Whole lot of new tack
I'm going to Findlay University this coming fall in order to take part in the Equestrian Studies program. There is a list of equipment that I would need for the program (such as full tack, grooming supplies, lunging equipment. Basically everything you'd need if you owned your own horse). Thing is, I've never owned my horse, so i own next to nothing.
Because everything I'll be buying is new, what is the best way to break everything in so it'll be most comfortable for the horse? Also, are there any items that I should wait to purchase until after I have been assigned a horse?
Honestly. Imo I would wait to buy the halter, saddle, bridle, and girth since you have no idea about the horse. Thats jmho
I would stick with things like your grooming and vet supplies until you see what you'll need for the horse.
Are you entering the Western or English riding program?
I completed the western program 1997-2001. I'd recommend you get all the basics - go for inexpensive grooming & bathing supplies that can be replaced as needed, but aim for quality halters, leg wraps, saddle pads, and girths. Look for easy-on-the-hands lunge lines & lead ropes (cheap nylon burns!), and invest in heavy duty, quiet running clippers. These items will get lots of use, often on multiple horses each day. Quality materials will prevent you from the need to replace things too rapidly.
If you have any questions, especially regarding saddles, bits & headstalls, I'd highly recommend waiting until you arrive to speak with the instructors. They will help you find the best quality that fits your budget; these things are an investment for your career.
In my time there, the first several weeks was ground work only, so you likely have time to find a saddle. In either English or Western program, you'll be working with multiple horses throughout a semester, so your saddle will just be padded up/down to get the best fit on that particular horse.
Good luck at Findlay! I LOVED my time there.
Are you riding English or Western or both? You're probably going to be riding a lot of horses, so waiting to be assigned a horse and getting a saddle fit might not help much. For English, you might consider a saddle with an adjustable tree or changeable gullet plate. The changeable gullets are available on Collegiates and Wintecs, and the M. Toulouse adjustable tree is great. You should also invest in a shimmable half pad at some point. This will help adjust saddle fit. For Western, your safest bet would be a saddle with full QH bars because it won't pinch a larger horse. Many of these can be made to fit most Western horses. My ranch saddle is made for a QH back, but I haven't had major fit problems on any university horse, and I had it on 20+ of them. For a university program, I found getting a saddle that fit me was most important, as I rode such a wide variety of horses that perfect saddle fit on any of them would have been hopeless, but at 5'2", most of the university's saddles did not fit me at all.
I will be in the English program. I happen to have my own saddle, I had a friend give it to me while I was riding at her barn. I'm not sure it it'll fit for most of the horses they have, but at least it's something.
What would you suggest for breaking these things in? The saddle is worn in, since it's a used saddle, but the halter and bridle are going to be brand new and whatnot.
I'd oil everything really well, maybe a couple of times. I don't have that much trouble with new tack as long as it's oiled. It might help if you get used to using some of it by riding with it/taking lessons with it, but if that's not an option, just oiling it well will do, IMO.
Oil any leather items maybe work it a bit to soften it.
Bridles and halters you shouldn't have to worry too much about being to stiff.
If its a nylon halter. No joke if you soak it in a bucket for a few minutes work it a bit and hang it up to dry it'll take a lot of the stiffness out and soften it up.
Thanks for the tips and advice! I really appreciate it!
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