Notes from our experts about saddle fit, general horse care and the equine industry
20 Most Popular Articles from our Equestrian Enthusiasts

The Parts of an English Saddle       Learning how to correctly name and identify the parts of an English saddle is a basic part of learning to ride. All of the parts of the saddle serve a function that helps make the saddle comfortable and effective.   Pommel: The pommel of the saddle is the area at the front of the saddle where the bars and the gullet of the tree come together. Cantle: The cantle forms the back of your English saddle. It is also the back of the seat. It is turned up slightly on most models in order to help support the rider. Seat: The seat of an English saddles is...
Types of Martingales       Martingales are used as training aids and in other situations to control a horse's head carriage.There are a few different kind of martingales. The three most common are the running, standing, and German martingale. Each martingale has different actions on the horse and produce a different effect.      The most common martingale is the standing martingale. The standing martingale attaches from the girth through either a breast plate or yoke strap around the neck and attaches to the nose band. This style martingale prevents the horse from tossing its head up or...
Trees you depend on! Trees are at the heart of nearly every saddle. Saddles started out as leather or cloth pads with a simple girth or surcingle. Many different people throughout history have improved upon that original design by adding more padding and stirrups. It wasn't until around 200 BC in China, that the first treed saddles where used. The first saddle trees were created to help reduce stress points on the horses back. By 477 AD the stirrup had been used in China then spread to Europe. Saddle trees have also evolved over time. Nowadays saddle trees can still be hand-made, but there...
For many kids, western saddles are the first they’ll ever ride in. Buying a saddle – even a pint-sized one – is a major decision and a bit of an investment. Before making this important purchase, it is a good idea to do a little homework. Pick a Size Just like a full-size saddle for adults, a kids’ western saddle needs to fit the child and the horse he or she will be riding. If your child is riding a full-size horse, consider our kids seat quarter horse saddles, which are built on average size quarter horse trees with youth seat sizes. A very small child or toddler will fit in a 7 to 8 inch...
Western saddles have a number of different parts that make the saddle both functional and effective. It is important for riders to know the parts of the saddle in order to determine the correct saddle size they need and learn how to tell the different types of western saddles apart.     Horn: Western saddles are most easily identified by their horns. The horn is positioned on top of the pommel on the front of the saddle. The traditional purpose of the horn is to provide extra support for the rider as well as for use as place for lassos and other equipment. Pommel: Also known as the swell...
While endurance saddles are designed for competitions in which horse and rider teams cover between 50 and 100 miles in a day, they are also the ideal choice for long trail rides. A gaited endurance saddle is specially designed to allow your gaited horse complete freedom of movement, ensuring he is able to offer his best performance while remaining comfortable and free from saddle sores. Here are some basic tips for choosing a western gaited endurance saddle that meets your needs. Features Start shopping for a gaited endurance saddle, and you’ll soon notice that the main feature is comfort for...
       Hunt seat horseback riding is a style of forward seat riding whose roots are based in fox hunting. In a hunt seat competitions, you can show over fences or on the flat. Hunt seat is an extremely popular sport of horseback riding in the US. It is recognized by the United States Hunter/Jumper Association (USHJA) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).  While hunt seat is not an Olympic discipline, many show jumping and event riders begin there jumping careers with riding hunters and hunter equitation competitions. So if you are new to the English jumping world, hunt seat...
hunt seat horse and rider
Caring for your tack the right way will extend its life, and with the right product at hand, you’ll find that your saddles, bridles, boots, and other leather goods take on a supple feel and exhibit a soft sheen. Not sure how to use neatsfoot oil on leather? By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be able to call yourself an expert! Why Neatsfoot Oil Works so Well Take a look at the many leather conditioners on the market, and you’ll notice that only a few of them are all-natural. Neatsfoot oil is one of these.  It lubricates the minuscule fibers inside the leather’s structure,...
Horse Speeds and Gaits A horse's walk is a basic four beat gait. The walk is the slowest gait. A trot is the next speed up from walk, it is a two beat gait where the horses front and back legs move in sync. The trot is the equine equivalent to jogging, and is in fact referred to as a jog in some disciplines. The canter, also called lope, is a three beat gait that is faster than trot but not a full gallop. A gallop, which is what race horses are doing on the race track, is the fastest gait. It is a four beat gait. This is the gait that should be referred to as running. Uninitiated riders often...
Horse Galloping
                Braiding your horse’s mane can be a great way to keep your horse’s hair from getting dirty and tangled. Braiding of the horse’s mane is also done when entering into the showing circuit for English riding events. Braiding the mane also brings elegance and a clean-cut look when entering the show ring, and It helps to show the curve of the horse’s neck and keeps it out of his face while jumping. Before braiding your horse’s mane, you should always make sure that it is clean and not tangled. You can do this by brushing through your horse’s mane before you start the braiding...
