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Video:How to Saddle a Horse

with Katherine Calkins

Before you can start riding a horse, you'll need to know how to properly saddle a horse. Find out how in just a few easy steps.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Saddle a Horse

This is Katherine Calkins, owner and instructor of Wicked Good Horsemanship and the J-Six Ranch Equestrian Center, in Benson, Arizona, here for About.com. Today, I’m going to show you how to properly and safely saddle your horse. This is important because you want to keep your horses back comfortable and keep yourself safe, remembering that the horse is a prey animal and has a flight response.

Proper Saddle Placement

My student Katey is going to come in and properly demonstrate how to saddle a horse. But first we’re going to lift the saddle further ahead then we think it needs to go. This way we can slide it back into place. The saddle will lock into place where it needs to go. What we want to check after the saddle has been placed on the horses back is that the saddle is not so far back that it’s over the horses loin. Or, that it’s so far forward that it’s blocking his shoulder.

Adjusting the Girth

OK, we’ll go to the opposite side of the horse and bring the girth down. You want to make sure that there are no twists in the girth. We’ll drop the girth down and of course we’ve already groomed our horse, so we know there’s no burrs or no rocks or anything in the girth area. We will walk back around the horse making sure to stay close to him. Now before we cinch up the girth we want to reach and make sure we pull up the saddle pad into the gullet, in the front of the saddle. This ensures withers space. We want to make sure that the saddle is not resting on the horse’s withers because that would be very uncomfortable. Now, that we know that there’s withers space where we can slip our hand in we’re going to reach under, grab the girth, and do it up. We want to make sure our girth is on the same hole on each side. So it’s on the second hole on the other side, so we’re going to put it on the second hole on this side as well.

Saddle Safety

If your girth is not on the same hole on each side what will happen is as you’re riding the girth will pull the saddle one way or another. And that will cause your saddle to slide off to the side. This could be dangerous over fences because if your horse takes a sudden turn, your saddle could just roll right off.

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