Keith Hunt - Breaking and Training Horses - Page Twenty- eight   Restitution of All Things

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Breaking and Training Horses #4

Putting on the Saddle

                      BREAKING AND TRAINING HORSES #4


                           PUTTING THE SADDLE ON




By now you should be able to figure what I'm going to say. Yes,
just about the very same as when putting the blanket on this wild
horse, that is now moving along nicely to domestication.

With a ranch born and raised horse/pony you should have little
problem. As they have been trusting you for a while now, even if
not coming that near to all the rigs we put on horses, they will
in the main, continue to put trust in you. Going slow and easy,
letting them see the saddle, maybe sniffing it, just letting them
be around the tack for a while. You should have little trouble
putting a saddle on a ranch raised horse, but you still go slow
and gentle and nice smooth talk. Putting the saddle on and off a
number of times before gradually tightening up the cinch, then
walking around with him as he get used to having this leather
gadget on his back.

Even with ranch raised horses, taking your time is still a good
idea, why rush, make it all a nice sweet adjustment to life under
the saddle.

Our once wild horse, he's never come very close to a saddle,
unless it's cowboys rounding him and others up on horse and
saddle. So again put the saddle on a rail of the round pen, and
let him see and investigate it, let him have time to realize this
new funny looking thing ain't going to attack him. He gets used
to seeing it, okay now walk around the pen with you holding the
saddle. He's already along the road to trusting you, so seeing
you with the saddle ... well he'll know it is fine, nothing is
going to bite him. 

After the saddle in the round pen is old hat to him, introduce it
on a rail or post in his stall. Put the saddle there first and
then have him walk in. After all this is ancient history to him,
we can go back to the round pen and start to get close to him
with you holding the saddle.

I think by now you can clearly see I'm teaching SLOW and EASY
does it. Eventually then it is, saddle blanket on, and with
everything nice and neat saddle wise, you lift it gentle and slow
like on to the banket, talking soft and smooth to him all the
time.
All, once wild horses, are going to act differently to having the
saddle placed on their back. So watch his eyes and ears and his
body language. If he gets wide-eyed, ears going back, body moving
away from you, you better back off, you've got more previous work
that you've done, to do again.

It all is a matter of patience, kindness, slow moving work,
adjusting everything to the individual nature and personality of
that horse or pony.

You work your way up to the point where having the saddle placed
on his back also it old hat to him. Then it is slow and easy with
the cinch. Once all of that can be done in the stall, as becoming
nothingness to him, you are ready to put the saddle on him in the
round pen and walk around leading him. You want to do this many
times so you and him are very confident every bit of fear of him
living under a saddle is as far as east is from west, well of
course you try as humanly possible, to have it this way for your
horse under the saddle. Again, the ranch raised horse is going to
move along with all of this much faster than the once wild horse,
now and again there may be exceptions to this general rule, as
all horses are very individual in personality and temperament.

So, you now have a horse that will take the saddle with no
problem, you've taught him another trick, something he can do
that he never needed to do before.

We're getting there, that is getting closer to being up in that
saddle riding this horse.

                           .....................


To be continued 

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