Like many of you, we at Two Horse Tack are a little anxious about making sure Christmas orders arrive in time to be wrapped and left under the tree. That’s why our order deadline is a little earlier this year. Friday, December 18 is the last day orders can be placed to guarantee arrival by Dec. 25.
A few months ago, we made this post to help you sort out the difference between our neoprene and our leather padding, which we’ve added as options to most of our halter, bridle, and breastcollar designs. (You can reread that piece here.)
Now, we’ve got two more types of padding in our shop! Each has its own particular attributes to suit your needs.
The softest padding we offer is deerskin. There’s really no way to tell from pictures how buttery this is to the touch, but believe us when we say that if you choose this padding you’ll wish we made deerskin-padded boots and gloves for you. Deerskin padding is available in nine different colors and the dyes end up looking especially vibrant with this material.
Right now, deerskin is only available on our turnout halters, but it’ll be coming to all our designs soon.
The other new padding is our synthetic padding. This is a closed-cell, sweatproof padding covered by a waterproof, colored vinyl. The vinyl is marine vinyl, which means it’s especially tough and resistant to fading. This combination of materials is popular with certain types of harness makers because it can hold up to so well to a sweaty horse on a long drive.
This padding comes in 17 colors to go with our already-extensive list of beta biothane base colors.
Whichever type of padding you choose, your horse will thank you!
Our bitless bridles are, without doubt, some of the the most popular products we offer in our shop. Some folks love collecting different styles of bridles to use on their horses (and we’re happy to help them do that!) but for those who haven’t tried bitless bridles on their horses before, it can be intimidating. Who wants to buy a whole new headstall just to test out whether or not their horse will take to the style?
Lots of horses really love going bitless, but it’s not the best solution for everybody and you really never know until you try.
That’s why we offer several hackamore noseband pieces that you can use with your current bridle to test out the bitless life before committing.
We just introduced this padded hackamore noseband for people who want to add their own metal hackamore to an existing bridle. This customer from Instagram shows us how this piece is attached over the bridge of the nose to keep the hackamore attachment steady from side to side:
(This horse is modeling our Traditional Halter Bridle with their own hackamore and black padded noseband. You can order a halter bridle like this here.)
You can also fasten the bit ends of the cheekpieces on your existing bridle to one of our two bitless nosebands.
This is our sidepull bitless noseband, which will apply pressure much like a sidepull bridle.
And this is our Western bitless hackamore. It applies pressure in a similar distribution across the nose, however the Western bitless has two rings under the chin, which allow a rider neck reining or riding one-handed more precise application of pressure to one side of the jaw at a time.
There’s really no wrong answer to the type of bitless bridle or noseband you choose. And with prices as low as $25 for the padded noseband for hackamores, you don’t have much to lose!
You’ve read before about the differences between our Western breastcollar styles, but we’ve got a number of English breastcollars available in our shop, too.
Our standard English breastcollar is our longest-running design and is popular for being easier to take on and off. It can remain attached to the saddle D rings through the tugs, but can go on and off by using a scissor clip at the left shoulder — much easier than having to pull a martingale or breastcollar over the horse’s head. It comes with an over-wither strap that can be a good stabilizer for those occasional unexpected moments during your ride.
Our original design also has the option to add neoprene padding, and has two options for attaching to the girth — if your girth has O rings, it can be snapped on, or you can add a girth loop that slides over the girth. The original design is 1 inch wide, but we recently added a 1.5-inch width too, for horses with broader shoulders who could benefit from more stability.
We also offer a Jumping Breastcollar, which runs from the saddle side to side across the horse’s chest and over the neck. This can be a good option for horses that spend more time jumping or galloping; you’ll sometimes see this style on steeplechase horses for that reason. In those cases, riders may prefer not to have a strap that runs down to the girth in case it interferes with a hoof or a shoe.
For our polo customers, we also offer a similar style called the Polo Breastcollar. The polo breastcollar has a wide strap of elastic around the front of the horse’s chest instead of a beta biothane strap, for even more stability during intensive movement.
Whichever of our English breastcollar styles you choose, you’ll be getting a choice of dozens of colors of beta biothane, a wide variety of sizes and hardware options to suit your needs.
We sometimes get questions from customers about how to add holes to beta biothane halters or bridles that are just a little bit loose. We work really hard to offer a range of sizes from mini horse to draft horse with everything in between, so hopefully your gear will fit your horse perfectly. Sometimes though, it needs a slight adjustment on one strap to work for an individual head shape, without the need to size the whole piece down.
