Western horse tack is essential for the backyard ranch horse and rider. It is very important the horse and rider are both comfortable. It is equally important that the tack not unnecessarily limit the horses normal range of motion. Horses vary in shape and size just as their riders do. For example, some have short backs and some have long backs from withers to hips, some horses have higher withers than others and so on.
Western Horse Tack – Saddle
A good saddle is very important, you want a saddle that is comfortable on the horse and for the rider to use. The components that make a saddle need to be equally as comfortable and reliable as the saddle. The basic anatomy of a western saddle has several parts:
- Pommel or swells
- Rear Jockey
- Breast Collar
- Back Cinch
- Stirrup Leather
- Front Cinch
Western Horse Tack – Saddle Pad Or Saddle Blanket
A good saddle pad and/or saddle blanket are important to put underneath that good saddle. The saddle pad cushions and pads the horse from the weight and constant movement of the saddle and rider. The pads and blankets also can make the horse more comfortable with vents along the middle of the back for air movement. Sometimes gel pads are sewn in the blanket at the shoulders to keep the constant movement of the horse under the saddle from causing a saddle sore.
Just as the saddle and pad/blanket are important, the bridle is also very important. The bridle holds the bit in the horses mouth and the reins give the rider control of the horse through the bit.
The horses mouth is very sensitive and the correct bit should be used for optimum behavior and communication with the horse. There are several parts to a bridle as well.