There are several ways in which your horse will tell you that he is not happy with your belly buckling:
When you are about to get the girth in your hand, ready to buckle it up to the saddle, your horse may flex his neck towards you and give you a grouchy look. It's as if he is warning you to be careful not to tie it up too tightly, or at least not straight away. He may even try to nip you. If you have this type of horse it is probably advisable to tie him up on a short rope so you come away nibble free.
Some horses bloat themselves up while you are doing up the girth, so if he looks like he’s just eaten Christmas dinner tighten the girth bit by bit. Firstly tighten a little, then let your horse deflate himself and then tighten it again and make sure to tighten it one more time just before you mount and set off horse riding.
For anyone who favors a mince pie, they may have to loosen their belt buckle a notch or two come New Year! Same with horses, the girth is an indication of any weight loss or gain.
A sensitive horse will not take too kindly to a simple leather girth because this can be quite rigid, sometimes pinching the skin of the horse and lacks in flexibility or padding. If this is the case opt for a girth made out of strong webbing, string girths and rubber girths are much softer and even better with a fleece cover.
The right size of girth to fit comfortably on your horse is important. If it is too short you will have to tighten too much with your very first adjustment and your horse won’t like this as he wont have had time to adjust himself. The girth should be long enough so that you can buckle it up really loosely at the beginning, and then progressively tighten it while keeping an eye on how your horse is reacting. Do it slowly and he should be fine.
Finally hold the front legs one at a time and pull them forward. This will ensure that any wrinkles, which could have formed beneath the girth, will come out when the leg goes forward.
The right girth should result in a happy horse and a happy rider, no more petulant antics or behaving like a grumpy teenager, your horse will be happier and tacking up may no longer be such a stressful time.