Friday, April 17, 2015

Girth Update and Other Randoms

I really appreciated everyone's feedback in my previous post about how Maggie has recently and suddenly become a little girthy/sensitive! Unfortunately, I still have no idea what her deal is.

What I have deduced, is that it really is mainly an area on her barrel that appears to be bothering her. In an effort to help me describe it to you, here's an illustration:

It's on the lower had of her barrel, on the underside, but not quite reaching to her midline. I still can't feel any cuts, bumps, or irritations there and I was able to gently wash the area over the weekend. And it's not her umbilicus or udder...she oddly doesn't mind it too much when I touch those. She mostly dislikes the curry comb there and will give a good stomp of her left hind foot with a big tail swish when I groom it. Sometimes she tries to turn and nip as well. She doesn't react as badly when I curry her girth area (or anywhere else...including the same spot on the right side of her barrel); last week I would have said she doesn't react at all when I curry her anywhere else, but she does seem more generally sensitive this week. Lauren commented on my prior post and linked me to this interesting video about pressure points that can help pinpoint ulcers. Maggie didn't react to any of them, but it was a really fascinating watch.

So I believe the girthy/cinchiness is secondary to whatever is wrong with that spot. As I do up her girth, perhaps she tightens her abs and tweaks that spot? Or perhaps some other general discomfort (muscular? digestive?) is manifesting in that spot?

Who knows...

Well, I had been toying with the idea of getting an anatomic girth, such as a Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth, which I feel like are kind of a thing right now. My current girth is a Wintec Elastic Girth which gets the job done, but fits pretty poorly. It has a tendency to gap either on the front or the back, depending on the billet holes I use - it never seems to lay flat and even. Also, the billets won't fit into the keepers all the way so they bulge out and my legs hits them sometimes. So a little over a week ago I scanned Ebay and all the tack sale-type Facebook groups I've joined and after not finding anything that fit the bill I posted an ISO for a 22" TSF dressage or similar anatomic girth. No less than 10 minutes later, someone replied that they were just about to list a TSF 22" girth for $75 shipped. SOLD. (And funnily enough I had two mutual friends with this random person and she graduated a year ahead of me from UVM and also did biochemistry. Small world.)

So on Monday, this beauty arrived at my door:

I tried it on Maggie and immediately realized that I'm a dumbass who apparently can't measure a girth, because it's a little on the large size...

That's as high as it can go and unfortunately it's not really appropriately tight. Despite not actually being the right size for Maggie, I did like the way the shape seemed to fit her overall. I have been intrigued but skeptical about these girths, thinking that they must be gappy in the center/front where it curves. It certainly was gappy because it was loose, but with the appropriate size I think it should be good and even with the too large size I could see that the pressure would actually be fairly well distributed.

Slight difference.
So...anyone interested in a 22" TSF Shoulder Relief Girth? ;) It's in quite good condition and frankly I think it was a steal at $75. I'd be willing to sell it for $75 shipped just like I bought it for (it has been on Maggie exactly once). I think I will now look for a 20" TSF girth and if I can't find one used then I'll probably just shell out the money for a brand new one - I definitely liked it enough. I don't think it's going to cure Maggie's sudden sensitivity, but I figure anything that can help make her more comfortable is worth it.

In other news...

Maggie has the shits again. Not quite as bad as she did in December/January, but it's not cool and I can't imagine it's terribly pleasant for her. Perhaps it even has something to do with the girthiness/sensitivity? The girthiness is still a totally new thing though, she didn't display any of that back in December/January. It's all very mysterious, but the shits seem to be correlated with her workload. When we've been on a riding hiatus, it stops. When I start working her at least 4 times a week again, it starts. And it makes for some seriously gross hocks.

There have been no feed changes. I have been pretty particular about keeping her water trough clean. She has been on a digestive supplement since last summer (KERx RiteTrac). RiteTrac is geared at preventing ulcers and hindgut acidosis by balancing pH. I've worked with KER before and I really trust their research and their products, but in terms of the shits the RiteTrac doesn't seem to be doing a darn thing.

