I have been putting my western saddle on wrong for years!

Either someone else will watch this video and go “Wow thanks, going to try that” or the world is going, not for the first time, laugh and go “how did you not know that?”

I learned this technique today, and on first try nearly threw my saddle clear over my horse, I wish I had known it when I owned Mr 17hh!

My vertically challenged friend actually managed to get her saddle on her guy easily this way. Work smarter not harder!


I hope I remember that next time I ride western!

OK… I have to ask… What other way do people put the saddle up? :laughing:

My only addition/difference – I pull the stirrups up onto the horn, as to not hit the horse as I put it up.


How was you doing it before?

I don’t do it exactly like that but pretty close. It is all in the swing.

I have always grabbed the saddle by the arch under the horn, and centre of skirts at the back, and thrown it up. The idea of holding it asymmetricaly and tucking it up under the arm is just new to me, and a total revelation.



I’m 5’1". I can’t imagine how I’d ever get a western saddle onto a horse over 15 hands if I didn’t swing it like this. The trick is to control the swing so you can gently settle the saddle onto the horse, not drop/thump it down. That gets more difficult the taller the horse is! Luckily, my current ride is 13.3, so life is much easier all around. :smiley:


This is the way I do it too. I have a fairly heavy Crates that I can swing up onto my 16hh TB pretty easily.

I use this method but my saddle is so HEAVY that it is still difficult. I keep watching the videos and practicing but I just cannot get it as smooth as this.

Try standing at your horses shoulder facing the tail and swing up and around from there. I teach this technique to my kids when they’re learning to tack up and almost all of them are able to throw their saddles on their horses within a few weeks.

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I do this from the left side, especially with my 17hh horse. Saves a lot of wear and tear on my tendonitis prone right shoulder and keeps the cinch out of the way.

That is the way I teach it also.

Are your horses single-tied or cross-tied? Hard to do in a typical cross-tie stall – not enough room to swing.

No cross ties here, not something I have ever used!

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The cross tie stalls we had in the majority of training barns I’ve worked in were typically 12×12, I still swung saddles this way, except from the off/right side. One less trip to make around the horse to drop cinches when you saddle 30 head a day. No issues with not having enough room. Same with saddling in a box stall, tie rail, trailer, etc.

I put my english saddles on like this. How else do you chuck up a Western?!

When I had a very heavy Colorado roping saddle, I used to have to do the clean and jerk method. Hoist it to the chest then almost over head. While doing this, you hope your horse is okay with a saddle that suddenly grew legs coming at him and set it down. I was training a young mustang and the sight of this saddle over my head was too much for him so he was squirreling around and the saddle was too heavy for me to hold it that way and chase him around with it so I put it away, did some ground work and then took the saddle to a local tack shop, put it on consignment, and bought a much lighter one that I didn’t have to do weight lifting moves to get it on my horse.

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I’ve always put my western on same as my English, grab by centre of pommel and cantle and throw it on. Holding the saddle asymmetricaly like this, gives much better ‘heft’

Only yesterday must of done it wrong and managed to hit myself in the face with the horn…


Thanks for posting this! I’m about to order my first western saddle and I’m getting older. I’ll give this method a try.

I don’t swing it up. I can’t due to my left shoulder. I do hold it front & back and just lift it and set it gently in place? I don’t think that is wrong.


I use the underside of the gullet and the back of the saddle where it laces together.

I tried the way it’s shown here and while it was clumsy, I did have a greater sense of control on setting it down (I’m short with 2 heavy leather saddles).