When I was a kid, I knew nothing about tack. The shabby cardboard box barn I took lessons at didn’t have the money for high quality saddles, so students had a choice between a beat up old Wintec and a no name leather monstrosity with a seat like a cinder block. When I came back to riding I’d never heard of names like CWD, Beval, Antares, etc., so it’s no surprise that I ended up with something familiar (and synthetic).
Six months later, when I bought Ezhno, I made the mistake of letting my local tack store salesperson convince me to buy a $170 Ovation brand bridle. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine bridle—it’s got the fancy stitching and the leather is pretty soft—but the sizing has always been wonky and I’ve worn holes in the reins. I love it as a schooling bridle, but if I was looking now I’d probably pass it by for that price.
It’s only recently that I’ve started to learn more about different brands of tack. Research + wisdom from my trainers + reading other blogs = a much more informed equestrian consumer.
Post Devoucoux Stephani is very broke, but you can’t not buy things on Black Friday There’s not a lot of things I need, but there’s a lot I want—a new pair of reins, a shoulder relief girth, a breastplate/martingale combo, a pair of powerful body clippers, and a saddle pad in every color of the rainbow, for starters.
But as I perused my local tack store in search of a big ticket item to cash in on a 40% off coupon, nothing really caught my interest. The reins were made by brands I’ve never heard of, the breastplate had a made-in-India sticker on its tags, and none of the body clippers they had in stock looked like they were going to last for more than one season. I considered each item, then found a reason to give all of them a pass.
As I stood there, folding the cheek piece of a teal accented dressage bridle back and forth to check the suppleness of the leather while watching a middle-aged couple look at a selection of synthetic girths out of the corner of my eye and trying not to cringe, I came to a realization:
I’m one of those people now. I’ve got a fancy French saddle, a rough understanding of the pound to dollar conversion rate, and a sudden predisposition towards words like “Sedgwick” and “buffalo” and “calfskin”. I’ve surpassed “picky” and gone straight to “tack snob”. I’ll never be able to wander into the tack store and pick things out on a whim again. I’m duty bound to dig up reviews for almost every product I encounter.
In the end, I walked out of the store with a pair of side reins (look out Raglan, TrainerA and I are coming for you 😈) and a lead rope (to replace the one that Rags chewed through).