Category Archives: Helpful articles

Choose from two types of padding!

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.

We now offer not one but two forms of padding on all our basic halter, bridle, and breastcollar designs — neoprene and leather.

A turquoise turnout halter with neoprene padding

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.

Black turnout halter with purple leather padding

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.

Our Picnic English bridle with pink leather padding

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.

We’ve made our sidepulls even better!

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.

https://www.twohorsetack.com/p-109-sidepull-bitless-bridle-made-from-leather.aspx

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.

Our single-color sidepull

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.

Can you make this in a different width?

“Can your Picnic Bridles be custom made?  I just bought a horse that has old scars on his nose from a halter when he was young.  I would like to find a way to cover those scars so they are not so noticeable.  I’ve always used halter bridle combos of some kind.  I really like your picnic bridle and wondered if I could get the nose piece made from 1” beta biothane and the rest of the bridle made with the ¾” material?  Can the nose piece be adjusted up and down on the nose so I can get it in just the right spot?”

We often get questions about whether a given piece can be made wider or narrower than the standard width to solve a problem like this one.

The good news is we can offer our products in three different widths: 5/8″, 3/4″, and 1″ widths. We have standard widths for each item based on the size of horse we expect to be wearing the item, but you are free to request any of them be swapped out. Just put your request in the Order Notes.

We do not have beta biothane in 1 1/2″ widths, however.

Beautiful collars that are also stink-proof

“The quality? Well, it was beautifully made and the “bling” made it even prettier. Washable makes it really practical. Boxers get into things, this we know- so should your  dog roll in something, some soap and water and this collar is like NEW again.”

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Daisy and her people over at The Daily Boxer reviewed our bling collar and matching leash. We think it looks great on her, and it’ll stay bright and clean no matter what she puts it through. Read the full review here.

Ever wondered what it takes to compete in horse archery? So did we.

Two Horse Tack is proud to announce a partnership with Horse Archery USA, an organization designed to promote the sport of horse archery. In the coming weeks, we’ll offer Horse Archery’s members special deals on our tack, which we feel will be a great fit for a sport that’s rough ‘n’ tumble — just like our products.

Never heard of horse archery? Kim Butler, president of Horse Archery USA, agreed to answer a few of our questions about the sport.

How much riding experience should someone have before they try horse archery? What about archery experience?
You actually don’t need any riding or archery experience to get started!  However, it is definitely easier if you have some sort of horseback riding background.  It’s much easier to teach ARCHERY to a horseback rider, than to teach HORSEBACK RIDING to an archer or inexperienced beginner.  Horseback riding is a skill that takes more time to teach, as there are so many different factors to consider:  the unpredictability of the horse (it’s a 1,500 lb animal that has a mind of its own) the rider’s balance, safety, styles of riding, etc.  Not to downplay archery at all, but you can pretty much get the basics down in a couple of classes and build on your technique from there!

horse archeryAre certain breeds or backgrounds best for mounted archery as far as the horse you choose?
It really depends on who you talk to!  There’s always breeds that people tend to lean towards for different disciplines – such as Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds for hunter/jumper, Quarter Horses for Western pleasure or ranch work, Arabians for endurance, etc.  Many people will suggest purchasing a horse that has certain personality traits that are conducive to mounted archery, such as endurance, a level head, the ability to work off leg and voice commands/reinless riding, brave attitude (not afraid of the bow), and able to canter at a steady pace down the track or around the field several times.  However, I’m finding that people in our region (Southeastern US) are like myself, and prefer to embark on this mounted archery adventure with their OWN horse.  I personally have a Clydesdale/Gypsy Vanner cross gelding that I’ve exposed to everything from competitive trail riding, English/Western styles of riding, driving, and now mounted archery!  He’s still a bit of a chicken when it comes to new things, but he’s coming along nicely!  There’s nothing more rewarding than learning a new sport with your own equine partner.

What is the training/practice process like–do you work on your aim from the ground some of the time, or is that less helpful since you’re on a moving base when mounted?
As far as training goes, there are so many different options!  That’s one of the things that really attracted me to archery in general – you can pretty much practice anywhere, with just about ANYTHING (so long as safety is a first priority).  I, for one, practice in my back yard or pasture with hay bales, soccer balls, extra large stuffed animals… haha!  The gals up in Pennsylvania use a four-wheeler to simulate moving while hitting a target, and I’ve even seen people jumping on trampolines while practicing, running around the target, and my mentor out in Texas suggests rolling old soccer balls and shooting to simulate the moving target!  I’ve been told that “what works on the ground will not always work on the horse, but what works on horseback will usually always work on the ground.”  One of the things that I’ve had to learn is to aim lower than you really think you need to – when you’re aboard a horse, most of the targets are going to be lower to the ground than you are, where as if you’re on the ground, the targets are usually right at eye level.

How many horse archers are there in the U.S., roughly?
It’s really hard to say – if you go by the membership numbers, there’s 100-300 horse archers in the USA.  However, if you count the people that are ACTIVE in the sport, there’s probably only around 100-150.  More people are being exposed to horse archery every day though, especially now that we have certified instructors traveling to teach clinics across the country!  Horse Archery Fever is surely becoming a widespread high-adrenaline extreme sport!

