How to Harness a Horse



Find the harness parts.,
Bridle the horse.,
Put the breast strap or collar on the horse.,
Place the saddle on the horse just under the withers.,
Place the harness breeching on the horse’s back.,
Bring the carriage up behind the horse.,
Attach the harness traces to the tree of the carriage.

Attach the breeching to the carriage by running the hold back straps through the rings on the shafts.,
Run the reins from the carriage through the rein guides to the bit and buckle.

Walk the horse a few steps, tighten the girth, and recheck all straps and buckles for proper fitting.

These items include a bridle, reins, saddle, breast collar, and breeching.

The bridle allows the rider to communicate direction to the horse. The bridle may have a bit (an aluminum mouthpiece) attached and blinkers. Blinkers are square pieces of leather attached to the bridle above the bit and are placed over the horse’s eyes to keep its focus forward.
The reins are very long straps of leather that reach from the bit to the driver. They are brown in color and not attached to the bridle.
The saddle is a strap of padded leather that sits just below the horse’s withers. It has rein guides and a girth that wraps around the horse’s belly to hold it in place. Also on the saddle are shaft tugs to hold the shafts of the cart.
The breast collar is a flat piece of leather attached to the traces. It lays flat against the horse’s chest and allows the horse to pull the carriage or implement. Sometimes this part of the harness is a large collar that fits around the wide part of the horse’s neck as seen with some draft horse hook ups.
The breeching is the harness’s braking system and has a wide strap that lays across the horse’s hindquarters and smaller straps the lay across the croup. Hold back straps attach to rings on the shaft of the cart. The breeching also has a stuffed crupper that goes underneath the horse’s tail.;
, Ask the horse to lower its head, and place the bit into the horse’s mouth. If the horse won’t open his mouth, slide your thumb up past his front teeth to the gap, and gently but firmly leverage his mouth open. If it’s cold weather, you should also let the bit heat up in your hands or under your arm before you bridle him.

Tighten the noseband gently. Make sure it is 2 finger’s width below the horse’s prominent cheekbone.
Adjust the blinkers so they are not touching the horse’s eyes.
Fasten the throatlatch. Leave it loose enough that 2 or 3 fingers can fit between it and the horse’s neck.

, If the traces are attached, make sure they are out of the way of the horse’s feet. Adjust the position of the breast strap with the neck strap so it falls on the widest part of the horse’s chest.


Tighten the girth snugly. Do not over tighten. It is best to wait for the horse to relax and move out before tightening the girth all the way.

, Move the tail so the breeching can rest smoothly against the horse’s hindquarters.

Lift the tail, and slide the crupper under the tail. Buckle the crupper in place. Take extra care that the crupper is smooth, clean, and that no hair is trapped under it.
Attach the breeching to the saddle with the loin strap.

, Have an attendant hold the head of the horse.

Run the shafts through the loops on the saddle.

,, Wrap and buckle it.


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