If you’re currently thinking about purchasing your very first horse, you’re making a fantastic decision to do your preparation prior to going ahead with the process.
When you become a horse owner, not only are you taking on the responsibility of another being’s wellbeing, but you’re also taking on a big financial responsibility – which is why it’s important to understand whether it’s right for you, before buying the horse of your dreams!
Even though it’s super important to make sure that you’ve secured comfortable and appropriate living arrangements for your horse (including a paddock for them to roam freely) as well as making sure that you’re stocked up on food, another important component to horse ownership is making sure you’ve got all the right equine equipment you might need, and the list can sometimes seem never ending.
Don’t panic though, because we’re here to help you out! From all of the different tack that you might need, what type of equipment you’ll need around the yard, all the way to what type of care tools you’ll need – this ultimate guide is going to talk you through all of the different equine equipment you’re going to need as you embark on your horse ownership journey. Read on!
Our Ultimate Checklist: Summary
Before we jump into this article, we’re first going to be taking a moment to talk you through what we’re going to be including in our list – so you’ll know exactly what to expect! Take a look at our breakdown below:
- Additional tack
- Rugs and other accessories
- Riding and care equipment
- Tools for the stable
- Horse riding clothing
- Show etiquette and clothing
- Additional items
Alongside providing you with in-depth information about each of these areas of caring for a horse, we’re also going to be providing you with some additional tips and tricks towards the end to make your horse ownership journey as enjoyable as possible. Ready? Read on for breakdowns of each equine equipment area below!
First things first, we’re going to be talking you through everything to do about tack! Seeing as you’re going to be owning your very own horse, it only makes sense that you should have all of the correct tack to safely ride them.
Of course, even though the entirety of your tack collection will greatly depend on what it is that you’re planning on doing (hacking, eventing, and more) – it’s a good idea to get your head around the basics first, and then extend your tack collection as you go along.
First things first, you’re going to need to add a bridle to the very top of your tack shopping list. Even though there are a variety of different bridles on the market, it’s very important to make sure that the bridle you choose is in line with the size and shape of your horse’s head, otherwise, they might find it very uncomfortable to wear, and this could then lead to difficulty while riding.
If you’re unsure about how to go about doing this – don’t stress it. We recommend asking a more experienced horse friend to give you a second opinion on what bridle to get – or you could even visit your local equestrian equipment shop and ask one of the workers to help you choose a bridle that will be best suited to your horse.
As a side note, while picking the bridle you will also need to make sure that you’ve correctly chosen which noseband to choose, as well as what type of reins you would like, too.
Next up, as soon as you’ve selected your bridle, you should then consider which type of neck strap or breastplate you intend to use for your horse.
Even though not all horses will require this additional item of tack, it’s something that we do recommend considering, especially if you have a nervous horse and would like the extra level of security that they offer.
Alongside the bridle and breastplate, the next important piece of equipment that you will need to get your hands on for your horse is the bit!
Perhaps one of the most important pieces of tack equipment you’ll ever buy, the bit is the bit (get it?) that goes inside your horse’s mouth and helps to ensure that you have total control over the horse without hurting them.
Now, not all horses take to the bit all that well (especially if they’ve only just been broken in) so it’s a good idea to make sure that your horse is familiar with bits before you go and buy a super expensive one that they might not even take to.
For the best results, we recommend asking your horse pals at the stable or yard if they would be willing to lend you the bits that they use for their horses.
By doing this, you’ll then be able to experiment with the different kinds to figure out which type your horse likes the most, and from there, you’ll then be able to purchase a bit that you know your horse will take.
In addition to this, it’s also worth keeping in mind that, while stronger bits might be necessary for eventing or cross country riding where you need maximum control for both you and your horse’s safety, a gentler bit will be much better for your horse’s day-to-day riding activities – regardless of whether you’re going on a scenic hack or practicing some jumps in the schooling arena.
How could we write a tack checklist without including a saddle? If this is your first time buying and owning a horse, then one of the most important pieces of tack equipment that you’ll need to make sure you own is a saddle!
Generally speaking, saddles don’t tend to come cheap (especially if you’re buying new) so do keep in mind that you’re going to need to make an investment when it comes to them.
If you’re going to be riding English, then a standard leather saddle is usually the option of the many, although it should also be noted that synthetic saddles are becoming more and more popular, and offer the same levels of durability and comfortability as a more traditional leather saddle does.