With a leather item, you can just pull out your leather hole punch and add what you need. Well, the same applies to beta! A leather whole punch will work on beta too.
Similarly, our friend Pecan recently reminded us that leatherworking tools can also be used to add nameplates to beta biothane pieces. We don’t sell nameplates at Two Horse Tack as of this writing, but one can easily be added if you pick one up from another shop.
Show us your gear in action! Post pics of your horse or pony modeling at our Facebook page.
Most of what we sell in our shop is tack made from beta biothane, but recently we’ve added a new type of beta. If you’re trying to decide which type is best for you, we may be able to help.
Our Standard Beta Biothane is one generation removed from biothane, which you may be familiar with as one of the original synthetic materials that became popular for horse tack years ago. Biothane, which we use only for color overlays, often has a shiny finish to it and can sometimes be a bit stiffer than leather.
Beta biothane, which is the primary material we carry, is a coated nylon material. It has more of a matte finish to its color and is soft and pliable. People like this material because of the wide variety of colors and shades it comes in. It’s waterproof and fadeproof, which makes it much easier to care for than conventional leather.
There are a variety of different types of biothane and beta biothane material. For industrial purposes, many of their names include a number that indicate different varieties. We’ve recently begun offering products made from 580 beta biothane, which we’re calling Better Than Leather. We think this subtype of beta biothane is even closer to having the feel and flexibility of leather.
Those of us familiar with both materials generally find Better Than Leather to be more akin to freshly-oiled, high quality leather — the surface of the material has a soft sheen to it and it’s slightly softer and more pliable in terms of its flexibility. We offer all our halter, bridle, and breastcollar designs in Better Than Leather as well as our usual beta biothane. Better Than Leather is available only in brown and black, and is a great choice for someone who wants a traditional look with the perks of an unconventional material.
We’ve added a few new Western breastcollar designs to our shop in recent weeks, and at first glance they may look a little similar.
This is our Western tripping collar:
Our tripping collar is our first contoured, shape synthetic piece. In fact, we think it may be the first contoured synthetic breastcollar on the market. This took many weeks of fine-tuning by our tackmakers and shop owner to figure out just how to shape the material for best fit.
The tripping collar is made from urethane, which allows for the shaping, and is lined with neoprene for comfort and strength. It starts at $95.
This design is wider and runs across the horse’s chest with various attachment points on the saddle. It’s great for more high intensity work.
This one is our standard Western breastcollar design, in two different broader widths:
These are our standard Western breastcollar designs in 1.5 inch and 2 inch widths. Typically, our Western and English breastcollars are 1 inch wide, which is appropriate for most horses. Both these options start at $30.
Like our standard Western breastcollar, these attach to the saddle on either side and also to the girth between the front legs. These can improve stability for a saddle that slips back, but some people just prefer the wider width for the way it looks.
We’ve had customers ask us for years to add padding to our products. While beta biothane is pretty smooth and gentle on most horses’ skin, some people prefer another soft layer on the insides of their halters and bridles, and we totally get that.
Neoprene padding is a synthetic, waterproof material with a softer texture than our conventional beta biothane (though it’s fairy comparable to our 580 beta in terms of smoothness). This is available on any design, on the product’s regular page, for around a $10 upcharge. Black neoprene is the only color we have available for this right now. As you can see with the turquoise turnout halter above, this can be a great contrast to a bright beta, especially if you also choose black stitching.
Leather padding is the option you see above, with our beta biothane turnout halter. Our leather padded items have their own product pages because we offer several colors of leather padding, and it’s difficult to show too many different option combinations on a single product page. The leather we’ve used for padding is not the usual thick, sometimes-stiff leather that you’d use for a standard leather turnout — it’s much more soft and flexible, and has a light sheen to it, giving the colors a metallic appearance.
We offer leather padding options in blue, pink, red, purple, silver, and turquoise. As you can see from the photo above, when the item is on the horse, this produces just a thin outline of dramatic color around the edges of the halter or bridle, which means it’s great to pair with a traditional black or brown, but could also work as an accent color to a bright beta biothane.
Of course, leather is going to be less resistant to a dunk in a water bucket at the end of the day than neoprene or beta biothane, but this leather is soft enough that it’s not going to dry out and crack quickly and should hold up just fine to regular use. It will perform best if you wipe it down with a sponge and simple leather soap.
In the end, there’s really no wrong answer between the two padding options — just comes down to what qualities are most important to you and your horse!
Shop our line of leather padded items here and add neoprene to any of your favorite products on the product page. Don’t see the option to add neoprene padding? Send us a note at 2horsetack at g mail
Please note: We cannot add padding to items that already have an overlay option, like reflective or two-color items. This makes them too thick to use in a practical way.
