Saturday , May 30th 2020
    Equestrian Goodies

How to Choose Stirrup Irons and Stirrup Leathers

Your English horse tack and your Western horse tack include Stirrup Irons, and Stirrup Leathers are determined by the equestrian riding sport your ride. In this post, we’ll look at some of the options and what products are available.

An English Rider

English Horse Tack

Stirrup Irons; offer standard stirrup irons or “Safety” stirrup irons. With the novice or beginner rider, the “safety” stirrup irons should always be the first choice. The Safety Stirrup Iron is designed to release the riders foot in the event of a fall from the horse. Is also important to have the correct size/width of stirrup iron; if the stirrup iron is too small, the rider’s foot may not properly release during a fall.
Stirrup Leathers; can be made of leather or synthetic material, chrome or stainless steel buckles. When choosing Stirrup Leathers, it is of personal choice; Stirrup Leathers made of leather will stretch and require cleaning and oiling to maintain the reliability of the stirrup leathers. The “Synthetic” stirrup leather is easy to care for and will not stretch

Western Riding

Western Horse Tack:

Perhaps the most stressed part of your western saddle is the stirrup leather – The Stirrup Leathers can easily be replaced by a leather-smith.
Western Stirrups come in many different styles and are determined by personal choice and the riding sport and types of western saddles – Bell Bottom Stirrups, Roper Stirrups, Contest Stirrups, Over-sized Stirrups, Wooden and Stirrups with Safety Cage.

It’s always advisable to wear your riding helmet; there are many to choose from, the Troxel Helmets are very popular with both English and Western riders.

Is Your Horse Girthie? Try a Different Girth or Cinch

Some horses are more sensitive to the type of Girth or Cinch. There are many different types of equine girths or western cinches to choose from. For the sensitive Thoroughbred horses, Arab horses, Quarter horse or any horse or pony, you can find the right girth/cinch to keep your horse comfortable

ThinLine English Jumping Girth

ThinLine English Jumping Girth

ThinLine Schooling Leather English Girth with Elastic Ends
Pro-Trainer Fleece Lined English Girth with Elastic Ends
Western Nylon Fleece Cinch – very soft
Western Saddle Cinch with Waffle Weave Nylon Mesh, Breathable & Non-Slip
These are just a few equestrian girths/chinches to consider – you want to buy the best girth to fit your horse, and you may need several types on hand in your tack room.


Basic Horse Tack Explained

Horse tack in the US is basically of two kinds: English and Western and your riding discipline will determine the tack you buy.

Horse tack consists of a halter and lead, saddle, saddle pad, stirrup, bridle, Girth (English) / Cinches (Western), martingale, harnesses, and breastplates. The bridle consists of the headstall, chin strap, bits, and reins.

There are several kinds of bridles: single, double and hackamore or bitless bridle. The girths are of four kinds: webbing, leather, string, and nylon. Saddles are of many kinds: jumping saddles, dressage saddles, polo saddles, park saddles, racing saddles, show saddles, all-purpose saddles, roping saddles, barrel racing saddles, endurance saddles, trail saddles, pleasure saddles, English side saddles and western side saddles, treeless saddles, and military-style saddles such as the Trooper Saddle.

Similarly, there are different kinds of other equipment as well, based on the rider being novice or advanced. Your basic Horse Training Equipment consists of caveson, surcingle, side reins, lunge line, lunge whip and horse boots/bell boots for leg and hoof protection.

Horse tack is of personal choice, I enjoy different riding styles, and therefore I have a Dressage saddle, Western saddle, and a Jumping saddle.

Which Horse Bridle or Bit?

Horse bridles are different for every discipline. Deciding which horse bridle or the bit to buy will depend on what type of riding you do, as well as how your horse has been trained, and some horses may ride better in a Kimberwick, Pelham, Tom Thumb bit, while others simply need a snaffle.

Often finding the horse bridle will be easier than finding the right bit. Before buying a new bit, ride with several different types bits to get a good feel of which bit your horse responds to. Remember the response of the horse is equal to the sensitivity of the rider’s hands and seat; a stronger bit does not offer more control.

