Category Archives: Horse Tack

How Do I Measure My Horse For A Rug?

As we head towards winter, it’s time to start thinking about your horse’s winter wardrobe. Do they need a new stable rug or turnout rug? Getting the right size and fit is essential to protect them fully and safely through the colder months. A rug that fits incorrectly can cause problems, like discomfort and chaffing if it’s too tight, or slipping and getting caught up in your horse’s legs if it is too big.

So if you’re in the market for a new horse rug, here are some tips on achieving a great fit. Your horse will thank you.

How do I measure my horse for a rug?

You have two options here:

  • If you already have a rug that’s a good fit for your horse, lay it flat and measure it from the middle of the chest at the top end down the length of the rug to the opposite end.
  • Or to measure your horse, use a soft tape measure starting at the centre of your horse’s chest measuring horizontally along to your horse’s rump where you would expect the rug to end.

Horse rugs are sized in feet and inches, going up a size in 3 inch increments. Select the size closest to your measurement. Generally it is best to go up rather than down to the nearest size if your horse is in between sizes. However, use your discretion here – if your horse is quite slight, it may be wise to go down slightly to the smaller size. Likewise, if your horse is very sturdy it might be an idea to go up a size.

Trying a horse rug on

After purchasing your rug you need to check you’ve got the right fit. When trying it on your horse for the first time leave the tags on and try it on over a thin summer sheet if possible. This will stop the rug getting hairy and will mean that you should be able to return it for an exchange or refund in immaculate condition if it doesn’t fit. To test out the size, check the fit around your horse’s chest, withers and shoulders by running your hands around and under the edge of the rug. The fit should be snug enough that it doesn’t slip back, but not so much that it restricts movement or rubs. Get a second opinion on the fit from an experienced horse owner if you’re not sure, you don’t want to end up with a costly mistake!

By   writes about Equestrian Products.

The Old Dairy Saddlery specialise in providing the best quality horse riding equipment at affordable prices. For a great range of horse rugs, visit the website.

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Originally posted 2014-12-29 04:41:52.

Things You Must Know Before Buying Horse Saddles

saddlecomfortBy: John M

Horse riding is a phenomenal experience and the right type of horse tack equipment can add worth to it. Apart from choosing halter, stirrup, bridle, martingale and other products, you need to choose the horse saddles with great care. Since riding styles differ, there is a consistent demand for different types of saddles. It actually does not matter, whether you are a Western rider or an English rider, you just need to learn the most yielding tips to buy the equipments, to suit your style.

First, Learn Their Uses
For most of the horse-riders, pony saddles are nothing more than a necessary riding gear. Before you go out shopping, it is important for you to learn about the various advantages of these saddles, to make a perfect selection:
• Saddles are required to provide comfort while riding, the bony back horses.
• Relaxed riding posture is achieved by this saddle which also keeps your body aligned while riding.
• Horse saddles are significant in improving the performance of the horse.
• Especially for those choosing Western saddles, these equipments are like an extra support.

Take into Account the Comfort of Horse
Apart from evaluating the Western tack and English saddles for your comfort level, make sure you take into account the comfort level of your horse as well. Precisely measure the width and other dimensions of these equipments to give a perfect fit to your horse’s back. Make sure, it fits all the spots on the back of your horse. If you are a novice rider, take suggestions from an experienced rider.

Different Types of Saddles
• Available in different varieties, Western saddles are of many types, to offer different comfort levels. While ranch saddles offer a deep seat, roping saddles offer thick horn for secure fit. At the same time endurance saddles are lightweight and can withstand appreciable miles in a day.
1. English saddles have a light weight and are designed with simple looks. Hunt saddles and dressage saddles are two main types of products in this category.
• Apart from those mentioned above, third types of saddles are getting popular among horse riders. Known as Australian saddles, these products offers design along with the combination of features offered by the above two categories.

How About Used Saddles
While majority of horse riders opt for new pony saddles, there are others, who prefer to buy used horse gears. Make sure you examine the used horse tack equipment before spending money on it. To be on the safer side, you should opt for a brand new saddle and buy the best horse riding gear.
Your choice for a horse saddle can make a huge difference, especially when you are a novice horse rider. Make sure you shop right equipment, from the right place to cherish the rewarding horse riding experience.

