What equipment do I really need for my horse?

Mensch streichelt Pferd

The saddle cupboard can hardly be closed, the tack room doesn't have enough space for all the halters and the cellar is also full of horse equipment. Does this sound familiar? We took a look in our own tack room and tell you what we have and which things we think are really needed.

Autorin: Karolina Kardel, 360 Grad Pferd

A survey on Instagram showed us that it is not easy to create an overview of the equipment we really need for our horse. Because depending on the focus of the training and the type of training, other things play an important role. One works with a knotted halter and could never do without it, the other needs a bag full of treats.

Sustainability is a topic that receives little attention in the equestrian world. Although there are more and more labels like us at Sportsfreund Studios, for whom it is important to produce their products under fair conditions and under the aspect of sustainability, the topic of sustainability and environmental protection is still treated very stepmotherly. In the end, the fifth halter is bought "because it looks so nice".

For this reason, we want to take a look at what equipment is important and provide an insight into our saddle cupboard. A tip at this point: When buying new equipment, go for quality. Good products may cost a little more - but they also last much longer. And not only because they are of a higher quality, no, there is also a psychological component involved:

Experience shows that we all treat, care for and look after the products better that were more expensive. The bridle is cleaned more often, the saddle blanket is brushed more often and the sweat rug is stowed away in a mouse-proof place and not simply parked on the saddle cupboard or left hanging on the hook, where it gets covered in dust over the summer, is chewed on by the stable swallows or the mice.

Must-have: Every horse needs this equipment

Halter and rope

No one can do without a halter and rope. Both are absolute must-haves for us. We need the halter to lead our horse, to tie it up, we can do ground work with it or theoretically we could even ride with it.

Because halters can be purchased for relatively little money, many horse owners have numerous different models. In our own saddle cupboards, however, things look different: We tend to go for minimalism when it comes to horse halters. We have two halters and two ropes for each of our horses. Two, so that we can wash one if necessary and are not left without a halter in case one breaks.

Our personal favourites are the braided halters by Herr Pferd, which are finally being produced again and which we particularly cherish and care for.

Cleaning kit for daily care

You can't do without grooming stuff. After all, our Icelandic horses are in the process of changing their coats for ten out of twelve months. And to remove the loose hair and dirt from the open stable, we should clean our horses regularly and always before and after training. Especially after training and before putting on the sweat blanket, it is important to brush out the loose hair. You can read more about this in our article "How to care for a sweat rug".

In our cleaning box there are:
- a dandy brush
- a Magic Brush
- a mane brush
- a hoof scraper
- a shedding blade/sweat scraper
- a furminator to fight the winter coat
- a pair of scissors

When it comes to grooming products, we also like to keep it simple: for tail and mane, we use simple olive oil from the supermarket. In summer, we protect our ponies with fly spray when we go into the woods.

Feed bowl or feed bucket

A feed bowl is also part of a horse's basic equipment. Whether it is a bowl or a bucket is basically the same: a bucket that can be hung around the head with a strap prevents the horse from spreading its feed around the stable.

Equipment for ground work

Groundwork with capebridle, lunge and whip

Besides the basic equipment for everyday life, we also need other equipment for training with our horses. For ground work we have the following in the saddle cupboard:

A well fitting cavesson

A matching cavesson is another must-have for us. It can be used for training on the lunge line as well as for classical ground work in hand. Whether the cavesson has a nose iron or is simply made of leather or biothane depends on what is more comfortable for your horse and fits well. Our ponies share a handmade leather cavesson from Dauberg und Roth.

A ground work rope/lunge

A lunge line or a long ground work rope is also a real must. Long reins are also suitable. Unlike a tether with a panic hook, the groundwork rope or lunge should have a classic carabiner that does not come loose when the horse jumps to the side or when there is more tension during lunging. Otherwise, it is your personal feeling that decides how comfortable the lunge line is in your hand.

Crop and whip

For us from #teamsportsfreund, whip and crop are part of the training. (Whip when riding: Yes or No?). For us, both are nothing more than an extended arm and the possibility to give our horse finer aids. We personally each use a riding crop and share a longer groundwork crop and a light manege whip, all handmade by Rudolph Lobback in Dannenberg.

