I grew up seeing horses used merely for carrying loads of stuff. We used to live in an area where farmers would pass by mounted on their horses with two big baskets on each side of the horse. I think chaps were not the usual getup of those farmers but plain trousers, perhaps those that are ready to be used at the muddy farm…but they do wear boots, high up the knees, so in a way they are like half-chaps.

If like me, you’re new at horseback riding and would love to learn more about it, knowing the basic stuff and what one needs is a good step. Especially since my kids love riding horses/ponies – I wouldn’t want them getting hurt because of my ignorance and negligence.

Pony Ride during our summer vacation.


A. Some basic terminology: MARE – Adult female horse (3 years and older) PONY – A full-grown small horse (14.2 hands and under) FOAL – A newborn baby horse (before weaning) COLT – Male horse (3 years old and under) FILLY – Female horse (3 years old and under) HAND – Measures how tall a horse is (one hand = four inches) GAIT – The different speeds a horse can travel TACK – All equipment used on a horse (bridle, saddle, halter, etc.) —– B. TackThere are a lot, here’s well, some: 1.Saddles

English Saddles are different from Western ones. In size, the all-purpose, eventing, close-contact and dressage English saddles usually range from 14″ to 19″ using 1/2″ increments. Saddle seat or cutback saddles usually measure from 17″ to 22″ using 1″ increments. Western saddle sizes usually range from 13″ to 17″ using 1″ increments. They also differ in appearance and features as seen in these photos.


For saddles, look for your most appropriate ones at  Bates Saddles.

   2. Halters Also called headcollar or headstall, are used for control and communication with horses. 3. Reins

leather straps or rope attached to the outer ends of a bit and extend to the rider’s or driver’s hands. Reins are the means by which a horse rider or driver communicates directional commands to the horse’s head. Pulling on the reins can be used to steer or stop the horse.

  4. Breastplates

Breastplates, breastcollars or breastgirths attach to the front of the saddle, cross the horse’s chest, and usually have a strap that runs between the horse’s front legs and attaches to the girth. They keep the saddle from sliding back or sideways.

  5. Stirrups

Stirrups are supports for the rider’s feet that hang down on either side of the saddle.

C. Riding wear and accessories 

Helmets and Riding Hats – Buy them always brand new, bc hats uk has a lot of lovely designs to offer. If your hat suffered any impact, replace it immediately.

Pants and Legwear – Riding tights can be bought with leather knee and seat patches that provide grip compared to regular pants. Don’t forget chaps, jodphurs, breeches too according to your need.

Shirts, Jackets and Vests – You need appropriate garments when you plan to show your horse, go out on trail and dress according to the weather too. Be sure you wear something comfortable and what can protect you from the cold, visible /colorful when out alone.

Boots – There is no one-way rule in buying boots but it is highly recommended to buy them for specifically horseback riding, get them from a tack shop.

D. Caring for your tack

Like any other accessories, caring is not only to prolong your tack but to make sure you have a safe experience. Your leather equipment can crack when not cared for, worse, when you’re riding it and you can really get hurt.

There are special soaps and cleaning materials for your tack, make sure you research which is which. Store  them in a cool, dry place to prevent mildew and and mold from growing…better make bags for them so they don’t get dusty.

E. Gaits

Horses have 4 natural “gaits”, the (a) walk (b) trot (c) canter (d) gallop.

There are a lot more to learn so let’s try to know each in future posts.

  — Other images and information credit: http://www.equusite.com.