How to Saddle a Horse Easier When You’re Not a Youngster Anymore
How to saddle a horse?? I’m sure you feel pretty confident that you already know how to do that.? I felt that way too, but my old way of saddling a horse required me to tie my horse to a fence, in cross ties, or to a hitching rail.? My old way required both hands to carry the saddle with no hands available to manage the horse.
A few years ago, Eclectic Horseman magazine published an article by Buster McLaury, Saddling a Tied Horse, that lists the reasons for not tying your horse while you saddle.? Buster says if your reason for tying your horse is that you can?t keep up with the lead rope/reins while you put the blanket/saddle on him:
It?s not his fault that you aren?t that handy. (In difficulty there is opportunity. Ray Hunt.) You want the horse, once saddled, to go with the prize, do a job, or go for a nice trouble-free trail ride, yet you aren?t handy enough (yet) to hold the lead rope while you put the saddle on. And you wonder why the horse has trouble once you?re mounted?
If you practice saddling a horse using the technique described in this video, you’ll be “handy” enough to do what Buster says you should be doing.
Summary of the How to Saddle a Horse Video
– – Howdy, friends, my name is Paul Sherland, with SaddleUpAgain.com. Today I’m going to be talking about how to saddle a horse. It’s something that I’m sure you feel you already know how to do. You’ve probably been doin’ it for a number of years, and you probably feel like you’ve got this down pretty well.
I did too, until I went to something called Cowboy School, run by Bob King in southeastern Arizona. And I spent a week with Bob. He taught me a lot about working with cattle, he taught me how to rope, and he taught me a lot about riding, and groundwork with horses, and he also taught me a different way to saddle a horse that I think is a better way.
And as I get older and it may be a little bit harder to lift a saddle, especially a Western saddle, up on a horse, this way of saddling a horse is just easier. You also have control of your horse without tying your horse. And that makes it easier on the horse, the horse can move his feet if he gets nervous or if he gets a little bit unsure of what’s going on. Something spooks him, he can move his feet.
And at the same time, you still have control of your horse, and you can get the saddle on very easily without any stress to the horse or to you, or less stress to you from carrying the saddle.
How to Saddle a Horse Demonstration with Chuck
So let me demonstrate with a couple of horses, and hopefully this is something that’s of use to you, whether you ride English or Western. This is a Quarter Horse gelding by the name of Chuck. And, first start, I’ve brushed him off and I’m going to throw the pad on here. We’ll get the saddle. Now you can see I can just wrap my arm around the rope like this, and I’ve got Chuck. So if he was to move off I could move with him, but I have control of him.
He’s not tied up, he’s not in cross ties. If he needs to move, he can move. I’ve got the saddle controlled with one hand here. And this is a Western saddle. It’s not a real heavy Western saddle, but it’s probably about 30 pounds. So let me put the saddle on and you can see what I’m doin’ here. So that’s about what you do. You swing the saddle up over the horse’s back, and it settles on the horse’s back.
How to Saddle a Horse Demonstration with Mason
This is Mason, a 20-year-old Quarter Horse. And Mason has had issues with me in tying. He’s backed into a three-wire or three-rope electric fence, pullin’ away, and he’s backed away. A couple of times before, he’s actually fallen down, he’s been backin’ so hard. So, I’m not going to put this guy in the cross-ties. And I’m going to saddle him without tying. And let me just show you how the saddling works with this Bob King method. Come on, Mason, come on.
So I still have a hold, where I’ve got the rope draped over my arm here. I can grab it like this if I need to. If Mason starts to move off, not a problem. And I’ve got the saddle in my other hand here, just holding it across the cantle. So when I’m ready to put the saddle on, I’ll just swing it up there.
So I hope the demonstration of saddling using the Bob King method has been useful to you. I think it’s a lot easier, it’s a lot easier for me to put the saddle up on the horse’s back. I think it’s safer, because I’m not tying the horse. I’ve got full control over the horse. And the saddle just swings up there, and there’s no big bump or anything like that on the horse’s back when the saddle lands in the correct place.
Practice How to Saddle a Horse by Saddling a Fence First
You may not do this right for the first time. So Bob King taught me by having me swing the saddle up over a fence for a while, until I had the motion down and I could get the off-side stirrup leather over the fence, get the girth and the other parts of the saddle over the fence without hitting the horse. So it’s a good thing to do. If you want to do this, maybe practice throwing the saddle up over the fence for a while before you try it with your horse.
But I hope it works out for you, it’s worked out for me. I’ve been using it for a number of years now. And if you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you very much.
Terry Golson says
Nicely done! I don’t ride western, but I have students that do. I like how this method doesn’t bang on the horse before the saddle settles down on the back.
Paul Sherland says
Thanks very much Terry! It works English or Western. However, it’s a good idea to practice your swing alongside a fence a few times before you swing the saddle up on your horse. I enjoy your blog very much.
I’ve done this before through another Horseman. But I no longer can pick up a saddle to saddle a horse. In fact, haven’t been able to saddle nor ride for the last 7 years due to health issues. I do everything at liberty.
Paul Sherland says
Thank you for your comment Patricia. I’m glad you’re still able to work with horses.