Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I'm a little bit of a nutcase, so when I got on my ex-harness racer mare, I did it without a saddle or bridle. I just crawled on and hoped she was feeling charitable that day. Luckily, she didn't feel like making me eat dirt. I've been on her a handful of times in a saddle and not, and she's been quiet each time.
With my colt, I put the saddle on him and just let him chill out. I jogged him around in-hand and let him figure out what to do about the stirrups, cinches and other strange things. When I got on him, I started by simply leaning over the saddle. When he accepted that, I leaned my entire weight over his back. Then we graduated to me mounting and sitting in the saddle very briefly, before dismounting. Since he was just a 2 year old, I didn't overwork him and we eventually worked up to a slow walk around the round pen so he could get used to my weight on his back.