How To Saddle a Horse
By Kelvin Ho Wee Min
When first learning to saddle a horse, you should know that there is no difference between using a western saddle or an English saddle. They require the same knowledge and steps.
Before Saddling Your Horse
Before you place a saddle on your horse, you should always groom the horse. Take the time to check and make sure there are no sores in the area the saddle will be placed. Then brush your horse to make sure that anything like grit or dirt is removed so you can prevent irritation or chaffing. When you are finished brushing, the hair on the horse's back or girth should lie flat.
Saddling Your Horse
When you begin to saddle a horse, it is traditionally done from the left side. Although, if it is necessary, you can also do it from the right side of the horse. Now you are ready to place the blanket on the horse. If you are using a western saddle, first fold the blanket in half. Then place the blanket over the horse with the fold towards the horse's head. Some blankets may have rings on them so you can attach it to the saddle and help keep it from moving around. If that is the case, make sure they are up and not against the horse.
Now check to make sure that the blanket is folded evenly. A tip to help make sure that the hair on the horse's back stays flat is when you are placing the blanket over the horse start at the withers and slide it down the back into place.
Now you are ready to put the actual saddle on the horse. Before you place it on the horse, make sure you have properly hooked the stirrups so they will not smack the horse as you set the saddle down. Then lift the saddle high enough that you can set it down with out moving the blanket. Set it down easy; if you just drop it on the horse you may spook it. When you place it, try to place it a little higher up the back and let it "settle" in where it belongs.
Walk around to the other side and unattached the stirrup. Check to make sure that the blanket stayed in place, smooth out any wrinkles and make sure the hair remained flat. Double-checking is very important when you saddle a horse.
Now reach under the horse and get the girth or cinch. Bring it up and either tie the cinch or buckle the girth. When you do this, do it in increments. Start loosely and then slowly tighten. This gives the horse a chance to relax. Tighter is not always better. When you have the correct tightness, you should be able to place your fingers in between the girth and the horse. If you had rings on your blanket now is the time to hook them to the saddle.
Hopefully, these tips on how to saddle a horse have been helpful. Just remember to always check the girth and make sure it is tight every time you mount the horse.
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