Removing saddle before bridle after riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Removing saddle before bridle after riding?

Those who have read some of my posts know we have a new horse which we bought for my 10 year old daughter who has been riding for four years. She had a coach for about a year who initiated her to jumping and did some great progress with her. But now we've moved the horse closer to us and decided to try a different coach (the old one is now an hour away). I've had doubts about her before, which I expressed in a different thread, but overall, I thought my daughter was doing well with her. Except that on her third lesson with her, she was pretty harsh and said some things that I really wondered about. She seemed to be in a bad mood that day and was quite critical of my daughter. When my daughter tugged a little on the bridle to get her horse's attention (he is an Arab and a real sweetheart, but easy to distract), she told her in a fairly aggressive manner that it was cruelty to animals and that her horse would never trust her. I thought ok, I get that she wants my daughter to respect her horse, but it was a bit harsh.

The lesson went ok, although when tacking up, when my daughter put on the saddle and her horse took a step forward on the cross-ties, she got upset, made my daughter take the saddle off the horse, show it to him, let him smell it, got her to touch the horse on the shoulder with the saddle, then put it on his back. Now, this is a 15 year old been there, done that, very well-trained horse. He doesn't make a habit of moving away from the saddle, but if he did and she responded by removing the saddle, wouldn't that just give him the idea that this is a great way to get the saddle off?

She went on to criticize a lot of my daughter's technique to the point where my daughter just gave me the bridle and asked me to do it for her since this is something she struggles with and she didn't want to get ragged out again.

Anyway, back to the lesson. The one thing that drives me nuts about this coach is that she praises the horse often by patting him, kissing him on the nose, etc., right in the middle of the lesson. He is a very sweet, loving horse and loves attention so after a while, he would just keep walking over to her for attention and she kept reinforcing it. Meantime, my daughter is trying to learn to ride without using reins - just her seat and legs. And she gets ragged on again when the horse decides to go to the middle of the arena to get attention from the coach.

But what really annoyed me was after the lesson, when we went back into the barn to untack. We led the horse to the cross ties, put the reins over his head for control and proceeded to undo the bridle to put him on cross times. She stopped us and said no, you have to take the saddle off first. This makes no sense to me. How is she going to hold her horse if she has to take the girth and saddle off and put them on a saddle rack? It seems much more risky to try to hold onto the end of the reins of a loose horse while putting away a saddle than to just take the bridle off, put him on cross ties, then take the saddle off. Am I way off base on this? It could very well be, because my formal riding instruction is extremely limited, but it seems odd to me.
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post #2 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:15 AM
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Get a different instructor.

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post #3 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:18 AM
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I'm no expert, by any means, but it sounds like this person doesn't have the patience to teach children. It also sounds like she's got some strange ideas. I've never heard of taking the saddle off before the bridle. Where I have Diva, we place the halter loosely around the neck, remove the bridle, halter up, then walk to the tie out area, where saddle removal signifies the end of our working session. THEN we get to share personal space (at my invitation) and have a carrot or two.

We do pet Diva to reward her for good behavior but that is something that happens as we're working, when she does something well. It's not something we disrupt our lesson to do.
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post #4 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:20 AM
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Have to say, I don't like the sounds of that trainer at all.

Personally, if I am at a place where tying the horse is an option, the bridle comes off first and the horse is tied before the saddle is removed.

