If you’ve spent any significant time away from riding you might be surprised by the style trends in any equestrian discipline when you get back into it. I’ve primarily had dressage horses the last six or seven years, but with the purchase of an OTTB I plan to dabble in every English discipline if my horse is game. I’ve put together a wishlist of tack that I would want once we’re ready to ride and show as a hunter/jumper.
I already have an older but well cared for Antares saddle, so I won’t need to replace that unless it doesn’t fit. If it doesn’t fit I’m partial to the PASSIERBLU® Motion Close Contact Saddle. I love the blue piping but it’s subtle enough that I don’t think it would be distracting. The Pinnacle Penworth Close Contact Saddle is another great option. It’s built to fit a wide range of horses and has adjustable knee blocks so you can customize to fit your leg best.
I don’t have any hunter bridles, so I’ve been looking at a multitude of brands and styles. If I went with a classic style the Ovation® Fancy Stitched Comfort Crown Padded Bridle would be one of my top picks. It offers a comfort crown to avoid irritation and pressure points without being too thickly padded. If I needed an anatomical bridle the Micklem Competition Bridle offers quality leather and a design that avoids adding pressure to motor and sensory nerves as well as the molars and cheek bones.
For stirrup leathers and irons, I have an abundance, but I still like to keep an eye out for better fitting leathers or irons that are more comfortable for my bad ankles and knees. In truth I need children’s stirrup leathers but can make do with shorter adult lengths. The Passier® Velvet Touch Stirrup Leathers and Schockemohle Chantilly Stirrup Leathers are two high end options I’d love to try out as they’re designed to not stretch. The Joseph Sterling® Super Soft Riveted Leathers are favorites of mine for my dressage saddle so I would probably pick up another pair for a close contact saddle also.
My favorite stirrups that I’ve tried are Royal Rider irons but I’m always looking for a better option. I’ve heard great things about both the Herm Sprenger® Flexcite Stirrups and Bow Balance Stirrups. Both feature multiple flexion points to ease the impact on ligaments and cartilage. For a stirrup more like the Royal Riders I would go with the Dura-Tech® Lightweight Polymer Stirrups. They are lightweight and don’t cause the same stress to my ankles I find most fillis irons do. They also come with a rubber and metal footbed, so you can have more cushioning with the rubber or better traction with the metal.
Saddle Pad Wishlist
For schooling I love matching boots or polos and saddle pads to make a nice outfit. The Dura-Tech® All Purpose Pad comes in a variety of colors and can be embroidered which is a nice touch for both schooling and showing. For showing the Dura-Tech® Pro Air Hunt Pad is a nice option as it allows for good airflow during the summer, so your horse won’t be as hot. For higher withered horses the Toklat® Medallion SuperQuilt High Profile Hunter Saddle Pad offers clearance over the withers that many pads do not.
While ideally you may never need a half pad, many of us do use them to make a saddle that fits okay, fit better. For an anti-slip pad with sheepskin trim the Dura-Tech® Anti-Slip Support Gel Half Pad with Sheepskin is the best quality and price. It will keep your saddle from slipping without altering the fit of your saddle significantly. I have the ThinLine Trifecta Cotton Half Pad to fit my dressage saddle and it’s made a huge difference with fit for every horse I’ve ridden in that saddle as it’s adjusted very wide for a pony I owned previously. This pad is also shimmable so you can make minor or major changes to saddle fit. Another half pad that’s shimmable is the Dura-Tech® Gel-Lite™ Support Pad. You can add front and back shims to the pad or leave with none to just add a little extra cushion.
Again, I’m always looking for the best options for versatility of use and what’s in style for the discipline I’m riding. Most of my current tack is for dressage and I think the OTTB mare I bought will be the perfect horse to dabble in every ring. If you have any suggestions of more items for my wishlist, let me know.
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