About the Author

Article Source: You Must Know Before Buying Horse Saddles


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Originally posted 2014-01-21 02:53:13.

Building Horse Jumps

Building Horse Jumps
Building Horse Jumps

Show jumping is perhaps the greatest of all equestrian sports, and there are several different horse jumps in it. In this article I will describe the most common jumps and how to build them.

Before we start, remember this:

Horses are big and powerful animals and because of this, safety is the number one priority. You should always build your horse jumps so that they come down easily if the horse hits them.

Start building

You should start by putting the poles on the ground in the places where you want your jumps. Measure if necessary. Then you carry the wings to where the poles are. Next step, start building.

Three common types of horse jumps

The three most common types of horse jumps in show jumping are the Vertical, the Oxer and the Triple Bar.

  • The Vertical is built of planks, gates and poles in a vertical line. There is no spread since there is only one single obstacle. This can be a tricky jump for the horse because it is easy to get too close. To make it easier you could put a ground line ten to twenty centimeters in front of the jump.
  • The Oxer is built by putting two vertical jumps next to each other with a distance, or spread, between them. Both verticals usually have the same height, but sometimes either the first vertical, or the second vertical are higher than the other. It all depends on what you, as a builder, want to achieve with that specific horse jump.
  • The Triple Bar is an even greater obstacle than the oxer. It consists of three verticals and has a spread between each of the verticals. That is why the triple bar is the widest obstacle of the three types described. Many riders don’t like this horse jump because it can look intimidating, but the fact is that most horses find it to be fairly easy.

I should also mention that there are other types of jumps as well. Some examples are cross rails, walls and water obstacles. When building a show jumping course you can use all of these different types of jumps, either individually, or in combination with each other.

How to make it easier for a young horse

Now you know which types of horse jumps there are and how to start off. Next step is to make the jumps inviting for the horse, especially for a young horse. To do that, use wide wings. They will help guide the horse to the horse jump. The use of a ground line will also help.

I hope you found the article informative. If you want to know more on this topic, please check out the Resource Box.

The Horse Journal is a web site that offers many interesting articles about the animal we love, the horse. There you can learn more on How To Build Horse Jumps.

Thank you for your time and attention!

Article Source:

Originally posted 2013-03-30 16:58:21.

Dressage Riding and Tack

By Emily A Heggan

Have you ever seen a horse that has been fully collected with springing steps and beautiful form? Well, this was a horse performing the classical type of riding known as Dressage.

The term “dressage” originates from a French word meaning “training”. There are all different types of levels and competitions of dressage from training level to those who perform at grand prix level and compete in the Olympics. One of the main purposes of dressage is to develop the horse’s ability to perform different movements with little commands.

The dressage rider is very still and makes the ride look effortless with minimal cues to be seen by anyone else. The horse also moves smoothly as he transitions from movement to movement or to a different gait. Dressage is also referred to as the “Horse Ballet”, because it is similar to the ballet that people dance and perform.

The discipline not only has ancient roots in Europe, Dressage was first recognized as an important equestrian ability during the Renaissance period. There has been little change in the training system that was originally developed from some of the great European riding masters. This classical dressage is still considered the basic foundation for the modern dressage that we see today.

In today’s dressage competitions, good training is demonstrated through the various levels at competitions known as “tests”. During these tests, there is usually a certain “test” in which the horse and rider are expected to perform within a standard arena. The judges evaluate each movement on how well it was executed and performed on a scale of 0 to 10. 0 meaning the movement was not performed and 10 being absolutely perfect. If the rider scores a 9 on a movement, it is considered to be a very high mark, whereas a rider scoring all 6’s should consider working at that level for a bit longer to perfect their skills.

Much like any other discipline of riding, Dressage has its own tack required for the field. Dressage tack is similar to regular English tack, but is all black. Dressage horses are not allowed to compete with a martingale as well as sport boots, bell boots or any other type of protection or training aid.

