Tacking Up


There are countless pieces of horse tack for sale.  On top of each piece of equipment you have the multiple brands that compete for your money.  We want to give you a simplistic overview of horse tack on the market so you can get off the computer and onto your horse.  Our equipment will be based off of a quarter horse participating in jumping and activities of the similar type. You can buy used tack online as well as in stores.  Always remember to do thorough research before getting tack that is already used.

We are going to cover the following: •    saddles •    girths •    stirrups

•    bridles and bits

Saddles

A big factor of riding comfort has to do with the saddle.  Not only do you want to be comfortable but your horse needs that comfort as well.  You could be in the saddle all day or a half an hour depending on what activity you participate in.  We are looking at saddles that are used for activities such as jumping or eventing.  Try to avoid buying online saddles.  Online saddles can be hard to judge for comfort; instead, try to find a company close by that will let you try a saddle.  In most cases businesses will let you try saddles out, especially if they are used.

Tackwholesale.com:

Tackwholesale offers many cheap end saddles that still hold up relatively well.  Just remember the saying, “You get what you pay for.”   We would never recommend going under five hundred dollars.  In general, the lower you pay the lower the quality.  If you want something that looks nice you can find cheaper saddles that are fake leather or a synthetic but they break fairly easily.  Tack wholesale does have some great saddles but try to fit your horse first.  You don’t want to buy a 600 dollar saddle that in the end is bad for your horse.

Stubben:

Stubben is hands down a favorite among many.  Prices range from approximately $2,000 to $6,000 for a saddle.  These are on the more expensive side of the spectrum but the quality and workmanship is unbeatable.  Our more specific choice would be the Roxane S Deluxe jumping saddle.  Some things to note about this saddle (but holds true for many others) are the billets are one sturdy piece of leather not two pieces stitched together, the color has no streaking or run off but rather stays the same and lastly, the leather takes shapes after two to three rides.

There is plenty more about Stubben that will impress you.  One of the greatest things their company provides is testing centers to try out a saddle before you buy it.  Check out this video to learn more!

Girths

Many people will dish out money on a saddle but then spend little on a cheap girth.  This piece of equipment is more important then many people think.  Lets think about where the girth sits.  Look at these two pictures below. Pictured on the left is a horse with its diaphragm highlighted and above a horse marked where the girth goes.  too tight (hard to do) can make it difficult for the horse in breathing.  If the girth is the wrong size or wrong material the horse will get agitated and can act up.

If you have a horse that tends to act up, they can learn to puff out their chest so you can’t fasten the girth tight enough.  Not tightening enough makes the saddle more prone to slide off thus injuring the rider.

Before you buy a girth determine if your horse has any allergies to materials, any skin sensitivity in the area, how they move, and how much they sweat.

 Types of Girths:

Leather girths are more for the traditional look.  They can come in brown and black depending if you are riding dressage or not.  They are easy to care for and will become softer with use.

Neoprene girths are cheaper then many other girths and is easy to take care of.  These girths are often used when riders find that their leather girths are slipping.  Unless your horse is allergic to neoprene these are great girths.

Synthetic girths are similar to both leather and neoprene in the care and affordability.  The biggest difference is the durability with the synthetic girths.

String girths can come in many different types of string.  Many riders choose this girth for the less material in the summer.  This girth is less irritating for most horses.  Some forms, such as the nylon strings, need to be hand washed and take more care.

Wool girths are attached to other girths in cases where a horse needs more cushion.  One of the best things about wool girths are they wick sweat away from the horses body.  The care for this girth is fairly easy.

Stirrups

There are three types of stirrup leathers; Traditional stirrup leathers, Nylon Cord stirrup leathers, and Synthetic Stirrup leathers.  Unless you want to have weak and achy joints after each right, stirrups must be fitted well.  Traditional stirrups tend to last longer and retain their color longer.  Although traditional stirrups are easier to maintain and clean they do get stretched out more often then some others.  Nylon on the other hand was created to avoid that stretching.  Nylon stirrups are great because of that but due to the nylon webbing on the inside of the leather, the stirrups cannot be punched or cut.  The webbing inside of the the leather is not likely to change but the outer layer may not be as durable as the traditional.  As for the synthetic, we don’t think they should be used.  The synthetic material will often scratch up the side of your saddle leather, ruining a possible thousand dollar saddle.  Besides their ease to clean, we don’t see anything great that stands out about them.  There are countless number of companies that sell great stirrups.  You can even go all the way and buy some “bling horse tack” like the ones shown on the right.  Custom horse tack is needed because of how different each horse is.  Diamond studs may not be needed but it is important to fit your tack to your horse.

Bits and Bridles

Bits generally fall into two categories; curb bits and snaffle bits.  With the curb bits, the reins attach to the cheek area of the horse which creates better leverage.  Within the curb bits you have the English bit and the Western bit.  The English bit is often used in a double bit system.  Ultimately this creates finer control.  The western bit is much longer.  This creates more leverage allowing you to have control even with relatively loose reins.  Snaffles include Eggbutt snaffle, D-ring snaffle, Full-cheek snaffle and Loose-ring snaffle.  These each have very specific things that make them unique.  Your horse also has a say in the matter.  You will have to see what your horse handles best.

Bridles have similar names as bits.  Some bridle types are Snaffle bridles, Double bridles, Pelham bridles, Western bridles, Barcoo bridles, Gag bridles, and Halter bridles.  For jumping many people prefer the Pelham bridals but the Double bridles with a flash are becoming more popular.  Bridles will depend greatly on your horse.


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