Proper Girthing Technique
Follow these steps to girth your horse:
• Secure your stirrup irons over the stirrup bars and out of the way.
• Buckle the girth to the billets on the off side (horse’s right) and then bring it to the near side (horse’s left). The proper place for the girth is immediately behind the forelegs, so any gap between the elbow and the girth indicates that you have placed the girth too far backward.
• Securely, but gently, fasten the girth. Your hand should fit between the girth and the horse, but it should fit very snugly.
Note: A girth should be tightened in stages rather than all at once. A good habit to get into is to tighten in three stages. First, gently tighten it just enough to be snug. Move the horse around a bit (circle, back up, sideways) to let it settle. Then gently tighten again. Move the horse around a bit more and then gently tighten once more. The purpose of this approach is not to get the girth as tight as possible, but rather to create a polite process that makes the horse a willing partner.
• Drop the stirrups before mounting.
• Mount and check the fit to see if you need to adjust the buckle to a different hole.
Keep in mind that you can buy a girth extender if your girth is too small for your hose. It increases the reach of the saddle’s billets by attaching onto their ends.
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