So you’ve got yourself a horse, and now you need to start stocking up on all your tack essentials. The good news is that there’s plenty of exciting shopping to be done. The bad news? There’ll be no more fancy holidays or new shoes (for the human that is…for the horse there are plenty of new shoes!) for a while – but it’s all worth it. If you’re just starting out, here are all the tack items you’ll need for your horse.
Let’s start with the most obvious pieces of tack, which are those you’ll use for everyday riding:
- You’ll need a saddle to suit your discipline, so dressage, jumping or even a GP (General Purpose). If you are just starting out, a GP is probably the way to go as they are more versatile than specialised saddles, allowing you to do a bit of everything. Make sure that you get your saddle properly fitted by a professional, as badly fitting tack can cause huge problems for the horse and rider.
- Saddle accessories are important too! A saddle is no use without a saddle pad, girth, stirrups and stirrup leathers. A spare saddle pad or numnah is a good idea, so that you can wash and rotate them regularly to keep your horse clean and comfortable when you ride
- After that, you’ll want to get a bridle for your horse. Unless you know that the horse needs a specific type of noseband, stick to a plain cavesson bridle.
- You’ll also need a bit for your horse. Again, unless you know that the horse has to be jumped in a gag or hacked in a kimblewick, start with a basic and soft option like a French link snaffle. Measure your horse’s mouth to make sure you get the right size
- A proper safety helmet and riding boots for you! Safety comes first, so make sure your shoes have a slight heel and your helmet meets current safety standards
Here are some pieces of riding tack that are not essential, but which might be necessary depending on your horse:
- Martingale or breastplate for jumping or fast hacking
- Brushing boots or tendon and fetlock boots to prevent your horse bashing his legs
- Sheepskin pads/gel pads/riser pads
- Dressage whip or jumping crop
On top of tack you use for riding, there’s also a few other bits and pieces you’ll need for the everyday things that come alongside horse ownership. Make sure that you have the following items for your horse:
- A head collar / halter and lead rope
- Rugs, sweat sheets and fly sheets (if necessary)
- A fly mask or fly fringe for the hot summer months
- Lunging equipment (such as a lunging roller/surcingle, lunge whip, a lunge line and side reins or lunging aid if needed)
- Grooming equipment (brushes, hoof picks, hoof oil, a first aid kit)
- A tack trolley as well as a case or trunk. This is so that you can easily and safely store your new saddles, bridles, boots helmets and other equipment in one place.