How to Tack Up a Horse? 5 Easy Steps Explained

Tacking up a horse is one of the essential parts of riding a horse with comfort and full safety. When you are thinking of riding on your favorite animal, you should prepare him first.

But the problem is that many of the horse owners don’t know how to tack up a horse. Tacking up a horse seems harder for them. It’s a matter of fun to saddle up the horse.

How to Tack Up a Horse

You need to be conscious of a few things and set up things accordingly. Otherwise, you may face accidents or discomfort while riding on the horse. However, I am here to open the box of the secret!

How to tack up a horse?

Let’s know the meaning of “tack-up.” Tack, a word refers to all the things or equipment we use to ride a horse. The list of these things includes bridles, saddle, stirrups and some other gears.

These types of equipment are equipped on the back of the horse. Tack up means to set up these things. There are two common forms of how to tack your horse.

English and Western, both styles are common to the horse riders. I am sharing with you the information about how to do it in the English style.

How to tack up a horse for English riding

There are several steps to follow to tack up a horse for English riding. These are very simple to understand and take the ideas into the task.

1.Secure your horse

This is the first step to do when you are tacking up the horse. Most of the time, we forget to do this step. Without securing your horse, you won’t be able to put things on the horse. Cross tie or tie the horse to a hitching post.

It helps to keep your horse staying in the right place. You will get some benefits too. During the processes, you may find riddle if you don’t tie the horse. You can use quick release snaps or slip knots during the tie of the horse for safety.

It helpful for your horse to keep the horse calm and free him faster. You can hold him with the rope after tying up.

2.Groom, the horse

Grooming the horse is the next step after securing him. It’s the step to clean your horse. Horses may get dirt, mud, dry sweat build-ups, etc. on his body. These nasty things make the horse unstable and cause skin irritation and also slight pain.

They also create saddle sores, which make the horse least interested in carrying you on the ride. You can use a body brush and a dandy brush to remove all the debris from the horse’s body.

The body brush is soft-bristled, whereas dandy brush contains hard or tough bristles. A body brush is safe for any area of the horse’s body. But the dandy brush is different.

As it has hard bristles, you should use this to remove excess dirt, mud, and fallen hair. Remember, you should not apply this brush on a horse’s legs or face. Because the bristles may hurt these most sensitive areas.

Now, what you need to do is to clean all the horse’s hooves with a practical hoof pick. Stand right next to the horse facing his tail. The horse will raise his foot when you squeeze gently by running your hand down to his leg slowly.

Keep one hand on the hoof to support it and use another one to remove all the debris with hoof pick. Clean the hoof thoroughly. The frog or the center of the hook can get hurt if you put less attention to clean the hoof with a pick.

You should not leave tiny stones in the hooves which may lead both of you to injury. Check the shoes if your horse wears them. Make sure it’s tight and holding the legs properly. I suggest you get help from a farrier to prevent any mistake or redundancy related to horseshoes.

3.Saddle up your horse

Saddling up the horse is the next step you need to follow. Position the saddle pad gently in the way that the front side rests on horse’s withers. Keep the saddle pad flat on the back of the horse.

Be careful not to fold or tuck the saddle pad in. Keep the front of these things in the same line: saddle, pommel, and the front of the saddle pad. Then, slide the saddle by 2 inches back carefully.

Don’t slide back the paddle further. Now, make sure the saddle pad is touching underneath the pommel. Pulling up the top of the pad will do this. However, the whole thing will seem like a small tent.

The size of the English saddle is smaller than the Western saddle. So, the weight of the saddle is also reduced. It helps the horse feel comfy. The design of the English saddles keeps the horse rider close to the horse.

These saddles are good for short to medium rides. The last thing of this step is to buckle up the girth. You should attach the girth to the billets. Do it on the right side of the saddle. It’s effortless to do; just buckle the girth solely in the place.

Now, it’s time to move on to the left side. Reach under the belly of the horse and grasp the girth firmly. Then bring the girth beneath the horse’s belly. Do it carefully to rest it flat and tie it to the billets.

4.Putting on the bridle

This step starts with undoing the halter noseband of the horse. It would help if you did this before you put the bridle on the horse. Harness helps to communicate while you ride on the horse.

Untie the noseband with leaving the halter attached around his neck. It helps to bridle up the horse securely. Use your right hand to hold the bridle. Bring the reins over the horse’s face to the rest of the neck.

You can catch the English bridles with both of your hands. Now, place the horse bit to his mouth. Hold the bridle with your right hand. Then bring the arm (the right one) under the horse’s head to the face’s front side.

