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What to do with a horse that is girthy, pulls back and really difficult to saddle? Saddling Problems

Original Question

What to do with a horse that is girthy, pulls back and really difficult to saddle?

Angie’s Answer

The video is called ‘Working Through a Saddling Problem with a Horse that Pulls Back and or Squashes Handler when Being Saddled’

You will find the video under the GW – Problem Solving and RW – Saddling.

Below is a description to the video:…/working-through-a…/


23.23 minutes – In this video Angie helps a participant with a saddling problem. Earlier in the day they said that the horse has gotten worried on numerous occasions and never been great with the saddling process. She said that the horse gets anxious before the saddle even goes on and tries to squash her up against the wall. The horse has also pulled back at different times before and during saddling. Before even working with the horse Angie knows that the handler would have missed lots of critical steps in the saddling process and just not read all the things the horse would have been doing in their body to say that they are not okay with the next step. People don’t intentionally miss these steps, they just don’t have the experience at the time to read all their horses feedback. When teaching horses to be saddled during starting (backing/breaking in) or addressing saddling problem issues Angie never, ever ties a horse up. This only makes the horse feel even more claustrophobic, often if horses haven’t really accepted the saddle and girth and then get tied up too early when they are not relaxed this only adds to the pressure and exacerbates the problem. Ideally Angie would have like to have worked this horse with a bareback pad first but didn’t have one, she would have also like to have worked with the horse for a few days in a row. However, in under 20 minutes of working with the horse and acknowledging it’s thresholds and letting the horse know that she is seeing that she is not okay and using approach and retreat while working through saddling her she relaxes and lets down so much. At the end of the session the horse does lots of yawning and eye rolling. This is because she has relaxed and Angie acknowledge that she wasn’t okay and didn’t move onto the next step until she was okay.



Angie Wicks

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