Posts Tagged ‘saddle your horse’


Sue the “How Do You Do” Horse. It took Sue nearly three years to not flinch when I saddled her. I’m not talking about a slight shudder, either. I’m talking
about a 1″ rolling oceanic tsumni flinch along her back. That’s one inch of rolling fear. She was triple T terrified of the saddle.

Sue must have been saddled by a grizzly bear. 

Pat Parelli has taught us the safe way to saddle, bridle and mount horse. He
does things to ensure our safety and end up so we can live our dream with
horses. Do you realize that 85% of the accidents with people and horses occur when the leg is swung over the saddle? There are more than one reason for a horse to rear, bolt or jump when people mount. The safe saddling, bridling and mounting according to Pat Parelli eliminates most of those rear, bolt or jump reasons. It used to be a level 1 task in the Parelli levels tests.

Saddling. We can pick up the pad and the saddle at the same time, but you have to be handy to do that. Let’s just pick up the saddle pad and let your horse sniff it. Sling the pad on your horse. You can play the friendly game with the saddle pad a couple of times before you sling the pad on your the horse, but that isn’t an every-time rule.

Let’s talk about the word sling. Let’s talk about a grizzly bear about to
attack. It’s standing up on it’s hind legs with the front legs ready to rip you
to pieces. That’s what we don’t want you to look like when you are putting the
pad or the saddle on the horse. That’s the grizzly bear way of saddling. Instead, we want your arm to nicely sling the pad and saddle up on your horse.

Saddle. All the saddle hanging stuff should be nicely tethered to the saddle. We should not see a full length girth or billet swing . There should be nothing for you to step on if you are carrying your saddle somewhere .Carry the saddle the sexy way, not the stumble way.

Pick the saddle up, hold the cantle with your hand and snug the front against your body, fleece side in. It’s a very comfortable way to carry a saddle. If you are doing it right, your saddle feels like a feather. If you are doing it wrong, your saddle will soon careen of of control and you will drop it. It weights less when you carry it correctly too.  Really, I’m serious!

Stand facing your horse, rotate your upper body around so you are
offering the horse an opportunity to smell the saddle. If the horse is
comfortable with this, you can sling the saddle on your horse. If you have less than an experienced horse, you can play the friendly game a couple of times with some practicing non-landing slings. I used to practice non-landing slinging the saddle on Sue for a half day before the ocean of flinching fear would calm down on her back.

Slinging is also better for your back than grizzly bear saddling. When you pick up a saddle like most people do, your back can protest and put you at home moaning with pain. Your back loves slinging a saddle.

When your horse is comfortable with the fact that the saddle is going to be
place on the back, gently swing the saddle up and let it land as light as a
saddle-feather. Do not drop the saddle on your horse’s back. Practice “feather landings” when you saddle your horse.

Drop the girth and get your billet strap ready. The hand that reaches under the saddle to get the girth should not make it necessary to put your head under the horse’s belly. One little kick at a fly when your head is under your
horse…well…thikg of the pumpkin someone took off your front porch and
smashed it on the street. yeccha. You reach with your “back hand” and leave
your head away from the pumpkin smash zone.

Draw the girth up so there is light tension on the girth. There’s no reason to
have quick hands with this either. Quick hands should be hit by a
ruler-wielding 1950′s fifth grade teacher. If I see “Quick Hands”, I’ll call my 5th grade teacher back to earth with her bloody metal ruler!

The rule is move your horse three times and tighten the girth between each move. That is the bare minimum rule. Pat Parelli saw someone die because a little piece of flesh was caught in the girth when the horse was saddled the normal way. When the man swung his leg over the horse, the horse’s tender belly flesh was squeezed and caused the horse to rear over backwards. Think about the pumpkin being squished when thrown off your porch into the street. That was his head.  Slow girthing hands, light tension and moving the horse around prevents that belly flesh from being caught in the girth.

 Quick hands and tighten the girth as tight as you can get it the first time…is one of the things that cause the death experience when you mount the horse.

Velvet is a master at holding her breath and making her barrel puff out when I girth her up. Therefore the saddle is loose after a ride of a short distance.
When I’m going to ride on a trail ride or think about cantering in the arena and doing drop to trot lead changes….I like to have my girth tight enough. To ensure that your girth is tight enough for athletic moves or a tricky-breath horse, you need to either canter the horse or have it jump over something.  After the canter or jump, tighten your girth one last time and you are ready to mount and ride anywhere.

I’ve had lot’s of fun with loose saddles in my inexperienced life with horses.
I’ve learned that where ever the saddle goes, your body will follow. when the saddle slides from on top of the horse to the side of the horse, your body goes right along with it.  This is a rule of physics.

Practice safe physics with a saddle. Heck, just practice safe saddling! We need to keep you around living out your dream with horses.