Horse Tack for the Western Rider
Like roping, cutting, and western pleasure, the Western disciplines have different tack descriptions and names than other disciplines. Headstalls are the equivalent of the English bridle. The Western bit typically has long shanks down the sides, which allow for loose reins to communicate with the horse’s mouth. The Western reins are usually not connected and long enough to drape over the neck and down.
On the saddle, the Western stirrups have wide fenders and a heavy-duty footrest. Of course, there’s the horn on the saddle, too. Breast plates are attached to the saddle across the horse’s chest and prevent sliding back. Western saddle pads are quite large and thick to allow for the larger size of the saddle. Some horses use tie downs, which connect the saddle to the bridle and act as a martingale to prevent extreme head tossing.
It’s traditional to pair your Western tack with matching footwear. Western boots and large Western spurs complete the picture.
Horse Tack for the English Rider
English bridles typically have a noseband, which some Western headstalls do not. English bits rarely have long shanks, and the English reins are shorter.
English saddles are much smaller and have a different girth system than their Western counterpart. English saddle pads often reflect the saddle’s shape, or they may be rectangular and cover part of your horse’s sides.
The English rider may choose to use English spurs if needed, and martingales connect the breast collar to the bridle.
Both disciplines have lots of choices in color, style, and even the materials used. While leather halters and saddlery parts are often cowhide, other tack uses synthetic fabrics. You might also see padding added to cinches and English girths for comfort. Paddock boots and tall boots work for both disciplines.
Horse Supplies for all Disciplines
Horse care starts in the barn and grooming areas, long before you tack up. There’s a lot to consider about the tools and stable supplies you will need.
Blankets & Sheets
Horse blankets fall into two categories – stable blankets and turnout blankets. Stable blankets are not waterproof, whereas the turnout blankets are. The thickness of the horse blanket depends on your horse’s winter coat and the weather.
Fly sheets are the primary repellent between your horse and annoying insects! Pair them with protective fly boots and even fly spray to further protect your horse.
Health Care Supplies
Your horse’s health begins with hoof care and moves up! Your farrier can help keep your horse at a healthy balance for his confirmation. Hoof boots are valuable to have on hand in your first aid kit, as lost shoes create a sore hoof.
Joint supplements help support your horse’s diet and protect his joints from the wear and tear that exercise causes. Liniment and poultices are topical products that support joint health from the outside.
Grazing muzzles slow down a horse’s eating pattern, to allow for a safer amount of food to travel through his digestive system. This is different from a cribbing collar, designed to stop your horse from wind-sucking on the fence. With your vet’s help, wormers and horse supplements help your horse’s digestive health.
Every horse needs grooming supplies, starting with shampoo and conditioners and dac oil for the coat. Manes and tails can also benefit from regular grooming and shampooing, and tail bags in the winter can keep mud away from your horse’s tail. Clippers are a valuable tool to have, both in your first aid kit for clipping wounds and trimming up your horse. Horse show supplies are generally the same as everyday grooming supplies, but with more shine-boosting products. Grooming bags, bins, or totes keep everything organized.
For the Equestrian
Don’t overlook treating yourself! There are plenty of outerwear and casual footwear options for you that work well at the barn and beyond. Don’t leave your dog out of the mix. Many brands of horse supplies offer dog blankets and leashes with an equine twist.