How to Tack Up Using English Tack

Two Methods:Saddling Your HorseBridling Your Horse

This article will show you how to tack up your horse with English tack. The photos included demonstrate a rider using dressage tack, but the same principles apply to any English riding discipline. Keep reading to learn more!

Steps

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    Tie up your horse. You can cross-tie your horse if they're available at your stable, or use a quick-release knot.
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    Groom your horse. Clean out his hooves with a hoof pick, and clean his coat with a curry comb, dandy brush, and soft brush. Be careful to clean his back, girth, and head; dirt underneath tack can rub and irritate your horse's skin.

Method 1
Saddling Your Horse

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    Put on your horse's saddle pad. Place it in front of the withers, and slide it a little bit back until it's two or three inches in front of where you'll place the saddle. Remember not to slide the saddle pad forward, since this irritates your horse's skin.
    • Always use a clean, soft, dry saddle pad, not a dirty or stiff one. You should launder your saddle pad about once every week.
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    Pick up the saddle and set the saddle on horse's back. Be careful to put the saddle on gently. Check that it sits comfortably on the horse, and isn't too far forward or too far back on either side. You can feel along your horse's shoulder bone to check that it isn't too far forward or pinching. Finally, attach the straps on the saddle pad to your saddle's billets.
    • After saddling your horse, pull the saddle pad up into the gullet of the saddle. This secures the pad and prevents it from rubbing uncomfortably against the horse.
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    Attach the girth. The girth should be snug enough to hold the saddle on and in place, but not so tight that it's pinching or restricting your horse. A well-fitted girth should have enough space to snugly fit two fingers (flat) in between the girth and the horse.
    • Remember to attach the girth to the first and last billets of the saddle.
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    • Some horses "blow up," or suck in air so that the girth won't fit tightly. If your horse does this, lead him to the arena and tighten the girth again before mounting.
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Method 2
Bridling Your Horse

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    Ensure that your horse is securely tied before bridling him. There are multiple methods for doing this:
    • The safest and most secure method is to unbuckle your horse's halter, take it off his nose, and slip it over his neck, with the halter still attached to a lead rope or one cross-tie.
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    • You can also simply put the reins over the horses neck before removing the halter.
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    Bridle your horse. Before bridling, check the bridle is straight and neat, and that the noseband and throatlash are unbuckled. You can then guide the bit into your horse's mouth. There are two methods for doing this:
    • Hold the crownpiece at the top of your pony's head, holding it in your right hand. Guide the bit in with your left hand.
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    • You can also hold the bridle underneath the browband, with your right arm reaching underneath your pony's head. Guide the bit in with your left hand.
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    • If your horse will not take the bit, you can squeeze the side of his lip, or slide your finger in his mouth and press at the part of his mouth without teeth. (If you aren't sure where this is, ask someone to help you!)
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    Slide the crownpiece over the ears. Slide it gently over one ear at a time, being careful not to bend them too hard.
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    Attach the throat latch and noseband. The throat latch should be loose enough to fit your fist between the latch and his throat. The noseband should be loose enough to fit a finger between it and the horse's skin.
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    Do a final safety check. Check that all your horse's tack is snug, clean, and in good condition (don't ride with broken or very dirty tack!). Ensure that all straps are in their keepers, and aren't too loose or too tight. Run up your stirrups before mounting. Before you mount, tighten the girth.
    • If you're an inexperienced rider, always ask your instructor or another experienced rider to give you a safety check before riding.
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    • Remember to take the reins over your horse's head before leading him.
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    You're ready to get on and ride your horse!

Tips

  • Make sure the cheek band and nose band is unbuckled before bridling your horse.

Article Info

Categories: Horses | Tack (Saddles and Bridles)