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Saddling a Horse - Blog Eight

Saddling a Horse - Blog Eight
August 19, 2022

Testimony this is not an instruction blog just general information as I see it.

I am a big fan of old westerns and I always see them throw on the saddle jump on the horse and take off occasionally when a rider comes into town he'll throw the reins to the stable boy and say don't forget to give him plenty of good grain and brush him down and water him. But, I've learned that saddling a horse requires technique and concern for the horse. I've learned the following in my short stay at Wild Heart Ranch so far —-it'll get better

When you start riding a horse the first thing you have to do is brush it and comb the mane and tail. A curry is a short bristle brush that you rub counter clockwise against the grain of the hair to loosen the dust, then you brush the horse with about a 2 inch long soft bristle brush in a flicking motion to flick the dirt away from the horse. Be careful to get the chest and stomach so there are no stickers or knots where the cinch will be going.

After the horse is brushed you can comb its tail and mane. It's best to grab a handful of tail close to the bottom (best to stand beside the horse not behind it during this) and comb that out then you work your way up, the mane is combed the same way.

Don't forget the mane (forelock) between the ears. Then you put on the blanket right up to the withers and 2 inches in front of the flank. Then you put on the saddle. It's best to put the saddle on from the left side but you could put it on from either side. You can hang a stirrup on the saddle horn as you don't want a bunch of loose straps flying around the horse.

Center the saddle then grab the cinch and bring it up onto the side with the leather strap and then always go through the buckles on the saddle. Make sure the cinch is centered on the horse. When you put on the cinch snug the cinch up but don't tighten it as horses tend to expand their stomach while being saddled. You need to walk the horse around a bit before you tighten the cinch.

When putting on the bridle, you put one arm over the horses head between its ears and grab the bridle and bring it up slowly.

We don't generally use bits but the horses nose and mouth and other things get caught on the bridle so be careful, the most important thing is to keep the reins and bridle out of the horses‘ eyes. Pull the bridle up over one ear and then pull the other ear through. Ears are made of cartilage they bend a reasonable amount and it doesn't hurt the horse.

Then you put on the chin strap. The chin strap should have three fingers looseness, you don't want it choking the horse. Then you can pull the reins over the horse's head.

To adjust the stirrup place the end of the stirrup under your arm and reach the center of the saddle. That's approximately how long you want the stirrup. Up underneath the saddle there's a metal slider, slide up to adjust the stirrup then slide it back down over it solidly.

When you're saddling the horse never get between it and a gate. You can push the horse around and keep it so you have plenty of space to do your work. When you go around behind a horse remember they sleep on their feet so I like keep on hand on the horses rump as I walk right behind it and talk to the horse.

Really impressed. My kids started by grooming and ended with a trail ride

Nate E.