Category: Equipment

Buyer’s Guide: Different Types of Horse Saddles

For the most comfortable ride on a horse you need the right saddle to sit on. The saddle goes over the horses back and distributes your weight. Having it fitted properly on your horse is essential for both horse and riders sake.

There are a number of different saddles you can buy that are designed for specific purposes. Generally there are the English Riding and Western saddles. The objective when determining what to buy is to decide what you want it for, An example of your choices include pleasure riding, jumping or dressage. That way you already narrow your choice down to your purpose.

Before buying your saddle make sure that you are able to return it if it does not fit your horse. The best way to ensure it fits properly is to have it fitted by a saddle maker or saddle fitter. However there are some rules of thumb techniques you can use if there is no one available to help you.

You can measure the width of your horses back and the width of the inside/underneath of the saddle. Make sure that between the pummel of the saddle and the top of the horses shoulder (wither) you can place three fingers. So it is not just as simple as getting measurements, the real test is putting the saddle on the horse.

When it is properly fitted it will allow the horse to move freely with no strain or restriction. Minor fitting problems can be helped with the use of a pad or blanket. This type of padding will not correct or compensate for a poor-fitting saddle so take your time and get it right.

It is important that it fits and is comfortable for both horse and rider. A saddle that fits improperly can put pressure on incorrect points on the horse, resulting in pain for the horse.

Saddle sores can result and as a consequence your horse will strongly object to having it put on. There is also a risk to the rider as some horses have been known to buck off the rider due to pain caused by an improperly fitted saddle.

All saddles need to be kept clean and dry. Store it under cover, away from weather and dust. Regular use over time will give way to wear and tear, you should recheck your saddle for a proper fit every couple of years.

You can also have some padding added, not to mention the fact that your horse will develop and change over the years therefore minor adjustments should be made. With proper care and handling your saddle will last a long time.

Categories: Equipment

Buyer’s Guide: Different Types of Horse Bridles

Bridles are used for riding and driving horses (pulling a wagon or cart) and allow the rider to communicate with the horse. Depending on your style of riding you can purchase an English or Western Bridle. You certainly want to buy a bridle that fits your horse properly.

English Bridles have a noseband (leather strap that buckles around the nose of the horse,) these reins are then buckled to one another at the ends. Western Bridles generally have no noseband and the reins are “split”, they do not buckle at the end. Western Bridles are usually decorative with features on the leather and they can also be adorned with silver.

Double bridles are used for English Riding in the dressage discipline and use two bits in the mouth at once, a snaffle bit and a curb bit. The two bits allow the rider to have very precise control of the horse and are usually seen in top levels of dressage.

Effective riding occurs when the horse receives commands through the reins. Pulling on the reins can be used to steer or stop the horse. If you have done your homework and learned how to ride, you should not need to yank on the bridle. You must remember that your horse’s mouth is sensitive and you could hurt him if you yank too hard which could cause your horse to act out and resist the bridle.

A bridle that does not fit correctly could also hurt the horse. Leather straps could chafe and the mouth could be pinched by the bit. If you do not know how to fit a bridle correctly, ask your instructors, a knowledgeable horse person and even the sales clerk at the tack shop could help you.

It is always a good idea to start off using the gentlest type of tack possible, such as a cavesson noseband and snaffle bit for English riding. If you have difficulty knowing what would work best for your horse, find out if you could try out different styles, even borrow a bit.

There are a number of different bits and nosebands which give you more control; however they are more severe on the horse. If you are not an experienced horse person

always consult a horse trainer before buying a different bit or noseband for your bridle.

The cost of bridles can vary considerably. You can visit your local tack store to look at the styles and types. Tack stores often have used tack for sale which is also an option. Keep in mind that you really need to buy a quality bridle. Bridles made of cheap leather or a second hand bridle with a lot of wear and tear is easy to break.

You can buy a bridle at your local feed and tack shop. You could take a look locally and then shop and compare prices online too. Used bridles can also be found in your local newspaper under the classified ads.

Categories: Equipment

The Personality of Popular Horse Saddles

Horse Saddle – I am the lovely piece of work placed on the back of horses for riders to sit upon. I ensure stability for both riders and horses, and distribute the weight of riders evenly. I come in several forms, numerous enough to make your head spin. My variations are shaped in regard to location [e.g English, Australian, Western, German etc], tree type [e.g Wade, flex Tree, treeless etc], production technique [handmade custom or manufactured], material [Leather or synthetic], activity [parading, roping, show, endurance, racing, trail, reining etc] and several others.

English Saddle – I am the saddle used to ride horses in “English riding” disciplines world wide. Though with an English background, I am not limited in use by English speaking countries or in England alone. I have features that make me unique and stand out as envy in the equestrian world. My Stirrups can be detached from the saddle [in case of an emergency]. I have a piece of equipment known as a girth, which is used to keep me in place on a horse. It passes under the barrel of the equine, usually attached to me on both sides by two or three leather straps called billets. My rare end has a subtle and not-too-obvious feature known as the Cantle [or Seat]: This is used to provide greater comfort and security to riders. I generally cover a small surface area compared to others, yet have proven to be more effective with simplicity. Much of the weight bearing area in me is supported by a large internal flocking inside the panels.

Australian Saddle – I am the saddle used for activities requiring long hours on the horse. I came as a variation of the English saddle eons ago, but have soon developed my own uniqueness as time went by. I have a distinct feature known as the Knee pad [aka ‘poleys’] to provide security for riders who ride in rough conditions & spend long hours on horses. The ‘poleys’ are usually located around riders thighs in front of the saddle. I was designed to cater for conditions ranging from soothing to rigid. My seats are deeper than the typical English saddle and my Cantle higher. I am kept on with a girth attached to the billets under the flaps.

Western Saddle – I am the saddle used for Western Riding in the United States of America, mainly in the ‘western’ part. I am often tagged with the ‘cowboy’ name. I was designed to provide both security & comfort to riders and their horses, traveling long hours in harsh environment. I fancy being flashy and different. I tend not to like ’simplicity’ because I pride myself at being unique and robust. I don’t call my girths ‘girths’ [you bet] but cinch. My Stirrups cannot be detached from me in an emergency, but instead I have a wider tread; combined with the rider’s high-heeled boots- this design minimizes the risk that the rider will slip through the stirrups during a fall, and the rider being dragged. My Cantle is one of the most revealing of all horse saddles, providing greater comfort and security. I cover a wider surface area than the Typical English or Australian saddle. My cinch is tied on with a flat strap of leather or nylon known as the latigo. I have no padding between the tree and the external leather and fleece skirting… Okay, okay, it seems I brag a lot, but really, I’m truly unique because I am the most ‘modified’ and thoroughly customized to suit riders tastes. And I am often used for ’show’ purposes. Yeah, I show-off a lot! But there are no ‘best’ saddles anywhere, only suitable and familiar ones.

Horse – I am the tamed animal Humans ride upon. I know not of western, English, Australian, Portuguese, German or even youth saddles. I only know it when my back hurts if the seating equipment placed on it pokes my spine or is not properly fitted- I ‘neighhhhhhh’ at the rider, indicating pain and discomfort- and I know when it does not. I love humans, and would give my full agility and beauty to the ones who seat on me properly.

Categories: Equipment