It can take a good amount of time before a new rider is confident in saddling a horse by themselves. There’s a lot more to it than just tossing a western saddle onto your horse’s back. It’s important to learn the correct way to saddle from the start, so you develop good habits. Watch this video and you’ll be tacking up like a pro!
Steps to Tacking Up Western Style:
1. Groom your horse before you even consider putting the saddle pad on his back. This includes removing dirt from the saddle, girth, and chest area. You should run your hand along his belly and chest to make sure there’s no dirt.
2. Place the saddle pad on your horse’s back. It should go slightly more forward on the shoulders and withers. Now, slide it into place by moving in backwards toward the hindquarters. Never move it in the opposite direction of the hair.
3. Lift the saddle onto your horse’s back. Gently set it down in the middle of the saddle pad. Be careful to not hit your horse’s sides with the stirrups and cinch. Position the saddle and pad from both sides to make sure everything is even.
4. Lower the cinch so it is dangling. Go to the opposite side and hook the left stirrup to the saddle horn. Carefully reach under your horse to successfully grab the cinch. Run the latigo through the cinch and back up to the rigging. Repeat for extra security.
5. Tighten the cinch just so it’s secure enough to keep the saddle in place. Tie the excess latigo like you would a bowtie through the rigging. Lower the left stirrup.
6. Now, place the reins over your horse’s neck and buckle the halter to the neck, as well.
7. With one hand slide the headstall upwards and with the other hand aid the bit into the mouth. Gently pull the headstall over the ears.
8. Adjust the cheek strap on the headstall and unhook the halter from the neck.
While there’s a lot of steps to follow, it’s only a matter of time before you have them memorized. Watch the video so you can see exactly how to tack up western style.