How to Put on a Buddy Saddle

By Amanda Richards

Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images

Items you will need

  • Horse or pony

  • Western saddle and rigging

The "Buddy Saddle" fits behind the cantle at the back of the adult-sized saddle and is intended to allow a child to ride with an adult. The synthetic saddle has a deep seat which is supposed to provide security for the child riding behind the adult. This saddle is considered controversial and the manufacturer has inserted a warning with the product.

Be sure the horse is fully accustomed to the sensations of the saddle and weight of the intended child behind the regular saddle, as this is a highly sensitive area on many horses. Use proper desensitization techniques with the buddy saddle on the horse. Unexpected pressure, unbalanced weight (from a wriggling/shifting child), and high-pitched or loud noises emitted by the child may frighten the horse. Be aware of horse and child behavior and the inherent risk of riding.

Check the cleanliness of horse and tack before saddling; dirt or objects under the buddy saddle may cause the horse to react dangerously. Check the repair and soundness of all tack being employed. Saddle the horse as usual before attaching the buddy saddle.

Set the pommel (swell) of the buddy saddle against the western saddle cantle. Draw the front straps of the buddy seat through the corresponding cinch end rings and through the buckle clips of the buddy saddle straps.

Re-check the buddy saddle's position (it should seat evenly balanced as any regular saddle). Check the tightness of the straps.

Thread the buddy saddle's back straps through the cinch end rings of the main saddle and the buckle clips of the buddy saddle straps. Tighten these straps.

Tips

  • Only use this saddle with a calm, seasoned horse. Only experienced riders should use this equipment, due to their ability to read the horse and act appropriately in emergency situations. Most states require children under 18 to wear a safety helmet when mounted.

Warnings

  • The buddy saddle does not provide safety for a child who is not a balanced rider and who is not mature enough to protect himself in a fall. As the saddle is positioned behind the adult, that rider cannot hold or catch the child before a fall. Most children will not try to save or protect themselves from falling, and can make loud noises which may frighten the horse further. The child may fall in a spook and could be kicked or trampled by a frightened horse.

Photo Credits

  • Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images