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Monday, March 30, 2009

Skipper's Saddle

Well, we had the Barbie saddle, and since we don't want to leave anyone out, here is Skipper's saddle. It even has little blue crystals on it and a matching headstall and breastcollar.

What the heck?

I found this "training" headstall online, and cannot figure out how excatly it functions (or fits for that matter) on the horse's head. It looks like some kind of freakish mechanical hackamore/sidepull combo thing. It is called a "Pro Stop", here is the ad text...

If you have ever used a traditional fast stop on a young colt and found it turned sideways, you will appreciate the additional rigging on this Pro Stop. It will stay in place! The wider curb piece distributes the pressure evenly across the nose and chin. The pro Stop is fully adjustable and gives a very fast release. Ideal to teach a collected stop.


Well, I guess sequins, glitter and rhinestones are just not enough for some folks. Flashy is taking on a whole new meaning. Someone sent me an email with a link to this company that sells light up flashing pads and boots. Now, if these were marketed as a safety item, for riding at night or for mounted patrol horses, I could see the sense in it. But, they are of course marketed as fashion accessories. Good grief folks, as if we NEED more flashy items. Here are some pics for you.

Now, you can't really get the full effect of this without going to the website. Inside the stars they have flashing LEDs that light up when the horse moves like those sneakers that kids wear. The site has a lovely little flashing effect on the pics for you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Feature - The Brown Cow Saddle Blanket Company

I found this company this morning. I was searching for a feature for today, and ran across Custom Handmade Saddle Blankets by Christina Bergh . She hand weaves these saddle blankets from 100% Merino wool or mohair. She can match any color, the yarn is hand dyed in her shop and can add custom wear leathers or custom beadwork panels. Her work is absolutely GORGEOUS! I have done some weaving with wool and I can tell you, it is not easy! I am very impressed with her work. There are some truly remarkable colors and patterns on these blankets. She also does custom beadwork headstalls and breastcollars as well as historical reproductions and a multitude of rugs and wall hangings. Here are a couple of teaser pics for you.

Custom saddle blanket with beadwork accents and matching bridle/breastcollar.

Custom beaded bridle and breastcollar set.

Some of her custom woven saddle blankets.

Go check out her site if you have time. There are some truly amazing pieces there.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Return of the Barbie Saddle

Just when I thought I had found the scariest pink Barbie saddle out there, someone one-ups me. A reader sent me this one, and it is HIDEOUS. Yikes. It even comes with matching bridle and breastcollar. Now all it needs is a pink saddle pad and pink SMBs to go with it, and maybe some pink glitter on the horse too. That would be great. Leather is not supposed to be that color, it's just unnatural.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just when I thought I had seen the worst...

This is actually Wednesday's post, but I had time to do it today, so here it is, a bit early.

Every time I think I have seen the scariest bit I find something so exponentially worse it makes my skin crawl. I will never understand why people feel the need to even invent something like this, much less actually USE it on a horse.

This lovely thing is advertised as a mule bit. Can you imagine the force something with shanks like that and a nice steel bar for a noseband would exert? Lets not try actually TRAINING the mule or anything. I know they are smarter than most people, but damn. Really?

This nice little combination is a gag/hackamore combo with a nice little copper wire wrapped noseband for that little extra "attention getter". Holy shit, are these folks for REAL? This is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR TRAINING! You can train a horse to do pretty much anything you want (barring upper-level stuff) in a snaffle people, really you can.

Ah yes, and if the previous bit just isn't enough, here is a similar one with a chain mouthpiece. Just in case that twisted wire doesn't have enough bite for you.

Here is a little training accessory for you to use with that teeny twisted wire gag bit you bought. A nice gag headstall with a wire crownpiece. That will get ol' Dobbin's attention.

And lastly, if Dobbin just won't quit throwing his head with that new bit from the beginning of the post, here is a tie-down noseband that is sure to put a stop to that. Just be sure that you keep paper towels on hand to keep mopping the BLOOD off of his nose.

It never ceases to amaze me the contraptions people will use instead of actually bothering to TRAIN their horse. Things like this just make me ill.

Tuesday Tack

Today I bring to you a lovely piece in an equally lovely color. I present for your horrified stares, a screaming lime green saddle and accessory set. This thing is truly painful to look at. It hurts my head. Oooh, and it has silver, fake ostrich leather, and rhinestones too!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm Back

Well, three humans, two 4 year old fillies, a service dog, and a whole crapload of stuff made it to and from Gulf Wars with a minimum of drama. It was a great week, the girls saw a lot and learned to deal with it. They discovered that tents DO NOT eat horses and that they did not like staying in a box stall.