A typical dressage saddle, which is made specifically for dressage, has a long straight flap mirrored for the leg of the dressage rider, which their leg is long with a slight bend at their knee, a very deep seat and high knee blocks. Dressage saddles also have longer billet, or girth straps, and a much shorter girth than other English disciplines. These straps are longer so that there aren’t a lot of straps and buckles underneath of the rider’s legs. The dressage saddle pad is square in shape and is usually white in color. Colored trim on the saddle pad is allowed, but colored pads are sometimes used in lower level competitions.

Just like there is a special saddle for dressage, there is also a particular type of bridle used for dressage. The dressage bridle is also black and can have a plain nose band, a dropped noseband or a flash noseband. Most bridles used in dressage have a flash noseband. In lower level competitions, a lot of riders will compete with a regular snaffle bridle and or bit. In the upper levels of dressage, you will see a lot of double bridles with a bradoon or a curb bit with a chain. Bits such as pelhams, kimberwickes or gag bits are not permitted at upper level competitions.

Dressage riding takes a lot of skill and training, but it is said that every horse should know the basics because it makes for a well rounded horse.

Emily Heggan is a senior at Rowan University majoring in journalism. She currently competes in the 3′ hunters with her horse, General, and enjoys writing about equestrian supplies like western tack.



Originally posted 2012-10-21 17:56:09.

How To Clean Your Suede Saddle

Suede saddles require special care and attention when cleaning as suede reacts differently to leather and requires a different cleaning regime. The following is a step-by-step guide on how to care for suede (or doeskin) saddles:

1. Firstly when cleaning a suede saddle it is important to note that the cleaning process may lighten the colour of the suede. It is advisable to do test patch at the back of the cantle where it cannot be seen prior to any use of a cleaning product. If a colour change happens (and you are not happy with the change once the test patch is dry) do not use the product. In addition, due to possible colour change issues it is important to clean the whole of a saddle so that any potential colour change is even.

2. When the saddle is dry use a suede cleaning brush and brush vigorously; you want to get as much dirt and grease off the suede saddle as you can.

3. Once you have brushed the saddle if it is mostly clean but there are a few patches still showing that appear a little dirty then clean the whole saddle with shoe suede cleaner (concentrating a little more on the dirty patches). Note, before you use a suede cleaning product you need to have done a test as described in step one above. Once you have cleaned the saddle with suede cleaner you will need to let the saddle dry before then brushing it again with a suede brush. Once you have finished cleaning the saddle and it is dry then it is advisable to waterproof your suede saddle with a suede water-proofing product.

4. If your saddle is really dirty and the shoe suede cleaner does not bring up the suede then you could use a mild carpet cleaning solution. Don not use the carpet cleaning solution neat; you will need to follow the instructions on the product regarding diluting it. It is important to test the effect of any cleaning product first as described in test one where you test on a non visible patch at the back of the cantle. The test patch needs to have been allowed to dry before being able to see if the cleaning product is suitable. If you are happy with the results of your test patch then prepare the cleaning product solution in a suitable bowl and use a nail brush scrub for cleaning by dipping it into the carpet cleaning solution; after each dip use the nail brush to brush your suede saddle. Clean the whole of the suede on the saddle. The saddle will get wet during this process, you can use a suede brush during cleaning to help part any greasy suede.

5. Once you have brushed the carpet cleaning solution over the whole of the suede saddle then use a clean towel to rub as much of the cleaner as you can off the suede, if the suede still looks dirty then you can repeat step 4 where you clean the whole suede saddle with the mild carpet cleaning solution and a nail brush until the grease is gone.

6. Leave to the saddle to dry naturally, this could take 24-48 hours, do not put the saddle near heat.

7. Once dry brush the suede saddle with a dry suede brush and waterproof the suede with a suede water-proofing product.

8. Please note, suede can go a lighter colour once dry and brushed up, once the waterproof spray is applied the colour may darken again.

9. If your saddle is part suede with leather skirts and flaps make sure you keep the cleaner off these leather parts. If excess cleaner does get onto leather parts then wipe the cleaner off the leather parts immediately.

