Top Tack To Complement Your Horsemanship
Riding a horse well requires a minimum of two things: training and tack. Training comes with experience, while tack refers to all the essential equipment equestrians need to be safe and successful. The average horseman has plenty of general gear, with many more items used in specific riding styles and competitions. Whether you ride for pleasure, for show or for sport, you’ll never be at your best without a full and proper set of tack.
In the equestrian world, certain trappings are common to all disciplines, including the saddle. Saddles serve as a buffer between horse and rider, balancing riders against their mounts’ motion while cushioning the horse against the awkward weight of its human cargo. Traditionally of leather, saddles range from basic English or Western models to fancy custom designs. Affixed to a horse’s back with straps, saddles may be extended on either side with stirrups to secure a rider’s feet.
Equally important is a horse’s headgear. When riding, this means a bridle, with associated bit and reins. Bridles have a headstall, which fastens behind the ears, and cheekpieces connecting the headstall with the bit, which goes in the horse’s mouth. Reins are joined to the bit’s outside end and are held by the rider, who uses them to direct the horse’s movements.
Not all riders’ accessories are for the horse. Riding clothes are designed for protection and comfort on horseback. These include snug leather pants, such as Western chaps or English jodhpurs, mackintoshes and similar jackets, and especially riding boots. With prominent heels and smooth soles that discourage dragging, riding boots protect the wearer’s feet from catching in their stirrups.
When it comes to equestrian supplies, most riders want to save money wherever they can. Buying discount riding boots and other tack from a trusted vendor can reduce costs considerably without compromising on quality.
Have a Helmet
Motorcycles aren’t the only ride where helmets are recommended. Equestrian helmets are built to protect riders’ heads during falls, particularly from kicks by a horse. Unlike bike helmets, equestrian helmets have an extra-hard plastic shell, and are padded all over with an inner lining of cushioning material. They also feature a flexible, visor-style brim and a harness to hold them fast, even in a fall. Riding helmets are increasingly being mandated by state laws for junior riders, and in professional circles for high-speed, high-impact activities. Ensure any helmet you buy meets the approved standards of the United States Equestrian Federation.
Taken together, training and tack make for accomplished horsemen. The mastery of tack is a key part of any rider’s training, which paves the way for advanced equestrians to show off their skills in the saddle.