How to Bridle and Saddle a Horse

The first step in learning how to ride a horse is bridling the steed and then saddling it. Saddles provide comfort for riders during long treks, while reins allow them control over their mounts

Bridling and saddling a horse is an important part of the horse care process. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to put a saddle on your horse in Minecraft.

Vintage man cowboy throwing saddle onto horse.

Going to my grandfather’s ranch in Bosque Farms, New Mexico, and riding horses was one of my favorite childhood memories. Sugar was the name of the “grandkids’ horse.” That horse was one of my favorites. Grandpa normally performed all the saddling himself since I was only knee height to a grasshopper. I never got to saddle her since Grandpa sold the old ranch while I was still a kid.

Seventeen years later, I thought it was past time for me to pick up this talent I had neglected as a kid. Sure, it’s not exactly a basic life skill if you’re a city slicker or suburbanite, but it’s one of those things that’s cool to know (like how to throw a knife) and can help you avoid being called “punkin lily,” “young squirt,” “googoo,” “Jane Dandy,” or “dude” the next time you go on a cattle drive with Billy Crystal (those were just some of the names veteran Dakota cowboys called Theodore Roosevelt before he learned the ropes of ranching).

I went to Meadow Lake Ranch in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, to learn how to saddle up from our favorite cigar-chomping, tomahawk-throwing cowboy, Tom Warren. Here’s what Tom demonstrated to me.

Let’s get this party started!

Bridling a Horse is a technique for tying a horse’s reins.

We need to put on the bridle before we can put the saddle on the horse. The bridle is a piece of horse equipment that enables you to control and lead your horse. It consists of a bit that goes into the horse’s mouth and some leather straps that go around the horse’s nose and head. The reins are connected to the bit and used to “guide” the horse.

How to bridle a horse is as follows:

Vintage Tom left the horse harness on the hors and tied him to a hitching post for safety purposes.

Tom left the horse harness on the horse and tethered him to a hitching post for safety reasons since I was with people who had never been around horses before. If you like, you may remove the harness before bridling a horse. Tom strokes the horse lightly between the eyes before putting the bridle on him to calm him down and reassure him that he’s in good hands. When you stroke the horse on the muzzle, he lowers his head, making bridling simpler.

Vintage tom putting the bit in the horse's mouth.

Now is the moment to insert the bit into the mouth. We need to know where the bit should go before we show Tom placing it in the horse’s mouth. The interdental gap, or “bars,” is a space between the horse’s incisors (or canines, if present) and molars where there are no teeth. As seen above, the bit will be inserted into the interdental space.

Holding the bridle over the horse's muzzle with right hand and hold the bit in left.

Hold the bit in your left hand and the bridle over the horse’s muzzle with your right. Position the bit against the horse’s lips. Place your thumb in the interdental gap of the horse’s mouth and wiggle it around to urge the horse to expand its mouth and accept the bit. Guide the bit lightly past the horse’s front incisor teeth and into the interdental space as the horse opens its mouth. As you’re doing this, be cautious not to hit the horse’s teeth with the bit.


Vintage sliding the crown of the bridle over the horse's ears.

Slide the top of the bridle over the horse’s ears while the bit is in place. One ear at a time should be done. To get the crown over the ears, fold the ears back or forward. When you’re doing this, try not to draw the bridle up too high, since this will drag the bit into the horse’s mouth.

Vintage fasten the buckles on the bridle.

Secure all of the bridle’s buckles. Make it snug enough to keep the horse safe, but loose enough to allow him to bend his neck and mouth.

The Right Bit Position

After you’ve bridled the horse, double-check that the bit is properly positioned in the interdental space. The “wrinkle technique,” which includes looking at the horse’s mouth and counting the amount of wrinkles in the corner of its mouth where the mouth meets the bit, has traditionally been used to evaluate proper bit placement. The more creases in the horse’s mouth, the more consistent pressure the bit applies to the horse’s lips, and the more it feels when you draw back on the reins. To summarize, you don’t want too many creases in the horse’s mouth since the bit would become unbearably unpleasant for it.