Equipment for the riding horse

A fitting saddle is the most important thing

A fitting saddle is the be-all and end-all for every riding horse. Which saddle is the right one and how it is fitted must be decided by the saddler you trust. It is important that the saddle fits both the horse's back and the rider's seat. A short saddle for a short horse's back does not really help riders with a strong bottom or long thighs. It massively restricts our pelvic mobility and makes us sit stiffly on our horses and interferes with their movement. We have summer saddles from Sattelberaterin Xenia Brunk.

Nice to have but not absolutely necessary: hide saddle or riding pad

Not absolutely necessary but nevertheless nice to have is a hide saddle or a riding pad. Both give the feeling of riding without a saddle, but protect the horse's sensitive back from our uncomfortably prickly ischial tuberosities, among other things. Riding with a hide saddle or riding pad helps to improve your own riding position

Two saddle blankets

Our wool saddle pads are available in many beautiful colours.

To protect the saddle pad and/or riding pad from dirt and horse sweat, you should definitely use a saddle cloth. It also keeps the saddle area nice and dry, which is good for your horse's health.

Despite our penchant for minimalism, we advocate owning at least two - and not (just) because you can buy these incredibly great wool saddle blankets from us. No! If you have two saddle blankets, you can replace and clean them regularly. Because a dirt-encrusted saddle blanket is not only unsightly, but also extremely unpleasant for the horse. Reading tip: Saddle cloth oder saddle pad – what is best for my horse?

Bridle with matching bit or bitless

Just as important as the saddle is the snaffle or bitless bridle. One bridle is usually enough - unless you want to switch between bitless and bit, between different bits (for example, curb and water snaffle) or between different halters (English or Hanoverian). In that case, it is highly recommended to have a second bridle at hand so that you don't have to constantly change your settings.
Alternatively, you could use a multi-function bridle such as the Hillbury Dorado model from Hillbury , which you can buckle your bit into if required.

The bridle also includes reins, of course. A pair of reins is usually sufficient, preferably with carabiners or snaps to fasten them. Experience shows that: If you have several different reins made of different materials, you will always end up using the pair that fits best in your hand. All the other reins lie or hang around unused in the saddle cupboard.

The situation is a little different when you take your horse to a show. In our article Your first competition: What you have to pack and what helps against nervousness we give you the tip to choose an outfit in which you feel comfortable and smart. And that goes for the horse too, of course. That's why it makes sense to have an everyday outfit and a Sunday best for the show with glittering stones, white reins or similar.

A Cooler Rug

Must have: high-neck sweat blanket

Last but not least: The Cooler Rug. Of course, a sweat rug is a must. And we are not only saying that because you can buy cooler rugs from us. We say that because a sweat rug is indispensable, especially for training in winter. A wet and sweaty Icelandic horse with its thick and long coat needs much longer to dry off than a large horse with a comparatively short coat. The sweat blanket not only supports the drying process, but also prevents the warm muscles from cooling down and becoming tense due to a draught. This especially affects the sensitive back area. And when transporting the horse in a trailer on the way to a course or a tournament, a sweat blanket made of fleece or wool can prevent muscular tension caused by draughts.

Of course, we use our own cooler rugs, with each horse having two. This way we can change them when they are sweaty or wash them alternately.

Further equipment for the horse

In addition, there are still some things that are needed depending on the situation, age and state of health of the horse. These include for example:
- Hoof shoes
- one (or more) eczema blanket(s)
- a Rain Rug
- a paddock rug
- a fly rug
- clicker, clicker bag and food praise

Which equipment for the horse should not be missing in your opinion?

Worth Reading

All about our sweet itch blanket

Everything you need to know about our sweet itch rug. Fabric, cut and fit. The blanket is designed for the highest protection and comfort of the horse.

Abschwitzdecken von Sportsfreund Studios
Sportsfreund Studios

The Sportsfreund Studios blog contains numerous tips on dealing with horses. From fitness training to the learning behaviour of horses - you can read it all here. The blog is written by Karolina Kardel from 360 Grad Pferd.

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