Tips & Tricks

How to Put a Saddle on a Horse for Beginners

how to tack up a horse

Putting a saddle on a horse can be an intimidating task for even the most experienced rider. Properly saddling a horse is essential for both the safety of the rider and the comfort of the horse. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to correctly saddle a horse, as well as tips for keeping your horse safe and comfortable during the process.

How to Saddle a Horse Step by Step

Step 1: Groom the Horse

Before saddling the horse, it is important to groom it thoroughly. This not only helps to remove any dirt or debris from the coat but also allows you to check for any sore spots or injuries on the back where the saddle will go. Grooming also helps to establish a bond between you and the horse, which can make saddling easier.

Step 2: Choose the Appropriate Saddle

Choosing the right saddle is important for the comfort and safety of both the horse and the rider. A saddle that does not fit properly can cause discomfort, pain, or even injury to the horse. Make sure that the saddle fits the horse properly and is comfortable for both the horse and the rider.

Step 3: Place the Saddle Pad or Blanket

The saddle pad or blanket is used to protect the horse’s back from the pressure and friction of the saddle. Place the saddle pad or blanket on the horse’s back, making sure it is centered and covers the withers and back evenly. Smooth out any wrinkles or bumps.

Step 4: Lift the Saddle onto the Horse’s Back

Lift the saddle onto the horse’s back, holding it with both hands. Make sure the front of the saddle is in line with the withers, and the back of the saddle is centered on the horse’s back. Be gentle when placing the saddle on the horse’s back, so as not to cause discomfort.

Step 5: Fasten the Girth or Cinch

Fasten the girth or cinch, starting on the horse’s left side. Buckle the girth loosely, then walk around to the right side of the horse and tighten it gradually, making sure the saddle remains centered. Tightening the girth too quickly can cause discomfort or pain to the horse.

Step 6: Check the Fit of the Saddle

Check the fit of the saddle by running your hand under the girth to make sure there are no wrinkles or twists in the pad or blanket. Also, check the fit of the saddle on the horse’s back to ensure that it is not too tight or too loose.

Step 7: Adjust the Stirrups

Adjust the stirrups to the appropriate length for the rider. The stirrups should hang just below the rider’s ankle bone when their feet are in the stirrups and their heels are down. Make sure that the stirrups are adjusted evenly on both sides.

Step 8: Check the Straps and Buckles

Check that all the straps and buckles are secure and the saddle is in the correct position. Make sure that there are no loose ends that can get caught on something during riding.

Additional Items

Polo wrap or boots

Polo wraps or boots are often used to protect a horse’s legs during riding. To put on the polo wraps or boots, start by wrapping the material around the front of the leg, just below the knee, and then wrap it up in an overlapping pattern towards the fetlock joint. Secure with Velcro straps and make sure that they are tight enough to stay on, but not so tight that they cause discomfort. Make sure to add a few extra wraps for extra support and protection in case of falls or contact with obstacles.


The reins are used to steer the horse and communicate with the horse while riding. Hold the reins in your left hand, and pass them over the horse’s head, behind the ears, and through the rings on the side of the bit. Adjust the reins so that they are even on both sides, and not too loose or too tight.


The bit is a metal bar that goes in the horse’s mouth and is used to control the horse’s movements. Hold the bit in your right hand, and place it in the horse’s mouth. Make sure that the bit is in the correct position, and that the horse is comfortable with it.


The bridle is the piece of equipment that holds the bit in place and allows you to control the horse. Hold the bridle with your left hand, and slide the bit into the horse’s mouth. Place the crown of the bridle over the horse’s ears, and then buckle the throat latch and noseband.

Buckle the Throat Latch and Noseband

The throat latch and noseband keep the bridle in place and ensure that the horse is comfortable. Buckle the throat latch and noseband snugly, but not too tight. Make sure that the horse is still able to move its head and breathe comfortably.


Saddling a horse is an important skill for any equestrian. Knowing how to safely and effectively saddle a horse will help ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable ride. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to put the saddle on your horse correctly, and never hesitate to ask for help if you are unsure of something. With practice, you will soon become a confident and capable horse rider.

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