I enjoy riding in my horse in a “Bitless” bridle on trails and often during schooling; it also brings my focus to my riding position, seat and leg aids. The real riding is not between the hands but the balance and lightness of the rider.

Buying Quality Horse Tack on a Budget

Purchasing well fitting, safe tack is most essential for every horse and its rider. Using quality equipment means choosing saddles and horse tack that is reliable and built by trusted brands such as Circle Y, Blue River, Showman, Circle Z, and Double T Quarter Horse Roper Western Saddles. For the English Riders, BJ Dressage Saddle, Pro-Trainer Grand Prix, Pro-Am Sterling Close Contact/Jumping Saddles, Jorge Canaves Saddle line, Royal and Shannon Saddlery.

No matter if the search is for bridles and reins, bits, girths, irons or leathers you can find quality horse tack and stay within your budget.

How To Bridle Your Horse Tip

Bridles and Reins

Tip: Organize your Bridle and Reins first. Give your horse a treat and then offer the bit.

Don’t let the bit drop out of the horse’s mouth while carefully bringing the crownpiece up over each of horse’s ears, one at a time. The horse’s forelock should be lying free over the browband.

Check for twists in the headstall and make sure that it fits properly.  All of the bridle parts need to be lying straight and flat before fastening the buckles.

How to Measure for an English Girth

English Girth

English Girth

An English girth is the part of an English saddle that keeps it in place on the horse. Dressage or English girths provide ease of movement and distribute pressure across a greater area to reduce stress on the horse.

It’s important to have the correct girth size. The best way to measure for an English Girth is put the saddle on your horse then take a tape measure and secure the end with a clip or close pen at the second hole from the end of the billet. Then bring the other end of the measuring tape under the horse’s belly to the second or third hole of the billet on the opposite side. The number on the tape measure will give you a good idea of what length of girth will fit your horse and your saddle.

Can You Name the English Bridle Parts?

Name the Bridle Parts

Name the Bridle Parts

Give it a try! Name the English Bridle Parts!

Name the Bridle Parts

If you are unfamiliar with the English Bridle, take it a part and put it back together 3 or 4 times. Once a month thoroughly clean your leather bridle with a mild leather soap, dry and apply a light coat of oil. Be sure to check all fittings and buckels for wear and tear for any needed repair.


Throat Latch

Choosing the Correct English Stirrup and Stirrup Length

Dressage riding requires the rider to have a longer leg and choosing heavier, weighted stirrup will allow the stirrup to hang more directly under the rider. The length will depend on the each individual rider allowing for a long leg with the heel flexed slightly downward permitting the rider to seat securely and freely move with each stride of the horse. If you are a beginner and find that you are losing your stirrups, adjust your stirrups slightly shorter working your way to a longer length. Be sure to the width of the stirrup is correct for the width of your boots. If your stirrup is too wide, you will find yourself dropping your stirrup. I always ride in “safety” stirrups which allows your foot to be free in the event you are thrown from the horse.

The Basics of Emglish Bridles

There are several different types of English bridles.

  • Anky Dressage with Flash Bridle
  • Snaffle bridle
  • Snaffle bridle with a dropped noseband
  • Snaffle bridle with the figure 8 noseband
  • Double bridle

Depending on the type of riding or showing will determine which bit and bridle you would use. The snaffle bridle is the most common and basic. The English bridle and can be used with young horses, any of the English riding disciplines and even trail riding.

Dressage and event riders often use the snaffle bridle with a flash or dropped noseband. The dropped noseband bridle is not allowed to be used in the hunt seat competition. Some of the bridles come with a removable “flash” allowing the rider to use the same bridle in the hunt seat competitions without the “flash”.

The full bridle is designed to have two bits – a snaffle which is also referred to as a “Bridoon” and a curb bit. This bridle is used by upper-level dressage riders and saddle seat riders and should only be used by riders with “quiet” hands.