July 4, 2009

Equine Fashion

Isn't Mischief stylin' wearing his Wizard Poley? Note the two layers of fleece in the saddle seat. This is for rider comfort, but Mischief thinks it looks pretty cool, too.
This is the saddle, a hornless Aussie style. If you've ever jumped your horse over a log on the trail and landed a bit forward, I'm sure you'll understand why we go hornless... By sending the manufacturer a withers tracing, you can get a saddle custom fitted to any horse.
My stirrups have a wide, padded platform for the foot to rest on, which eases the shock of long distance trotting. I buy them with a cage attached. The cage prevents a foot from slipping through the stirrup in an accident. A hung foot and a spooked horse don't go together well. The tiger striped thingies over the leathers are to keep my legs from chafing.
A neoprene cinch and breast strap adorn my lovely Arab. The breast strap is useful to keep the saddle in reasonable position while going up steep hills. Going downhill, we tighten the cinch and rely on our horses' high withers to keep the saddle from getting too far forward.
Mischief sports a western headstall, English reins, and a Kimberwich bit. He also wears a halter and lead rope on the trail. This comes in handy if I have to get off and lead him when the going gets rough.
No steel shoes for my boy. After years of horseshoes, then boots, we finally realized that both horses will do fine barefoot, even on rocky terrain, if their hooves are properly trimmed. If the trail is extremely rocky, we use front boots only. I'll write a separate post on natural hoof care sometime.
As for additional gear, I bring this pommel bag. (The pommel is the front of the saddle.) Small side pouches are just right for camera and GPS. The larger compartments are for water bottles, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, extra batteries, and gloves. I clip the pommel bag securely onto the saddle so it doesn't flap around at trot or gallop.
I may also bring along this cantle bag (The cantle is the back of the saddle.) loaded with a light gortex jacket, rain pants, and a down vest if it's cold. In the mountains, I tie an Aussie oilskin duster onto the front of the saddle. The weather can turn icy in no time at 12,000 feet. For a long ride, I bring a pair of eyeglasses. As I learned the hard way, see Moonlight Ride, prescription sunglasses aren't much use when a ride unexpectedly lasts until after dark!
Steve prefers standard saddle western saddle bags, but otherwise he loads Boss with most of the same things Mischief carries.
Daisy just carries her own pretty self.
We bring enough gear to be comfortable all day, no matter the weather conditions. (An overnight trip requires more, of course, but I'll post on that another day.)
So, ready to go? Mount up. Let's take a ride.

27 comments:

  1. that fasciates me about the shoes sandy

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  2. Mischief is a handsome one!

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  3. This is such a great post Janie and so informative. Daisy and "friends" certainly are handsome. Have a great day and happy 4th of July!

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  4. Mischief and Boss look mighty fine in their tack. And your seat looks comfy. I'm surprised Daisy isn't carrying a small pack as well.
    Very informative. Wish I was going along.

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  5. Wow, quite a lot of things to take along on your rides! Both horses look so fine! And what a comfy saddle!

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  6. You two really know what you are doing when it comes to your horses. I would need some nice padding on my saddle also I"m sure. I've only ridden a horse a few times when I was a teen--but I have ridden a bicycle--and know how much I need padding on that seat... SO?????

    Anyhow---now that you have everything all worked out perfectly, I'll be there soon and you can take me for a ride!!!!! (I wish!)

    Have a wonderful 4th.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  7. Very interesting reading. Lovely photos of the horses.

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  8. Hi Janie and Steve!

    Interesting observations and beautiful photos. That´s one handsome horse!

    Utah looks fantastic and I would love to visit there some day.

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  9. The horse is so beautiful and moreover the accessories are too great..Do check my another blog also i.e.Unseen Rajasthan

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  10. I certainly enjoyed Mischief's (and Boss's) fashion statement. They look thoroughly prepared for just about anything. I just hope Daisy isn't jealous because she doesn't have any accessories.

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  11. Oh Janie, thank you for writing this post! Western isn't such a big thing here in Sweden, so there is so much The cantle bag is something I really have to look for!

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  12. I LOVE that saddle. I learned to ride English, but didn't like how the stirrups cut into my feet and didn't protect my toes in brush. The fleecy places are a nice touch too. Happy trails!

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  13. As a non-riding person I found this very interesting, educational and informative. I also envy you those long rides in that beautiful state of yours.

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  14. What really gorgeous horses! I used to ride daily but unfortunately haven't been on a horse in years. I miss it.

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  15. What a wonderful post, very informative. I quite enjoyed it. Looking forward to reading more about natural hoof care. I found it very interesting and a refreshing change that you don't shoe them. Do you trim their hooves yourselves?

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  16. thank you for revealing the intricate equine fashion! was indeed a learning experience for me!

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  17. You should see what I put on when I go our for a bicycle ride, but nothing can compare to your fashion. Thanks for sharing. It was smart that you point out the "X" in my laughing gull picture of ABC Wednesday. Have a nice Jult 4th weekend.

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  18. Janie, you have got beautiful horses. Absolutely necessairy "accoutrements" for the benefit of the horses and you! Very interesting to see all the necessities and preparations for an "outing"!

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  19. Janie, I forgot to say how I appreciate the last photo; the rider, his beautiful, trusty steed and a lovely companion, all happy together enjoying nature. The meadow with the wildflowers looks enchanting and I think the scent warm and earthy.

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  20. I also love the last photo of the rider and the horse in the meadow...it is really lovely.

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  21. Wow...that's a lot of gear! I haven't ridden a horse since when I was in Girl Scouts, but remember it was a lot of fun. And I miss that horsey smell!

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  22. Many thanks for dropping by ! Your horses are gorgeous; my daughter is going to love looking at these when she gets home tomorrow from a long school trip... Cheers !

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  23. interesting . . . loved learning about your tack and why it's used especially the aussie saddle. We always used the western saddle. I'll be watching for your post on foot care, that was also interesting that your horses go "barefoot"

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  24. At this year's National Folk Festival in Butte, America, there are a lot of sessions devoted to the horse: tack, techniques, stories, songs... Though not a horse-person, I appreciate the art of it all. See http://www.nationalfolkfestival.com/2009/festivalinfo_montanafolklife.php .

    I much prefer sharing the backcountry with horses than ATVs...

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  25. It does look like you're prepared for anything! what a fun thing to do I'm sure!

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  26. You are so amazingly knowledgeable about horses. I wouldn't have a clue. The hiking must have been quite an experience. I must say you two do get out and enjoy life.

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