The list for basic equine gear and equipment is longer than perhaps any other pet in the world. Other than the obvious basics such as saddles and headcollars, there are a lot of other things that you need to ride and care for your horse–many of which you may not have considered yet.
It’s best to be ready with all the basic gear and equipment you need before you get your first horse. If you’re already expecting to take one home, here is a complete list of the stuff that you can’t do without:
First, let’s talk about tack. Simply put, tack is the equipment needed to ride a horse. There are different types of tack depending on the style of riding or discipline you want to pursue, but there are a few pieces of basic equipment that is common for all kinds of tack, such as saddles and saddle pads.
If you are a first-time horse owner and a beginner equestrian as well, it’s best to learn about the different functions of each piece of equipment to better understand why you need them and how to properly use them. Here are brief descriptions of each basic gear:
The type of saddle you need will depend on what kind of riding you will do. For basic riding, a general-purpose (GP) saddle is best. If you want to jump or do flatwork, get a jumping saddle or VSD or WH saddle, respectively.
This is the headgear that is used to control a horse. When buying one, ensure that it fits your horse’s head type safely and comfortably. The style of bridle plus the noseband and reins will be up to your preferences, but if you’re not sure what styles to pick, ask a more experienced rider for advice.
From the name itself, a bit is the piece of equipment that fits into a horse’s mouth that helps control their head, along with the bridle and reins. There are many different kinds of bits to choose from, so you might want to ask your trainer or other riders for tips on what kind of bit to get for your horse.
A neck strap is simply a piece of leather that goes around the horse’s neck to provide stability for the rider without the need to pull on the horse’s mouth.
These are the metal loops where you put your feet when riding a horse. Buy stirrup irons that are at least half an inch wider than your feet to stay comfortable while riding.
These are the leather straps that help you mount and dismount.
This is another important part of tack. A girth is what keeps the saddle mounted on a horse. It is placed under the barrel of the horse and is secured on the saddle using leather straps.
Before your horse arrives, get their feeding equipment clean and ready in the stable. Here are the basic feeding equipment you need:
- Feed container with a secure lid
- Feed pan
- Water trough
- Water heater (optional)
First aid kit
For a horse’s basic first aid kit, complete the following:
- Antiseptic solution
- Cotton wool
- Duct tape
- Plus salt
- Hoof poultice
Of course, you’ll also need a first aid kit for yourself. Whenever you’re riding, bring a first aid kit complete with all the essentials, such as bandages, rubbing alcohol, cotton, antiseptic spray, etc.
Keeping your horse well-groomed can take a lot of tools and equipment. Before you meet your new pet, make sure you have these things in your grooming kit (and be sure you know how to use them properly):
- Hoof pick
- Body brush
- Curry comb
- Mane comb
- Dandy brush
- Rubber curry
- Mane/tail spray
- Hoof oil and brush
- Fly repellent
Barn and yard maintenance
You probably already have most of these items for barn and yard maintenance, but if you don’t, get them before your horse arrives so that can keep their area as clean as possible.
Here are the things you need for basic barn and yard maintenance:
- Stable broom
- Manure fork
- Rubber/gardening gloves
Of course, you mustn’t forget the gear you need for yourself. If you are already a novice rider, then you probably have most–if not all–of these gear already. But if not, this is the time to complete your kit with these items:
- Riding boots
- Body protector
- Reflectives (optional)
- Riding gloves
As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to have as a horse owner. So before you make the commitment, ensure that you have at least the basic equine essentials to keep your horse happy and healthy.