Tack for trail riding
 
 

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Tack for trail riding

This is a discussion on Tack for trail riding within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Complete tack for riding
  • Western saddle riding

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    09-10-2011, 06:05 AM
  #1
Weanling
Tack for trail riding

I ride in and English general purpose treed saddle currently and a pelham bit ( her showring bit) But I am looking to get her going bitless and have bought a new side pull halter to try her in it could double for riding and tying her up should I need it. She is a very safe , sensible pony.

Saddle wise the other day at a friends house she showed me a freemax treeless western saddle that I would hope would fit my pony they look so comfy.I am looking for saddles that come in xwide for our wide Native ponies with no withers. I have some saddle bags with drink older that my youngest daughter bought me as a present.

What do you guys suggest for longer distance riding main priority is comfort for my pony but following that comfort for me as a middle aged rider :) I would like to start at a couple of hours and build up from there to doing at least day rides with overnight camping.
     
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    09-10-2011, 08:23 AM
  #2
Green Broke
Find a saddle that will fit you and fit your horse, You may go through a couple till you find a match. You might find a stock saddle (Australian) is to your liking. Just make sure you use some wither tracings and get one that fits and not just a generic, "medium" Endurance saddles may be to your likeing also. As far as the bitless bridle? Leave them at home, they are for riding around in familiar territory at best.
I know people put them on, ride around the house an few times, and the horse acts perfectly,,, and they do work under ideal conditions, the problem comes when it isnt ideal, You just don't have the WHOA in them like you do a bit. There is nothing a bitless bridle can do that a bit can't. And a bit can give you the emergency brakes if you need them, lots of wierd things happen on the trails, trees fall, deer jump and run, people on bicycles freak horse out sometimes, women jogging pushing baby carriages can be spooky as well, you'll see just start with your normal tack, all you need extra is a water bottle and a first aid kit.
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    09-10-2011, 01:36 PM
  #3
Yearling
From my experience and what was drilled into me from the old timers who gave me mentoring in my youth (old timers = horsemen born 1890-1920's),
1. You get a saddle with a tree that fits your horse properly
2. You get a saddle that is comfortable for you.
Of course you have to remember that some of these men rode everywhere in the beginning, because cars were less common and more costly than they were later. Keeping you horse is good shape no matter far you rode was very important.

Today I like bitless for long distance riding (didn't have them in my youth), because don't have to remove my bitted bridle to make it's easier for my horse to graze when I stop for a grazing/watering break.

From this and the other thread :) I get the feelling that you are looking forward to doing some serious long distance riding in the future.

I discovered when I was doing it (a very long time ago) that many things my old timers told me often very true. As close as you feel to your horse now....you could end up feeling even closer after you've started riding and sleeping with your horse for days. Just you and your mount. Could be a variety of reasons for that, like that fact that the horse doesn't go along complaining about anything they are unhappy or annoyed about :))

Biggest thing my old timers didn't agree on was shoed vs unshod. I went with the unshod, but it took time to get her feet tough/hard enough. My grandfather (RIP) was a great help (and influence) with that and my horses never saw a shoe. Up to 40 miles a day over whatever terrain we encountered and never a hoof problem or sore feet. But I digress :))

Best of luck in getting things ready and then doing the long distance riding. Usually not much middle ground. Those who try it either love it or don't. Your first time out for an overnight or two will let you know. You're off to a good start by looking at what tack to use. I'll just pass on the old timers view....horse first, and then from my experience....you a very close second :)
It's important for your horse to feel good, but you need to feel good to so you can take care of your horse.
Free piece of advice. DON'T go with the historical McClellan saddle :)) If you ride far enough your body probably will not appreciate it :))
     
    09-10-2011, 01:44 PM
  #4
Yearling
Oh, and on saddles. Most endurance seats (like a Western style) are more comfortabe for extremely long distance riding (easier on your body). The larger trees (again many endurance and Western style) are easier on the horse over very long distances (distributes your weight over a larger area).

Not sure how far you're looking to ride for how many days. So not sure how much the difference some things will matter.
     
    09-10-2011, 04:08 PM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
find a saddle that will fit you and fit your horse, You may go through a couple till you find a match. You might find a stock saddle (Australian) is to your liking. Just make sure you use some wither tracings and get one that fits and not just a generic, "medium" Endurance saddles may be to your likeing also. As far as the bitless bridle? Leave them at home, they are for riding around in familiar territory at best.
I know people put them on, ride around the house an few times, and the horse acts perfectly,,, and they do work under ideal conditions, the problem comes when it isnt ideal, You just don't have the WHOA in them like you do a bit. There is nothing a bitless bridle can do that a bit can't. And a bit can give you the emergency brakes if you need them, lots of wierd things happen on the trails, trees fall, deer jump and run, people on bicycles freak horse out sometimes, women jogging pushing baby carriages can be spooky as well, you'll see just start with your normal tack, all you need extra is a water bottle and a first aid kit.
Thanks for the advice :) I feel that if properly trained my pony would be happy in a bitless bridle. As for saddles I have no idea how to fit them and always get a qualified saddle fitter to fit them to my pony. First aid kit great. My panniers have 2 water bottles. If my mare doesn't go well in the bitless I will be riding her in a bit.
     