Alternatively, you could opt to purchase your horse’s saddle secondhand, which will be significantly cheaper. Although we don’t necessarily recommend doing this if you’re on the search for a saddle that will be suitable for events, or if you want a saddle that’s going to come to you in perfect condition.
In addition to this, you will also need to consider what type of saddle you would like to own. As we’ve already touched upon above, lots of horse owners find themselves using one saddle for general purposes and saving another one for events and competitions so that it doesn’t get damaged from everyday wear and tear.
Alongside that, it’s also worth noting that there are many different types of saddles to choose from, too.
For everyday hacking and exercise, we recommend that you opt for a general-purpose saddle, and if you’re planning on eventing, depending on what discipline you’re planning to compete in, you will need to choose an appropriate saddle such as a jumping saddle or dressage saddle.
Just like peas in a pod, the girth and the saddle go hand in hand – which is why it’s next up on your list. Now, when it comes to girths, there’s a vast sea of options out there on the market, so choosing one can be pretty difficult – especially if you’ve never purchased one before.
Generally speaking, you’ll need to choose from synthetic, nylon, leather, and string girths, and there are even ones that come with stud guards for additional protection.
More often than not, most horse owners tend to find that they get the best results from opting for either leather or synthetic leather girth, as these tend to be the most comfortable for their horse as their smooth surfaces have a far less chance of rubbing or chafing in the way that some of the other types might.
As always, if you’re ever confused about which type of girth to go for, we recommend asking a horse friend to help, or even visiting your local tack store, where you can ask one of its employees to advise you further.
As a side note, if you’re going to be purchasing your horse from a previous owner, then why not ask them for some advice on what type of girth to buy for your horse?
Stirrup Irons And Leathers
Another important aspect of your tack is the stirrup iron/leathers! The best way to determine which type of stirrups and leathers you’re going to need is by first determining what it is that you’re planning on doing with your horse.
If you are only planning on hacking, then you’re going to want to make sure that you have one to two pairs of stirrup irons/leathers in your tack collection. However, if you are planning on eventing alongside more casual, informal types of riding, then we recommend purchasing an additional pair that you can use for eventing.
In addition to this, you will also need to think about what type of stirrups that you would like. Though there are a variety of different styles out there to choose from, we recommend opting for a classical style with safety features if possible.
As we’re sure you can probably already guess, the numnah (or saddlecloth) is essentially the little pad of fabric that goes directly underneath the saddle. The saddle cloth/numnah is designed to help prevent friction or pain on your horse’s back while you are riding, so it’s very important that you make sure that you are using one on your horse.
Ideally, we recommend that you make sure that you have around two saddle cloths at hand for everyday use (as you will be able to use each one interchangeably while washing one) as well as one more saddle cloth that you can use for eventing.
If you are planning on doing dressage with your horse, then we recommend that you opt for a saddle cloth/numnah designed for a dressage saddle, and it is also worth noting that many riders opt for a wool-lined numnah for dressage eventing.
In addition to this, if you are planning on showjumping or cross-country riding, you should make sure that you purchase a saddle cloth designed for a jumping saddle, and ideally opt for one that it made of a sweat-wicking, lightweight fabric to help keep the horse cool while you are partaking in these high-intensity events.
So, while exercise sheets aren’t used by every horse owner, we do recommend that you consider purchasing one because they’re very helpful.
While you might always need to use one, they definitely come in handy during hacking/low impact exercise sessions when it’s cold out, and will help to keep your horse comfortable while out in the gloomy weather.
If possible, we recommend that you opt for an exercise sheet that is made out of waterproof materials (so your horse’s body will stay dry in the rain) as well as bright, eye-catching color to help ensure that your horse stands out to oncoming passersby or traffic.
We also recommend that you opt for an exercise sheet that “wraps around” the horse’s tummy area, as this will mean that you are able to pop your exercise sheet underneath all of your tack.
Last but certainly not least, you may also need to consider purchasing a set of protective boots for your horse. While not all horses may need to wear protective boots, for the most part, they’re definitely worth having in your tack arsenal just in case you happen to ever need them.
Not only that, but if you are planning on eventing with your horse or incorporating plenty of regular jumping into their daily exercise – you should absolutely make sure that you’re putting protective boots on your horse.
We also recommend making sure to put protective boots on your horse if you are planning on doing plenty of cross country.
