Introduction: Basic Saddling Technique (Western)
This instruction guide is for the purpose of intermediate to advanced riders looking to brush up on the proper saddling technique. Beginners may find the information useful but this instruction guide calls for prior knowledge.
What you need:
A good attitude
Step 1: Before You Get Started
Before beginning be sure horse is secured by tying them with a slipknot, this is a safety standard, in the event the horse begins to "freak out" or flee; the rope is quickly pulled releasing it. Horses have a fight or flight instinct and its better to let them feel as though they can get away rather than feeling trapped and lashing out, injuring anyone nearby.
Step 2: Cleaning
Since horses live outside, they tend to collect quite a bit of dirt. It is very important that as much of this dirt is removed as possible in order to prevent saddle sores. When dirt is left in the horse’s fur and constantly rubs from the pressure of the saddle and straps it creates a scabbed area, injuring and irritating the horse. This can lead to a dangerous situation for the rider.
Take the curry comb and brush in circles, clockwise, in the areas that will be covered by the saddle and just outside of that in case the saddle moves slightly.
Be sure to apply just enough pressure to get dirt up on top on the fur. Be careful brushing the horse’s underside as this can be a sensitive area and your face will be in a dangerous area, as the horse could kick you in the face.
Once completed to satisfaction take the Dandy brush and starting from the base of the mane brush along the fur in a flicking motion as to kick the dirt up and off the horse.
Keep moving back to the horse’s tail until all the dirt is brushed off the horse’s backside.
Warning: Always bend at the waist for anything as it is harder to be pushed over if the horse happens to lean against you or anything.
Step 3: Placing the Blanket and Saddle.
Many people have their own way of doing this, however, this is the way in order to prevent the saddle from slipping. The Saddle Blanket and Saddle should be placed separately to ensure better balance and comfort for the horse. Keep in mind if there is anyway to make the horse more comfortable the better. Be sure to place them in an area where they won't get dirt on them by either placing them on a fence or holding them. Work on the left side of the horse.Generally blankets will tell you which end of the blanket goes where either by a notch for the horses neck or a tag that goes towards the back.
Place the blanket on the horses neck and slide it back behind the base of mane or on the hump that indicates the end of the neck vertebrae. This is done to make sure the horse's fur lays properly underneath the blanket
The Blanket should line up with the back of the shoulder muscle and fall evenly on either side of the rib cage as well.
Place the right stirrup and cinch on the saddle seat so that it does not become stuck under the saddle itself.
Place the saddle on top of the blanket in the middle being sure that it rests evenly on all sides (not too far forward, not too far back.)
Step 4: Harnessing
Once the blanket and saddle have been properly placed it is time to tie the saddle to the horse.
Walk around the back side of the horse to its right side.
CAUTION: Whenever walking behind a horse either remain as close as possible always keeping a hand on the horse so they know you are there or as far from the back legs reach in the event the horse decides to kick. Remaining as close as possible prevents the horse from gaining enough momentum for a full force kick. NEVERwalk under the horse or between it and the fence under the rope, this is dangerous and can lead to serious injury or even death.
Take the cinch down and allow it to hang and walk back around the other side.
Carefully reach under the horse and grab the cinch bring it under and up to the left side, hold on to it in the left hand.
Take the latigo down
Tie a western cinch knot, this allows for easy and quick adjustments that will fit the horse better than using the buckle and predetermined holes.
Go through D ring and up
Turn toward latigo towards front; towards head
Bring back towards rear
Slip under D ring and up
Slip down through loop created
Tighten when ready to ride.
Step 5: Completion
Once the following steps are completed you have successfully saddled your horse. Remember to always use caution around whenever on or near a horse.