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How to Saddle a Horse

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Lift the Saddle On
Lift the saddle on.

Lift the saddle carefully over the horse's back.

2005 K. Blocksdorf
The stirrups on an English saddle should be run up the leathers, and the offside stirrup of a Western saddle should be hooked over the horn or folded over the seat. This is so the hard stirrup doesn’t hit you or the horse as you lift the saddle. The girth or cinch, if they are attached, should be folded back over the saddle seat. Some people take their English girth off the saddle completely each time they finish riding. This helps prevent the billet straps from being twisted when the saddle is stored. If you remove the girth after each ride, of course, you’ll have to buckle up both sides when you saddle up.  

Lift the saddle high enough that it doesn’t hit the horse or knock the pad out of position. The saddle should be placed slightly forward and settled back. Be careful to place the saddle gently on the horse’s back. Letting a saddle fall heavily onto your horse’s back may cause it to spook or resent being saddled (become ‘cold backed’).

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