• Body Signals Head Bobbing is often accompanied by soreness on one or more feet.
If your horse is bobbing his head while walking, trotting, or cantering he is trying to take weight off of a sore leg, be sure to solicit help from a knowledgeable adult. These are just a few of the common body signals you will encounter when working with your horse.
After spending more time with your horse you will learn to recognize your horse’s own unique language which is essential to keeping yourself safe and knowing if your horse is having an off day or not feeling well.
It is always best to catch a potential problem early before it manifests and causes more pain. Page 16 Developed by Sara Gronski, 4-H Youth Development Agent, Clark County / February 2010 When saddling your horse for the first time it is best to have a knowledgeable project leader or adult help you.
The first thing is to place the saddle pad on the horses back—it should be over the top of the wither bone and slightly forward.
Always place the saddle pad more forward than you want it so it can be slid back into place.
Never pull the saddle pad forward; it will pull your horse’s hair and maybe even make them uncomfortable once you add the saddle (kind of like having a wrinkle in your sock).
A saddle pad should be thick enough to protect your horse’s back but not so thick that it interferes with their movement.
The saddle pad shouldn’t be so thin either than the horse gets sore from the saddle.
There are many different types and sizes of saddle pads; be sure to find one that fits your horse and saddle. Saddling Saddle pad in correction position Saddle pad forward to far Saddle pad back to far Page 17 Developed by Sara Gronski, 4-H Youth Development Agent, Clark County / February 2010 Once the pad is even on both sides it is time to swing or lift the saddle into place – make sure you don’t drop the saddle on to your horse’s back, instead lower it gently.
Be sure to lift the saddle pad up into the front of the saddle so that it doesn’t pinch down on your horse’s back. Pull the saddle pad into the gullet at the saddle Saddling Saddle in correct position It is now time to connect the girth or cinch.
Start on the horse’s right side and attach the cinch.
This can vary by saddle and type of saddle so be sure to ask your project leader if you have any questions.
After attaching the cinch on the right side go to the left side of the horse (walk carefully behind or in front, don’t duck underneath) and hook the cinch to the left side.
The center point of the cinch should be in the middle of the horse’s girth behind the horse’s front legs.
If this is done too far forward the horse’s skin will be pinched; if too far back the saddle will move forward, the cinch will loosen and the saddle may slip sideways. Page 18 Developed by Sara Gronski, 4-H Youth Development Agent, Clark County / February 2010 It is important to have a correct fitting saddle and cinch.
Equipment that doesn’t fit the horse correctly can cause pain or slip and cause a rider to fall.
Be sure to check with your project leader or another knowledgeable adult.
It is okay not to cinch your horse all the way tight when you first saddle them.
Many horses will hold their breath until after you get in the saddle so they have a nice loose cinch once you mount.
It is always a good idea to walk your horse around for a few minutes and then retighten the cinch.
A tight cinch allows the rider to still slip two fingers between the cinch and the horse.
Too tight of cinch will cause pain; it is always a good idea to have an adult check your cinch before you mount up. Saddling Cinch too loose
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