How to Saddle a Horse

By Contributor


Items you will need

  • Saddle pads

  • Equestrian equipment

  • Saddles

How to Saddle a Horse. Saddling your horse takes just a few minutes but is a very important part of the pre-ride preparation.

Groom your horse in preparation for your ride.

Always saddle from the near (left) side of the horse.

Place your saddle pad so the front of the pad is just in front of the horse's withers (front shoulders).

Place the saddle on top of the pad so the front of the saddle is just in front of the withers. Make sure the saddle is centered.

Hold the saddle underneath the horn (only on a western saddle) and gently lift up while you lift up the pad so it doesn't rub on the horse's withers.

Buckle the cinch or girth so it is snug around the horse's belly, just behind the front legs. Make sure the cinch or girth doesn't rub or cut into the horse's front legs.

Tighten the cinch so you can just slip a finger between the cinch or girth and the horse's belly.

Buckle the back cinch if your western saddle has one.

Make sure stirrups are adjusted properly. When you stand in the stirrups you should have two finger widths between you and the saddle.

Attach breast collar to each side of the saddle skirt if you are using one.



  • A breast collar can be used for English or Western riding.


  • Make sure the cinch is tight before you ride.

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