Copyright (c) 2012 Native Pony & Cob Saddles

Andrea Hicks is a saddle fitter and designer, she developed The Native Pony Saddle Company range for wider horses and ponies and has been fitting saddles for over 20 years. Her designs include Phoenix Saddles for native ponies, Warmbloods, Arabs, Icelandics and Iberian horses.

Originally posted 2012-07-15 13:55:47.

Western Saddle Parts and Their Functions

Looking for information on Western Saddles? This article provides easy to understand highlights of the parts of a Western Saddle and their function sorted alphabetically. The bullet points below each item provides a high level summary pertaining to that item.

Back Housing

  • The rear section of the saddle behind the cantle and above the skirt that covers the exposed portion of the saddle tree bars

Billet Straps

  • Straps that attach to the rigging dee ring at the top and to the cinch ring at the bottom
  • Billet straps have holes along the length to allow for loosening or tightening of the cinch
  • Note: The cinch may be attached to either billet straps or latigo straps


  • The raised rear portion of the saddle seat
  • The Cantle is much more pronounced on a Western Saddle than an English Saddle
  • Provides security and comfort for the rider


  • A long, wide strap that goes around the girth of the horse to hold the saddle in place
  • Cinch ring (at the end of the cinch) may be attached to either a latigo strap or a billet strap
  • Latigo straps and billet straps are attached to the saddle with rigging dee rings


  • A decorative disk, often made of silver where saddle strings (long narrow straps-usually made of leather) may be attached


  • Long pieces of leather that hangs down on both sides of the saddle under the seat jockey
  • Fenders are designed to protect the rider’s leg from the horse’s sweat

Front Rigging Dee

  • “D” shaped ring towards the front of the saddle used to attach the latigo or billet straps


  • The tunnel under the pommel above the horses withers.
  • Ensures there will be no pressure from the saddle or rider on the horse’s spine


  • The raised part above the pommel used to secure a lariat

Hobble Strap

  • A narrow Strap that wraps around the stirrup strap


  • A long, wide strap that attaches to the cinch ring
  • The cinch ring is attached to the cinch that goes around the girth of the horse
  • The loose end of the latigo is place in the tie strap holder (also known as a latigo holder or latigo keeper)

Leather Rigging Guard

  • An additional layer of leather that runs along the edge of the saddle skirt and under the rigging dee rings
  • Offers protection for the saddle skirt


  • The arched portion in the front of the saddle that provides clearance for the horse’s wither

Rear Rigging Dee

  • “D” shaped ring towards the back of the saddle used to attach the billet straps


  • The hardware and strap girthing system that holds the saddle on the horse
  • Western Saddles can have either single or double rigging
  • The front cinch goes around the horses girth behind the horse’s front legs
  • Back cinch goes around the widest part of the horse’s barrel

Saddle Strings

  • Saddle strings are long narrow pieces of leather that hang from the seat jockey and rear housing through conchos
  • Saddle strings are used to tie gear such as saddlebags and lariats to the saddle.


  • The lowest part of the top of the saddle where the rider sits

Seat Jockey

  • The section of leather that extends beyond the outer edges of the seat that covers the exposed sections of the saddle tree bars
  • The seat jockey protects the riders legs from rubbing on the rigging


  • Large, heavy pieces of leather that attach to the underside of the saddle tree bars
  • Protects the horse from the bars and distributes the weight of the rider over a larger surface area


  • Stirrups are where a rider places their feet while riding
  • The stirrups provides the rider with more security and control
  • Stirrups come in different widths and styles to accommodate various riders and tasks

Tie Strap Holder

  • A piece of leather attached to the front portion of the seat jockey or front jockey that’s used to secure the loose end of the latigo after it’s been laced through the cinch ring

Tread Cover

  • The covering on the portion of the stirrup where the riders foot rests.
  • Offers the rider comfort and grip in the stirrup


  • The inside frame of the saddle that has traditionally been made of wood
  • Defines the length and width of the saddle
  • Some saddle trees are made of less expensive synthetic material that may be lighter and weaker

The design and materials of Western saddles vary greatly. A properly fitted, quality saddle is essential to ensure your satisfaction and a healthy happy horse.