Here is a link for you to explore. This company makes more of the painted and rhinestone encrusted tack. Sorry, no pics, you will have to go to the website to see. Please don your protective sunglasses beforehand.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, Rambling, and Good Books

Ok folks, not my usual Friday post, but I haven't really had time to come up with anything. Send me your favorite tack makers, dealers, designers, etc. I need ideas!

I will be out of town next week, so no posts. Sorry, we don't have the interwebs at Gulf Wars. (And even if we did, I would NOT have time to post.)

Today I want to tell you about some of my favorite horse books. We have probably all read the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Who didn't grow up wanting that giant black Arabian stallion (part of me still does)? If you haven't read them, do. Even if you are an adult.

I also am a huge fan of Dorothy Lyons books. I collect antique books and have several of hers. I love Silver Birch, Midnight Moon, and Golden Sovereign. She is a wonderful, light hearted writer and her books are a fun read.

I also like a book called Frog, the Horse that Knew No Master by Sterner Meeks. Here is a summary complements of; Frog, an outlaw horse who can be ridden only by force, meets his match when Lieutenant Scott arrives at the army post of Empire, Canal Zone, and takes over his training. His eventual conquest by kindness and the resulting affection between the horse and his master make a tale that will touch the heart of every lover of horses. The story is full of action.

Another good one is The Sorrel Stallion by David Grew. It is the story of a colt growing up in the west, his trials and his homecoming.

On the fantasy horse book front, there are several I like. The Airs Beneath the Moon and the two sequels are good. Written by Toby Bishiop. I found this review on Amazon... Larkyn Hamley, a 14-year-old farm girl with a special affinity for animals, finds a lost, starving, pregnant mare and cares for her. The mare dies giving birth to a colt that, much to Lark's surprise, has wings. She lovingly cares for him, and he bonds with her. A bond with a winged horse is for life, and when Horsemistress Philippa Winter arrives for the colt, she realizes she must take Lark, too, to the Academy of the Air, which trains winged foals and their riders-to-be. There Lark faces snobbery and hostility on the part of young women of noble birth, and she runs afoul of the devious plans of the power-hungry, sadistic eldest son of the dying duke, owner and protector of the birth lines of the winged horses. Bishop enables us to visualize the horses in solo flight and complicated formations, scenes at the academy are utterly real, and the characters have dimension.

One that I have read recently is Protector of the Flight by Robin Owens. I thought it was decent, there is some Parelli-esque training stuff in there, but otherwise ok. It is acutally part of a series, but read well as a stand-alone. Here is a summary... Crippled, self-doubting ex-rodeo rider and horse trainer Calli Torcher is summoned from Colorado to Lladrana, a medieval French society on a magical parallel Earth, to assist in a dangerous fight against evil. There she meets two other Colorado women, Marian Dumont and Alexa Fitzwalter, known as Exotiques, who have risen to positions of power. After a spell heals Calli, she learns that she's needed to help train the flying horses—volarans—and the Chevaliers, their riders, who form the front lines against evil demons from the north. Calli must also choose a mate, so she bonds with the skilled warrior Marrec, with whom she fashions a life and family.

And of course, I would be remiss in leaving out the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar books. They contain numerous equine characters known as Companions. These magical beings are powerful, intelligent and fascinating. I absolutely love her books.

Check some of these out from your library and hopefully they will help tide you over until I get back in a week or so with more Tacky Tack!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Tone

Here is an, ummm, interesting couple of saddles. I can't decide whether I like the first one or hate it. I am certainly impressed by the workmanship. I KNOW I hate the second one. Blech.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Today I have several saddles for you that feature some of the newest in fashion. Stingray skin! I understand that stingray skin is super grippy and can see why it is used on seats. The thing I don't get is why people feel the need to dye it funky colors. I Googled "stingray saddle" and was appalled at the plethora of Tacky! Some that I found, like any fad, were quite lovely, take these for example...

This one wouldn't be bad at all if it didn't have the tacky crystal conchos all over it.

From here it only gets scarier. Protective eye wear may be wise. I had no idea when I did a search the sheer amounts of Tacky this would achieve.

EEEEEEEEEEEK!! Big scary zebra print!

Tiger striped and crystals and conchos with crystals!!

More zebra stripes and crystals!

Spiderman? Really?

AAAAAAH!!! PINK tiger stripes and RHINESTONES!!

Look!! Here is a chart with all the scary colors you can get a seat in from Double J Saddlery! (Though, I confess, the leopard print one kinda appeals to me for some strange reason.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Touchy Subject

Someone once requested that I do a post about all of the "Christian Cowboy" tack making appearances in rodeo rings across the country. I am very much undecided about my feelings on this subject. I have no objection to most that I have seen. I have seen a lot of very tastefully done conchos and saddle decorations. There are, however, some that are really just scary no matter WHAT they depict. Anything can be made tacky. Here are some of the ones I have found.

The first 2 bridles are not too scary. I could do without the hair-on cowhide on the second one, but it does not bother me too much.

