Tack and Riding
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Choosing between English and
differences between the two riding disciplines.
Western riders can enjoy a wide range of horse sports including barrel
racing, roping, cutting, reining and
trail riding. English riders can enjoy a ride in the country,
jumping, hunt, and dressage. Both styles can be highly competitive.
a matter of what your goals are
and what you can realistically achieve. Ask yourself what you want to
accomplish and then figure out how you will do it. Luckily
many horses are trained to respond to both English and Western
disciplines making it
possible to try out different riding styles.
Some riders will be quite happy never competing. They may be content to
ride their horse in the back yard, through fields, down roadways or
over trails for
their own pleasure. In this case it doesn't really matter if you choose
English or Western. Many pleasure riders have found that they can jump
their horse over fallen trees or teach their horse some basic dressage
movements using a western saddle. English riders are not confined to
stuffy arenas and can have fun on trail rides with their Western riding
friends . The point, is that both riding disciplines can be mixed and
matched by adults or kids who just want to have fun. Have a look at
both styles and then choose according to what personally appeals to you
Best English Tack
you should know about saddles and tack before you buy
your buying an English or a Western saddle their are 3 basic
considerations. Fitting the horse. Fitting the rider and what the tack
will be used for.
For English or western saddles
Saddles comes in a few basic sizes. The sizes are designated by a name.
For Western saddles the names are Quarter Horse Bars, Semi Quarter
Horse Bars, Full Quarter Horse bars and Arab/Morgan Bars. There are
some specialty sizes available to fit gaited horses, ponies, draft
breeds and so on.
For English saddles the names are Narrow, Medium, Wide and Extra wide.
English saddles also come in specialty sizes. Some
English saddle makers are now making in-between sizes so you can get an
even better fit for your horse.
What the names mean
The names refer to what type of tree the saddle is built
built to fit a wide variety of horses. This doesn't mean that one
saddle will fit every horse, what it means is that you can match the
type of tree to your horses wither, back and shoulder conformation.
You may have read at many websites that there are no
between saddle making companies. This is true. However, the variances
are usually small enough that it won't make much difference to your
Below is a general guide to finding a saddle to fit your
This is only a guide to help get you started. Keep in mind that you
should consult with the saddle company of your choice to confirm that
their saddles fit the same way that our site is describing. This is
important beacuse the people that make the saddle trees don't all use
the same terminology or the same measurements. If you have a horse with
unusual conformation then you may have to look into alternative saddles
such as treeless, flex tree or saddles with air panels..
Using the names to Find the right size to fit your horse
Quarter Horse bars or Narrow in English saddles
This type will fit the bony backed, narrow shouldered, high withered
horse. (Like a
thoroughbred) This is the
least common in both English and Western saddles. Very few horses have
this conformation because we tend to feed our horses well
and breed them bigger and heavier.
Semi Quarter Horse Bars or Medium in English saddles
This type fits the average fleshy backed, medium to high withered
horse. This type fits over 70 percent of all horses, especially horses
of mixed breeding.
Full Quarter Horse bars or Wide in English saddles
This type fits the wide fleshy backed horse with bull dog shoulders and
medium to low withers.
Arab/Morgan Bars for Western saddles
This type fits horses with a narrow shoulder, wide
short back and medium
to low withers.
Extra wide panels for English saddles
If your horse has a back shaped like a barrel and low withers, than
this is the
type of saddle you want.
There are some specialty saddles available on line at The
shop and Equestrian Collections Just the
browse the sites to find
made for specific breeds or conformations.
Fitting the rider
Both English and western saddles come in different seat sizes to fit
the rider. Our very handy seat size calculator will tell you what size
Click to use the Western seat size calculator.
Click to use the English seat size calculator
There are many saddle pads available for both English and Western
saddles. A good fitting saddle should not need anymore than a simple
wool, wool/felt or wool/cotton blend pad. In fact less padding under
the saddle is better. Too much padding will make your saddle slip
easily out of place. A lot of saddle fitting problems that make a
horses back sore are from too much padding. A saddle pad should not be
more than 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. Simple wool or wool blended pads are
best. Remember your horses is a natural creature and will appreciate a
natural material next to his skin.
The bridle has little effect on your horses performance so feel free to
choose one you personally like.
Shop Western Tack at
Collections - The world's largest equestrian superstore
The bit does effect your horses performance greatly. Every bit ever
created causes the horse some discomfort. It is important to learn
bits and how to use them right. If your just starting to ride the best
bit is the Dee Ring Snaffle or Egg Butt Snaffle bit. Or ask the
previous owner what bit the horse is used too. Each type of bit exerts
pressure on different parts of a horses mouth, cheeks, poll or chin. A
good book on bits will help you become a more sympathetic and caring
rider. Click to see our Bit Guide
It is up to you whether you wear one or not. The only thing to say on
this matter is that even the best rider falls. Some will end up with
severe head injuries and others will get by with just a scape. Only you
can decide how much chance your willing to take with your head. You can
read our helmet safety and fitting guide here.
Kids and Horse
It's a fact kids love horses!
It is also a fact that as parents we have
to ensure our kids safety. It doesn't matter at what age you decide to
introduce your child to horses as long as they follow some
basic safety rules.
When introducing children to horses it is not enough to simply give
some rules. Children need to know why there are rules and how those
rules affect the interaction between them and the horse. keep your
explanations simple, short and to
the point. Otherwise it may go in one ear and out the other.
Kids can become bored easily,
but there are many games kids can play on horseback to help keep things
See games kids can play while learning how to