    09-12-2011, 12:17 AM
  #6
Weanling
Welcome to trail riding! I look forward to seeing some great pics of your adventures!

Bits or not is entirely up to you and your horse(pony) I use a bit but many many old timers here in the Pacific Northwest's Cascades mountains go with hackamores or bosals with great success. It's whatever works for you.

As far as saddles I would recommend a tree. I trail rode in a dressage rig for years as part of a Mounted Search and Rescue team then moved to an Aussy, then to a roper (western) saddle and recently back to an Aussy rig. As long as it fits your horse and you. I'm a fan of trees because of the additional weight you'll be carrying in the form of camping supplies etc. I haven't yet found a treeless that didn't sore a horses back after a long day and loaded with gear.

In your other post about panniers painted gave you some great info. I believe you could adapt your current saddle with the addition of a few dees to hold a saddle pannier system. How far and for how long do you plan on riding? IF overnight you can get by quite well without the panniers. You can find some of my other posts to see examples of what I'm referring to.

And since we can't can't have you think that Utah is the only great place to ride in America here's a few pics of my stomping ground in Washington state (where we have real mountains )


And of course the wife's Icelandic (13 hands of mountain goat)
     
    09-12-2011, 07:51 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trails    
Welcome to trail riding! I look forward to seeing some great pics of your adventures!

Bits or not is entirely up to you and your horse(pony) I use a bit but many many old timers here in the Pacific Northwest's Cascades mountains go with hackamores or bosals with great success. It's whatever works for you.

As far as saddles I would recommend a tree. I trail rode in a dressage rig for years as part of a Mounted Search and Rescue team then moved to an Aussy, then to a roper (western) saddle and recently back to an Aussy rig. As long as it fits your horse and you. I'm a fan of trees because of the additional weight you'll be carrying in the form of camping supplies etc. I haven't yet found a treeless that didn't sore a horses back after a long day and loaded with gear.

In your other post about panniers painted gave you some great info. I believe you could adapt your current saddle with the addition of a few dees to hold a saddle pannier system. How far and for how long do you plan on riding? IF overnight you can get by quite well without the panniers. You can find some of my other posts to see examples of what I'm referring to.

And since we can't can't have you think that Utah is the only great place to ride in America here's a few pics of my stomping ground in Washington state (where we have real mountains )


And of course the wife's Icelandic (13 hands of mountain goat)
Trails WOW loving those mountains some really great riding you have there and your wife's icelandic is scrummy :) Very clever agile ponies those Icelandics.

I am going to go with my current set tack wise and see how we go. I will only find out how it is suiting them by getting out there and trying it for real.I don't want to hurt my pony's back so I will stick with treed saddles. I am sure I can adjust some bags with a couple of straps to fit over my English saddle for when we get to staying out over night ( the part I am most looking forward too). Because my pony is only 13.2 and has to carry me at nearer 30% her body weight I won't be expecting her to carry too much equipment but I do have 2 Fells so my other could learn to be my pack pony with all the equipment :) for longer rides.

My aim eventually is to be out for upto a week or longer at a time but of course that is dependent on my ponies and me being able to cope with that sort of work load.

I intend to do a picture/blog of our travels and trail riding. I will make sure you lot get to see what stunning countryside we have here in the UK

I am so happy I found this site
     
    09-12-2011, 09:49 AM
  #8
Foal
I do western riding and I always ride in my western saddle. It's really comfortable and has a padded seat - great when you've been in the saddle for a long time! I also carry saddle bags on the back for water, food etc.
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    09-12-2011, 10:41 AM
  #9
Green Broke
Sorry, Joe, but "whoa" does not come from the bit. It comes from the training you put into the horse.

A horse can blow through a bit just like they can blow through a bitless.

I don't what know it is about people thinking that horses are born knowing what a bit is. They are trained to respond to it, just as you can train a horse to respond bitless.

As long as you take the time to do the proper training at home, you will be just fine going bitless on the trail.
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    09-12-2011, 11:07 AM
  #10
Weanling
Sunny I fully agree with what you say.

I have a good friend helping me train her into bitless from now untill next spring. If she doesn't accept bitless I will have to ride her in her bit.Her young horse goes great bitless and under full control even on roads. She has been training him in bitless for 12 months and more.

But I am deep down hoping she will learn to work bitless.When I go trail riding 90% is going to be off road. She has only ever known a pelham (from before I bought her last year) I want a more natural way with my mare if possible. Even more so as the trail riding for me will be to build a great relationship with my little mare.
     

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