As horse owners, you know the importance of having the right horse tack. Whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned pro, it's essential to have gear that will keep you safe and help you and your horse perform your best.
What kind of horse tack do you need? It depends on what you do with your horse. Are you an english or western rider? Do you ride for leisure? A simple saddle, bridle and some riding apparel is probably all you need. Do you compete? Then there are many more products that can give you an edge over the competition.
In this post, we'll look at horse tack on the market today and how it can improve your riding experience. Stay safe and ride on!
WHY DO YOU NEED HORSE TACK FOR RIDING?
Horse tack was simply invented for the riders comfort. A horse would be just fine without a saddle and bridle, but when you're riding, you need to be able to control the horse and stay safe. If you don't have the proper horse tack, you are at a disadvantage. The horse tack helps you to stay on the horse and gives you the leverage you need to control it. That's why it's so important to make sure that you have everything you need from your favorite equestrian brand before you get on a horse.
IS horse tack EXPENSIVE?
It depends on what you need. If you are just starting, you can buy horse tack for affordable prices. There are many local tack shops that sell entry level brands that wont break the bank. But if you want to compete, you will need to invest in some good quality horse tack. Keep in mind, regardless of what level you are riding at, good quality tack takes time to produce. If you find yourself feeling the sticker shock of a brand new saddle, second hand tack is available.
Horses are not cheap either and they require a lot of care and attention. So it all depends on your level of commitment and how much money you are willing to spend. Quite literally, you can spend any amount you want. Just be aware that cheaper tack may affect quality.
What HORSE TACK do you need?
A saddle is a piece of horse tack placed on the back of a horse to enable riding. It is the main point of contact between horse and rider, and as such, plays a vital role in the horse's performance and the rider's ability to control the animal. It supports the rider's weight and provides a comfortable seat.
A properly fitting saddle is important for both the horse's comfort and the rider's ability to control the animal. Improperly fitting saddles can cause pain and injury to both horses and riders. It is an essential part of horse tack.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SADDLES?
There are so many types of saddles depending on the type of riding you do you. Most North Americans either ride western or english. With that come western or english saddles, and in those two categories, are even more types of saddles, for each different type of discipline.
English saddles cover any of the saddles used in a number of english disciplines. Dressage riders use dressage saddles, jumpers use close contact saddles, and for those who do it all, an all purpose saddle can be the best choice. English saddles tend to be lighter than western saddles. They're usually much simpler and put the rider closer to the horse.
Western saddles are used in Western riding disciplines such as barrel racing, roping, and trail riding. They provide a more secure seat and offer greater comfort for long hours in the saddle. They are usually heavier than english saddles, and offer more stability for every day ranching and farm work.
The western saddles are composed of several parts: the tree, the seat, the flaps, the panels, the girth, the stirrups, D rings, the pommel, skirts, cantle and gullet. Read more about western saddles and all its parts in our saddle anatomy blog.
Western saddles have horns on the front, and english saddles do not. The horn on the western saddle serves a distinct purpose. First of all it can be used to hold on to. Seems straight forward enough right? More importantly its used for roping and dallying cattle. Wrapping a rope around the horn while trying to move cattle or calves can secure them quickly and be of great help when needing to administer medication or simply check out the livestock.
Breastplates are used to keep the saddle in place. They are used in both english and western riding, depending on the discipline. It is used to keep the saddle from slipping back. When fitting a breastplate it is important to keep it tight enough to the horse's chest so that it doesn't get caught in a hoof, but not so tight that it cuts off circulation or rubs along the chest.
Martingales helps prevent the animal from getting its head up or down too far. When the horse gets its head down, it can pull the rider forwards and out of the saddle. If the horses head comes up too high, you can be badly injured. There are two types of martingales. Standing and running. Standing martingales have one strap that attaches to the horses nose band. A running martingale has a Y shaped "fork" that attaches to each one of the reins. A running martingale gives much more freedom than a standing martingale.
