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Horseback Riding Equipment - What You Need to Have


horseback riding gearWhether embarking on English or Western style riding, the right equipment is essential! Below is a list of what you need first for English style riding then for Western style riding with descriptions. Have fun!

English Style Riding

1. Square Saddle Pad
English saddles come equipped with extra padding so a pad is not necessary. However, if you feel more comfortable with a pad or want to keep your saddle cleaner, the appropriate pad is a thin blanket that will not bunch or get lumpy.

2. Fitted English Saddle
Always get fitted for a saddle to make sure it will be comfortable for both you and your horse. There are some distinct differences between English and Western style saddles, just as there are with the other pieces of equipment. The most notable differences are the sitrrups and lack of saddle horn with the English saddle. English saddles have small stirrups, lack a saddle horn, and have panels- a pair of pads on the underside of the seat that are filled with wool, foam or air. .

3. Bridle
The bridle is usually made of leather and synthetics so that it is long lasting but comfortable. It slips over the horses head and hold the bit in the mouth as well as providing the reins. The crownpiece or headstall goes over the horses head and rests just behind the ears, cheekpieces run along the face and attach to the bit rings, the throatlatch runs from ear to ear under the throat while the browband attaches to the crownpiece. The noseband encircles the nose and can be used to attach extras such as martingales. English bridles have a special noseband called a cavesson. The cavesson is attached differently and allows for better precision. The most common style of English bridle is the snaffle.

4. Bit
The bit is a bar of metal that is attached to the bridle and placed in the horses mouth to help guide them. The most common English bit is the pelham bit which is a leverage action curb bit used for schooling and general riding. It mimics the action of a double bridle with two bits.


Western Style Riding

1. Western Saddle Pad
Western saddles lack padding so it is important that you discuss with the person you purchase your tack from what the best sort of pad is for your saddle and your horse. You will want something that provides cushioning, is thick and comfy but will not bunch or become lumpy as lumps can press into the skin and spine and create sore spots.

2. Western Saddle
More familiar to most, the Western saddle is often seen in Hollywood films and has thick leather stirrups and a saddle with a horn. The girth is cinched rather than buckled and the seat is deeper than in an English saddle, providing more support and security. Western saddles also cover more of the horses back.

3. Bridle with options
Similar to the English bridle, the Western bridle usually lacks a nose band, browband and show styles lack the throat latch. There are three variations on the browband that some Western style bridles may have, these are the split ear, shaped, hear and slip ear.

4. Bit
The bit is a bar of metal that is attached to the bridle and placed in the horses mouth to help guide them. Western riding generally uses a curb bit or a snaffle bit. A curb bit uses leverage action and should only be used with those who have experience. A snaffle bit does not use leverage action and is better for those that have little experience or on horses that have been trained with a snaffle bit.


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