Three Saddling Tricks
- December 9, 2017
- Savanna Simmons
Everyone does things a little different when it comes to horses, especially saddling. Here are a few tips for saddling that should apply to just about any type of saddle, horse, or person, and make things just a smidge smoother and more efficient.
Trick 1: When you’re pulling your cinch tight, ask your horse to step his near front leg forward to make room for his elbow and skin. This isn’t necessary and is a courtesy, but gets your cinch a little tighter while making him more comfortable. It does help get the cinch a little snugger on horses that bloat. Use your toe and ask your horse to put his leg one step forward. They learn this pretty quickly. (Please pardon the poo, the photos were taken in a barn, after all, before I set out to ride my gelding. Real life photos here!)
Trick 2: This one’s for ropers! If you use a latigo on both sides, which we do for safety purposes (read about that here), your latigo can lay under on your near side—the horse’s left side—but laying the latigo over on the off side, shown in photo two below, can help you if your rope gets hooked.
I learned this little trick from Dave Weaver and Gwynn Turnbull Weaver, The Californios. If your rope slips through your latigo—a small downside of using latigos on your off side instead of a billett—and your latigo is slipped under through your keeper and lays down over itself, you can easily lift your rope and slide it off the latigo. If it’s laid as in photo one, the rope is a little harder to slip off your latigo.
Trick 3: Get good at saddling your horse from the off side, especially if your saddle is already stored on that side. Doing this puts you in place to drop your cinch instead of slinging your saddle on from the left side, crossing over to the right side to drop your cinch, then crossing back over to the left side to cinch. It saves a few footsteps, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I would also recommend working your horse from both sides, and slinging your saddle from the off side is a good way to achieve that. Our horses often get used to us being only on one side and get wary when someone walks up to you to shake your hand aboard your horse or silly things like that. This desensitizes your horse in a great and easy way.
About Savanna Simmons
I'm Savanna Simmons and I live north of Lusk, Wyoming, on the Four Three Ranch with my husband Boe and our sons, Brindle and Roan. I grew up evolving my horsemanship with clinicians like Ray Hunt, Joe Wolter, and Jack Brainard, but not within a...