Ever seen a horse do any of these when being saddled?
I’m sure you have. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for horses to be afraid of the saddle.
The most common reason is pain – a badly-fitting saddle and/or girth and insensitive tacking up (thumping the saddle onto the back and hauling the girth up as tight as it will go). So, the first step is a complete MOT of your horse’s back and saddle to eliminate pain.
Other common reasons include going too far too fast when the horse is first introduced to the saddle or an accident such as a fall or the saddle slipping.
However, even if these are all fixed now, the memory of that discomfort or scary situation still causes these reactions in the horse. This is when this approach can really help!
Yep, we’re using targets again… this powerful technique can really change how your horse feels about something. Particularly turning fear into calm relaxation.
Watch this video to see how to use this technique with your horse!
Big thanks to our models – Zulu, a zebra x arab with big fear issues about saddling and his fantastic trainer, Rebecca Musselwhite of Jive Pony, who helped him overcome the saddling fears he arrived to her with.
As mentioned in the video, you can learn loads more training techniques like this in our (aptly named) Training Techniques Home Study Course.
You can see the full step-by-step process of saddling Zulu, and follow 2 other horses through the process, in our Daily Handling Home Study Course in the CT Club.
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