Then place the left hand’s fingers on any side of the bit. Then gently guide the bit to the mouth of the horse. It’s time to pull up the headpiece over the horse’s ears. Keep the headpiece resting flat behind the ears.

Don’t leave the straps twisted. Tie the throat latch and noseband with snug. Bring the latch over to the left cheek of the horse. Buckle the noseband up from his nose gently.

5.Mounting up the horse

This is the final step of how to tack up a horse. Undo the quick-release knot in the lead rope. Then remove the halter of the horse. You should follow these things:

Check out that your horse is tacked up well. Look for any issues with resting the bridle and reins flat. Loose them if they are tight on a horse. Tighten the girth on the horse snugly. Without tugging the girth tightly, you will face problem while riding on the horse.

Now you can mount on your horse without any tension. First, ride on the horse to the shortest area. If everything is okay, then you are good to go.

How to tack up a horse English for beginners

As you are already known to the significant steps to tack up horses, this section will help you more. Beginners who don’t know how to tack up may seem more robust.

But when you follow the steps carefully, it won’t bother you anymore. Here are the steps:

How to ride a horse for beginners? Or, how do you ride a horse for the first time?

Horse riding is always fun, energizing, and exciting sports to do. Riding on the horse is simple. But if you haven’t ridden on the horse yet at least once, you may face awkward situations. Here are some safety tips  and strategies to ride a horse for the beginners:

Safety tips

Is riding a horse easy?

It’s all about practice and gaining knowledge. In my opinion, horse riding is not easy nor sturdy to do. You have to observe an experienced rider. Try the earlier mentioned methods to make the horse riding an easy task.

How long does it take to learn to ride a horse?

Learning horse riding requires time. You can learn to hop on the horse within the first week. But it will take months to ride without any problems. If you wish to be an expert horse rider, there is no alternative to practice.

You should know how to tack up a horse first. Because this will help you to understand how you are going to sit on the horse and start leading him.

How do you ride a horse without bouncing?

It would be best if you made sure that everything is in line. You need to balance your body on the horse properly. Leaning too much forward or backward may decrease the horse movement.

It will make the horse tired soon. Even you won’t feel relax while riding on the horse. The excellent alignment of riding on a horse is: a flat back, open chest, feet under center, hip, knee, and ankle joints soft, upper arms hanging, and wrist straight.

Differences between English and Western horse riding:

Criterion English horse riding Western horse riding
Saddle weight The saddle is lighter than Western horse saddle Saddle is heavier than the first one
Saddle size Saddle is smaller Saddle is larger
Contact with horse The rider remains closer to the horse Almost no contact with the horse
Rein The rider holds the rein with both hands The rider holds the rein with a single hand
Journey distance Suitable for quick riding in short to middle range Good for a long journey

Frequently asked questions

#1. How do you tack up western style?

  1. Groom your horse before you even consider putting the saddle pad on his back. …
  2. Place the saddle pad on your horse’s back. …
  3. Lift the saddle onto your horse’s back. …
  4. Lower the cinch so it is dangling. …
  5. Tighten the cinch just so it’s secure enough to keep the saddle in place.

#2. How do you saddle a horse in the English style?

Secure your horse first. It’s for the safety and security of you as well as your horse. Groom the horse so that the horse feels jolly and lively while you are up to tack up. Saddle up the horse and be careful about buckling it.

Put the bridle on the horse as it helps you to communicate appropriately. Test and mount on the horse.

#3. How do you groom and tack up a pony?

Secure your horse first. Pick the horse’s hooves. Use a body brush to clean all over the body. Use a dandy brush to clean excessive dirt, mud, hairs. Clean the horse again with a soft brush.

Clean the horse face. Brush the mane and tail of your horse. Spray fly sprays on the horse body for keeping the fly away of the horse.

#How do you tack and brush a horse?

Groom your horse before tacking him up. You can use a soft body brush to clean all over the body. Dandy brush is suitable for cleaning tough stains, dirt, and muds.

Do you put the saddle or bridle on first?

Answer: First, you need to saddle up the horse. Then you can put on the bridle.


In this article, you have all the information about how to tack up a horse. Western or English, both styles are almost the same when it’s about tacking up.

You should follow all the above steps to complete the job happily. The horse is like our friend. We should be aware of the horse’s health and safety while riding and tacking up the horse.

Do not put heavy loads on the horse unnecessarily. Take care of your horse and use high-quality equipment to prevent any accidents. Happy Journey!


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