Tack that works - that's what I like. Leather - there's nothing about it that I don't like! The smell, feel, durability & the way it looks on a horse. Over the years, I've I tried a lot of the trendy items that come & go. If it doesn't work for me, it eventually gets donated or sold at the local tack sales. As to bling - I'm old fashioned there too. I love conchs & have found a craftsman who does some beautiful custom work. J.L Smith.
I received a used Classic model in Aug. of 2015. Post~ After a few rides - I placed an order for the Sport that arrived Dec. - Post~ Well made, with quality leather, sheepskin & hardware. I added several options; a "pocket" seat - with additional padding, black fleece, additional footmans to the side of the pommel, stainless hardware & concho's with leather strings.
Bucking rolls are a must for me - Everett referred Gary at WS Saddles, who made them. Outfitting it was a breeze - I love Gear Ties & used them to attach the pommel bag to the footmans for a noiseless, bounce free attachment. It's sleek, simple in design & lightweight - at a little over 18 lbs. After many miles on the trail & a couple successful endurance rides - Farah's back looks perfect & I like the seat.
First in importance - the saddle. I've used quite a few - some worked, some didn't. After my accident in 2003, I learned about the value of a saddle with a deep seat. It took me several saddles & a few years to find one that worked. Saddles - are so much about personal preference. Everyone wants that perfect saddle - a combination of comfort for themselves, the horse, style & at a price they can afford. A friend referred me to the American Saddle Makers Association. A wealth of information on saddles!
Headstalls~With several hanging in the tack room, I went shopping again when I started using the Stonewall. Going back to black after all these years required a new headstall. Finding one was more of a challenge than expected. Troy Leather had a simple style with the Spanish Browband that I like, silver concho's set it off.
Another headstall that I've used since 2005, was a find at the Bony Pony in Mt. Vernon, WA. It's well made from quality leather & double stitched. It fits Farah perfectly - with enough adjustment for most bits. Farah actually wore through my original Mylar bit. I sent it in, they repaired it free of charge! Post~
|Windmill Headstall with a Myler Combination Bit|
My reins of choice are 1" wide & 6-7 ft. long. I use both leather & beta. The weight of these reins keep them from flopping when you trot, give me the length to allow a horse to drink without being bent over their neck. I also use them to direct Farah from the ground - at a safe distance over obstacles etc. Leather does become slippery when wet, so I now have two sets of Beta, made by Hought Tack - one of Havana Brown & the other black. They are almost identical in weight & feel to leather.
I had quite a time finding a breast collar for the Stonewall. I decided on Beta & English style with the strap over the neck for stability. American Trail Gear made the breast collar below. A quality product, they incorporated the iron & silver center ring I found to set it off.
|The iron on the ring has rusted now ~|
The pad in the photo below, is sold by Saddleright. Made in the USA, guaranteed to not slip, roll, bounce & to protect, forever. The one I borrowed from Cassandra, that was over twenty-years old, worked so well, that I had to buy one. Only a 1/2 inch thick, it offers outstanding protection & is long enough to add cushion behind the drop down rigging. Available in a variety of colors, they fade over time, but can be recovered for a fee. This pad isn't light - but that additional weight comes in handy if you're a lightweight rider. Contact Cassandra if you're interested. Her link is on the left side-bar.
|Saddleright endurance pad|
Toklat Woolback has always been the preference for most endurance riders. They can be slippery when new - but it's easy enough sew on a tie - to attach to your D' rings to keep in place. I've also used a - Stable Ride Saddle Pad Non-Slip Liner. They wash up easily, dry quickly & have never caused a problem. I've always had great luck with Supracore pads too, they keep the horses back cool & are comfortable for the horse & rider.
|Farah's - made by Tory Leather|
I'm really happy with the Stowaway Slim Western Cantle Saddle Bag. For everyday riding, it holds a small emergency kit, I.D. card, pad & pencil, flashlight, emergency blanket, gloves, small saw etc. It attaches tightly with minimal bounce.
On the pommel, the Snug Pax Pommel Camera Bag is perfect for Farah's carrots & my snack. It's now discontinued, so glad I bought an extra!
I recently found the set of insulated nylon bags below, for longer day trips - from Tough-1.
|Tooled black leather print~|
The gold standard is mohair & when you're shopping for mohair - be sure to get what you're paying for. With my new saddle & tired hands, I've found a great cinch at Distance Depot - made by Montana Cincha & shown in the photo below. The roller buckles make it so easy to adjust!