2. Additional Tack
Alongside all of your basic tack essentials that we have covered above, you should also keep in mind a variety of other additional tack items that you might need. To give you an idea of what you might need to get in addition to your basic tack items, check out the following list below:
One thing that you could consider purchasing later down the line is a spare bridle and bit set. This will be especially useful if you are planning on eventing your horse, or even if you have a horse that is quite strong on the bit and you suspect that you’re going to frequently need replacements.
It’s always better to have a spare in your tack collection so that you’re never going to be without one, and you can make sure that your horse is getting all of the exercise needed.
Boots For The Yard
Alongside your riding boots, you might also want to consider purchasing yourself a set of boots for working around the yard.
The last thing you’ll want to do is get all of your riding boots dirty and ruined while carrying out your chores around the stable, so we recommend purchasing a pair of waterproof, durable boots that you can wear while mucking out your horse’s stable, turning your horse out into the field and more.
Lunge Training Kit
If you’re not planning on lunging your horse, then you won’t need to purchase a lunging kit. However, if you are planning on lunging your horse for exercise or training purposes, then we recommend that you get your hands on your very own lunging kit so that you won’t have to worry about lending a friend’s.
While daisy reins won’t be needed for most horse owners, if you are planning on purchasing a pony for your child or young teen, then you will likely find that you are in need of a set of daisy reins at some point or another.
Unlike regular reins, daisy reins are helpful at preventing ponies from dipping their heads down to eat grass, which makes it easier for children to control the horse safely.
3. Rugs And Other Accessories
Next up you’re going to need to make sure that you have all of the rugs and headcollars needed to safely care for your horse while they are in the stable, in the field, and being walked around the yard.
One of the most important pieces of equipment that you’re going to need to make sure that you’re well stocked up on are headcollars!
Headcollars are very helpful and will allow you to attach a lead rope to take your horse out of the stable, into the field, as well as to different areas around the yard. We recommend that you buy a mixture of leather and fabric so that you can use them interchangeably throughout the year.
Lead ropes are something that you’re going to find yourself using all of the time! You should make sure that you have plenty of lead ropes in your collection so that you are never without one.
They are super handy and you will likely find yourself needing one when you wish to bring your horse in from the field while walking your horse around the stable and even for keeping your horse in one spot while grooming. If you’re in need of a recommendation, we think you’ll love this one.
Ideally, you’re going to want to make sure that your horse has plenty of fleece coolers that you can use for both everyday use and traveling/transportation.
These rugs will offer you so much use and make sure that your horse stays nice and warm during the winter months and even chillier summer nights, so we definitely recommend investing in one or two.
If you find that your horse sweats a lot, then we strongly recommend that you invest in mesh sheets that your horse can wear to help prevent them from becoming ill from excessive sweat.
You should also make sure that your horse has all of the rugs it needs to stay safe and warm throughout the days and nights. During the winter months or whenever the temperature is colder than normal, you should make sure that you are using a thick, thermal rug on your horse so that they stay warm.
On the other hand, if the weather is pleasant or it’s the summer, you should give your horse a lightweight rug that will help them to stay warm without becoming too hot.
4. Tools For The Stable
For your general day-to-day duties around the stable, you’re going to need to make sure that you’ve got your own wheelbarrow.
Ideally, you’ll want to make sure that it’s just large enough to fit all of the hay and dirt from mucking out, but not so large that you struggle to get it in and out of the stable. If you need a recommendation, this is a great one.
If your yard doesn’t already have one, then you’re going to need to purchase your own shovel and fork, so that you can effectively muck out your horse’s stable, while also being able to lay down new hay.
A poop scoop might not be necessary if you don’t mind picking up your horse’s poop with a fork or shovel, but lots of horse owners find it to be a helpful addition that makes picking up poop quick and easy.
5. Show Etiquette And Clothing
On show days, it’s a good idea to bring along a portable, convenient grooming kit to make sure that your horse is presentable and ready for the event. You should also bring along coat shine, a poop scoop, hay, water and everything else you’d normally give your horse on a regular day.
When it comes to eventing, you’ll also need to make sure that your horse has the proper kit for the event. Most events will have an official dress code for you and your horse, so make sure that you’re adhering to that so you don’t get penalized.
6. Additional Items
Storage containers and buckets will be a lifesaver while at the yard! You’re likely going to need to make sure that you have containers to keep your horse’s food in, storage buckets for grooming items, as well as buckets that can be used in your horse’s stable to fill with water and their lunch/dinner.
Buckets and storage containers will also help you to stay organized so that you know where everything is.
Most horses like to play throughout the day, so you might want to purchase a few different toys for your horse to play with, such as a Jolly Ball.