How to Tighten Your Horse’s Western Girth

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Put a saddle blanket or pad on your horse’s back.,
Position the saddle on the blanket.,
Position the stirrup, cinches, and straps on the left side of the horse.

The saddle blanket protects the horse’s body from friction from the leather saddle, and is vital for a safe ride. It also keeps the saddle clean from the horse’s body which will sweat and froth with the exertion of a ride.If you don’t have a blanket, you need one to properly tack your horse.

You can get a saddle blanket at any farming supply or agriculture store. You can choose a traditional woven blanket which is folded in half for use, or you can buy a felt or cotton pad which is less likely to bunch under the saddle or catch burrs if you ride in a field.Be sure you brush the horse and ensure there are no burrs in its coat or any injuries to its skin.Position the blanket slightly over the horse’s withers (the ridge between its shoulder blades). First put the blanket down a bit too far toward the neck, then pull it back toward the horse’s tail until it’s in the correct position. This method smooths the hair under the blanket so that it lies flat and doesn’t itch or bother the animal.;
, This process might seem cumbersome and can take some practice before it becomes easy, especially if you’re used to the English saddle which has less straps and other things dangling down.

Stand next to the horse’s left shoulder and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Hook the right stirrup up over the saddle horn so that it won’t get caught under the saddle as you lift it, then swing the saddle up and over the horse’s back so that your right arm is across the horse’s back.Be sure to practice good lifting techniques to avoid injury to your back or leg muscles; saddles can weigh from 10-35 pounds and swinging it without proper posture could injure your muscles or joints.
As you put the saddle over the blanket, be sure that you grab the stirrups (the leather loops for the rider’s feet), cinches, and straps (any leather hanging down) and hold them out of the way so that they don’t get stuck under the saddle.The process of getting the saddle and blanket in the right place might cause them both to slide too far back; in that case, start over with the blanket first.

, This is the side you have been standing on to put the blanket and saddle on.

You can keep the left stirrup up over the saddle horn (the knob on top of the saddle for the rider to hold) for better access, but bring the tie down to the horse’s side.

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