The number of wrinkles that is considered suitable varies from horseman to horseman. Some argue that one is sufficient, while others argue that two is sufficient. Of course, there are riders who believe the wrinkle technique is nonsense and that a horse’s mouth should be free of wrinkles.

Tom’s ranch’s manger had two wrinkles, but he was modest enough to say that horse philosophy wasn’t his thing.

Vintage horse with no wrinkles in corner of the mouth.

There are no creases in the horse’s mouth corner. It’s possible that the bit is too low in its mouth. You run the danger of the bit contacting the horse’s teeth if the bit is too loose in the mouth. That irritates horses.

Vintage horse with two wrinkles at the corner of his mouth.

Two wrinkles in the corner of his lips on a horse. This, according to some riders, shows good bit placement.

How to Put a Horse in a Saddle

It’s time to saddle up your horse now that he’s been bridled. Here’s how to do it.

Vintage how to saddle a horse illustration.

Learn all there is to know about your saddle. The cinch, cinch ring, latigo, and D-ring are the pieces we’ll be dealing with when saddling a horse.

Vintage the area between the horse's crest neck and back.

Find the withers of the horse. It’s the region between the crest (neck) and the back of the horse.

Vintage placing the saddle pad high on the horse's withers.

Place the saddle pad on the horse’s withers as high as possible.

Vintage sliding the pad a bit down on the horse's back.

Slide the pad down the horse’s back a little. The hair on the horse’s back will lay flat under the pad and saddle as a result of this. The pad’s front edge should start where the horse’s withers do.

Vintage placing the saddle on the horse illustration.

Place the saddle on the horse, ensuring that it is properly centered.

Vintage the big strap that goes underneath the horse.

It’s time to tighten up the front (yellow finger) It’s the large strap that wraps over the horse’s back. As Tom is doing here, lace the latigo (red finger) through the front cinch ring.


Vintage bringing the end of the latigo back up towards the saddle.

Return the end of the latigo to the saddle, tightening the front cinch in the process. Make sure it’s not too tight. You should know that a horse needs to breathe.

Vintage pulling the end of the latigo through the d-ring on the saddle.

Pull the latigo’s end through the saddle’s D-ring and back down to the cinch ring, as shown above. Pull the latigo back up towards the saddle by lacing the end of the latigo through the cinch ring once more.

Vintage saddled a horse finished process illustration.

I’m almost done. The latigo will be tied off with a “Texas T” knot, as seen below.

Vintage pulling the end of the latigo through the d-ring from the outside.

Pull the end of the latigo through the D-ring from the outside in to make a Texas T knot. Pull it towards the horse’s shoulder. Then bring the latigo’s end over and towards the horse’s back. Bring the latigo to the front by passing it behind the D-ring and through the ring. A horizontal loop should be exactly under the D-ring. Pull the latigo’s end through the loop and tighten it.

The people at 5 Minute Horse Lessons demonstrate how to tie the Texas T knot in this video. It’s really simple to follow:


Vintage saddled a horse illustration.

That concludes our discussion. You’ve mounted a steed. Let’s get this party started! Heeyah!

That concludes our discussion. You’ve mounted a steed. Let’s get this party started! Heeyah!

Tom deserves special praise for taking the time to teach me how to throw a tomahawk. If you ever find yourself in Oklahoma, I strongly advise you to spend a weekend at Meadowlake Ranch. Tomahawk throwing, long bow shooting, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting are all popular pastimes. At Tom’s property, you can probably do anything. 



The “how to put a western saddle on a horse” is one of the most important skills that someone can learn. It’s also very easy to do, and it doesn’t take much time at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a saddle or bridle go on first?

A: The saddle or bridle goes on first, before the horse is saddled.

How do you saddle a horse step by step?

A: Here is a detailed step by step guide on how to saddle up your horse. In this article, I will be referring to the Saddle Method as opposed to other methods like The Western and English Bridles which are also used in riding horses.

How do you saddle a horse for beginners?

A: In order to saddle a horse, you need to be able to put your left foot in the stirrup and hold on with your right hand. You then use your other arm straps around the horses body while holding on tight with both of those arms.

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