Board Meets: 5:30 p.m. monthly on the third Wednesday / This month May 17

President: Marcia Gray, 443-2679

Kim copeland, 439-4320

Treasurer: Sheri Onstott, 431-1014

Trail Rides: Rory Copeland, 459-8093

Building/ Maintenance: Bill Gray, 443-2679

Historian: Shirley Herrin, 442-8858

O-Mok-See: Keith Herrin, 461-3614

Public Relations/Social (Combined this year): Carol Ham, 458-9779

Director Representatives: Vicky Blixt, Montana Saddle Club Assoc, 202-2355,

Odd numbered months will have a membership and board meeting. Even numbered months we will have an activity and board meeting.

Bridle decoration

From our President --- Marcia Gray

Spring cleaning at the Clubhouse was completed by Rita Newman, Shirley Herrin, Kim Copeland, Nancy Rude, Bill and Marcia Gray on April 29th. Rita tackled the stoves, Shirley took care of the curtains, Nancy vacuumed the floors, Bill used the weed whacker outside, Marcia steamed the kitchen floor and Kim swept, scrubbed and steamed. She has a cleaning business and it sure showed. Afterward, we enjoyed burgers and potluck. Please extend a thank-you to those who gave up their Saturday to make sure the Clubhouse looks its best.

The Helena Rodeo club has donated $50.00 for the use of the Clubhouse during their recent rodeo.

We are in the process of hooking up the newer stove and putting on appropriate sized drip pans. I borrowed some from the outgoing stove that I think will work. It would be nice to have some disposable liners on them also.
I hope some of you were able to attend the Eric Easton clinic that Rory set up at the West arena. I am curious to hear how it went. I was out of town visiting grand-kids but hoping a lot of you could attend. I believe there was a trail ride scheduled that weekend also.

Kim needs members to volunteers for the east and west gates to collect money for admission to the Fair. Even if you could give her an estimate of what gate and the days you are available it would help her get started. A minimum of 4 hours needs to be worked to be able to get a free year membership to the Helena Trail Riders Club.

I have contacted the Tri-Arabian club to see if they wanted to help us man the gates so we wonít have some of our members working 10 to 14 hours like last year. We would share proceeds depending on hours they work. This is not set in stone and they still need to get back to me.

We are proud of our history. Our National O-Mok-See team of the 60ís is being recognized by being entered in the Helena Sports Hall of Fame. The board has approved sponsoring the luncheon costs for remaining members of that team or a family representative. We will be the only horse group currently in the Hall of Fame.

Shirley is working on a list so we donít leave anyone out. Thatís one of the reasons the history books and newspaper articles our club keeps are so important. Sometimes they are the only recorded information available.

See you May 17th. Marcia Gray, President

Any member can contribute to the Pony Tales. For sale or wanted items and articles must be to Sharon by the 10th of each month.

It is important that no Helena Trail Rider member is left out of the loop because he/she doesnít have the latest social communication device. Please let us know of any member who is not receiving the newsletter either via e-mail or by snail-mail. Send items you wish included in the newsletter to

The Clubhouse is in need of some repairs. I mentioned last time about the roof repairs but have been noticing some other areas needing attention. The back deck has a support beam that sinks when stepped on, the back door needs to be repaired or replaced, the stove pig tails need replacing, and some electrical outlets need to be checked. The announcerís stand at the West arena is in need of paint. I have been able to contact a friend who is a handyman and we will take a look at some of these projects in the next few weeks. We will get an estimate of costs at that time.

We (The Helena Trail Riders) will meet at the West arena on May 22nd at 5:30p.m. with the Helena Rodeo club to set posts, replace rails and of course, pick rocks. Yaíll come and play in the dirt. Thanks, Bill Gray , Maintenance

Horse over a log


Club Contacts:

Helena Trail Riders- Vickie Blixt 442-1717

Gone with the Wind Ė Peggy Huntington 459-2161

Western Patriots- Patsy Althof 439-8916

Helena Valley Blues Ė Moriah Parker 202-5729

Remember: West Arena Schedule is (exclusive use) every Tuesday and Thursday and the first Friday of the month. Donít forget to check on all Helena Trail Riders information posted to the website (including past copies of Pony Tales). Suggestions or corrections to Cheryl Bryant

Join us on facebook!

Remember, the facebook page is not the website.
Smart phone with appaloosas around it

Girth Pain

Having a girthy horse is a common problem for many owners. Many times, your horse came to you that way. Girthiness" can be caused by painful withers, which commonly result from ill-fitting saddles, from girth galls (sores) and from abnormal sensitivity of the chest behind the elbow. Your horse may be telling you he doesn't like the girthing process because either it or his saddle is causing him pain.

Saddle placement: Incorrect saddle placement is the most common cause. Too often, the saddle is put on too far forward, so the girth passes right behind the elbow. Girth pressure there pinches the muscle and provokes spasms.

Saddles that are too narrow or too wide at the wither, and saddles that grip high in the wither should be avoided.

Pain induced. Pain leads to avoidance behavior, such as biting when girthed up, stiffening with leg pressure, inflating the chest and refusing to go forward. Pain also increases anxiety and fear, which often lead to other undesirable behavior. The result is often the growth of a complex set of behavioral patterns, which need to be re-trained, once the pain has been resolved. The fix: Acupuncture is very effective in settling down the affected area and muscle knots, and so the combination of therapies such as myofascial release gives an enhanced result.

Mounting from a block, or some other support, is important for the health of the wither area, no matter how light the rider is. Consider all girths that are available in straight styles, fashioned like a belt, or with anatomical contours that are designed to provide room for a horse's elbows during movement. Some types of girths are intended to relieve pressure on the horse's sternum.

Work: Performing the same maneuver over and over, for example, cantering endless circles, overdoing lengthening's, can lead to tightness in the girth area, as well as in other muscles. The fix: Vary the work, changing gaits and directions often.

Footing: Working in deep footing tires your horse and contributes to muscle tightness. "Shoulder in" exercise is the most useful exercise that can be used to get horses to better flex their rib cage, and can help to maintain ribcage flexibility once pain has been resolved.

Stretches: encouraging your horse to stretch its topline with exercises that ask the horse to pick up the front of its chest and bend its neck around out wide can be beneficial. Stretches ease the tension that contributes to the pain and dysfunction. The neck exercise that involves the horse nibbling a carrot between its legs also helps to ease this tension. Stretching out each foreleg is useful for the foreleg component of the syndrome. Stretches should not be attempted until your horse is warmed up and should be done gently.

Hidden problem: Sometimes the real cause isn't at the girth area at all. Your horse may have a problem in his lower leg or foot, for example. He tightens the posterior pectoral to protect his sore leg by limiting the range of motion. (This is called "protective splinting.") Then the muscle goes into spasm. In cases like this, the knot often doesn't resolve quickly. Chronic foot problems, hoof imbalance or favoring one leg, pelvic twists and falls, bad teeth, girths, saddles, bits, riders may cause the problem to return. The fix: No simple fix here; a veterinarian and/or farrier also needs to assess your horse.

Horse skeleton

Back to the top