If you buy a horse or pony for the first time, you need to know what basic equipment you need and how much to spend and need to watch out you don’t get saddled with a load of unnecessary stuff you’ll never use.
Makers and suppliers will tell you that you need the latest, top of the range tack – well they would because they are selling it!
The best way to start out is to cover the basics and then if you find you and your ride and using a piece of equipment regularly, upgrade to something more robust.
Don’t fret too much about buying leather or synthetic. Both are OK, but well-made leather equipment costs a lot more than most synthetic. Second hand is no problem, providing the equipment is in good condition.
Buy the best you can afford and you won’t go far wrong.
Over a few weeks, you will discover the ‘must haves’ – and to help you on the way, here are a few essentials you can’t do without:
Professional opinion varies on boots for your horse or pony. Different styles are available for exercise, travel and day-to-day wear, but some riders and vets feel they keep the legs too warm and restrict blood supply. If you are unsure, take advice from your vet.
Check the bridle is the right size or can be altered. Make sure the reins are not too long or too short and that they are comfortable for you and the your ride.
The seller should tell you what style of bit the horse or pony has worn, because altering the style can cause discomfort.
Test for a good fit and that they are strong and sturdy.
The clasp for attaching to the collar should have an easy-action.
At least a couple of rugs are needed, depending on whether you keep your ride out or in a stable. You can probably use the stable rug for travelling as well if you buy sensibly.
Start out with a general purpose saddle that suits a range of activities. You can always buy a specialist jumping or dressage saddle later. Make sure an experienced rider or saddler measures the saddle for a good fit. The same goes for the girth, which should be measured carefully for the right fit. Most riders buy two girths.
If you want your ride for jumping, buy a jumping saddle because you can use the same saddle for dressage, too
This slips between the saddle and your ride’s back. Top quality cotton is best, and buying two is a good idea to rotate for washing.
It should go without saying that your feet fit well. Stirrup leathers need to match your leg length.
Stuff is the equipment that just accumulates over time. You may use it once in a blue moon or every day, like mucking out tools, grooming brushes, buckets, a wheelbarrow, hosepipe and the list can just go on.