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Read About Choosing Equipment


Choosing equipment for your horse can seem like an overwhelming task. Between the endless list of things you may (or may not!) need and the unfamiliar terminology, it can be hard to know where to start. You will need, at a minimum basic tack such as a halter, saddle, bit and bridle. You will also need stirrups and saddle pads. If you live in an area with cold weather, plan to also select one or more horse blankets. Choosing equipment will take a bit of time, but consider it an investment in your future with your horse.

Tack includes the items that you need to lead or ride your horse. There is an almost endless array of different varieties of items that can make your ride easier, more comfortable, more competitive, or just plain prettier. A halter is a simple but necessary starting point when choosing equipment. Halters allow you to lead your horse from one place to another. They are usually made of leather or nylon.

Choosing equipment to get started riding means deciding on Western or English riding. Generally speaking, English style riding resembles the styles of the European mounted military, while Western riding is more closely associated with American cowboys on the range.Image English saddles and the associated tack tend to be more lightweight and less bulky than their Western counterparts. Western saddle are generally wider and are designed to distribute the weight of the rider more evenly across the back of the horse, making long rides more comfortable for both the horse and the rider.

There is no “right” or “wrong” choice when it comes to this decision. Consider what your riding goals are; although there are no hard and fast rules about which types of horses and which styles of riding must always be used for various purposes, there are typical distinctions between English vs. Western riding in terms of activities. Research your options before making this decision.

Regardless of whether you prefer English or Western riding, you will need a bit. This is a metal bar that hooks on the side pieces of the bridle and fits in the horse’s mouth. Although there are some differences, both types of riding commonly use a snaffle bit. Both styles of riding also require a bridle, which is what connects the reins in the rider’s hands to the bit in the horse’s mouth. Without a properly fitting bridle controlling your horse will be difficult, to say the least.

Choosing equipment can seem a bit daunting at first, but if you focus on the basics that you need to have in order to ride it will make more sense. Try to stay focused on what you need in the beginning; you will have plenty of time to decide on other things you want in the future. Choosing equipment that is well made from quality materials is worth the little extra you will pay; these items will last longer and serve you better.