A crupper is a strap that goes under the horse's tail and attaches to the back of the saddle. The purpose of the saddle crupper is to keep the saddle from sliding forward on the horse's back. This is an important safety feature, as it can prevent the rider from being thrown off the horse if the saddle were to shift. Cruppers are generally used by tiny round ponies. Small chubby ponies can tend to be hard to fit when it comes to saddles, and quite often they can slip around. With a crupper in place, the saddle stays more secure.
A saddle pad is an important piece of horse tack. It is a piece of padding placed under the saddle that increases comfort. Saddle pads can come in english and western style. Western saddle pads, much like western saddles tend to be bigger and heavier than english saddle pads. Western pads are often made out of wool. They're rectangle in shape and cover much more of the horses back than english saddle pads.
English saddle pads can vary in size and shape depending on the discipline you ride and the saddle you own. Dressage pads fit dressage saddles, therefore they are much longer than their jumping counterparts. Technology with saddle pads has come quite a long way. Technical and moisture wicking fabrics keep the horse more comfortable, and helps prevent saddle sores.
It is important to choose a saddle pad that is the correct size and shape for your saddle. If the saddle pad is too big, it can cause the saddle to slip. If it is too small, it will not provide enough cushioning and may cause the animal to become uncomfortable.
We offer unique, durable, breathable and fashionable saddle pads to keep your horse comfortable.
Read our How to take care of your saddle pad blog post to find out everything you need about saddle pads.
There are two parts to stirrups. The stirrup iron and the stirrup leather.
The stirrup irons are loops of metal that go around the rider's foot. They provide balance and support for the rider. They help to keep the rider's feet in the proper position and helps to keep the rider in the saddle.
Stirrup leathers are just that: leather or synthetic straps that are adjustable to fit the length of the riders leg comfortably and to keep them in the saddle. They go under the skirt of the saddle on the stirrup bar, which keeps them securely in place.
We offer a variety of stirrup styles and colors.
HALTER AND LEAD ROPE
A halter and lead rope are used to lead or tie the horse. They are usually made out of leather or nylon and have a crown piece that goes over the horse's head. The halter is attached to a lead rope that the rider holds onto. We always recommend leather halters over nylon for safety, but both can be used safely and effectively. For beautiful leather halter options, check out our halter section.
They go around the horse head and are used to control it. They include the headstall holding a bit as well as reins that are held by the rider. Bridle technology has come a long way in the past years, and most bridles have an anatomical fit, especially around the poll for comfort while riding.
Have a look at our quality bridles.
The bit is a metal piece that is attached to the bridle and goes into the mouth. The horse can then be controlled by the rider. There are a vast array of types of bits on the market today. Some more severe than others.
A hackamore is a bridle that doesn't have a bit. Instead it uses leverage to create pressure points on the horses face. A lot of horses go better without a bit and with a hackamore. There are many horse people who believe that a hackamore is a more gentle bridle as it doesn't need a bit, however it is worth noting that hackamores can be just as harsh as a bitted bridle. The horses face is a very sensitive part of its body with many nerve endings. Misuse of the hackamore can result in major injury.
Horse boots are an essential part of horse tack. Brushing boots are horse boots that protect your horse from leg injuries. These injuries can be caused by impact after a jump or by a knock from opposite legs or hoof. There are many types of specialized boots for various specific activities.
Have a look at our selection of brushing boots to protect your horse and increase its comfort as much as possible.
Bell boots, also known as overreach boots, are a type of horse boot that helps to protect the feet. They are usually made of a tough rubber or strong material and have a bell-shaped design that covers the entire hoof. Bell boots are often used to prevent a horse hitting his front heels with the toes of his back feet. They can be worn while riding or in the paddock. Many people choose to turn their horses out with bell boots to mitigate the risk of their horse pulling off a shoe with outdoor antics.
Have a look at our selection of bell boots and give your horse the protection it deserves. Plus they will look great.
Tendon boots are designed to protect the front legs from strikes by the hind hooves. They are designed from a hard-wearing shell which increases the leg protection after a jump. This makes them ideal for showjumping and cross country disciplines.
