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How To Saddle A Horse - Page 1 of 3

This article covers how to saddle a horse with a Western saddle that has a front cinch, a back cinch, and a breast collar. Please be sure to see a few common sense safety precautions at the bottom of this page.

How To Saddle A Horse (you are on page 1 of 3)

Clean Your Horse, Put The Saddle Pad On

Begin with a clean, dry, horse. All dirt and dust should be off the horse with particular attention given to the areas the saddle, saddle pad or blankets, cinches, and breast collar will cover. The horse should be properly tied with a halter and lead rope, held by an assistant, or ground tied.

Put the saddle pad (or blankets) on the horse. Place it slightly farther forward than where it should be when you are finished saddling. By placing the saddle pad a little too far forward on purpose, you will accomplish two things:

Saddle a horse: Begin with the saddle pad

Get Everything Out Of The Way

You will need to get the front cinch, back cinch, breast collar, and stirrup out of the way so that when you lift the saddle onto the back of the horse these things don't wind up underneath the saddle.

In our photo, the rider is going to place the saddle onto the horse from the horse's left side. He has laid the front cinch, back cinch, and breast collar onto the seat of the saddle to keep them out of the way. Since the right stirrup tends to easily slide off the saddle seat, he has hooked it over the saddle horn.

Lay the cinches, etc. across the saddle seat

Lift The Saddle Onto The Horse

Lift the saddle and place it onto the back of the horse. Do this as gently and with as much control as possible so you don't thump the saddle down hard onto the horse's back. Setting the saddle down gently will remind the horse that being saddled is a routine, comfortable activity, which will encourage the horse to stand quietly during this and future saddlings.

Setting the saddle down gently will also help make sure the cinches, breast collar, and stirrup don't fall off the saddle seat and saddle horn. If any of those things do slide off, they could wind up underneath the saddle and you might have to start all over. They could also spook the horse.

Saddle a horse by gently setting the saddle on its back

How To Saddle A Horse (you are on page 1 of 3)


Think Safety!

While saddling a horse, a person can easily be injured. It is common sense to take a few, simple precautions to avoid injury.

What Is / Are...

Horse Tips

  • Horse Tips
    Short tips to help horse owners and anyone who lives or loves a Western lifestyle do something faster, easier, or better.


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