When entering the equestrian world, the most expensive investment besides the actual horse is the saddle. Being that a saddle is a very important and expensive investment it is crucial to research and choose the best saddle suited for your horse and your needs.   Choosing the right western saddle can seem like an overwhelming challenge but there are some elements to consider that can narrow your view when making this decision.   Know what style you’re looking for   Depending on what kind of sport you and your horse are engaging in will generally dictate the type of saddle you buy. Different...
How to fit a saddle for a Child or Youth.        If saddle size is important for adults it is doubly important for kids. When children are riding they are often still learning and developing skills needed to effectively ride and control a horse. Having a proper fitting saddle will aid the rider in maintaining the proper position and add to the riders security.      Many people want a saddle that is larger than the youth or child rider. This does work but if the child is doing any kind of speed activity’s then a proper fitting saddle is necessary. A child’s saddle needs to be able to support...
                Finding the right kind of horse feed for your horse can always be a challenge! Especially if you are a new horse owner and you don’t know about what nutrients horses need. There are several different kinds of horse feed and they all have different nutritional value. Every horse’s diet is different and the tricky part is finding out what specific nutrients your horse needs. Talking to the horse’s previous owner, or a vet, can help you learn your horse’s diet needs and provide you with the different supplements/vitamins that your horse requires. This article will help show you...
There many different types of stirrups and each have their particular functions and purpose.  In this article the different types of stirrups are described and their functions explained.   Western Bell Stirrups:  The western bell stirrup gets its name from its shape.  These stirrups are shaped very much like a bell.  They are the most common western stirrup.  They can be constructed out of wood, metal, or plastic.  The most common construction is a wood covered in a light metal that is left plain.  If the stirrup is used in a show arena the metal can be highly decorated and engraved.  This...
Western Bell Stirrups
There are many hypotheses that exist surrounding the domestication of the horse.  The largest debate is whether the horse was first ridden or driven.  There are three sources of archaeological evidence for the domestication of horses. The first source is the change in skeletal features and the horses’ teeth.   The second is the changes in geographical locations of horses, especially areas where no wild horses had originally existed.   The final source is from dig sites containing artifacts, images, or evidence of human behavioral changes connected to horses.   In this article all three...
Horse standing in a green pasture
How To Put an English Saddle On a Horse   If you want to ride English, one of the first tasks you will have to accomplish is saddling the horse. Fortunately, putting an English saddle on a horse is a skill that can be mastered fairly easily by most new riders. Step One Groom your horse thoroughly to make sure there is no dirt or debris in the area of the back and barrel where the saddle will go. Trapped dirt can rub and cause the horse to develop sores. Step Two Place your English saddle pad on the horse's back, just barely covering the withers. Make sure the saddle pad is placed so that it...
Do you frequently find yourself digging through every piece of horse tack you own, frantically searching for that one hoof pick, brush, or stray bell boot? If so, it’s time to organize your tack trunk. Sure, it started out looking tidy, but then things happened, you were in a hurry, and items eventually ended up all over the place. Here are some tips for cleaning and organizing your tack trunk – and keeping it neat so you never have to burrow through all those odds and ends again. Begin with a Clean Slate Start by taking everything out of your tack trunk. If it’s like most, it could do with a...
Organizing your horse tack keeps it looking new!
     Shopping for saddles is hard enough with out having to deal with size.  When it comes down to it the Australian Stock saddle has a size system that in far different than that of western or English saddles.  Here are some helpful hits on how to obtain the perfect fit in an Australian stock saddle. Know how the Aussie saddle is measured.     The Aussie saddle is measured from the front of the pommel(front of saddle) to the very top center of the cantle(back of the seat).  This measurement in inches is the size of the saddle.    2.  With the http://www.saddleonline.com/Australian-...
One of the most important pieces of riding tack is the horse bit. The horse bit is the device that is placed inside the horse’s mouth and is the main tool that communicates with your horse. The bit lets your horse know what direction to go and when to stop. Depending on whether the rider wants to stop, turn left, or turn right, the use of the reins sends a pressure signal to the bit and puts a certain amount of pressure in the horse’s mouth. The horse then feels this pressure and will go in the direction that is being asked of him. There are many different types of horse bits. They are all...
When you go to a show to compete are you a confident rider who is prepared, or are you a nervous wreck? What about your horse? Is your horse relaxed and confident or is she a bundle of nerves as well? Nervousness is one of the hardest aspects of showing to overcome for riders and horses alike. Not only are you in a new environment, but there’s the added pressure of doing well in competition. The first rule of showing is to always remember that your horse is a mirror of your mood that day. If you’re nervous, your horse is going to pick up on that energy and they’ll be nervous as well. Horses...
Flash Lightning Bolt Saddle