90 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) G Western ood equipment is a basic necessity.
Equipment should be well made and fit both you and your horse.
Fancy equipment is not necessary for your 4-H project. You will need a saddle, saddle pad or blanket, bridle with a good bit, halter and lead rope for your 4-H project.
Other equipment, such as chaps, splint boots, spurs or lariat may be needed, depending on the type of riding you do.
Spurs are only to be used as aids.
Until you learn proper use of leg aids spurs should not be used.
Bridle The bridle consists of three parts: the headstall, bit and reins.
Western headstalls usually come in three styles: browband, split-ear and sliding ear.
Western reins come in three varieties: split, romal and mecate.
The headstall should be of strong, narrow leather.
The bit should be as light and mild as necessary while still allowing you to maintain control of your horse.
Too often severe bits are used as a substitute for good training.
Do everything possible to keep your horse’s mouth soft and responsive.
The bit is used to communicate with the horse, not control it.
Western bits fall into three main categories: snaffle, curb and spade.
A snaffle bit is a nonleverage bit while curb is a leverage bit and the spade bit is a signal bit.
The bit should fit the width of the horse’s mouth and be properly adjusted to the horse’s bar space, chin groove, lips and tongue.
Snaffle bits usually are correctly adjusted if they make one or two wrinkles in the corners of the horse’s lips.
Curb bits are usually fitted with one wrinkle or just moderate contact with the corners of the horse’s mouth.
Consult with your leader or riding instructor to learn more about proper bitting.
The hackamore is a bridle without a bit.
Hackamores come in two styles, bosal and mechanical.
A bosal is made of braided leather or rawhide and can be a valuable training tool.
Mechanical hackamores are a leverage device that creates pressure on the bridge of the nose and on the chin.
Mechanical hackamores are not acceptable in western performance classes but often are used in timed events and trail riding.
Curb straps are necessary on all leverage bits and mechanical hackamores.
Some curb straps are made of leather and some are flat chain.
All curb straps must be at least 1/2inch wide to lay flat against the horse’s chin.
Adjust the curb strap so it is tight when the bit shanks are a 45- to 50-degree angle to the mouth. 91 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) Figure 39.
Three main styles of bits: (a) a spade bit with spoon port, braces, roller, slobber chains and rein chains; (b) a sweetwater copper mouth piece curb bit; (c) shanked sweet iron snaffle with two reign rings; (d) high copper covered port with cricket roller, decorative silver shanks; (e) medium port sweet iron curb bit; (f) low port grazing shank curb bit. Headstalls Figure 40.
Browband headstall with curb bit on left; hackamore headstall with a rawhide bosal on right.
This is an excellent training tool that eliminates pulling on the mouth of the horse being trained. 92 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) — English The English riding styles are the hunt seat, saddle seat and dressage. Figure 42.
Saddle Rack Hunt seat Acceptable bits include snaffles, pelhams, kimberwicks or full bridles.
All bridles must be fitted with cavesson nose bands.
Martingales, either running or standing, are permitted in classes over fences.
Martingales are training equipment not allowed in flat under saddle classes.
Correctly adjust the bit to the horse’s mouth.
Snaffle bits are usually correctly adjusted if they make one or two wrinkles in the corners of the horse’s lips.
Consult with your leader or riding instructor to learn more about proper bridle fitting.
The snaffle bridle uses a nonleverage bit and is the most commonly used bridle in hunt seat and dressage riding.
The bridle is made of plain leather (raised or flat) with a browband, cavesson, throat latch and a single set of closed reins.
A dropped noseband, figure-eight noseband and flash noseband are all training devices that fit below the snaffle bit and keep the horse’s mouth closed. Figure 43.
Snaffle bits: (a) full cheek snaffle 4½ inch mouth; (b) eggbutt snaffle 5 inch mouth with a slow twist; (c) Dring snaffle with copper rollers; (d) mullen mouth spoon cheek snaffle; (e) fulmer snaffle; (f) eggbutt bridoon; (g) O-ring snaffle large diameter hollow mouth piece; (h) western Dring, decorative rings. 94 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) The pelham bridle uses a leverage bit, called a pelham.
This bridle is different from the snaffle because it has two sets of closed reins attached to the curb bit.
The pelham also has a curb chain.
When the top rein, or snaffle rein, is pulled, it puts pressure on the corners of the horse’s mouth, lips and gums.
The curb rein, or lower rein, puts pressure on the poll, mouth and chin groove.
Correctly adjust the bit to the horse’s mouth.
Pelham bits usually are fitted with one wrinkle or just moderate contact with the corners of the horse’s mouth.
Adjust the curb strap so that it comes tight when the bit shanks are a 45-to 50degree angle to the mouth.
Consult with your 4-H leader or riding instructor to learn more about proper bridle fitting.
The full bridle, or weymouth bridle Figure 44.
The pelham bit has both nonleverage and has two bits (a snaffle and a curb), leverage functions: (a) pelham with medium port; (b) rubber mullen mouth pelham; (c) kimberwick, medium port; two reins, two cheek pieces, a browband, cavesson, throatlatch and (d) weymouth low port, smooth bridoon; and (e) curb with tongue relief, lipstrap and smooth bridoon.
A curb chain.
The curb rein puts pressure on the poll, mouth and chin groove.
The curb should fit just below the corners of the horse’s mouth without pinching.
The snaffle puts pressure on the corners of the mouth and should rest just above the curb on the corners of the mouth.
The curb chain must be twisted flat, rest below the snaffle and be loose at rest and tighten when the curb rein is pulled.
There is a lip strap attached to the bit shanks and through the curb chain (see figure 44, E).
The lip strap keeps the curb chain in place.
The browband of the bridle keeps the headstall in place and should not pinch the ears.
The cavesson encourages the horse to keep his mouth closed.
It fits between the cheek pieces and the horse’s cheek.
Adjust the cavesson to fit and lay approximately two fingers below the cheek bone; neither too tight nor too loose.
The throat latch adjustment should allow two to three fingers between it and the throat of the horse to permit the horse to flex its neck. 95 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) Figure 45.
Three types of bridles: (a) Full or Double bridle; (b) Pelham, double-reined bridle; and (c) Spliteared western bridle with curb bit. Saddle seat Full bridles are required in saddle seat.
Martingales are not allowed.
A flat English-type saddle is required.
Dressage Snaffle bridles are used in all lower levels and for most training, while full bridles are used in upper levels.
Saddles The English saddle comes in many styles.
The girth is attached to two or three billet straps that are under the flaps.
English saddles are designed to conform to the horse’s back and fit closely with a minimal amount of padding.
They have metal stirrups and are lightweight.
The flaps protect the rider from the horse’s sweat.
Some saddles have knee rolls to help riders keep their legs in place.
The skirt of the saddle protects the thighs of the rider from the stirrup bars and buckles. 96 CHAPTER 12: EQUIPMENT (TACK) Figure 46.
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