How To Saddle a Horse
- October 5, 2014
- Jenn Zeller
We’ve probably all seen it happen: a wreck where the saddle ends up under the horse. It can happen for any number of reasons – a latigo could break, or you could be in the process of saddling your horse when he spooks, and under him the saddle goes.
One of the ways to prevent that from happening is to utilize the “correct” order for saddling, if you will.
- Always pull your front cinch first.
- The back cinch goes second.
- Finally, the breast collar (if you use one).
By securing your main cinch first, you’re ensuring that the saddle shouldn’t roll under your horse if something were to happen while you’re in the process of saddling. I like to take it a step further, and on my saddles with a double rigging, I like to lead the horse forward a few steps once he’s saddled and take the front cinch up some more.
Rarely do I tie my horses up when I saddle them. They’re always being held in my hand. That way they don’t get in the habit of sitting back or wiggling around, because I have control over his feet from the get-go, and because I know what’s on his mind when I’m saddling him, I can help him stay with me, and that inevitably makes my rides go better.
I never cinch a horse up as tight as possible on the first try. EVER. I may take several steps forward with the horse, several times. I figure I don’t like to put on jeans that are tight, so I don’t really want to do that to my horse!
I do the same for the back cinch. If you ride with your back cinch loose, instead of snug up against your horse’s belly, you run the risk for a couple bad things to happen:
- You could catch a spur in it.
- Your horse could catch a hind foot in it. THIS is never good, and the ending won’t be happy for your saddle. Trust me.
If you remember the order for saddling your horse, the order for unsaddling your horse goes like this:
- Breast collar.
- Back cinch.
- And finally, the front cinch.
The front cinch always goes last in the unsaddling process, just like it’s first when you saddle.
By getting in the habit of utilizing this process, you can keep yourself and more importantly your horse out of a bind.
Happy Trails and Happy Riding!
About Jenn Zeller
Jenn Zeller is the creative mind and boss lady behind The South Dakota Cowgirl. She is an aspiring horsewoman, photographer, brilliant social media strategist and lover of all things western. After a brief career in the investment world to support her horse habit (and satisfy her...