Did you ask the trainer why she wanted the saddle off first? I would be interested in her reason.. and would also have very politely asked to see her demonstrate her technique, so your daughter could "do it correctly."
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post #5 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:21 AM
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yeah some of that sounds strange to me as well, I may praise my boy, but only off him, or if he does something really good, like going by the scary woods spot without stopping or hesitating , and I only give minimal treats, he has to be a good boy and earn them, the previous owner gave treat after treat and I was a culture shock to him because he had to realize I wasn't carrying around treats in every pocket..LOL
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post #6 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:35 AM
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"You picked up a weirdo."--Kermit the Frog, "The Muppet Movie"
It never hurts the horse to be asked to work and to be asked to be patient. Still, stepping on the reins and yanking the mouth with the bit is a great way to injure the horse's mouth. If I had time to search you will discover that a great many find horseman have taken the time to point out that, unbridle first, or unbridle, tie up, and leave the saddle on, just loosened. THAT is enough reason to dump this instructor.
VERY STRANGE!!! I used my own horses for my lesson program, which is not often found. If ANYBODY had a reason to kiss a horse's nose, I did, but that was not the kind of praise that created my bombproof horses. Certainly, my QH, "Ro Go Bar", (1982-2009, RIP), which I bought as a very skittish 7yo who had "failed" as a cowhorse, according to the seller at the auction, became my best babysitter, but is was because my mostly teenage students petted and cooed over him, brought him carrots and gave him courage and meaning.
My Arabian, "Corporal", (1982-2009, RIP), who I bought as a green 4yo, didn't need this and became a great horse because he was worked.
Your daughter is your primary concern. It sounds like you found a good horse for her.
I am sure that there are other instructors in your area, and one might take her very far. I couldn't do that, because I was only a mid level jumper, but you also might find someone like me, who could train your daughter to fine tune her flat riding and drill gymnastic exercises. Too often the jumping becomes the "thing" and the foundation, which is the Dressaging, is overlooked. Later on, at higher levels, these riders and their horses fall apart. So, the right instructor might be an interim but necessary component in her equestrian education.
Hope this helps!
(Post pictures of your Arab, so that I can drool. =D )

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Hope that you fall in love with "Trot", like I did! https://www.horseforum.com/general-of...queens-617793/
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post #7 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much all! I thought it was madness, quite frankly, for her to suggest taking the saddle off the horse before getting him on cross ties. This is how she explained her reasoning: if the horse gets away from you while you're putting on the halter, he would still have his saddle on and could decide to roll and damage the saddle or hurt himself. Fair enough, but how is it safe to leave a horse untied while taking off the saddle or trying to hold onto the end of the reins (my daughter has learned to always put the reins through her arm if she's adjusting the girth or stirrups) while trying to maneuver a saddle around the barn?

We are trailering out to another coach's property next weekend (the 12th) to try her out. I've heard amazing things about her from other moms whose daughters switched to her and talking on the phone with her last night, was very impressed by her delightful personality. We'll see how my daughter likes her. It will be a hassle if we have to trailer out for lessons, but I'd rather do that than have my daughter learn the wrong things.
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post #8 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:50 AM
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I am also in the camp for looking for a new instructor. In fact, I would say no more lessons with this one as well. That is the most illogical reason I have ever heard.
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post #9 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
Thanks so much all! I thought it was madness, quite frankly, for her to suggest taking the saddle off the horse before getting him on cross ties. This is how she explained her reasoning: if the horse gets away from you while you're putting on the halter, he would still have his saddle on and could decide to roll and damage the saddle or hurt himself. Fair enough, but how is it safe to leave a horse untied while taking off the saddle or trying to hold onto the end of the reins (my daughter has learned to always put the reins through her arm if she's adjusting the girth or stirrups) while trying to maneuver a saddle around the barn?

We are trailering out to another coach's property next weekend (the 12th) to try her out. I've heard amazing things about her from other moms whose daughters switched to her and talking on the phone with her last night, was very impressed by her delightful personality. We'll see how my daughter likes her. It will be a hassle if we have to trailer out for lessons, but I'd rather do that than have my daughter learn the wrong things.
That's nuts. The horse doesn't get away from you because you're holding the reins while you're putting the halter loosely but securely around the neck, then holding the rope in order to maintain control while the bridle comes off. What she's suggesting should never happen if you're doing things right.
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post #10 of 134 Old 12-01-2015, 11:52 AM
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You're not wrong in any of this.

Who teaches leg & body cues without reins as back up? Why would the horse even have to listen if there is no rein correction for ignoring the other cues?

I worry that the only thing your daughter will learn from this person it to dislike lessons.
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