It fascinates me going to rides, because it seems like almost everyone has a different combination of gear for them and their horse. You’ll see Isabelle dressage saddles, stock saddles, treeless saddles, hackamores, sidepulls, halters, snaffle bits, kimblewicks…. Metal shoes, barefoot, hoof boots… As long as it works and it’s comfortable for you both, it’s fine!
So what do I use?
Saddle: Barefoot treeless Cheyenne.
I bought this cheap second hand as a starter saddle for my wide horse, and I’ve never felt the need to change it. It’s showing signs of wear now, but it’s done several endurance seasons and a number of 80km rides and I do all my training in at as well, so I can’t complain!
I LOVE the fact that it fits all of my horses. It’s not for everyone – no knee rolls means it’s not that secure on a spooky horse, but it that also means you can shift around in this saddle a fair bit. Nice upright riding position, and works well with my tendency to ride long. The only problem comes in the first 20km when horse and I argue a bit about speed, and I find I bump into the arch at the front of the saddle a fair bit.
It will probably need to be replaced in the next 12 months, and I’ll probably go with another one. I’m toying with the idea of the synthetic version, as the nubuck leather doesn’t much like the rain…
Stirrups – I use the EZ ride aluminium stirrups. The padded footbed really helped with my knee pain. I don’t feel the need for the caged version, but I don’t ride in running shoes.
Standard stirrup leathers, but I do have (and LURVE) sheepskin covers for the leathers.
Bridle – we indulged in one of these from Trail Wise tack:
It’s SOO pretty When Joe got his open status I decided we qualified for a bit of bling! So far it’s lasted well, but I don’t think the horsehair tassel will last for long. I’ll probably replace it (the tassel) with some more bling…
We use sheepskin saddle pads from D Lua Park underneath our standard Grandeur pad for rides, and an elastic Barefoot girth with a sheepskin cover. So far we have had no issues with girth galls or rubs, but I have invested in some Body Glide for our planned 160. It should be here in time for us to try it out on one 80 first.
Jodhs: Kerritts Flow Rise. Love ’em. Comfortable, light, no chafing, and are lasting well. I just wish they were a bit more forgiving of cellulite…
Boots: Ariats. I currently have the Volant XT and they’re OK, but lack ankle support for me.. Previously had the lace up Terrains which I prefer, so I’ll be going back to them next time if they’re still available. They fit well right out of the box, NO blisters, and last a long time.
Gaiters: I have a HORRIBLE time finding gaiters to fit my short wide calves. Currently I ride in basic Dublin gaiters and they work well, but don’t last. Anyone got any suggestions? I might try the Volant chaps, but previous Ariat chaps have been too long for me and dug in behind the knee – ouch.
Shirts – I ride in technical running shirts. The bibs we wear add an unexpected amount of wind protection and even on cold days I find all I need is a short sleeved T shirt underneath.
I won’t go into the details of my underwear.. suffice to say I need some serious support in the bra department!
In other news, the float is about packed, my clothes are in, and at about 2 o clock tomorrow afternoon we leave for Muresk to ride 80km on Saturday. The forecast is for 25 degrees and sunny, so a nice change from the last ride! Wish me luck!