These boot covers are just SCARY. Why the fringies? Why make horse boot covers anyway? Aren't they just going to get dirty?

Ah, here we have another of the ever popular fake ostrich skin saddles. Yuck, in any pattern.

Ah and here we have one of my favorites, a triple threat of hair-on cowhide, pink, crystals and studs. Combine that with the cross conchos and buckles, and you have an absolute mismash of tacky.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cruel and Unusual

Today I am going to feature some horse equipment that falls more into the category of torture devices than tack.

First off we have this lovely "training" halter, sent to me by a reader. It features a CHAIN crownpiece to discourage the horse from pulling back on the lead. It also has a lovely little thin cord chinstrap. How nice. How many of you would actually use something like this?

Next we have a nice pair of blue barrel racing spurs. I apologise for the pic, it is a screen shot of a Craigslist ad. Do you REALLY need that many rowels? Can you imagine just rolling these back and forth on your poor horse's ribs. Lovely, no?

Photo from -

Next we have a selection of items from every one's favorite horse, er I mean...trainer, yeah, horse trainer, Cleve Wells.

First is a lovely Cathedral port bit, sure to keep that Pleasure horse cramped back to a slow crawl wether he wants to or not.

Next is a nice little snaffle. It features a wire thin twisted mouthpiece, sure will keep ol'Dobbin's mouth nice and sensitive.

Here is a correction bit for you, just in case Dobbin decides to carry his head too low (assuming that there is such thing). It is sure to lighten him up some.

Last, but not least, check out the spur rowel options he offers. Love the look of the "Rock Grinder" one.

Friday Fave - Trooper Saddles by Haggis Saddlery

I really like the Trooper style saddles. I have ridden one once and even on the 18 plus hand Percheron I was riding, it was super comfortable. The suspended seat acted like a shock absorber for the (as you can imagine) huge trot of that horse. I started looking for one (and still am) and was baffled by the high prices I was seeing. I also came across many "cheapie" versions on eBay, of which I am VERY wary. Somehow I stumbled over a custom saddle shop with the unlikely name of Haggis Custom Trooper Saddles. Each one is hand fitted to you and your horse, and the price is about the same as an off-the-rack Tucker Montreal Royal Trooper. Should I ever manage to save enough money to buy one, I will certainly be getting a custom from Haggis. Their site is very easy to navigate and has lots of information on the history and construction of this style of saddle. The sales pages are very straightforward and simple to understand. I have added a pic for you to see, trooper saddles are not really fancy, they are meant for long hours of riding and hard use.

So, if you are a dedicated trail or endurance rider and are looking for a comfortable saddle for both you and your horse, test ride a trooper style. I bet you will like it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Today I have a couple of "revisits".

Remember Bubba and his camo saddle? Well, it seem dat hi'cousin Boudreaux from sou'Lousiana (pronounce it phonetically, this is my attempt at typing in a Cajun accent) done got him a camo saddle too. Here she is, in her Mossy Oak glory. Now ol Boudreaux, de game warden no see him an his hoss in da swamp.

Next we revisit the patriotic saddles. A helpful reader sent me this link to a Polo supplier. They not only carry the British flag saddle, but several other countries as well. For all those wondering what the US one looks like, here it is.

Remember the pink and black English saddle from the very first post? Well, I have found one for the non-pink set. The same saddle, but in BLUE!!

Wow, the things people will do to tack never ceases to amaze and horrify me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Glitz and glamour, that's what we associate stars with. In scouring the Internet and looking over submissions by readers, I have come up with a few star-studded saddles for you.

This is an interesting saddle. I can't decide if it is OK or if I really hate it. I don't much care for the dark border or the pointy skirts.

This is another not too offensive one. Though I am not sure I like the reddish brown seat color with the blue.

Wow, this is, um, special. Are those silver lame' stars? Yikes.

Here is yet another of the faux-ostrich saddles. If it only had one star on the skirt, like the bridle and breastcollar, it might be less offensive. And the stars are asymmetrical, which REALLY bugs me.

Wow, is this not a craptastic saddle? It looks like a cheapo subthetic. Check out the wrinkles on the cantle. Love the shiny plasticy looking stars and star conchos too. Yuck.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yipes! Stripes!

Today I am showcasing tack inspired by the striped equid of the African savannah. Some of these are worse than others. Some are downright scary.

This one isnt so bad. For a trail riding or endurance bridle. It might be cute on a black horse.

This is a bit much, but overall not too bad.

Ok, Ok, I know these aren' t tack, but WOW. These are bull rider chaps. I sure hope whomever wears them is secure in his masculinity.

Woot! Stripey polos! It would drive me batty that the stripes wouldn't line up.

Now, I don't know about you guys, but I have never seen a Zebra this color!