How to tack up a horse: English

Updated: Mar 31

For all of you newbies about to enter the horseback world, I know how you feel. Most of the questions that race through your head has been in many other horse riders when they first started. One of the most common questions is how do you tack up a horse? Tacking up is very important. You may have watched youtube videos but I bet they sound confusing. Don't worry, I am here to help!


When tacking up your horse, always start with the saddle. First, get a saddle pad and gently place it onto your horse's back. There is a small dent at the top of the saddle pad that is made for the withers. Put the saddle pad on with the dent facing their withers. Make sure the line on the saddle pad is lined up with your horse's backbone. The saddle pad needs to be a few inches onto their withers in case it slips back a bit when you put on the saddle.

Next, grab your saddle. Gently put it on top of your horse. Check both sides to make sure that nothing is bent or flopped over.

After your put on the saddle takes your girth. Lift up the saddle pad and you will see some girth straps. Hook your girth on the first and 3rd girth straps. Don't hook up the girth too tight, start loose and tighten after a few minutes. Your horse may puff up when you do the girth so after a few minutes tighten the girth again. Be aware your horse may try to bite or kick when you do the girth.

Finally, put on the martingale. At the bottom of the martingale, there will be a little clip. Clip this to the small ring under the girth.

How to put on the bridle

Putting on the bridle is probably the hardest part. There are so many hooks it can be confusing.

First, unclasp your horse's halter and bring it down to their neck. If your horse backs up when you bridle them you can grab the halter so they will standstill.

Next, get your cavesson. Place it on gently. Don't worry about clasping it just yet. After the cavesson put on the bridle. Have your right arm hold the browband and your left hand holding the bit. Lift the bridle so the bit can slide into your horse's mouth. If your horse won't open his mouth you can take your fingers and pry the back of their mouth open. Stick your finger in the back of their mouth where your horse has no teeth, and push. Your horse will open his mouth and you can put the bridle on.

After you put the bridle on you can clasp the cavesson and throat latch. Check your bridle to make sure that everything is comfortable. Clip your reins onto the side of the bit and you are good to go!

I hope this helps you when tacking up your horse. It took me a few weeks to learn how so don't be worried if you feel like you are still confused after a few lessons. Talk to your instructor about helping out at the barn so you can observe how other riders get their horse ready. This can really help you. xx The Desert Rider

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