You Are At: AllSands Home > Pets > How to saddle a horse
Saddling up a horse is something that must be done safely and correctly if you are considering entering the equestrian world.

1. Tie up the horse using a halter. Alternatively, get another person to hold him by the lead rope, which is attached to the halter.

2. The stirrup irons are the pieces of metal in which you put your feet. They hang from the stirrup leathers. The saddle should have these run up the leathers, and made secure, or crossed over the seat of the saddle. This is to ensure that they do not bang and frighten the horse while the saddle is being lifted over his back. The girth holds the saddle onto the horse and fits behind his elbow under his belly. This should also be crossed over the saddle to ensure it doesn’t flap, or get stuck between the saddle and the horse’s back. The pommel is the rounded area at the front of the saddle, and this fits on the side nearest the horse’s head.

3. When lifting the saddle onto the horse’s back, you must ensure that you lift all areas of it high enough so that none of the flaps brush against the horse and startle him. Initially the saddle should be placed lightly onto the horse's wither area and slid backwards, following the direction of hair growth. (The wither area is the highest area on the horse's back, where his mane ends). Slide the saddle back until it is sitting neatly in the small of his back. This routine is followed to ensure no skin or hair is trapped under the saddle, thus preventing saddle sores. It must not be too far back though, because if pressure is applied to his loins (the soft part of his back) by a saddle and rider this can cause him a lot of discomfort. If the saddle is the correct size it should neither move forwards or backwards easily. Uncross the girth from the seat of the saddle gently. When fastening the girth do not fasten too tightly. This is because horses breathe in at first. After a couple of minutes the horse will have forgotten about the saddle, and will breathe out. At this stage you can tighten the girth firmly without causing the horse any unnecessary discomfort. When fastened the girth should fit snugly under the belly, behind his elbows (the narrowest part of the belly). If it is fastened correctly you should be able to see five or six small wrinkles of skin in the elbow of the horse (anymore and the girth is too tight).

4. Finally, always go to the front of your horse, pick each front leg up and move them forwards towards his chin, stretching them out in front of him one at a time. This ensures that no loose skin is trapped under the girth.

Follow these guidelines to ensure that all horses and horse-riders have a safe and happy time in the world of equestrianism.