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Horse Nervous When Saddling

Many horses may be apprehensive or nervous when saddling. This can make the process unpleasant for both of you. There are several steps you can take to ease your horse’s nervousness and make the process more enjoyable for you both.

First, before you even consider saddling your horse. Groom him and check carefully for any sores that may cause discomfort for your horse. This could be the main reason for your horse’s anxiety. Once you have ruled out this possibility you can move on knowing that the cause of the nervousness is not pain.

Some experts suggest exercising the horse prior to saddling to reduce excessive energy. This may be a good option if your horse is in a stall most of the time.

Make sure that the blanket is not laid in such a way that causes the horses hair backward; this can be uncomfortable for the horse. Let the horse see and smell the blanket so they see it is of no danger to them.

Touch your horse often and speak to him constantly. Be reassuring and calm. Horses, like people, tend to hold their breath when nervous. Feed your horse grain throughout the process. If your horse is chewing, he cannot hold his breath. Not to mention, using the grain during the saddling process will make a positive connection for the horse.

Move slowly and deliberately throughout the saddling. Quick movements may startle the horse. Place the saddle on his back. Try to avoid dropping it or throwing it on the horse. Check to make sure that the saddle itself fits properly and that this is not the cause of the problem.

Tighten the cinch slowly and smoothly. Do not jerk it up quickly. You want the horse to be able to get use to the pressure gradually. Keep your move steady.

Other possible tips may be to tie your horse differently, saddle from the other side, maybe groom longer. There are numerous possibilities that could make your horse more comfortable with the overall process. It may take longer if your horse for an older horse to come around, as they are already trained and have a preconceived notion of this process. Just remember, the more comfortable your horse is with you; the better they will respond to your efforts. It will take time for the horse to relax and re-train, but patience and perseverance will pay off.

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