Beverly Fox
Owner of Fine Saddles

I have been an avid horse lover and Western Rider for over 40 years. In the past 15 years, I’ve enjoyed the Hunter/Jumper and Dressage Classes with my Daughter, who has been trained by some of the best trainers in the Equestrian business.

Our goal at “Fine Saddles” is to offer all horse lovers the best products at a competitive price. Come check us out!

Please visit our FAQ page for a diagram of the placement of many of the items listed in this article. If you have any additional questions or comments pertaining to this article, please email me by going to the “Contact Us” tab at

Originally posted 2012-07-06 13:52:09.

Used Saddle Buying Tips for Trail Riding

There’s a line in the 1985 movie “Murphy’s Romance” with James Garner and Sally Field. They are at the horse auction and the auctioneer says “We’ve got some bargains and some surprises here today folks, your job is to figure which is which.”

Sadly, too many people selling something you might want tend to keep the surprises to themselves

If your local car dealer takes a clunker to the auto auction and does not disclose the surprises, he could be banned from future auctions if his secret is uncovered. So for the most part, cars from the reputable auctions are as they appear; no surprises. Not so with consignment tack auctions, or with someone just selling a saddle in front of the barn. To avoid a surprise and find a bargain when buying a used saddle, you need some understanding of where the surprises might be hiding. Here are 9 things to look for (or at) before you buy a used saddle.

AGE Not a deal breaker because a good saddle can be ageless. I have seen some really good ones that I know were 40 years old. On the other hand, I have seen some year-old saddles turned into junk. Some saddles come with serial numbers and the manufacturer can date them for you. Being told how old (or young) the saddle is just means you must decide for yourself if that is a factor.

Like NEW A used saddle is going to have some signs of normal wear and some scuffs and scrapes. If you don’t want that, get a new one. But the new one will have scuffs and scrapes if you ride anywhere except in the parade ring.

The TREE The tree is what’s under all that leather (or that cheap stuff). When they build a saddle they make the tree and attach everything to it. It is the foundation of the saddle and it should be solid. To test the tree, set the saddle on the ground like a gymnast doing the splits. Hold the saddle horn and press down on the cantle (the back of the seat) and twist. If anything bends you may be twisting on a broken tree. A broken tree is a deal breaker. DO NOT purchase a saddle with a broken tree.

LEATHER There’s really good leather and then there’s “quickie leather”. The good stuff will be thick, soft, and supple and will last almost forever if you treat it right. It always costs more because there is more time in the preparation. Cheaper leather (the stuff that doesn’t get much attention, just “slam bam”) will be thin, stiff, often cracked, and will tend to curl. Avoid buying a used saddle with low quality leather. There’s no bargain there. Don’t fall for that ol’ gag “a little cleaning and conditioning will bring it right back”. If that was true, it would have been “brought back” before it went on sale. If you want one of those 10 pound “artificial” saddles you can wash off with a garden hose, buy a new one, they usually cost less than 150 bucks (but don’t expect much).

FLEECE Most, if not all, saddles have a furry fleece on the underside. Expect to find a good amount of wear and dirt here. If it looks like it needs to be replaced, move on. No bargain here. “˜Nuther point; uneven wear can be a sign of a badly designed saddle, or a saddle that doesn’t fit the horse well. The fleece may be dirty, but if the saddle has been cared for it should not be offensive. Saddle fleece can be easily cleaned with mild detergent (liquid) and a good scrub brush. I do it once a season.

STITCHING Stitching holds everything together. Problems can occur and should be addressed immediately. Saddles for sale with a lot of rotting and missing stitching should send up the warning flags. Beware the saddle with several obvious stitching repairs. Maybe if the saddle has been in that many fights it might not be right for you.

AS GOOD AS I looked at a saddle for sale once and was told “It’s as good as a Tucker!”. Once a saddle maker gets a good reputation, copycats come from everywhere. Most “sorta” get it, but few have been able to copy all the reasons why I would want the original. I am not inclined to try to get something “built like” the real thing, no matter how much money I can save. When it comes to my comfort on the trail, I want the good stuff.

