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

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...
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...
  The History of the Australian Saddle   When the English settled in Australia they brought with them the horse and saddle to a rough and rugged country. The saddle changed to better suit the harsh environment. The saddle differs little today from its predecessor. The main difference is the addition of the “poleys” or padded knee pads. Now a days some Australian Stock Saddles also feature horns.  Another major difference is the use of the over girth. This allows the rider to get the girth tighter to eliminate slippage and as a back up should a billet strap break.Like the English saddle...
Western vs. Australian So what gives? What makes one riding style better or worst than the other? Horse people are notoriously passionate about their riding style and discipline. We tend to back up our preferred style. That being said where is there an unbiased look into the different styles of riding, styles, and disciplines? Well here is one. Each discipline has its advantages and some disadvantages. Making the decision on what riding style you would like to pursue takes time and a willingness to try new things. For a western rider to switch to English there is a lot of different terms and...
Treed or Treeless: the great debate What is all the hype about treeless saddles? It seems everyone and anyone recommends them at the drop of a hat, but is it really the saddle for you? Treeless saddles are often the go to saddle for hard to fit horses. It is an easy and cost effective solution if your horse would require a custom fitted saddle due to his shape. Treeless saddles mold and conform to the horse's back since there is no hard tree to cause pressure points. Another use for treeless saddles is if you are riding multiple horses, that way you don't have to have multiple saddles...
Selling your used saddle is a great way to clean out the tack room and get a little extra money. There is a large market for used tack in the horse industry, for the same reason that there is a large market for used cars in the United States. Saddles and other items are in high demand, but they can be quite costly new and buying used often gives riders the opportunity to get a good quality item for a fraction of the retail price. Selling a saddle you are no longer using can be beneficial to both buyer and seller. Evaluating Your Saddle Almost all saddles can be re-sold, but how much you can...
Many people have the misconception that Barrel Racing is mainly about going fast. While speed is a huge factor in running barrels, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Like any other event, a solid foundation of collection, lightness and precise body control is required to run a good pattern. In Barrel Racing however, these foundational pieces are critical because you have mere hundredths of a second to control your horse at a high rate of speed. As with other events, the foundation needs to be perfected at slower speeds before progressing to faster speeds. If you want to Barrel Race, the first...
barrel racing horse
What you need: wire (a wire hanger would work) paper or cardboard marker or writing utensil   Steps: Bend the wire over the horse's withers The wire will lay 2” behind the horse's shoulder blade. Bend the wire so that it lays over the horse's withers and against the horse's skin. Carefully remove the wire so that you do not bend the shape you had formed. Lay the wire onto the paper or cardboard and trace around the inside of the wire. Please note, depending on the size of your horse, you may need to use two sheets of paper. Once this is complete, you can fax us a copy of...
An improperly fitting saddle can be very uncomfortable to ride in. It can also negatively affect your riding position because it is difficult to sit properly in a seat that is too small or too large for you. Once you know your ideal saddle seat size, it is fairly easy to find a saddle that will fit you properly, regardless of your preferences in saddle type and style. English, Western and Australian saddle seats are measured in inches, though they are sized differently due to the shape of the seats. The most effective way to figure out what size saddle you need is to try sitting and riding...
Eager to try an Australian stock saddle for yourself, but not quite sure how to choose one that fits your horse (and you) perfectly? The following guide to fitting an Australian saddle will help you get it right. Gullet Size Matters As with English and Western saddles, gullet size matters greatly in keeping the weight of the saddle (and rider!) off the horse’s spine. One that’s too wide or too narrow will cause pain and could permanently injure your horse. Luckily, there’s no mystery to measuring the gullet on an Australian saddle; it’s measured the same as the one on the Western or English...
Bits and Bridles The bit and the bridle work together to allow riders to control their horse and send signals to it while they are on its back. The bit is a piece of metal that is attached to the bridle and then placed in the horse's mouth to allow the rider to steer. Bits come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. They are designed to perform a multitude of purposes in terms of levels of steering and control. The snaffle is one of the most common and gentle bits available. Most young horses are first broken to ride using a snaffle bit. How to Connect a Snaffle to an English Bridle...
Step 1: Remove the Hobble strap from around the fender.                                                 Step 2: Slide the Blevins buckle up, freeing the fender from the holes.                                                                                          Step: 3: Insert the fender into a new set of holes.  This with change the overall length of the stirrups.                                 Step 4: Slide the Blevins buckle back down locking the buckle in place.                                                         Step 5: Buckle the Hobble strap back onto the fender...
          To ride effectively, you need to find the correct size English saddle that is going to fit your body correctly. You want to make sure that your saddle allows your core muscles, legs, and arms to balance safely on your horse’s back while performing, training, or on the trail. A saddle that is too small for your body will push you forward and make you off-balance. This results in pulling your heels behind you and making your center of balance fall forward over the pommel. One that is too large allows your body to lean backward and pushes your feet out in front of your hips. Both are...
A bridle is a critical piece of tack that is used to control a horse's face, mouth, and neck. Bridles vary considerably depending on discipline and handler preference. English Bridles Weymouth The Weymouth bridle, also called a double or full bridle, is a bridle with two bits and four reins. The first bit is a bradoon, similar to a modified snaffle bit. The second bit is a simple curb bit. The Weymouth is practical for riding, and competing in dressage and other formal equestrian events such as eventing. Advanced riders should only use the double bridle. In the right hands, this bridle can...
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...
When it comes to choosing horse gifts, the options are limitless. Where to begin? In this quick guide, we’ll provide you with a whole barn full of ideas that are sure to put a smile on any horse lover’s face. Horse Gifts for Kids When it comes to horse gifts for girls, you’ll find that just about anything pink satisfies. A matching halter and lead rope fits in a box and is an easy way to hint that there’s a new pony or horse waiting outside, and for those girls who already have an equine companion, a new western or English saddle pad makes a thoughtful gift. Want to go all out? Consider a...
If you closely watch a group of horses interact you’ll quickly see that they speak loudly through their body language even though it may be subtle. For instance, the head, or alpha, mare may quickly clear a path by just lowering her head a bit and laying her ears back instead of baring her teeth and charging at whichever horse is in her way. Her herd mates know she means business when she just simply lays her ears back and they move. Horses are in tune to these slight changes, however as humans we are often oblivious to horse’s mannerisms. Missing these subtle body cues in a horse with...
When a horse has a problem with backing out of a trailer most owners will assume that the horse is scared of backing out the trailer. Issues such as not backing out,or backing out too quickly are actually issues that stem from not being taught to load properly in the first place. The bottom line is that neither of these types of horses are truly comfortable on the trailer. Horses that are afraid of being on a trailer will either lock up and not move, or they will panic and come crashing out anyway possible. The only answer to either of these scenarios is to teach your horse not to dread being...
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