When it comes to saddling a colt for the first time, I always assume the colt is going to break in two. I would say that 50 percent of colts buck the first time they’re saddled and 50 percent don’t. It’s almost impossible to tell which colts will buck and which ones won’t. Sometimes the spookiest, most reactive colts won’t even think about bucking, while the ones that are dead quiet and bombproof will buck their hearts out.
The safest approach is to assume every colt will buck and to take the necessary precautions so you’re not caught off guard. How the first few saddling sessions go sets the stage for the rest of a horse’s career. Remember, when you do something to a horse for the first time, you plant a seed. When you do it again, it becomes a habit. When you do it for a third time, it becomes an ingrained habit. If it’s a good thing, it’s a good habit. If it’s a bad thing, it’s a bad habit. You want to be sure you’re instilling good habits in your horse right from the start.