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Posts Tagged ‘tack’

No that is not a typo………..read on……….

These vintage leather saddle bags were made around the late 1940s to early 1950s by Keith Robbins, who was born in 1927. Following is an excerpt from Robbins biography that was written by his son.

It was at this time that Dad worked at the Utahn Saddle Co. (they couldn’t use “Utah” and have it as registered companies name so they called it Utahn). It was a business his father started because he couldn’t find a saddle that was comfortable to him. They began with about five employees, including my Dad. One of their main customers was Sears.

As a publicity stunt, they strapped a saddle on the outside of a single-engine airplane. A flight instructor rode around the Salt Lake valley while sitting in the saddle on the back of the airplane. Eventually, the Utahn Saddle Shop went bankrupt. Then my Dad went to work for Jenkins Saddle Shop.”

TM08-saddlebags-utahn-1

Utahn Saddle Co., Vernon Utah vintage Late 1940s, early 1950s heavy skirting leather all stitching intact very clean inside 39″ long from end to end each of the two expandable side pockets are 10 x 12 and the softer chrome tanned leather in the expansion area allows them to be 3 3/4″ deep so hold a lot of stuff

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My mare, who is 30 years old, but acts like she’s about 20 years younger, loves to be ridden and loves to run up the hills. She has so much energy that she’s hard to keep at a walk especially out on trails, and in the field. She wants to be in the lead and doesn’t like being in the rear or even in the middle of the group. She’s also forgotten how to WHOA when told. So I’m constantly pulling on her to stop (never used to have to do that). I can deal with all that, after all she’s 30! Do horses after a certain age forget things? But, my problem is keeping the saddle and pads in place. They’re always slipping no matter how much I tighten the girth. I also use a breast collar on her. I thought that would help keep the saddle in place. Any suggestion?  Mary

Hi Mary,

Your question reads like a story about aging horses and saddle fit.

When a horse’s back begins to drop (sway) it is almost impossible to keep the saddle up near the vicinity of the withers. Instead, gravity and the rider’s weight cause the saddle to slip down the slope created by the prominent withers (the peak) and the now lower back.

Even if you tighten and re-tighten the cinch, the tendency will be for the saddle and you to slip rearward and settle down in the valley of the horse’s sagging topline.

You’ve tried the logical solution – use a breast collar to HOLD the saddle forward. But alas that just causes extreme pressure on the horse’s chest and shoulders as the weight of the saddle and rider pull against them as the saddle tries to slip back.

Which brings me to the change in behavior in your horse. You say you always have to keep pulling on her to stop her or slow her down now – you didn’t have to do that in the past. That’s because when a horse has back pain from pressure and/or an ill-fitting saddle and when a horse is thrown off balance because of tight tack and pressure, the horse might instinctively do one of several things.

Buck like heck to get rid of the saddle and pain, rub or roll to get the saddle off, or as many trained horses will do, move fast and tense. Part of your mare’s exuberance might be due to her being full of energy, but in so many cases, quick, tense movement is associated with pain and imbalance.

So the solution to everything is finding a saddle that fits. This is something you will need to do locally so that the expert saddle fitter can see your horse in person. Once you get a saddle to fit your mare, you might be surprised to see how you will be able to ride with a looser cinch, how much more comfortable your mare will be and how she will resume her normal gaits.

If you care to reply with the state or area you live in, perhaps someone will write in suggesting a saddle fit expert in your area.

Read more articles on tack and riding here on my Horse Information Roundup.

Best of luck,

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Cherry,

It has been a miserable winter so far here in New York and even riding indoors is a problem. I’ve heard about quarter sheets but I’m not sure which to choose and how to use them. Help!

Tasha and Gizmo

Choosing and Using a Quarter Sheet

©  2011 Cherry Hill   © Copyright Information

Quarter sheets, also called exercise rugs, are used while longeing or riding horses during cold weather to keep a horse warm during warm-up and during active work to prevent rapid muscle cooling which can lead to chilling and cramping.  Wet heat loss is 23 times faster than dry heat loss.  If a horse is allowed to become damp during a cooling out period, he will likely lose so much heat as to experience muscle chill.  Blanketed, stabled horses with very short (clipped) coats are prime candidates for quarter sheets.  The sheets are placed under the saddle or affixed around the saddle, depending on the style.

Quarter sheets perform different functions depending on what material is used their construction: they can keep a horse warm, prevent a horse from cooling out too rapidly during strenuous work, minimize moisture build up under the sheet by wicking it away from the horse’s body, and keep a horse dry when being worked in wet weather.

Wool, the traditional fiber from sheep fleece, absorbs moisture vapor from the hair and skin leaving a dry layer of insulating air between the horse’s body and the wool.  The natural crimp of wool fibers make them stand apart from each other which allows air to be trapped between the fibers, further insulating and holding in body heat.  Although wool can absorb moisture vapor, it cannot absorb liquid so it has a good degree of water repellency.  The scales on the outside of wool fibers causes liquids to roll off so it takes quite a bit of moisture for wool to get wet and when it does, it tends to be a comfortable rather than cold and clammy.  Wool allows the body to cool down slowly, thereby reducing the chance of chills.