Perhaps she needs something different, so I figure, hey, SmartPak likes to throw every single ingredient that could possibly maybe work into their supplements, so why not give SmartDigest a try...

dun dun DUN

If this doesn't have any effect, I think the next thing to try would be a couple tubes of GastroGuard and seeing putting her on a low dose round of that helps. I am still open to suggestions!

In other, other news (the good news)...

The snow continues to melt! Thanks to the consistent 60 degree weather we've had all week, our outdoor ring is on it's way to being snow-free. Unfortunately, the owners of the property left it all torn up in the Fall from putting in a new water line and somewhat of a mess remains. I have been told that the property owners plan on finishing it this weekend and returning the ring to a workable condition. I will believe that when I see it.)

Probably going to have to do some rock-picking
HOWEVER, the snow is now fully gone from the neighboring farm's outdoor rings so I RODE OUTSIDE. It was amazing. Maggie was a bit excitable the first time out there, as expected, but we had a pretty good ride. Nothing super spectacular. I was just so stinking happy to not be in the dusty indoor.

In summation:
1. Anyone want to buy a 22" TSF girth?
2. Why the heck does my horse have the shits again?


  1. I also just bought an anatomic girth and it is too large! Yay us for not being able to measure. I think the 22 might be too small, but when I go to the barn later this afternoon I'll assess the situation and get back to you :)

    1. Lol at least I'm not the only one who can't measure! >_< Definitely let me know! I wonder if there is a "proper" distance away from the bottom of the saddle flap that a dressage girth should sit? I don't think I'd mind it sitting close to the flap as long as it was tight enough

    2. if Alicia doesn't want it i do (pending another quick measure tonight too haha)

      so glad the snow is melting and that things are getting back to normal.. bummer about Maggie's touchiness tho. my mare is always really defensive of that area, plus she tends to be tight through there in her muscles too....

    3. I can ship it first thing tomorrow if if either of you definitely want it! I'll check in with you both later...?

    4. i'll take measurements tonight and let you know. if the 22" will work i'm a definite yes, pending Alicia's answer since she responded first :)

  2. No suggestions here, except my gelding's symptoms are weirdly similar! He is uncomfortable in the EXACT same spot on his barrel. Of course, he is also kicking out under saddle and ear pinning. we are scoping for ulcers on Weds.

    1. I'll be interested to hear what you find out! I hope the scoping can shed some light on it!

    2. Maybe Massachusetts horses are just allergic to going back to work! ;)

  3. Maybe it's not quite bug time for you but is it possible bugs are bothering Maggie under her barrel? Murray has some ventral edema which isn't the most comfortable right now.

    If Alicia doesn't take the girth, I want a shot at it! I've been looking for a TSF for a while. I'm going to measure my dressage girth today to see if it might fit!!

    1. No bugs yet (at least that I have seen at all). Ugh, edema is no fun! So squishy...and yet not squishy...

      Ok, I'm going by timestamps on the comments about the girth:
      1. Alicia
      2. Nicole
      3. Emma

      If any of you let me know tonight that you definitely want it then I can ship it tomorrow!

    2. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you but it looks like the 22 might be a titch too small :(

    3. No worries! I actually think I may have found someone local who wants it....

  4. If I had to guess, I would say belly sensitivity and unexplained runny manure sounds like ulcers. But that's just a guess. I am a fan of SmartDigest, but if you suspect she's ulcery, SmartGut may be a good choice, or U-Gard, which is what my guy is on. I have that girth too and I LOVE it! Glad the snow is melting :)

    1. That's what I'm leaning towards too...if the SmartDigest doesn't work then I'll definitely be giving SmartGut or UGuard a try! I definitely like the girth and will be looking for another one...just smaller!

  5. My gelding gets runny butt at least once a year. The vet actually recommended Benadryl. He got 15 a day mixed into his food. It's pretty cheap if you buy it at costco. It did help.

    1. I have never heard of using benadryl for anything other than allergies! How is it supposed to work?

  6. Hope you figuring out what's troubling her soon. I just ordered one of those "fancy" shoulder type girths. I don't know very much about them, but it seemed the thing to do when I ordered my saddle. So they'd match. :)

  7. Miles seems to get some loose stool in the fall and spring, despite no changes in diet and really not much change in workload. I put him on ProBios and that seems to help a little bit.