Equestrian Tack Guide
Tack is one of the terms used to describe the equipment worn by horses.
There are a variety of different types of saddle each suited for different needs. The two most common types of saddle are the ‘English Saddle’ and the ‘Western Saddle’. These saddles can range in price from about £100 to over £1000. It is essential that the saddle is comfortable for both the rider and the horse as an improper fit can cause pain, discomfort and even injury to the horse.
Stirrups are used to keep the rider’s feet in place on either side of the saddle. They are used to provide secure foot support whilst riding on horseback. Despite providing stability when riding, there are risks involved with this item of equipment, due to the fact that riders can potentially get a foot caught in a stirrup after falling from horseback, and this could inflict serious injury to the horse rider.
To avoid this problem, riding boots are usually designed with a heel and a flat, smooth sole so that the boot can be removed from the stirrup easily. Some stirrups incorporate in a ‘tapedero’ which covers the front of the stirrup and prevents the rider’s foot from slipping all the way through the stirrup.
A halter is like a head collar and consists of buckles which strap around the horses head and a noseband. It is used to lead or tie the horse to objects.
A ‘Rein’ is the name given to a length of rope or straps that are attached to the end of the ‘bit’ and can be controlled via the rider’s hand. The reins are used to give directional communications to the horse, as the horse responds as they are pulled in different directions.
As the horses mouth is so sensitive, the pulling of the reins pulls on the bit inside the mouth, and so turns the horse’s head in that direction.
The ‘Bit’ is like a mouthpiece that rests on the horse’s gums at the back of the mouth near the molar teeth. It is essential that the bit fits the horses mouth correctly as it can be very uncomfortable and painful if it does not.
There are two main categories of bit; leverage bits and snaffle bits. Snaffle bits work by applying direct pressure to the tongue and lips. Leverage bits have ‘shanks’ coming out from the mouthpiece. This multiplies the pressure applied by the rider.
A harness is a device used to attatch a horse to a cart or trailer. The two main types of harnesses are the Breast strap harness and the Collar and Hames style harness.
The Breast strap harness has a thick leather belt which sits horizontally across the horses chest. This is generally used for lighter loads.
The Collar and Hames style harness has a collar around the neck of the horse with a piece of metal or wood as the collar. This style of harness is commonly used for heavy work.
Tack can be extremely expensive to replace so please make sure that you have it covered by suitable Horse Insurance.