Keith Hunt - Horse Breaking and Training - Page Thirty   Restitution of All Things

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Breaking and Training Horses #6

Getting up into the Saddle

                      BREAKING AND TRAINING HORSES #6

                             UP IN THE SADDLE

     So we are now ready to climb in the saddle again. Once more
with horses raised on the ranch you should have little trouble.
They have for a long time now been trusting you and you are a
friend to them. But no harm for you or them, to still take it
slow. Most of the time they will have no problem with you putting
your foot in the stirrup and slowly raising yourself up and into
the saddle. They will often just stand there are be kinda "dumb"
with a look on their face of "Now what am I supposed to do?"

     With the truly wild horse as he once was, it could be a
mixed bag as to what may happen. You have come a mighty long way
with him, but those once wild horses have all kinds of difference
and attitude and personalities.

     Well what are the ways you can approach it getting up in the
saddle with such a horse?

     You can put the "weight bags" on the saddle, to help him
feel weight on his back that simulates the weight he may feel
when you are in the saddle. Make sure if you do this that those
weight bags are even weight on both sides and tied down so they
will not swing wildly around IF your horse does decide to buck

     When its you, then put your foot slowly into the stirrup
watching the reaction from his eyes, ears and body language. Just
take that saddle horn and back of the saddle and put yourself up
slowly and do no more. Once the horse is comfortable with you
putting some weight onto his left side a number of times. Then
you are ready to slowly swing that right leg over to his right
side. Now your sitting in the saddle.

     So you have a horse your not quite sure how he's going to
take all this. What are your options?

     You can tie his left foot up with a strong but soft rope
that is secured at the saddle horn. A horse can do no serious
bucking with one leg tied up. You can mount and dis-mount many
times if you like, until the horse is comfortable with you on its

     You can hitch the horse up to another horse and rider. Some
horses, if not most, feel better if they are next to another

     The bottom line fact is of course that you or someone else
does have to get up into that saddle on that horse if you want to
have him as a saddle riding horse. 

     What we are doing is trying to break this horse in the nice
and easy and friendliest way possible. We all know that putting a
horse into a shute and riding the buck out of him like at a rodeo
does work. Yes, I saw it done by some cowboys when I was a young
guy, but I was also taught the ways I've just described to you.
And the slow and easy and kind way is better in the long run for
both you and the horse.

     So you have three of four ways to get up into that saddle
the first number of times with this new horse your breaking to

     One last but MIGHTY IMPORTANT TIP I will give you is this.
Very few of us are have been trained to be pro saddle bronc
riders, knowing how to stay in that saddle if the horse should
buck. So never forget this, it could save you from a throw that
might seriously injure you. Have good strong saddle blanket
strings on the right hind part of your saddle. As soon as you are
sitting down in the saddle reach back with your right hand and
take hold of those leather or rope strings. If the horse does
buck, you will have a real good chance of staying with him. Many
times as a young guy breaking wild horses I learned to do this
immediate holding of those right back leather strings and I can
remember there were times when it was a sure saver from me
getting bucked off. I was no where near a pro saddle bronc rider,
and I did not want to get bucked off.

     I'm amazed at how many people I've seen breaking a horse,
getting up in that saddle for the first times and NOT even having
it come to mind that holding those saddle strings could help
them, if the horse does have a buck in him.

     Your now up in the saddle. From this point out, you have
many horse books that will tell and show you how to now start 
teaching the horse the first basics of him becoming a saddle
riding horse.

     And there are many books out there on teaching you what
others have found and done for all the various problems that
horse training can encounter. All horses are individuals and all
can then have individual problems, to one extent or another, some
small and some large problems. It is not my intention to repeat
here what many books have been written on those subjects of horse

     I will talk about one other thing in the next chapter, and
that is teaching a horse to enter a horse trailer.


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