|Love the girth, but we can make it better!|
And when I ask him to canter on the lunge, with the side reins attached to the girth, that motion pulls the girth forward just a little more, and he kicks out at the start. Initially, I'd thought he was kicking at being asked to exert himself into the canter, but I should know better. Sherm loves to be asked to do things, particularly fast and fancy things. I've been wondering lately whether he was actually kicking at the irritation of the girth right there.
While wondering, I've shopped girths, in person and online, and haven't yet seen one that would do all the good things this one does without this little irritating thing. I looked at girth covers, but I didn't really want to cover the whole thing-- the neoprene surface is a huge part of why this girth works so well for Sherm, so I didn't want to cover all of it. I was getting frustrated, and I stopped asking for canter while I sorted it out. Even without the canter work, Sherm has dropped some weight and is a good bit fitter than he was. I had secretly hoped that with weight loss, the irritant factor of the girth end would be resolved as well. No such luck.
So today, to test a theory, I made my own mini-girth covers. I cut off the above-the-ankle part of both socks in a pair of wool-blend winter socks, turned them inside out to expose the fuzzy soft side, and slid them over the transition spots of the girth, where the neoprene & padding meet the elastic. They looked a little funny, and I figured he'd be all over that visual distraction, but he didn't even seem to notice.
|Blue band at the top of the white sock..|
Well, lo and behold, I think it worked! He wasn't girthy, other than a slight anticipation wiggle. Once the saddle was on, and I was tightening in earnest, he ignored me, all the way to the final hole. Good start.
|Socks are Comfy!|
But the proof was in the amazing canter work he gave me! Best work I've seen from him, literally, all year. He was smooth and round, and was volunteering the prettiest little departs-- not the dramatic kick-and-launch he had heretofore demonstrated. And emphasis on the volunteering-- he kept cantering, and when he'd lose his balance on the circle (remember, we haven't been doing much of this), he'd gather himself together and re-start the canter out of his own amusement and seeking his own satisfaction at the work! The body language was clearly saying, "No, wait, I can do better!"
There is no better feeling in horses than to have your boy say to you that he knows what you want, knows how it should be, and wants to go again to do it better. He got much praise for doing it well, and we ended on a positive note before he wore his little Morgan self out.
All it took was a pair of socks and a pair of scissors. Who knew?