Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT

Tack

 Butch was asked once what it was I did besides ride horses?  His quick reply was;  "Buy Tack"!  Pretty accurate - you can tell that we've been married awhile!  :-)

  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.
Saddle~
Stonewall Sport~
It took years to find a saddle that would work for me & Farah.  Several saddles later, after expenditures for pads, shims, saddle repairs, rebuilds etc., I found the Stonewall Sport.  Built Calvary style, it has adjustable dropped rigging that puts my legs in the - rider's groove.

  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.

Saddle History~ 
  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.

The bit is a Mylar Combination - the same basic bit that I've used since Dean had me purchase one for Khari.  This bit can be as gentle, or as attention getting as you need.  After our years together - I hardly touch it these days - unless there's competition of course :-)  If you read how they work, you'll understand why they've become so popular.

 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
Reins~
  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.

Breast Collar~
  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 ~
Pads~   
 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.  

Halters~
  Years ago, cheap was a cotton rope halter, I used one with Topsy.   If you wanted something nice, it was leather.  By the time we brought the first horses to the Homestead - nylon was the rage in any color.  We bought them & used them for years - they lasted forever & never broke.  After that came Bio-thane, then Beta - both good products, easy to clean & pretty much indestructible.
Farah's - made by Tory Leather
  My preference has gone full circle - back to leather!  It does break - a horse might get away without a halter at all - but I'd prefer that to finding them hung up.

Bags~  
  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~
Cinches~
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!

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