Featured Image Caption: Love Horses
Most people are familiar with the fun of finding bargains at flea markets and garage sales. When it comes to your horse’s tack, though, it’s a different story. Because riding equipment is supposed to hold up reliably for years while being subjected to physical stress in all kinds of weather, surprise bargains can actually endanger your horse and you. Plan ahead for good quality tack by learning how to recognize it.
It’s Sensible to Use All Your Senses
Look at it. Tack materials should appear intact and undamaged. Leather shouldn’t be dull, mottled, or faded. Be aware that sometimes darker dyes are used to disguise flaws. You shouldn’t see anything bent, frayed, or sharp-edged. Check for firm, even, stitching and durable hardware. Smell it. Leather should smell pleasant. Steer away from anything with abnormal odors such as ammonia, petroleum, or mold, anything possibly indicating improperly tanned hides or shoddy storage practices.
Look for Quality
Feel it. Good leather, whether new or used, should feel supple. Avoid merchandise that is abnormally stiff, dry, wrinkled, or stretchy. Sometimes surprisingly soft leather has been deliberately over-conditioned with oil to disguise irregularities. You shouldn’t be able to detect any variations in the thickness of the hide, and the underside should show no visible cuts, holes, abrasions, or peculiar stains. Use your senses to discern the facts of the situation so you can find the best supplies money can buy. Quality is something you should always strive for when buying tack supplies for your horse.
Your Vendor Is Like Your Vet
It pays to establish an ongoing relationship with a vendor who knows you. The shop’s professional staff members are open to questions and never give you the feeling that you’re bothering them. They honestly believe in providing good quality tack and appropriate care supplies; their extensive knowledge on everything equine helps you avoid preventable problems. Understanding that each rider and horse relationship is unique, they’ll explain and recommend options tailored to your needs.
Take English Tack
A good example of tailoring options to your needs is English tack. English riding is more complex than Western riding because it demands more specific skills and finely-tuned sensitivity. Some riders say that it’s much easier to learn Western after knowing English than the other way around, being comfortable with Western style, and then learning English. Choosing the right tack is a meticulous process. A smaller saddle means less direct body contact with your horse and increased communication through your hands. You need to ensure your horse’s comfort as well as your own to effectively engage in nuances of communication. An experienced fitter is a lifelong resource who will keep you in the know about current developments in the equine industry.
Attend training events, competitions, and expos. Watch the demonstrations and visit the vendors. This in-depth networking will provide opportunities to learn even more about what you need to take your horsemanship to the next level.
By Rachelle Wilber
who is a freelance writer and residing in San Diego, California area. Rachelle finds an interest in all topics and have Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies.