Selecting tack for adopted horse - no history
Hello, all: We've adopted a horse and mule and have been getting them in shape for the past year with farrier and vet visits. Built them a stable and things are going well. Great, mellow animals that I know were ridden years ago (they're both around 14 years old now) and were then left in the pasture. The horse had mild foundering and will be ready to ride (according to the vet & farrier) this summer.
My question for you all: We have no idea what the "tack history" is for the horse. I need to get a bridle, bit, reins etc. Are there basic sets that would be a good, gentle re-introduction for the horse? (The riding will be gentle pasture stuff - western saddle.)
I know there are some excellent threads on here that I will investigate, but I'm hoping there is some kind of good standard set for recreational riding.
Thank you all for any help!
Welcome to the forum and good luck in your new adventures. I am a newbie so I can't really help you out. Hopefully you will find the info you need.
I would go used, at least on the saddle, to be honest. That way it's broken in already. I would make a withers tracing and take it with you when you go saddle shopping. Place the tracing in the gullet of the saddle to see if it's close. If it looks good, try the saddle out.
As for bridle, just a regular ol' browband headstall will work. For a bit, I'd go with a mild one, so something like a french link snaffle (three piece).
Thanks! Good advice on the saddle, too. I will start to research French link snaffles. We have a local tack sale coming up soon, so this is timely. I see on other posts that a snaffle is a good gentle bit - I'm a beginner so hope it works on this big patient horse.
I use an eggbutt french link snaffle on my greenbroke coming 3-year-old and he's GREAT in it. I've tried him in a copper mouth loose ring single joint snaffle and all he did was chew on the bit. Put him in a loose ring french link and he did much better. When he outgrew the loose ring (as in physically needed a bigger bit), I managed to find a used Korsteel eggbutt french link and he LOVES it. Put him back into a regular single joint snaffle for one ride (I had forgotten my bridle at home) and he hated it.
This is similar to the bit we use...biggest difference is that ours is thicker:
The great thing about a snaffle is that if he neck reins, you don't have to use the bit except to stop him (and not even then, really). If he direct reins (like my boy does), it's nice and gentle.
So would it be hard to teach a horse who is used to neck reigning to direct reign?
No, because that's pretty much how all horses start out, regardless of their intended discipline (meaning all western pleasure and reining and barrel horses learn how to direct rein first, THEN they're taught how to neck rein). Besides, direct reining is extremely simple and straight forward. You put pressure on the right side of the horse's mouth (or nose, if you're using a bosal, hack or sidepull) and the horse turns right. Similar to driving a car.
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