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How to Saddle a Horse

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Groom With Your Horse Safely Tied
Clean horse's back and girth area

Make sure the horse's back and cinch/girth is clean.

2005 K. Blocksdorf
It doesn't matter whether you ride English or western, the basics of saddling up are the same. The goal is safety and comfort for both horse and rider. These instructions apply whether you use an English or Western saddle. Shown in this step-by-step tutorial is an English saddle, but all of the steps also apply to a western saddle. Where there is a difference in doing up the cinch, you’ll find information so you’ll lean to tighten your cinch safely.  

Start with your horse safely tied.

Brush your horse’s back and girth area being careful to remove any dirt or grit that may cause chaffing under the saddle or girth. Brush so all the hair lies flat. Check the girth area as well, and brush or sponge away any dirt or mud. Leaving any grit on your horse's back or girth/cinch area can lead to painful galls, or irritations that can make your horse misbehave.

It is traditional to saddle from the near side (left side) but you should be able to saddle from the right (off side) if necessary.

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How to Saddle a Horse

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