Getting your first horse is going to be one of the most memorable days of your life but a lot of preparation has to be done to ensure you have everything you need to both care for and ride your four-legged friend.
One of the first tasks is to make sure you have the right tack for your particular horse - an ill-fitting saddle or the wrong bit will not only be uncomfortable for the horse but for you when you ride it.
Getting the right saddle for your horse is really important and the saddle needs to correspond to the shape of the horse’s back with no adverse movement. Saddle sizes vary from 15” to 19” and the size you need will depend on your height, weight and the purpose of your saddle. The best way of ensuring you buy the correct saddle is to visit an experienced saddle fitter.
For extra comfort invest in a saddle pad. The Kentucky Skin Friendly saddle pad offers supreme cushioning between the horse’s back and the saddle protecting against friction. It is also important to get the right girth for the comfort of your horse. The Kentucky Sheepskin Girth is both flexible and soft and has three D-rings to accommodate schooling equipment.
Take care when buying stirrup irons. Some have a safety conscious design perfect for children. Ensure they are the right size for your feet (allow approx. ¼” each side of your riding boot).
It is essential to look after your horse’s mouth so worthwhile investing in a good quality bit which is kinder on the horse and safer for the rider. Focussing on comfort is key. The general rule is to find the mildest bit possible that allows you to communicate clearly with your horse.
The style of bridle is a personal choice as is the noseband and reins. The main purpose of using a drop noseband is to prevent the horse from opening his mouth and resisting the bit. Reins with a nylon core are particularly good as they are grippy without the bulk.
A halter is essential for managing the horse when not tacked up. For those ponies who are difficult to catch in the field halters may be left on, so they should be comfortable. Take a look at the Kentucky Leather sheepskin halter for ponies - it has two removable sheepskin pieces on the noseband and head piece.
When left in the field in the winter months they will also need a rug. One that can be used in all weathers is the Kentucky Og Turnout rug which is waterproof and has a breathable coating. In the summer flies are often a problem and it is kind to put on a fly veil such as the Wellington Velvet which protects both their ears and eyes.
Whether in the stable or out in the field your horse will need regular grooming which is so much easier if you have a good grooming kit. The basic items you’ll need are a hoof pick, mane comb, body brush, curry comb, dandy brush and rubber curry and hoof oil. Check out our Grooming Deluxe range for more.