Conditioning Your Horse to the First Pull on the Latigo
When working with your colt, getting the horse ready for its first saddling, here is one way to condition your colt to better accept the pressure from the latigo and cinch.
1. Take a piece of soft rope 8 feet long and ¾ inch in diameter.
2. Tie a bowline knot to form a loop in one end.
3. Place the bowline end of the rope over the back of the colt, come under the belly, grasp the bowline, and place the loose end of the rope through the knot. Make sure the smooth side of the knot is against the horse.
4. Gently move the rope back and forth under the belly behind the front shoulder. As the horse begins to accept the soft rope, increase the pressure by pulling the rope tighter. As the colt accepts more pressure, take more slack out of your rope.
5. When the rope is as tight as a cinch and latigo would be, tie-off the rope to the bowline knot.
6. Leave your horse tied up at the hitch rail wearing the bowline-tied rope for a period of time. Be sure to stay where you can observe the horse in case of problems.
If you do this procedure for several days, increase the length of time the horse wears the bowline-tied rope each day. Soon your colt will become accustomed to the pressure from the soft rope in the cinch area and will not be troubled by it. This will help accustom the colt to pressure around its cinch area and the horse will not be surprised by the pull on the latigo during its first saddling.
This trick will also sometimes help an older horse that is “cinchy.”
Article by Mike Laughlin, Photos by Lee Raine