How to Tack a Horse Western:
Your Step-by-Step Guide, Part One;
Putting The Pad On and Placing the Saddle

Learn how to tack a horse in a western saddle by doing the following;

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First, make sure your horse is well groomed. You don't want to cause any saddle sores or pain by leaving dirt and loose hair on him. 

  • Get your saddle pad lined up. Most western pads are rectangular. Some will have rub guards on the bottom edges. These go towards the front.
  • Start by standing on the left side, facing your horse's tail with the blanket in your hands like shown above.

  • Now as you swing it up, move your body to face towards his head.

  • The blanket should be in front of the withers, and then slide it back until it is slightly in front of the withers.
  • This will get the hair to lay flat in the right direction under the pad.

  • This is about how it should look when you are ready to put the tack on.
  • You can see how the rub guard is near the front (closest to his head)

  • Position yourself so you are facing your horse's tail with the saddle rested on your right hip. In this picture I don't have it positioned quite on my hip, but if your saddle is heavy, you'll want to make sure it is.
  • Hint: It can be helpful to bring the off side (right side) stirrup and cinch up over the saddle to make it easier to swing onto his back.

  • Use momentum by doing a couple short swings to get it moving. Then swing your whole body around while swinging the saddle around and up onto his back. 
  • Avoid just coming straight at him and trying to lift it straight onto his back.

  • Make any adjustments necessary to the positioning of the tack so it sits where the cinch will hang down and fasten just behind the elbow.

  • Go to the front and lift up on the pad to create some space between his withers and the pad.

  • Drop the cinch from the right side down so you can fasten it. 

  • At this point it should now be placed on the horse's back as shown, sitting just at the withers.

Now you are ready to learn the next part of how to tack a horse; How to cinch up.

Press the button below to learn how to cinch a horse using western tack.

Gallop over from how to tack a horse and check out other great tutorials via the main barn