Thursday, August 11, 2011

All About Tack

I love tack.  I think it's a good thing I don't own a tack store, because I don't know that I could sell anything.  I like researching the best saddle or pad or bridle for our situation.  I love looking for the best prices.  And I love saddle pads.  Crazy colors are all the better, but right now we only have boring colored pads.  With more riding time I'm finally working out what works and what doesn't work.

Here's what Tommy's wearing right now:

I have a traditional bitted bridle too, but Tommy's soft and light in his bitless bridle.  It's easy to put on once it's set up for the horse, and I don't have a cold bit in the winter.  We've been in all three gaits with this, and I've not had the first problem.  It's the beta version, so super easy to care for.

I love grippy reins!  These don't get all slippery when they're sweaty either.  These reins were leftover from General.  I think the next time I get a pair they'll be extra long so he can put his head down without me hanging over the pommel of the saddle.

I'm still on the fence with this saddle.  It's not really a love-hate relationship, because overall I love so many aspects of it.  It's more of a dressage type saddle, and allows me to ride in a centered position without constantly fighting the saddle.  No chair seat or legs in front of you here!  The seat is comfortable enough.  I like the way it looks.  I have the plain black model, but I think the two tone is gorgeous.  I like all the d rings and ties for all our crapola.  Most importantly it fits Tom.

Here's what I don't like:  I've been so used to having synthetic tack though that coming back to leather is such a pita with the cleaning.  The saddles do come in a synthetic version, but I bought a pre-owned leather model.  The seat could be cushier.  A little layer of supracor would make my butt happy!  The very worst thing is that I cannot mount from the ground with this saddle.  It could be Tom's height, it could be my weight, it could be the saddle, it could be the pad, or the girth, or any combination of those, or it could be something entirely different.  I don't know, but I don't like it.  When riding I have to make sure I don't dismount without something around that I can use to get back on.  It puts you at a disadvantage on the trail.  

I even watched an instructional video on how to properly mount a treeless saddle.  This involved reaching over the horse and holding your off stirrup leather so that you can exert counter pressure as you mount, thereby (theoretically) keeping the saddle in place.  Looked super easy too on the 14 hand pony she was using.  I can't even reach my off stirrup leather.

Yummy thick delicious wool!  I was lucky enough to find a distributor that just happened to have the exact weird ass size I need for that treeless saddle.  I was so on the fence.  I dithered and dallied, researched and re-researched, and scoured the net for the best price.  I really dislike buying online without first seeing in person.  I like to touch it, smoosh it between my fingers, hold it up and envision it on the horse, rub it on my arms...can't do that online.  In the end I made the jump though, and I'm very glad I did.  It fits the saddle perfectly, works the way I hoped it would, looks great, and best of price because it was a custom order that didn't work out.  SCORE!  If I can figure out a solution to the mounting problem I'm going to have to get one in blue!

Tommy is girthy.  Yes, my sweet perfect angel, is not so sweet and perfect at girthing time.  I tried a couple of different western girths with my endurance saddle, and then used a Montana Cincha with the Barefoot.  The cincha did make some difference, but he'd still swing his head around and give me the ole hairy eyeball.  I've been pleasantly surprised with the woolback girth.  I'd read several online reviews that others were having good luck using it with girthy horses; and what do you know...I am too!  I got this girth on sale, and I'm going to have to keep my eye out for a good sale on the western version for the other saddle.

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