Protect those triceps! An every day 'NO' that could be damaging your horse - Girth tips
During my training as an equine sports and remedial massage practitioner I learnt many amazing facts about horses, their anatomy and how what we do effects our horses.
The most shocking revelation during my training was that I myself was damaging my horse on a daily basis, and now I work within this industry its very clear that A LOT of us horse owners, with good intentions, are doing the same.
We head out and bring our lovely beasts in from the field, spend time grooming them and loving them, pop their bridals on, put our saddle on and tighten up the girth - what do so many of us do next?
We try and release any skin under the girth by 'stretching' their forelegs, as innocent as that - just trying to prevent any discomfort right? What a lot of us do not realise is that stretching a cold muscle in this way is actually causing micro tears within the muscle!
I was shocked to discover every time I rode my horse I was causing damage to him! When I realised the implications of my actions I was quick on it trying to find a way to relieve uncomfortable skin around his girth without stretching the legs.
My first solution, instead of stretching I would simply run my hand under the girth and pull forward any loose skin - how simple! less effort for me, no damage to cold muscles for him.
This made me think more about my choice of girth. Something I have never really thought about, we think about which nose band suits our horse, which bit, even which saddle pad but the girth can sometimes be overlooked. This is when I came across anatomical girths which I now have a collection of to ensure every horse I own or school can be ridden in one.
The girths are designed to help the saddle sit further back off the horses shoulders to reduce restriction in the shoulder which causes a loss in their range on motion - fantastic for big movers. With the saddle naturally sitting off the shoulders it reduces the pressure caused by the tree points which, with a straight girth, can be pressed down causing discomfort. They are also very good at keeping the saddle in the correct position especially on rounder horses and horses with higher withers which reduced stress and imbalance along their back.
Please share this every day, innocent mistake and get in touch for further advice.