Girth Aversion (Girthiness) in Horses

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Are you a horse enthusiast that struggles with girth aversion in horses? It can be an extremely frustrating situation to deal with, especially if the cause of your horse’s girth is unknown.

While it may seem like there’s no easy solution to this problem, understanding more about why your horse exhibits these behaviors and how to handle them when they arise can help you create a better relationship between the two of you.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what causes girth aversion in horses and provide some practical tips on how to deal with it!

What causes girth in horses?

Girthiness is a common problem among horses and can be quite dangerous. It is caused when the horse becomes sensitive or uncomfortable when having his girth area touched or tightened, or even during mounting and riding.

There are many possible causes for girth, such as poor fit or incorrect tightness of the girth, an ill-fitting saddle, ticks, and other irritating pests, reactions to food or medications, physical pain in the girth area from prior injuries, and improper desensitization with the girth in general.

Although it is important to identify and address any of these potential causes to help alleviate the horse’s discomfort, a calm approach while handling him should be taken to avoid worsening his spookiness around the girth area.

What are the horse’s signs of girth?

Girthiness is a common problem in horses, often caused by the girth being too tight. Even experienced horse riders may not recognize the signs that a horse is girthy.

These signs include the horse becoming stiff and uncomfortable when saddling, pointing its ears back, grinding its teeth, often trying to bite or kick, leaning away from the saddle, swelling up at the back of the barrel area, breathing heavily with rapid shallow breaths during or after saddling and refusing to move forward while carrying a rider.

If any of these signs are observed, it is important to check the girth for proper fit and adjust as needed. Additionally, if your horse continues to be girthy even with properly adjusted tack it can be wise to seek professional help such as horseshoes or stable managers who may be able to help diagnose any underlying causes of discomfort.

What does Girthiness mean?

Girthiness is a concept that goes much deeper than its obvious definition. It describes a feeling of comfort and meaningfulness that comes with being part of a collective experience that is greater than oneself.

Being girthy isn’t necessarily about extravagance or excessive luxury – it’s about enjoying the simple pleasures of life and connecting to something bigger. It can mean spending time with friends or family, engaging in meaningful conversations, or taking part in activities that allow one to feel connected to others and be present at the moment.

Girthiness, then, is ultimately a state of being – one marked by joyous moments and shared experiences with those we care for.

What does it mean if a horse is Girthy?

A girthy horse is naturally tense and more prone to being alarmed by its environment. Often these horses are easily spooked and react poorly to being handled or trained, due in part to a lack of trust in those around them.

This can be addressed through careful patience, lots of positive reinforcement, and an understanding handler. Taking the time to properly teach a girthy horse will improve their attitude towards training and handling as well as their confidence in new situations or environments. Though it may take some extra effort, with the right help and care a girthy horse can develop into a resilient companion who can handle anything it’s faced with.


Girth aversion is a problem faced by many horse owners, but there are many solutions available to help. With regular training and desensitization, it is possible to teach a horse how to accept the girth they were once uncomfortable with. It may take time and patience, but in the end, you will be able to enjoy riding your horse without fear of them kicking out from fear or discomfort.

Ultimately, by understanding why girth exists and taking the necessary steps to address its causes, we are creating an environment for horses and riders where both can perform at their best. As animal behaviorists often say “The horse should be free from pain” – by ensuring this is true, we’re providing our horses with the caring treatment they deserve.

Matthew Flor

Matthew Flor

Hi, y’all! My name is Matthew Flor, and I’m from Ocala, Florida.
I’m a horse enthusiast, and one of my favorite breeds is the Shire horse.
In this blog, I’ll be sharing information about these amazing animals – everything from their history to their unique characteristics.

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