Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New tack

Finally I bought Gabe a new bridle! I've been using a bridle I cobbled together from pieces parts in my tack trunk and not only did it look funny (black noseband with white piping paired with a havana browband with decorative stitching and cheek pieces in a really light brown. Oh, so attractive!) but it didn't fit very well. This boy has a BIG head! He has a 17" browband measurement but all I could find was a 16" browband. It fits, but it's a tad snug. I'm hoping it stretches a bit with oiling and use.

Everything else fits nicely and it looks fabulous on him. It's a dark chocolate brown, raised noseband and browband with decorative stitching. I really, really didn't want the raised leather or the decorative stitching but the only bridle my local tack shop carried that was flat and plain in dark leather was a Passier that cost $270. I'm not quite ready to drop that kind of money on a bridle! Maybe once we start showing and winning or I win the lottery, but until then, I'll have to be happy with raised tack. Ugh. I just want a nice, flat, wide bridle. Why is it so hard to find simple, plain tack?

A couple of weeks ago I bought a new bit for him because none of mine fit him. All of my bits are 5" mouths...he has a 6" mouth. Yes, I measured it three times, he's just big! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a bit with a 6" mouth that isn't a draft horse driving bit? Holy moley. I found a full cheek snaffle with a 6" mouth and 5.5" cheeks. So I got the keepers, fitted the bit and the keepers onto the cobbled together bridle and stuck it on him. Oh. My. He absolutely HATED that bit. HATED. I'm guessing he really disliked the poll pressure produced by the long cheeks and the keepers. He reacted rather violently and was kind of scary. I pulled that bit off FAST! There goes $30 on nothing. Did you know you can't return bits? *sigh*

So, back to the drawing board. I finally found a 5 3/4" mouth eggbutt snaffle. Not exactly what I wanted...I was looking for a 6" D-ring with a copper mouth. No luck. So, I brought the eggbutt home, stuck it on his new bridle and gave it a go last night.

He loved it. He chewed and chewed and chewed that bit, reached his head down, responded softly and beautifully to the pressure. Very pleased, I am. Forward progress continues.

My next big purchase will be a new saddle for him. My current Collegiate Eventer doesn't fit as well as I'd like. Because he has such a high, wide wither I need a saddle with "wither panels" to fill in that space. And I'd like one that's a bit wider. But that's a ways down the road, I think. I can't afford to spend $1,000+ on a saddle right now, but I'm saving my nickels towards one!

All the beasts are shedding like mad, Gabe most of all. I think I was wearing just as much of his hair as he was after our grooming session! Only 13 more days til spring! YAY!!!! And the time change is this weekend, meaning there will be MORE daylight at the end of the day again. Double YAY!


  1. Haha...Jenn,just noticed the "Moron moments" on the labels!

    I spent some big bucko's-to-me on my bridle.I jsut looked and it went up by $100 since I got it!
    It is A Peter Wylde Jumper Bridle, as trhey describe it. I liked the two tone(for my bay mare) browns.
    If I ever buy a bridle again...probably so, I will always get the "padded crown".
    I am looking at my new Dover Catalog and..ooou, I can't even find one Passier for under $300!The padded crowns ar4 like $400 and $500 eeeek!Black would look very nice on your Gabe though.
    My sissy bought Wa a dark brown(looks black) bridel witht he white liner on the brow and nose...special looking!

    You could try a Fulmer full cheek. The rings are separate..not attached to the snaffle bars.I think you can see it somewhere on my blog. They can be hard to find. The Spanish Riding school uses them.

    I want to see your!

  2. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a bit with a 6" mouth that isn't a draft horse driving bit?" Oh yes! My mare wears a 6" bit. I contacted Big Horse Feed and Mercantile in California and they special ordered one for me.

    Your boy Gabe is gorgeous. I love grays.

  3. I live in Horsey Mecca and when I tried to find a bit for Poco's fat head, you'd have thought I was in downtown London or something. I needed a 5.5" but if you ride western, you get 5" - period. I finally had to find an English tack shop and got a really nice pelham that I'm happy to say Poco loves (removed the chain, BTW). Poco is part Percheron. Is Gabe a draft cross?

  4. It is a relief when your horse takes to a new bit well. We can only guess at what it feels like for the horse. I once saw a salesperson wrap a bit around a buyer's wrist to give her a sense of how it might feel in the horses mouth (without putting it in the woman's mouth - hee hee).

  5. You can sell that bit on Ebay--I've purchased several there.

  6. looks fabulous on him, but my current saddle is brown. Can't have a black bridle and a brown saddle! :P Actually, the only black bridle my local tack shop carries are dressage bridles and they ALL have flash nosebands...he doesn't need a flash and I think it's ridiculous to tie a horse's mouth closed for no reason other than it's fashionable. He seems to like the eggbutt, so we'll stick with that until he tells me otherwise.

    OnceUponAnEquine...I didn't even think about special ordering a bit! I didn't know you could. Thank you for mentioning that! I think Gabe knows he's a good lookin' guy, he's always prancing around like he's all that and a bag of chips. :P

    Leah...I was actually really surprised at the limited sizes on makes me wonder how many people have ill-fitting bits on their horses simply because they couldn't find a larger size. Especially all those with huge warmbloods. Nope, Gabe is not a draft cross, he's all Thoroughbred, but he's built huge, like a warmblood.

    NM...Some horses just don't complain and will tolerate any bit you stick in their mouths, others, like Gabe, are quite opinionated about it! I'm glad he let me know right away about the one he didn't like, it saves a lot of time trying to figure things out later when training doesn't progress.

    Netherfieldmom...That's a good idea. I've never sold anything on eBay, I'd have no idea how to even get started!

  7. Someone recommended a kimberwick to me on a big appy I used to have. I swear, he about fell over his head with that bit in his mouth! It was the first time I ever had a horse tell me in no uncertain terms, this bit is NOT right!

    I think we hit 70 here today! A lot of mud & muck, but boy, did it feel wonderful!!

  8. Tammy...I use a kimberwicke on my daughter's appy because he can get a bit strong for her little 8-year-old self. Thankfully he's one of those horses that just goes with the flow. He used to be a rent-by-the-hour trail horse so while he's basically bombproof, he's also got a really hard mouth and can be quite deadsided.
    We are supposed to hit 70 here today and it's sunny and beautiful out! It was low 60s Thursday, but windy enough for wind advisories and cloudy. But I welcomed the warm and the dries things out faster! Come on spring! Hurry up!