Ah, the girth. A necessary piece of riding equipment that keeps the saddle and therefore the rider on the horse. That’s right…on the horse. We are after all horseback riders not turf riders. At least not intentionally.

My first loose girth lesson
The summer before I entered second grade we moved to the country. A friend invited me over and after a quick tour of the house we were off to far more exciting things. Like horses. I vaguely remember us wrestling with the saddle and mounting. Then we took off down a paved country road and before long we were trotting. As we trotted I noticed something odd was happening.

bounce  slipping to the right

bounce  slipping more!

bounce  ack!!

In a blink of the eye I was eating dirt.

Did I happen to mention that we were riding double on a shoeless horse? Oh, and helmets? Forget about it. Thankfully, we walked away with only a few scrapes. To this day I can still  remember that friend’s name.

Present day lessons
It seems that I’ve gone back to riding with a loose girth. I’m not doing this intentionally. I swear! It’s just that I’ve been riding a sensitive horse for my dressage lessons and she has girthing issues. Or maybe I do?

Anyway, as I start to attach the girth she pins her ears back. Then I move to the other side and as I bring the girth beneath her belly I’m rewarded by a show of teeth. I don’t think she’s smiling at me. I then very slowly attach the girth to the first hole. More teeth. Slowly, I adjust the girth one hole tighter. More teeth.

Now in my opinion showing teeth is fine. I get it. You don’t like it. Maybe someone pinched you in the past but I’m being very slow and gentle here. However, the last time I tacked her the teeth came a little too close for comfort and I slugged her. Not hard. She immediately turned her head around and faced forward. Still as a statue.

Now for the riding part. As I said earlier I’ve been riding with a loose girth. See? She trained me well. We haven’t noticed until the end of the lessons. After trotting and cantering and maybe a buck for good measure. So, either I have awesome balance or it hasn’t been all that loose. Regardless I’m thankful that I’m no longer a turf rider and I always wear a helmet.

Do you have a girth story to share?

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