How To Saddle A Horse

If you have ever ridden a horse, then you will know that you have to go very gentle with them. You can have horses that are very easily spooked and it is important that you keep them on a tight reign.

How To Saddle A Horse

This can also be a very overwhelming experience for a rider, so you’ll need to make sure that you are doing everything properly so that you don’t injure yourself when you get on the saddle.

Rider and horse comfort is of paramount importance both to avoid falling and getting thrown off your beast.

So what exactly is the proper technique for saddling this animal? How can you be sure that all the straps and cinch are secured correctly?

How can you tie and groom the horse correctly to avoid injury? What is the correct position for the saddle? How can you test that the saddle has been correctly secured?

Well, if you keep reading this article, then you’ll be able to saddle your horse correctly in no time at all.

There will need to be a few checks and tests that you have to do before saddling your horse, although once these are done then you can increase the chances of getting on your horse safe and sound.

How To Prep Your Horse For Saddling

First, we’ll give you the rundown for getting your horse secure, calm and free from injury in order to saddle them properly. It is important to do this foundational work first, otherwise, your horse might get the jitters and try to slip out from under your saddle.

How To Saddle A Horse

Tying And Grooming

Make sure that your horse is secured to a rail before you try to saddle them. There is no particular knot that is best, although we would recommend a cross knot as they are generally considered to be the most secure.

A horse that is ridden often can become very sore and irritable over time, so you’ll need to make sure that all the fur on its body is groomed properly.

You should never try to ride your horse without proper grooming, as this will be the quickest way for it to develop sores on its body.

You should make sure to use a curry comb to get rid of all the soft mud that has become caked to your horse’s body. Make sure that the horse’s back, belly and legs are paid proper attention and that you have covered all of these areas.

You should also try and remove all the sticks and pieces of grass from the mane before flicking out the stones from in-between the horse’s hooves.

Look For Wounds

Run your hand along the body of the horse to check for any lumps or bumps. If your horse is feeling sore, then the worst thing you can do is try and place a saddle over these sore spots.

If your horse is suffering from any open wounds, then this could also be a sign that it is unfit for riding.

How To Saddle A Horse

Applying A Comfortable Blanket

You should always put a saddle blanket underneath your horse’s saddle before you start riding it. This will act as a comfortable buffer between the horse and the saddle and stop the leather straps from digging in.

First, you want to apply the padded blanket near the mane before sliding it down to the back of the horse. This is to ensure that the fur is traveling down the horse’s back rather than against the grain.

You’ll want to make sure that the horse is as comfortable as possible before you ride the saddle.

How To Saddle A Horse

Western Saddles

This saddle is designed for utility, allowing the rider to mount and dismount a lot easier. This type of saddle has a horn on the front and a high back, again, both of these features make the saddle much easier to ride.

If you are riding for long hours, then having a Western-style saddle will be perfect for you.

Fitting And Positioning

Once you have mounted the saddle, then you’ll want to rock it back and forth the horse’s back to make sure that it is fully comfortable.

Make sure that the cinches are folded up first until you have made sure that the saddle is completely comfortable.

Once you have done this, then you can allow the cinches to hang loose down the horse’s haunches. Make sure that you don’t saddle a young horse, as they tend to buck and get hit in the head by the stirrup.

How To Saddle A Horse

Securing The Cinch

Make sure that the center of the sinch is completely in line with the spine of the horse. This is a great method of being able to tell whether or not your horse is comfortable and whether or not the saddle is itching your friend.

Testing Your Saddle Fits

One method of being able to tell whether your saddle fits or not is by checking to see whether two fingers fit underneath the gullet of the saddle (this is the front of the saddle, which is curved upwards).

Tying The Cinch

This is the most important part of securing the saddle. You’ll want to tie the cinch (the belt that wraps around the horse’s belly) very gently, as you don’t want the horse to develop a cinch rash.

You’ll need to make sure that there are at least two fingers of room between the horse’s belly and the cinch. This is again to ensure that your horse does not suffer from any saddle soreness or cinch-sourness on its underparts. 

We would recommend that you test the strength of the cinch before jumping up onto your saddle to reduce the risk of falling.

Catherine McDowl
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