One of our most enduring bestsellers through the years has been our sidepull. No matter if it comes in our traditional beta biothane, in our Almost Leather beta, nylon, or leather, that’s the design that attracts people across lots of disciplines and breeds.
One thing we’ve noticed through the years is that you can have a lot of different horse head shapes within the same size. For example, our standard Horse Size will fit a Quarter Horse, a Tennessee Walker, and a Morgan, but between and within those breeds you could be looking at relatively different proportions for brow width, face length, and nose width. (That’s just one of the reasons we leave a box to fill in horse’s height, approximate weight, and breed at checkout — so our tackmakers can estimate what your horse’s head shape is most likely to be.)
Generally, this isn’t a problem and as long as the appropriate size is chosen for the horse, our more conventional English or Western bridles will work just fine.
We did notice that in some cases though, the sidepull might fail to sit quite “right” on a horse’s head. Part of the difficulty is that third strap between the traditional noseband and throatlatch — horses’ skulls can be fairly different widths between the jawbones there — but it was also the width of the brow in proportion to the cheek lengths. This could sometimes cause poorly-fitting sidepulls to sit with the cheekpieces sitting too close to the horse’s eye.
This was as frustrating to us as it was to you, and we’re happy to announce we’ve workshopped this with some of our best tackmakers and found a solution. By making small adjustments to the standard strap lengths and proportions within each size (mini to draft available), we were able to correct the angle of the noseband, which keeps those side straps where they should be. These slight changes seem to have made this headstall work better for all our customers. The horses who were already comfortable in our sidepulls should still achieve the perfect fit.
Right now, our sidepulls start at just $20 for nylon and $48 for beta biothane, so what are you waiting for? Pick one up today.
Days are long for Marte Solhaug — she’s up at 5:30 a.m. and feeding hungry Thoroughbreds at the racetrack and she doesn’t finish until 5 p.m. each day.
Solhaug, 24, started riding as a child, playing around on borrowed ponies before getting her own and dabbling in show jumping and dressage. When she had outgrown ponies and needed a larger horse, she became fascinated with Thoroughbreds and acquired one.
“It might not have been the best decision at that point for a 13-year-old girl, but I figured it out,” she joked.
A native of Norway, Solhaug spent her first week on the racetrack at the age of 14 and was instantly hooked on horse racing. She attended Ridskolan Stromsholm (the Stromsholm Riding Academy) in Sweden, giving her a chance to perfect her equine education while remaining on track academically.
Two years into high school, Solhaug got her National Steeplechase Association rider’s license and rode her first race. She took a job in Australia working with 2-year-olds and young horses, then spent six months with international racing operation Darley. Seeing horses at different life stages and in different contexts gave Solhaug a unique perspective on raising them. When she was ready to work in the States, that international background made her a hot commodity.
“The first day I was here I got a job with Jimmy Corrigan,” she said. “Two months later I was an assistant trainer for Jimmy and I got to saddle my first winner [a horse called Elmor] at Turfway Park. I saddled my first stakes horse the same year at Churchill Downs, and another one at Ellis Park in the summer finished second.”
Solhaug said one of her best moments thus far in her career was saddling Impeached ahead of a win at Churchill Downs in June 2015.
“It was a childhood dream come true,” she said. “Getting to saddle out a horse at a track like that, where all the greatest horses have run.”
Solhaug is a jill of all trades for Corrigan — she gallops horses on the track, walks them after exercise to cool down. She handles communication for Corrigan between veterinarians, farriers, and owners. She enters horses in races and deals with the paperwork in the track’s racing office — and that’s all before lunch. Then, she’s off to Corrigan’s farm in Central Kentucky, exercising young horses, cleaning stalls, checking on mares, and whatever else needs to be done. Then, it’s back to the track to feed the racehorses. During foaling season, she’ll jump in to help mares deliver their babies, and in the fall she puts the first training on young yearlings.
“i’ve been v fortunate to try out everything,” she said. “It’s incredible watching babies when they’re born, then two years old starting on the racetrack. Then we had one go to the Thoroughbred Makeover [for retired racehorses] and he did really well there. It’s the job of the lifetime.”
In future, Solhaug wants to continue in a dual role like this one — enjoying the buzz of the racetrack and the relaxation of the farm. It’s the variety that keeps her going through the long work days — that, and her devotion to the animals.
“I love the horses,” she said. “I love knowing they’re always there when I come in in the morning. A horse won’t judge you. He’ll love you for who you are.”