building trust and cooperation in the details of plain old daily life. This should be a great time for both of you.


And this just confirms what I suspected: troll.

Seriously. This is your first post. You give us a long-winded sob story about a three-year old, adding details along the way that may or may not make a difference. You get pissy when we question what you do and don’t know. Typical troll behavior. Asking whether you know how to fit a saddle or not is a question we ask here ALL THE TIME, because it’s both a science and an art and many people - even those who’ve been around horses their entire lives - don’t know what a properly-fitting saddle should look like.

Others have also made diagnoses based on the information you gave us. You didn’t jump down their throats. I’m not being nasty. I’m asking questions. This is what we DO here. It’s a forum. It’s full of people who have expertise in various disciplines. We have vets. We have trainers. We have instructors. So we ask questions.

I’m calling troll on this one. Anyone else?


Can you please elaborate on this, I am very interested in hearing more!

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Honestly? I think she’s a kid.

I suspect she’s feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility she’s taken on, and is trying to get things straight in her mind and rebuild her confidence.

Not the most tactful poster maybe, but I feel for her.


Possibly true, too, but my Spidey-senses are twinging on this one. Young horse, weird problems, get mad when she doesn’t hear what she wants to hear, etc. IF she’s not a troll, I wish her good luck in sorting it all out, but I’m not going to offer any more advice when it’s responded to like that.


That’s fair. :wink:

And, if matters at all, I think your advice was spot on. I don’t see any reason to rush into riding a three year old either. Your plan is exactly the one I’ve gone with myself.


I agree with letting a horse grow before being out into real work.

Saddle fit is not rocket science. Put the saddle on without a saddle blanket. Step on a mounting block behind if the horse is too tall. You should be able to see light looking under the cantle.

When ridden and the horse sweats, their should be sweat all over. Any dry spots and there is too much pressure for the horse to sweat. You will end up with saddle sores, white hair spots and this can lead to fistulas withers if totally ignored and bad enough.

With my short backed horse sob, my old style county was too long on the flaps at the front. As his muscle above and behind his shoulders grew, he became unhappy

Cry, the saddle he has chosen and is happy in and sweats all over is my Mums old saddle. I can ride in it. People say it is too small for me. It does not feel too small and he is happy so it is the one I ride in.

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