Fetlock boots are suited for hind legs. They protect the horse from bruising injuries. Fetlock boots are used for horses that rub their hind legs, and for jumpers.
A lot of people are transitioning their horses to bare feet. Rough terrain can chip away at your horses hooves. Hoof boots fit over the hoof, and protect it from hard ground and rough terrain.
Shipping boots are used when you transport your horse. They can cover a large area of legs preventing them from knocks or impacts in the trailer during the transport.
Other common types of boots are cross country boots, dressage boots or stable boots. These are designed for specific horse activities. All of them have one basic purpose, to protect your horse’s legs and increase their comfort.
RIDING APPAREL for horse owners
Riding pants, known as breeches, are specifically designed for riders. They are usually made out of a comfortable material, and have patches in the seat and legs to protect the rider from being chafed by the saddle. Full seat breeches are used for dressage riders, while knee patch breeches are used for jumping.
English riding boots are traditionally tall and made of leather. Dress boots, for dressage riders are tall, stiff boots that help keep the riders leg in place. They typically have lots of support in the ankle, and not a lot of give.
Field boots are used for jumping. They have laces in the front ankle area. They are typically made of a softer leather and have a flexible ankle to help keep your heels down and help you into two point when you're going over fences.
Paddock boots are short riding boots. They are usually paired with half chaps, and can be zip up or lace up.
A helmet is a must-have piece of equestrian equipment. Most riding schools require all children under 18 to ride with an ASTM certified helmet. There are many different brands of helmets, and all come with different costs. An important factor to keep in mind: a more expensive helmet doesn't necessarily equate to a better quality. As long as your helmet is certified, it is good to use.
The vest protects the rider from spine injuries in case of a fall. Also known as flak jackets, they are a good idea for junior riders. For eventers, flak jackets are required while on the cross country course in the higher levels.
Equestrian gloves protect riders' hands from being chafed by the reins.
A crop is technically a whip. It is usually made out of leather or nylon and has a handle that the rider holds onto. The end of the crop is usually made out of a soft material such as fleece or sheepskin. Rider uses it to guide and control the horse.
Spurs are worn on the rider's boots and are used to refine the aids. They are usually made out of metal and have a point that presses into the horse's side. There are varying degrees of severity in spurs. Button spurs are small little nubs, usually used on an extra sensitive horse, or a young horse just being trained. Rowel spurs should be saved for the highest level of riders, as they have a wheel at the end, with projecting points. Misuse of these spurs can cause injury to the horses sides.
You can select from our functional and esthetic spurs.
CHAPS OR HALF CHAPS
Chaps or half chaps are worn over the rider's boots. They help to protect the rider's legs from being chafed by the saddle or from being scratched by the horse.
Grooming tools are used to take care of the horse while it’s not being ridden. .
A horse brush helps to remove mud and straw from the horse's coat. There are specialized brushes used for the horse's back, belly or head, and face.
MANE AND TAIL COMB
A mane and tail comb can remove tangles from the horse's mane and tail.
A hoof pick is used to remove dirt and stones from the horse's hooves.
A curry comb is used to remove dirt and mud from the horse's coat. It has short, stiff bristles that massage the horse's skin and help to stimulate blood flow.
A sweat scraper is a tool that is used to help remove sweat and water from the horse's coat.
The fly spray helps to keep flies off of the horse. It is usually made out of an insecticide and water. It is applied to the horse's coat with a sponge or brush.
Feed pan for individual feeding. Feed container to hold feed. Water trough or large water buckets to keep your horse watered.
BARN AND PASTURE EQUIPMENT
Pitch fork, manure fork, stable broom and wheelbarrow are important barn tools that keep the horse’s home clean and healthy.
Wow! That is a lot of horse tack. And you're probably thinking "a lot of money too". Don't be afraid. You don't need to purchase all the horse tack from top equestrian brands. Have a look at special offers in our collection. We carry various equine equipment like brushing boots, bell boots, browbands, saddle pads, stirrups, spurs and various apparel for riders. Browse our shop while our stock lasts.