Wool has a natural elasticity: dry wool can stretch about 30 percent and wet wool between 60-70 percent allowing freedom of movement.  Good quality wool should return to its natural shape when dry.  Wool’s flexibility also makes it durable – the coiled, crimped fibers stretch instead of snap when stressed.

Virgin wool is 100% new wool that has never been processed.  It has a distinctive fluffy crimp to it.  Processed and reprocessed wools are usually more dense and compact.  Often other fibers are added to vary the characteristics of the wool such as acrylic for softness or nylon for wear resistance.

Polarfleece and Polartec are registered trademarks for the original double-faced fleece fabrics made by Malden Mills from 100% Dacron DUPONT polyester.  The warmth of Polartec is comparable to wool with less bulk and weight; it is more durable than acrylic; the double facing makes it soft on both sides.  Polarfleece machine washes well on cold without fading or losing shape, no bleach, hang dry, do not press, iron, or steam.  Fiber absorbs no more than one percent of its weight in water so stays very light and is a very rapid drying fabric.

GoreTex is a windproof and waterproof fabric which means moisture won’t get inside even if pressure is applied to the fabric such as from a saddle.  GoreTex is also breathable which means perspiration vapor is able to pass out through the fabric.  To keep GoreTex at its maximum waterproof/breathable performance, wash and tumble dry the item and occasionally iron using a warm setting.  If professionally dry cleaned, request clear distilled solvent rinse and request spray repellent.

SympaTex is also a windproof, waterproof, breathable fabric with the same properties as GoreTex.  Wash in warm water on gentle cycle using a mild detergent but no fabric conditioner.  Do not use a fast spin.  Allow the garment to drip dry.  Iron at a low temperature.

Quarter sheets, originating in the military, were initially just long saddle blankets which ended at the junction of the loin and croup and had normal length sides.  Many of today’s quarter sheets are cut more like a partial blanket, covering not only the entire back, loin, and croup but the entire side of the horse as well.  The sheets that provide maximum coverage provide warmth and prevent chilling over a large area but if too snugly fitted over the hindquarters and tail, can inhibit movement and if too long on the sides can interfere with leg aids or the use of spurs.  Larger sheets also have a tendency to billow, necessitating a fillet string or tail cord or loop to keep the back of the sheet from flapping.


Traditional Cut:  The traditional cut quarter sheet is a large rectangle that runs from withers to tail, down the shoulders, sides and hindquarters.  The saddle sits on top of the sheet and is secured via girth loops and stabilized with a tail loop.  Girth and saddle must be removed in order to remove the traditional quarter sheet.  The traditional style is either sparse like the original military quarter sheet or fuller like a stable sheet with the front missing.

European Cut:  The European cut features a cut-away section under the girth which helps prevent the sheet from gathering in that area and allows for normal use of leg aids and spurs.  Tack must be removed to remove this style of quarter sheet.

Easy On/Off Style:  There is a cut out area for the saddle and (Velcro) fasteners in front of saddle.  Therefore, the sheet is put on after the horse is saddled and can be removed without removing the girth or saddle.  Usually this type of sheet does not have girth loops and goes over the fastened girth which allows quick removal of the sheet.  This style of sheet usually has a tail tie which, if tied with a quick release knot, makes the sheet easy to take off even while mounted.  If it comes with a tail loop and you expect to take it off during the work, you can opt to not put the loop under the horse’s tail or you can dismount to remove the sheet.  In any event, you don’t have to remove tack to remove the sheet.  This style of sheet can be used under the rider’s leg as a traditional exercise rug or over the rider’s legs to keep the rider warm.  A great bonus use with this type of sheet is for temperatures where a quarter sheet is not needed during warm-up and active work but is beneficial during cool-down – this style of sheet can quickly be put on without removing any tack or even dismounting in some cases.

If a sheet has an English Brace, it refers to a reinforced wither area which offers extra protection in the most vulnerable section of the quarter sheet, directly under the saddle where there is extreme pressure.  A well-made English Brace usually means a longer lasting product.

Sizing is listed several ways.  It is usually expressed as the length from the front edge of the quarter sheet to the rear edge of the sheet in feet and inches, inches, or centimeters.  So, a 4′ 6″ sheet might also be called a 54 (“) sheet or a 137 (cm) sheet or might be called size Medium or Large depending on the manufacturer.  However, each manufacturer determines the actual dimension of their size Large, for example, which can range from 54-57 inches.


Sometimes a quarter sheet size is the horse’s equivalent stable blanket size.  The quarter sheet described above would fit a horse that would wear a size 78 blanket (197 cm) so sometimes the sheet is referred to as a 78, but it is not 78″ or 197 cm long.  All of this varies greatly with sheet design, country of origin, and the manufacturer.

