Happy Independence Day to all the American readers, happy belated Canada Day to my fellow Canadians and happy Friday to us all!
Today is another first post of the month (where has time gone?) which means it's time for another Beginnings post. After talking about ownership, it makes sense to now talk about tack.
Tack can be both expensive or cheap depending on what you are looking for. Your tack will vary with your discipline, your horse's conformation and your personal preferences.
The most basic tack you will need is a halter and a lead rope. They'll help you catch your horse and lead him where you want him to go. Some will ride their horses with just these two things. There are plenty of varieties for halters and lead ropes. They come in leather or fabric and in many colours as well.
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word tack. For those who aren't knowledgeable in the horse world, this will also be the way they can tell the western and english disciplines apart, but it's much more complex than that.
There is a whole science to the proper saddle fit. The trick is finding one that work with your discipline and that fits both you and your horse properly. Some people are willing to pay to get a customised saddle because they know it will be worth it in the long run. A well fitted saddle will be comfortable and support the rider's leg properly. It will also sit on the horse without pressing into sensitive areas on his back and will allow him to extend his gait freely.
If you are unsure about the right saddle for you, I'd recommend asking an expert and having a saddle fitter fit you and your horse with the right saddle.
The next common piece of tack is the bridle. They also come in many variations within the english discipline alone. There's the classic snaffle, the dropped noseband, the figure eight and the bitless just to name a few. Again, you can find those in both leather or fabric and in different colours.
With many bridles, they need to be accompanied by a bit in order for them to do their job. There are so many different styles of bits. They can be made with different products and made into different thicknesses and twists that the varieties are virtually endless. Finding the right bit for your horse will take some time. You may need to increase or decrease the bit's severity and play around with different versions of the same type of bit before you find something that really works. Who knows, maybe your horse will ride better bitless than with a bit.
Some of the other things you will need to include in your tack collection is a saddle pad and a girth. You may also need boots, polos, martingales and longeing equipment.
With tack, it's filled with endless variations and options. They're always coming out with new things and new models that it makes a horse person want to spend more. We all want the best for our horses, and sometimes we allow ourselves to get sucked into a new idea that promises just that when we know that our horse is happy with what he has. We're all guilty of it. If it's not with our tack than it's with other things like our feed or horsemanship practices.
Until next time, happy riding!