I’m going to talk about the proper position to put your saddle on your horse. A lot of people aren’t sure exactly where they should put the saddle on the horse. Now every horse is different every breed is different some horses the saddle has to sit further back, some have to sit more forward, but most horses that people ride on a regular basis quarter horses, thoroughbreds, Arabians, that type of horse are all pretty similar. For the most part I’m going to go over how to position your saddle on a horse for every day riding.
Now the first thing you want to notice on a horse is where the high point of the withers is. When I put the pad on I want to put the front of that pad right over the top of the high point of the withers. That’s where you start everything from. There’s a line that runs from the high point of the withers to the back of the horses foreleg. You want to have that line pretty much even with the front of the pad. Now when the saddle goes on it’s going to set a little bit far back from there and the reason for that is you want a little bit of that pad exposed so you’re not rubbing your saddle on the horse’s shoulder. Pretty much the front of your swells of your saddle you want to have about two inches back from the high point of those withers so I can put my fingers here under my pad and see where that’s at and I’m pretty much there. Now you do this I always like to bring my pad up a little bit that way it’s not pulling on the withers and pulling on the hair so that there’s a little comfort.
Now when I put the cinch on, like I said before it’s different for different breeds and different types of horses, but with a regular western saddle that line is going to come about two inches off the horse’s foreleg. Now there’s differences too if you use a balance ride saddle because they sit a little bit further back, but every horse is built with a place for the saddle to fit. No matter where you set it the saddle is going to want to move to that point so things will move around a little bit, but if you don’t set it right to begin with when that happens it’s going to cause discomfort on the horses back when it settles down a little bit. It’s important to get it in the right place every time.
So when I put the saddle on I’m two inches behind the point of the withers, which puts my cinch about two inches off the horse’s armpit. I don’t ever try to tighten it hard at first. Now the back, a lot of people ask me how tight the back should be. Now if you’re open or you’re working hard or you’re doing a lot of heels you want that pretty snug. Now for the most part when I first saddle a horse I want to put two fingers between horse’s belly. Now they all bloat up a little bit, they all do it, but once you warm them up for a minute or walk them for a few minutes they’re going to breath and that’s going to loosen up. and if you notice. It’s important not to make that too tight right at first because you don’t want to irritate the horse and cause him to buck you off.
Now on the breast collar, I prefer a pulling style collar. The reason I use these, they’re actually getting pretty popular, but the reason I use a pulling style breast collar is because the comfort. I’m all about comfort for the horse. Now if you put a regular roping style collar it comes across the shoulder of the horse which is going to restrict the movement in that horse’s front end. A breast collar comes off the swells of the saddle and runs right down the break to the neck. It gives them the movement they need to really get out and pull.
The big thing you want to watch out for on the breast collar is you want to make sure that you’re not up in the airway. Just to get that down out of his airway because I don’t want to choke him off. Especially if I’m trying to rope or have him pull a steer or cow I don’t want to get this in his throat and choke him off. Also make sure the back cinch isn’t too tight and you’re two inches behind the point of the withers.