Fit will be dependent on the cut of the pattern, whether there are seams and darts, and the type of material used.  Some materials conform and mold to the horse’s contour better than others.  Sheets with 2 or more pieces and hindquarter or croup darts tend to fit the contours of a horse’s topline better than a single piece drape, thereby staying in place and providing a snug, cozy fit.  However, these same well-fitted sheets could inhibit movement.

Cherry Hill

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Dear Cherry,

With great pleasure I’m reading your book “Thinking like a horse”. It’s good readable and the drawings and pictures are beautiful.

 

How to Think Like a Horse by Cherry Hill in Dutch

 

I saw on your website that you also sell articles. On site 20 from the book there’s a picture from Seeker. The blanket underneath the saddle, do you sell those? So yes, where can I find them on your website?
Specially that one is a very nice one on a red/brown horse like our Quarterhorse mare Ira. She’s so lookalike Seeker!
Can you please answer my mail and if you don’t sell the bankets can you give me another adress?
Best greetings from Harold in the Netherlands

Hi Harold,

First of all, Bravo on your English ! I’m glad you are finding the Dutch translation of my book, How to Think Like a Horse, enjoyable and helpful.

I just now walked back from the barn where my husband, Richard Klimesh, put new shoes on my mare Seeker ! She is my special buddy ! It sounds like Ira is your good buddy too.

We don’t sell western saddle blankets – only a few extra tack items every now and then in our Tack and Attire section.

But if I were looking for a western saddle blanket like the one you saw in my book (How to Think Like a Horse) I’d start by looking at Rods – notice that there are 10 (TEN) pages of western saddle blankets – when you are finished looking at the first page, you can click on more pages at the bottom of the screen.

(Note: I am not connected to or sponsored by any companies. I am only supplying this suggestion as a good place to start.)

Be sure to browse all of the articles I have posted on my Horse Information Roundup, especially in the Tack and Attire category where you can read about saddle pad selection and care.

Best of luck !

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If you are going to use a bit when training your horse, the logical choice would be a snaffle bit. Alternatives to using a bit are bitless bridles, bosals, sidepulls, halters and tackless. These topics will be discussed in future posts.

A snaffle is a mechanically simple bit that allows you to communicate with your horse in simple terms.  A snaffle bit transmits pressure in a direct line from your hands on the reins to the rings and mouthpiece of the bit to the horse’s mouth.

©  2010 Cherry Hill © Copyright Information

On a snaffle, there are no shanks.  Shanks are the vertical sidepieces on a curb bit to which the reins attach.  Shanks create leverage action.  The snaffle bit operates via direct pressure only. The mouthpiece of a snaffle can be jointed or solid.  The misconception that any bit with a jointed (or “broken”) mouthpiece is a snaffle has given rise to the misnomers: “long-shanked snaffle”, “tom-thumb snaffle”, and “cowboy snaffle”.  All of these are really jointed (or broken mouth) curbs.

The most common snaffle, the jointed O-ring, has four parts: two rings and a mouthpiece comprised of two arms.

A snaffle is customarily used with a brow band headstall that has a throatlatch.  Often a noseband is used with a snaffle.

Snaffle Action The snaffle is useful for teaching a horse to bend his neck and throatlatch laterally so that he can be turned in both directions.  It is also useful for teaching a horse to flex vertically in the lower jaw, at the poll, and at the neck muscles just in front of the withers.  Vertical flexion is necessary for gait and speed control as well as for stopping.

The bars are the flesh-covered portions of the lower jawbone between the incisors and the molars.  This is where the bit lies.  It is the action of the snaffle bit on the bars of the horse’s mouth that produces vertical flexion.

With a regularly configured snaffle, when one rein is pulled out to the side, let’s say the right, the bit will slide slightly through the mouth to the right and the primary pressure will be exerted by the ring on the left side of the horse’s face.  This will cause him to bend laterally and turn right.

When the right line is pulled backward, pressure will be exerted on the right side of the horse’s tongue, the right lower lip, the right corner of the mouth, the right side of the bars and on the left side of the horse’s face.  This will tend to cause the horse to bend laterally and begin to flex vertically so he shifts his weight rearward as he turns right.

Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill

Making Not Breaking by Cherry Hill

When you pull backward on both lines, pressure will be applied to both corners of the mouth and across the entire tongue and the bit may contact the bars and the lower lips.  This causes a horse to flex vertically, shift his weight rearward, slow down, or stop.

Your hands have the capacity to turn the mildest bit into an instrument of abuse or the most severe bit into a delicate tool of communication.  Above all, good horsemanship is the key to a horse’s acceptance of the bridle.

The introduction of the bit and bridle occur during ground training such as longeing and ground driving.

Longeing and Long Lining the English and Western Horse

Longeing and Long Lining the English and Western Horse

Cherry Hill

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