Over a cold drink at home in front of my computer, I had a read of an article and all the comments from keyboard ninjas that followed. It made for a very entertaining read. In part why I just love forums. So many personalities HIDING behind computer monitors-none of which would ever have the balls to say something to your face, but seem to have all the Disney magic to TYPE while hidden behind their monitor screen.
This got me to think about tack and it's purpose and the logic that some people have regarding what is appropriate and what is not. I know for sure that there are people who have ridden where I ride or perhaps simple ridden by us who have their own questions and place judgement of why someone who rides with certain pieces of tack ride with those pieces of tack. I do think that quite often people like to ride in certain pieces of equipment because it looks good or perhaps they were advised to use it from their coach or fellow rider. Some literally use gear because they saw someone else use it, and they want to join the "cool" group(let's be honest we all know people who would fit in the last option).
I feel that everyone should put more consideration into the reasons why they want to put a piece of tack on a horse,I myself am very passionate about Buck Brannaman and his theories and way of thinking. I believe that when possible, horses should be ridden in a regular snaffle(tho clearly not always realistic). Some horses do better in certain bits, some riders(due to experience can only ride) can only handle riding in certain bits. There are always great reasons or situations as to why certain things fall with certain horses/riders. I feel that tack is generally the same thing-less or more simple gear is usually better. I think the logic behind it is pretty clear right? Having said that in some situations, you will required certain pieces of equipment and that's just a fact of life. The mare I am working with right now, is shaped like a perfect barrel and has no wither. I can think of half a dozen breastplates or girths which work in different ways, and suit different builds of horse.
I have had to narrow it down to a specific type of girth and breastplate to keep my saddle on where it needs to be-even then it can still rotate one side to another if you're not well balanced in your stirrups. Now imagine dealing with that every time you ride(or even riding outside on uneven terrain which causes your horse to move around even more than normal, or while riding cross country at a gallop through the country side). Until you have ridden that horse and actually understand why this horse moves or does something a certain way, you really have no say or opinion in what YOU think is appropriate or not for someone else.
I had issues for months about the bridles I was using. I have mares that are built like tanks. They have big jaws and even a warmblood size bridles doesn't cut it for me. The throatlatch amongst a few things-NEVER FITS. I started to search abroad to see what was available out there and found the above bridle. Fantastic! no throatlatch at all in the design, extra padding on the poll which I absolutely love, and the noseband(tho considered a flash noseband), is actually left completely lose on my mares because they just don't require it. What freedom does it give you to be able to have an english bridle with literally the most freedom one could give to their horse-why not?! I think tack should compliment each other. For example, if you have a headpiece to reduce poll pressure, then it doesn’t make sense (in my humble opinion) to fit a tight browband which puts pressure around the ears and pulls the headpiece forwards, or even worst, hold their mouth shut with a blood sucking tight noseband.
Tack has come a long ways in the last 15-20 years. Companies have done scientific research on the effects of tack on horse stride length, muscle tension, etc. So we can make more informed decisions on what we use on our horses. Which means that if a piece of tack, for example a bridle, doesn’t suit your horse you can find an alternative. I think being able to think outside the box is a great thing. Now you can access anything from anywhere in the world right at your fingertips and it's truly incredible. Makes it a truly exciting time to be in the industry.