STIRRUPS This article is about western saddles. I can’t abide by those little wisps of leather those snooty jodhpurs-wearing dray-sage people with the funny hats call saddles. Western stirrups can be easily changed. But the used saddle you buy should come with stirrups and they should look like they belong there. Change ’em after the purchase, but no stirrups, or definite mismatches, send up more red flags

ASKING PRICE I get real cautious when I see a price followed by “OBO” (or best offer). A saddle worth sellin’ is worth putting a price on and not advertising you are willing to dicker. Sure, most folks will bargain on the price. Even some reputable tack shops have room to maneuver, but they don’t hang out a sign that says if you are stupid enough to pay the asking price, come on in.

When I see a price with a big “OBO” is doesn’t say to me “I am willing to negotiate” instead, I read it as “I’m desperate”.

Again you gotta be the expert. If you can buy it new for $1200, why give someone $900 for one with signs of wear? If it ain’t at least half of new price, keep lookin’.

Do a little homework and your used saddle purchase can be a bargain with little or no surprises… and I’ll see you on the trail.

BIG Mike McDaniel is a Lifetime member of the Indiana Trail Riders Association and an avid horseman. BIG Mike is not in the saddle business and these tips are offered from a lifetime of experience. Check out BIG Mike’s website

Copyright 2011 BIG Mike McDaniel all rights reserved

Originally posted 2012-07-05 13:51:37.

Caring for Your Horse Saddles

Whilst it can be tempting to leave cleaning your saddle to the day before a show or competition, regular cleaning of your saddle should be an essential part of your routine. Correct care of horse saddles helps to extend their useable life, which will help you to save money in the long run. It also allows you to closely inspect your saddle for any faults in the leather or stitching, which can help to avoid an accident or injury when you are in the saddle.

Leather horse saddles which are not cleaned regularly will suffer from a build up of dirt and sweat, particularly on the underside of the saddle which can result in discomfort to the horse and damage the leather. Use of a numnah or saddlecloth between the horse and the saddle can help to reduce this; however this area of the saddle will still need regular cleaning.

How often you will need to clean your saddle will depend on how often you use it. Ideally a quick wipe over with a damp sponge or cloth should be performed after every ride and a more thorough cleaning should be completed every week to ensure perfect care.

To clean the saddle, place it in an area which makes it easy for you to access all areas of the saddle. A moveable saddle stand is ideal for this.

Firstly ‘strip the saddle’ by removing the saddlecloth, girth and stirrup leathers. Then wipe the saddle down with a damp (not wet) cloth or sponge to remove any surface dust. Dampen the sponge and wring it out (it must not be dripping wet), and apply some saddle soap to it. Rub the saddle soap into the saddle by working in small circles across the full saddle, including the topside, underneath the saddle and between the flaps. Finally remove any residual saddle soap with a damp cloth to prevent this from damaging the leather.

Following cleaning you may wish to apply a leather conditioner to feed the leather; neatsfoot oil is most commonly used. Ensure that you apply the oil very sparingly to prevent it from damaging the saddle or attracting dirt. Whichever conditioner you use do a tester patch, for example underneath the saddle flap, to check for any change in colour of the leather.

If your saddle features suede knee pads or seat, then make sure that you do not put any soap or conditioner on this area.

Finally separate the stirrup treads from the stirrup irons and soak both in water with washing up liquid. Then clean them using a toothbrush to get into difficult to reach areas, before rinsing them.

To protect your saddle from the elements and dirt after cleaning it is advisable to keep it undercover and away from any extremes of temperature. There are many saddle covers available on the market which can help to protect your saddle.

One of the most important factors in caring for horse saddles is the environment in which you store them. Try to prevent keeping any leatherwork in a humid environment as this may cause mildew to grow on the saddle. Equally a particularly dry environment will require you to condition the saddle more often. If your saddle gets wet, ensure that you allow it to dry naturally, away from any artificial heat supply.

A wide range of horse saddles and products to care for them with are available at

Originally posted 2012-06-29 13:48:55.