Today’s blog is a public service message 🙂
Check your tack.
I’m proactive about keeping my tack in tip top-shape. I don’t wait until it’s literally hanging by a thread. There are reasons for my fastidiousness. First of all, I’m a leather snob. I like my horse gear to be crafted of high quality and supple leather. I keep my tack clean and conditioned. For me, it’s part of the aesthetic of horses, and I like the feel of it.
Quality tack is also a safety thing. I’ve never had a piece of gear fail on me. But that’s because I keep it in good condition and check it obsessively. I don’t simply swipe it over with a cloth. A few times a month it gets taken apart, cleaned, conditioned, and put back together. So, I was surprised to see that my lovely Italian leather stirrup leathers had worn down so severely that the stitching was gone. I could see the webbing on the inside. This had happened quickly, I’d noticed that the leather had flattened, but it went from slightly worn to nearing dangerous in only a couple of weeks.
These were five years old. Time for new ones. I’m not one for gadgets and I don’t succumb to advertising, but I’d been hearing about the Total Saddle Fit Stability Stirrup Leathers on the Horse Radio Network. (Horsey podcasts that I listen to when I’m driving.) These leathers are extra-wide. Supposedly that keeps your leg still.
I think my leg is rather stable already, but it never hurts to have an extra bit of help. I was skeptical, but I also liked how flat they lay on the saddle. I ordered them.
First impressions were positive. They looked good, and the quality of the leather and craftsmanship met my standards.
I tried them out. My leg sits in the right place, and that wide strap is more comfortable under my thigh than the traditional narrow leather.
Do they actually keep my leg quieter? Perhaps a bit in the ring.
This is where they made a noticeable difference.
I’ve been building up Tonka’s hindquarter strength working out in this field. There’s just enough of a slope to challenge him, but not so much as to shake his confidence when we canter. He’s always been wary cantering on uneven ground. The stirrups keep my body still, which helps Tonka to balance his.
So, my worn out stirrups were a good excuse to upgrade my tack. Win-Win!
But… back to the check your tack message.
This strap holds the billets – which the girth attaches to – which keeps the saddle on the horse. Looks fine, doesn’t it?
It’s not. It’s compromised and needs to be replaced. Does anyone know a good saddle repair person in the southern Maine area?
When was the last time you carefully checked your tack?
Also, do you have a piece of tack that makes a difference in your riding, or that is simply beautiful and makes you happy? Let me know in the comments!