It’s rare that you see a horse being ridden by a rider bareback; it’s extremely dangerous, not to mention a little bit uncomfortable for the horse and the rider. So there’s been a whole industry developed to make the ride a little more comfortable for everyone involved—horse accessories or tacks.
Saddles, Callaway ropes, hackamores, and harnesses are on par for the course when it comes to horse riding or roping, and it’s important for anyone working with these animals to have at least a basic working knowledge of what piece goes into what part.
The first important tack to put on any horse is the saddle. While they’re mostly for the rider’s benefit, a well-fitted saddle is important for any horse as well. A horse with an improperly-fitted saddle is going to hurt something fierce on its back. Saddles are usually secured by two straps: a cinch that goes behind the forelegs and a flank, which goes around the horse’s belly.
There are two types of saddles:
- The English Saddle, which is used for equestrian riding and other sports. This gives the horse more freedom of movement.
- The Western Saddle, which is used for long rides using horses. They’re commonly seen in those old Western style cowboys, and they offer additional control and comfort to the rider.
Figuring out which saddle is best for your horse is a matter of both the horse’s own disposition and in what activity it’s going to be used, to begin with.
Halters and Hackamores
It’s important to differentiate a halter and a bridle. Halters are used for tying a horse down to a post or something similar, while a bridle is used by riders who want a little more control over the horse. Bridles come with a bit, a piece of metal that goes inside a horse’s mouth while halters do not.
Hackamores are a gentler halter for horses, commonly used for young horses to get used to being controlled, as well as old horses that might find discomfort in bridles or halters. Both of these headgears are used to control where the horse looks and moves.
Fortunately, these aren’t the metal plates that they used back then. When talking about a breastplate, it usually means a series of metal bits or straps that run from the saddle to the front of a horse’s chest. These keep the saddle from shifting during rides or when the horse shifts direction.
Another type of breastplate called a martingale is useful for spirited horses. This breastplate keeps them from raising their heads too high and smacking their rider in the face. It can also be used to control the horse in the event that it tries to disobey the rider.
These tacks are essential to making sure that your horse is well-ridden and your riders don’t fall off. Always remember to ensure that the fit to the horse is good for their benefit and for the comfort of the riders. Most importantly, buy only high-quality accessories from a reputable manufacturer or supplier.