What Is Horse Tack?

What Is Horse Tack?

Horse tack, also known as horse equipment, refers to all the supplies necessary to prepare a horse for riding. This includes saddles, bridles, halters, and more – everything needed to get your horse ready!

There is also a range of equipment designed specifically for certain horse activities or disciplines, like western pleasure or eventing. But each piece of tack must be properly sized for both the horse and rider in order to guarantee safety and comfort.


Saddles are one of the most essential pieces of equipment for your horse. To avoid pressure points that could be hazardous to either horse or rider, make sure they fit perfectly around their back, shoulders, and withers.

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A girth is a wide strap that wraps around the horse’s rib cage behind its shoulders and secures the on its back. This can be either an independent piece of tack or attached to the using either a girth pin or buckle.

Girths for horses can be made of leather, rayon, or other materials. For horses with sensitive skin, these girths may also be covered in sheepskin for added comfort.

Another essential piece of tack is the bridle, which keeps your horse’s head in check. Standard bridles are made of leather but some riders prefer bosals which replace the bit altogether.

Bridles are also a safety measure for new riders, as they prevent the horse from biting or pulling at the reins.

It is recommended to have your fitted by an experienced trainer or equestrian. A poorly-fitting saddle can cause the horse pain and make riding challenging.

Western saddles are ideal for long days at work on cattle ranches, providing comfort to both the horse and rider. They can be utilized in a variety of disciplines such as roping, barrel racing, and trail riding.


If you’ve ever ridden a horse, you know that safety equipment is necessary. This includes items such as a halter and lead rope. Additionally, saddle, bridle, and bit are necessary.

To complete your riding outfit, you’ll need various pieces of gear such as a cinch, stirrups, reins, and blanket/saddle pad. These items help secure your horse’s body while providing cushioning for your legs while riding.

Some of these items are required by law for safety reasons, such as a helmet.

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Other tack items, such as a girth and hood, can also be used by those who do not ride horses but are interested in equestrian sports. These may be made from leather or synthetic materials and come in various colors or designs.

Selecting the correct harness is a vital step in finding your horse’s ideal tack. Popular styles in the industry include breast strap harnesses, collars, and hames harnesses.

When selecting a harness, it’s essential that it fits snugly. It shouldn’t be too tight and there should be no gaps between the buckles.

Make sure all straps are correctly positioned and hanging down straight. If any are twisted or hanging in an inappropriate place, take immediate steps to rectify the situation.


Bits are essential pieces of horse tack, enabling riders to exert pressure on their horses’ mouths and thus control them more effectively. Selecting the correct bit for your horse can make all the difference in how they respond during training, so ensure you select one carefully.

Different bits exist, but most consist of several components that work together to perform a particular action on the horse’s mouth and muzzle. These include a mouthpiece, cheeks, purchase, shank, and rings.

Mouthpieces come in a range of materials and shapes, such as chain, single or double; straight or mullen (a straight bar with a slight curve to accommodate the tongue); some even feature rollers, rings, or small “keys” that the horse can move with their tongue.

Some more severe bits may use twisted wires or metals as mouthpieces, though these can cause severe injury to the horse’s mouth. Generally speaking, smoother mouthpieces create gentler bits.

Bits can be divided into two categories: snaffle bits and curb bits. Snaffles feature rings that apply lateral pressure to the horse’s mouth, making them popular around the horse world and offering convenience to some riders.


Reins are long straps attached to the bridle that guide and control the horse. These can be made of leather, metal or nylon and used in various disciplines and sports.

When selecting reins for your horse, ease of use, safety, and comfort should be the top priorities. Make sure they’re easy to keep straight, don’t snag on anything, and can be quickly and easily lengthened or shortened for changing conditions.

If you’re a novice rider, it is especially essential that the reins you select don’t snag or slip through your hands. You may need to experiment with different types of reins before finding ones that work best for both you and your horse.

Western reins come in various styles, such as split reins and mecate reins. Mecate reins are typically braided from horsehair or nylon and attached to a bosal or hackamore for early horse training purposes.

Split reins, usually 7-8 feet in length, attach to the bit with a water tie. They’re popular for trail riding but can also be found in cutting, reining, and other Western disciplines.

Rubber reins are commonly seen in eventing and racing as they provide extra grip for riders and help them hold their hand steady. They can be made of nylon or coated in rubber, featuring little stoppers along their length.

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Saddle Pads

Saddle pads, also referred to as numnahs in the UK, serve as a cushion between your horse’s back and the saddle. They reduce friction, prevent heat buildup, absorb perspiration, and minimize shock. Saddle pads come in various materials depending on what riding discipline you practice or your horse’s needs.

The most commonly used saddle pad is a wool-felt pad, composed of compressed wool which absorbs sweat and dissipates heat. They come in standard and contoured shapes and range from F10 to F11 felt grades.

Foam pads are often combined with felt for support. These can be constructed from closed-cell neoprene (closed-cell rubber) or open-cell polyurethane foam. While the latter is softer than its closed-cell counterpart and more breathable, it does not offer the same shock absorption capacity as closed-cell neoprene does.

Neoprene pads are popular with riders in dressage and show jumping disciplines, as they can be tailored to fit the horse’s back. They may be cushioned with gel, foam, or wool for added comfort and easy cleaning.

Navajo blankets are another popular option. They resemble woven blankets that have already been folded, often featuring padding between the top and bottom layers as well as leather straps to hold them in place. Not only are these easy to clean – simply throw them in the washer/dryer or hang them up to dry – but they’re also easy to store away once dry.

Leg Wraps

Maintaining your horse’s legs is paramount to avoiding injuries. Leg wraps can aid in healing from strains, reduce swelling, and more.

The legs of your horse are often overlooked but are essential components of their anatomy. They play an integral role in all kinds of movement, from jumping and riding to pacing and trotting.

They absorb shocks, provide traction, and keep tendons and ligaments comfortable on cold winter days. Horse rugs can be made of various materials like leather or neoprene; horses with thin skin, may even be covered in sheepskin for extra warmth and comfort.

Leg wraps can help reduce stocking up, which is common among horses who are stabled for extended periods. They may also keep liniment, sweat wraps or poultices on your horse’s legs or keep wound dressings in place.

Horse leg wraps and bandages come in a variety of forms, such as standing bandages, polo wraps, no-bow wraps, and quilted wraps. These items are intended to protect a horse’s legs from overreaching, bruising, or scraping during rapid cuts during races.

No matter your skill level as a rider, knowing how to properly use and apply bandages and leg wraps are invaluable. From polo wraps to shipping bandages or travel bandages, understanding how to put them on and take them off is an essential skill that all horse owners should possess. https://www.youtube.com/embed/9U7VAhfGz6I

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