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Do You Have the Right Size Horse Tack?

Posted by Country & Stable on 8th Jan 2022

Do You Have the Right Size Horse Tack?

Do You Have the Right Size Horse Tack?

A lot of people don't realize that they could be causing their horse undue discomfort or leading themselves into dangerous situations because the horse tack they’re using doesn't fit properly. It is important to buy not only good quality tack and to check it regularly but to buy tack which fits your horse perfectly. 

But how do you find the best horse tack size? And what types of tack can have specific sizing issues? The answers to all these questions and more are in this comprehensive guide. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about finding the ideal horse tack fit! 

Horse Tack Buying Guide

It can sometimes be difficult to recognize the signs of ill-fitting tack, but horses can give subtle clues that they need different tack. Some of the most noticeable, of course, is if the horse is resisting being tacked up - by pinning its ears, fidgeting, or moving away. Some of the less common signs can include a grumpy attitude, resistance to mounting, and general resistance throughout the ride. 

Horses are just like humans, they can tend to ignore most uncomfortable situations if it's not sharp pain or if they are used to poor riders (such as trail horses). It's important to keep an eye on these things, even if they are subtle. If something is fitting poorly it can cause problems or obscure other medical issues like gastric ulcers. 

Let's take a look at each piece of tack one by one to establish what it is, how to fit it properly, and what to look for. 

  • Saddle

    This is the most important piece of your gear kit. A poorly fitted saddle can cause poor performance, discomfort or worse - outright pain. The right saddle must fit the curvature of the horse's back. 

    If you notice your horse has uneven sweat patterns, this can be an indication that the saddle doesn't fit properly. A saddle should also not cause the rider discomfort, so make sure you're feeling good too. 

    How to Size ?

    Saddles are a special case. Saddles are too central and too important to take the DIY approach to estimating fit. You should always consult with a professional saddle fitter before purchasing a new saddle or if you're looking to try to change something. 

  • Stirrups

    The most common issue that arises from ill-fitting stirrups that are the wrong size is discomfort for the rider. If the stirrups are too short it can cause twisting in the hips and knees, and if they are too long it becomes a safety issue. 

    How to Size ?

    When you are adjusting your stirrups, make sure your knee is even with the rim of the saddle (this is the most comfortable and safest position). Crooked or angled stirrups can aid in comfort levels by helping to stabilize the rider even more - but every rider has different preferences! 

  • Girth 

    The girth is how you secure the saddle onto the horse. Girths come in a wide variety of options. You can learn more about how to properly adjust your girth here. 

    How to Size ?

    Most girths are already highly adjustable. In most cases, it should be a situation of finding the best comfort for both you and the horse. Unless the material is bothering the horse, you probably don't need to re-buy. 

  • Breast Collar 

    Many riders don't put enough thought into the breast collar, but it's actually one of the most important pieces of tack for your safety. If the girth fails, this is what keeps you in the saddle. On the other hand, if it's too tight it can cause extreme discomfort to your horse by impeding its ability to walk or breathe. 

    How to Size ?

    Most problems actually occur when the rider is placing the tack - even if there is not something wrong in the sizing of the breast collar. You can accidentally asphyxiate your horse if you're not careful. However, you will notice if the collar is too small based on how your horse reacts. 

  • Bits 

    Bits are how you communicate with your horse and there are a lot of options out there. Each individual horse and rider will find preferences and dislikes when it comes to bits. 

    How to Size ?

    It can sound tricky, but the sizing all comes down to the shape and size of your horse's mouth. Before buying a bit make sure it fits the size and shape of your horse's tongue, mouth, and lips. Make sure nothing is pinching. 

  • Bridles 

    There are multiple points where bridles connect, meaning that it's possibly the most tricky piece of tack to size after the saddle. The bridle helps you to control your horse, but it can also be easy to cause discomfort. 

    How to Size ?

    You have to think about every aspect of your horse's head - where the mouth, jaw, nose, brow, poll, and ears lie. Between all of these, try to find the intersection of comfort and response. 

What About You? 

Don't forget, if you're uncomfortable your horse can sense that. That's why it is important that your clothes and equipment  fit too. These days, you don't have to sacrifice comfort over style, they come hand in hand. 

There can be many areas where you can experience discomfort too. Are your boots too small or too large? Do you have a nice jacket for the colder days? Be sure to check out our selection of clothing before your next ride! 

Where to Get Horse Tack

Now that you know all about the different pieces of horse tack that you need to fit properly, you're probably wondering where to get the best horse tack fit. It's always good to have a wide selection so you can find the styles you want in the sizes you need. You can find everything you need at Country and Stable, an equestrian goods retailer with all the best quality items - check us out today!