Properly “tacking up a horse,” or preparing it to ride, includes quite a few steps and should only be done by someone who is experienced in the process. If you have not tacked up a horse before, make sure you do so under the supervision of a more experienced rider.
The equipment you use in tacking up a horse will depend on what type of riding you will be performing. For example, you’ll use a different type of saddle depending on whether you choose English riding or Western riding.
A very brief overview of tacking up a horse looks like this:
Place a halter on your horse then tie it up using cross ties. This will keep your horse in place for the rest of the tacking.
Groom your horse, especially the areas where the saddle will go. This is also a good time to check your horse’s hooves.
Place the saddle blanket or pad over your horse.
Place the saddle on the blanket.
Put on the horse’s girth. You’ll want to walk your horse around and then re-cinch to make sure it’s tight enough.
Adjust the stirrups on both sides of the saddle.
Unbuckle the crossties and place the reins over your horse’s head.
Remove the halter and place the bit in the horse’s mouth.
Place the bridle on the horse.
Buckle the throat latch and noseband.
Your process of tacking up a horse may be slightly different depending on the nature and personality of your horse. It takes a while to learn the process, so never be afraid to ask for help or clarification when tacking up your horse.
When your ride is complete, treat your horse to a nice brush and groom. Check out Petco’s horse grooming supplies as well as all our horse health and wellness solutions.