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How to Saddle a Horse (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Saddle a Horse

We all know how important it is to use a saddle for horseback riding. It doesn’t matter what riding discipline you are using; saddling your horse is an essential task before horse riding. Also, you can use many saddles depending on your riding discipline and safety purposes.

The primary use of a saddle is to provide comfort and safety to the horse and the rider at the same time. In addition, the information that’s stated below is likable for both English and Western saddle. However, there can be a slight difference when tying up the straps of your saddle.

Riding a horse does not mean you only have to learn how to ride. More so, you also have to learn so many other things like – using a saddle, taking care of the horse, saddling the horse, and so much more. Therefore, it’s a must for everyone to learn how to saddle a horse before they jump onto the riding part.

Read Also: What are the Different Types of Horse Saddles?

Measurement for the Saddle

Before placing the saddle on the horse’s back, it’s a must to take the rightful measurements of the saddle. More so, if the saddle is of the right size, it will sit perfectly and helps in riding effectively. Henceforth, here is the size chart of English and Western styles of saddles and their rightful fit for the rider.

English Saddle Size Chart:

Saddle Size Rider’s Weight Rider’s Height
15 to 15.5 inches 80 to 100 pounds 58 to 68 inches
16 to 16.5 inches 100 to 140 pounds 60 to 65 inches
17 to 17.5 inches 140 to 170 pounds 65 to 70 inches
18 to 18.5 inches 170 to 200 pounds 71 to 74 inches

Western Saddle Size Chart:

Saddle Size Rider’s Weight Rider’s Height
13 to 13.5 inches 80 to 100 pounds 58 to 68 inches
14 to 14.5 inches 100 to 140 pounds 60 to 65 inches
15 to 15.5 inches 140 to 170 pounds 65 to 70 inches
16 to 17 inches 170 to 200 pounds 71 to 74 inches
17 inches and above 200 pounds and above + 74 inches

We know that an English saddle is lighter in weight in comparison with a Western saddle. Similarly, you can choose to depend upon your riding discipline and choice of horse riding activity.

Pro Tip: 

If you want the saddle to be perfectly fitting, make sure it sits close to your horse’s skin. It’s likely to say that the saddle fitting should be such that it doesn’t pinch or cause pain. Furthermore, to communicate effectively with your horse, you must make the saddle fit perfectly.

Steps to Follow Before Saddling the Horse –

  1. Get your horse out of the stable and tie it where you want to horse saddling. This way, it will be safe for you to saddle the horse without allowing it to move here and there on the field.
  2. It’s essential to groom your horse properly as sometimes they get irritated for the same reason. Also, it’s a must to brush away the dust before placing the saddle on the horse’s back.
  3. Make sure there are no tangles; you can also go near the tail but just be careful. Likewise, keeping a steady and light hand will be more than enough to make the horse feel comfortable.
  4. Before placing on the saddle, you can choose to go for a saddle pad or blanket for the horse’s safety. It will prevent the horse from getting any rashes and also keep the saddle in place.

Now, after following these steps, you are ready to move on with the saddling part of your horse. At this point, you have to decide whether you will use a Western or an English saddle. Apart from the strapping part of the saddle, there’s no such big difference between the two categories of the saddle.

See More: Ultimate Guide: What to Wear Horseback Riding?

How to Saddle a Horse?

Everything begins with having the right horse saddle per your riding discipline and other comfort factors. You can go through the following points in order to saddle your horse properly –

  • Select your horse’s saddle: Various designs, shapes, and sizes of saddles are available in the market. All you have to do is take the right measurements of your horse, and he gets the saddle that best fits accordingly. Make sure to take every measurement correctly, including the horse’s height, weight and waist.
  • Set the Pad/Blanket on the horse: Many riders forget this step and directly begin with placing the saddle on the horse’s back. However, putting a blanket or saddle pad at first will prevent your saddle from sliding on the animal. More so, you can choose a comfortable and good-quality saddle pad before putting on the saddle.
  • Place the Saddle: It is common for most horse riders to learn to practice on their left side. Similarly, you need to place the saddle from the left side while not irritating the horse at all. As most of you know, this is an important part, and you place the saddle at the right place, i.e., just a little downwards towards the horse’s neck area. A little trick you can learn is, do not to place the saddle in the right place at first. You can always keep it slightly higher and then let it downwards to acquire the right position. Afterward, you can check it by viewing the position from each side of the horse.
  • Tied the Girth and Straps: Once you have checked that your saddle is placed in the right position, you need to buckle up the straps and the girth that follows the horse’s underside. Your saddle’s girth and buckle may vary depending on what saddle you choose. Make sure you do not tie up the saddle too tight, or else it will cause breathing issues and problems in mobility.

Tips & Tricks for Saddling

We all must have heard the phrase, “practice makes a man perfect”. On the same note, to learn the proper saddling technique, you must learn through practical measures. Furthermore, with more and more practice in saddling your horse, you can learn how to saddle your horse properly.

Some experts also suggest trying tying and fixing a saddle on a wooden table or any other object. That’s how you’ll learn how not to displace the saddle, as it can be worrisome for the new riders. It’s better to take precautions, as a horse can be stubborn and aggressive sometimes. Thus, you may maintain a safe distance before saddling the horse yourself.

Last Note:

After everything is done, you can take your horse for a short walk around the field. It will help you identify any issue in the horse’s walk or any similar problem. If you are good at it, you will be able to make out the problems in the beginning. There can be other tips and tricks that you can apply for the best techniques for saddling your horse.

Once you know how to horse saddling, it will become easy to consider it further. If you want to buy a saddle online, you can do so by choosing the right saddle for your horse. Hence, when everything is fine, you can freely ride your horse and enjoy the ongoing moves.

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Written by

The author of the article is Alicia Nelson. She is a professional writer who is keenly interested in learning more about horses and their riding essentials. Apart from being a writer, Alicia is interested in equine life and is also a learned person in English riding disciplines. It’s also her profession to gather more and more knowledge about equine life and let others know about it in a correct manner.

3 thoughts on “How to Saddle a Horse (Step-by-Step Guide)

  1. Incredibly helpful guide! As a beginner rider, I found this step-by-step tutorial on saddling a horse with a Western saddle immensely valuable. Clear instructions, accompanied by helpful tips, made the process much easier.

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