How did you first get into the sport?
I actually came across this sport in an unlikely fashion: I saw a Facebook Ad (yes, all you social media marketers – Facebook Ads DO work!) for a Horseback Archery Beginner’s Clinic and thought it sounded pretty extreme… but awesome!  I didn’t even know the sport actually existed, I thought it archery on horseback was only something you saw in movies and read about in the history books. I had an absolute blast learning archery for the first time, I had never picked up a bow before and we spent 2 hours just going over the basics of archery, safety on the range, and how to alter the basics to work when actually on the horse.  I must say that I learned more about physics and arrow dynamics than I thought possible!

horse archery2
What do you like most about horse archery?
I love the partnership with my horse – and of course that THWACK! sound when you hit the target! My husband started getting involved with Cowboy Mounted Shooting and I’m not particularly a gun-loving kinda gal.  It’s loud and fast and just not my cup of tea if you know what I mean.  Archery is quiet, controlled, and I think it’s relaxing and exciting all at the same time.  I love the history of horse archery.  I feel like I’ve become part of an ancient tradition in a way – think back to the Mongols, Chengus Kahn, and our own Native Americans of the Great Plains.  It’s just awesome to be a part of something like this!  😉

What’s that? Explaining lunge lines

(also known as longe lines, depending upon your sense of phonetic spelling)

 

If you grew up riding in the English style, you are probably familiar with the lunge line, but if you came to horses through trail riding or Western disciplines, it may be something of a foreign concept.

Lunging sends horses in a circle around their handler, who holds the excess line and sometimes a lunge whip. The whip does not typically touch the horse, but is carried in the right hand, trailing behind the horse to create noise that lets the horse know he needs to keep moving.

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Lunging horses has lots of different applications; it can be a controlled setting to work a horse lightly back from an injury, or provide a chance for someone on the ground to watch a horse at work to look for lameness. Lunging is also a way of letting a horse blow off some steam before beginning a ride, and it can also be a good way to help a horse build condition or muscle (especially if you’re also using side reins or other equipment). We’ve also found it a good way to teach horses voice commands, which can transfer nicely to other groundwork or riding.

Many English riders also begin their riding instruction riding a lunged horse, because it enables them to focus on their legs and position before they need to worry about also directing the horse around the arena.

No matter how you use lunging, there are a few important things to remember. If you’re lunging for more than a couple of minutes, it’s considered good practice to send the horse in both directions before finishing up for the day. That’s because turning in a circle unevenly stretches and loads the two sides of a horse’s body. It’s also important not to lunge too often or for too long at a time to avoid stress-related injury. Another good way to avoid putting too much strain on the horse is to avoid making the circle he travels in too small. Circles measuring 20-30 meters in diameter are considered a good size.

While lunging your horse, don’t wrap the line around your hand. If the horse should spook, you’ll end up losing some skin on your palms. Instead, loop excess line and grab the loop around the center.

Two Horse Tack offers all the equipment you need to get your horse lunging. Our lunge lines come in lengths from 10 to 40 feet in your choice of 14 colors. Our lunging cavesson includes hardware sewn into the noseband, giving you all kinds of options for line placement. Cavessons are available in sizes mini to draft, in matching colors to our lines.

Shop now!

lunge line

FAQ: “What size do I need?”

When ordering custom tack, getting the right fit is so important. Sometimes, customers don’t know what size their horse is currently wearing. Other times, customers want to measure their horse and send us the numbers they’ve gotten, asking whether they need say, Horse or Warmblood size.

There are a couple of issues with this on our end. For one thing, if you take measurements of your horse’s face, there’s a good chance you’ll place the end of the tape in slightly different spots than what we use to make our sizing guides, and your piece ends up not fitting. That means if we provide you with our sizing guide, and you order based off our sizing guide and your measurements, you could still end up with something that doesn’t fit.

The other challenge is we have greater variation to our sizes than most tackmakers (there are actually eight different size options for most of our pieces!). Even if you know what size your horse wears in a different brand, it may not mesh with ours.

There’s a simple solution to both these issues: You can send us your horse’s age, height, weight, and breed in the Order Notes section at checkout when you buy tack from us. Or, even better, you can measure a piece of tack you already have for the horse and send us those measurements in the Order Notes section. The most helpful measurement for bridles is the bit end to bit end measure (for the cheekpiece that goes over the ears and down to the other side).

Alternately, you can also try our demo program to make sure you get the right fit and right materials.

 

Meet Our Breeds: Norwegian Fjord

From time to time, we’re proud to say we get happy notes from customers whose horses love Two Horse Tack. We were fascinated by a recent photo we got from MacKenzie, who was showing off her new lime green halter and lead on her mount, Ichabod.

fjordIchabod is 1/4 Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred and 3/4 Norwegian Fjord. If you haven’t seen a Norwegian Fjord before, they probably look like the rocker dudes of the equine world.

Norwegian Fjords trace their lineage back to just after the Ice Age, when it’s believed they were domesticated in Norway. The Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry’s website indicates the horses were selectively bred for at least 2,000 years, based on findings at Viking burial sites.

Norwegian Fjords are believed to have arrived in America by 1888, though it took another 80 years for a large number of the breeding stock in the United States to be imported.

As you can see in this photo of Ichabod, most Fjords are some variety of dun with a dorsal stripe and upright mane of a light color with dark tips.

The stout and distinctively-colored Fjord is heavy enough for plowing fields and pulling timber but small enough to be a good riding horse. The Fjord excels at mountain riding due to its sure-footed nature, and are also used often in combined driving.

Two Horse Tack is proud to outfit Ichabod and all other breeds. Even if your horse is tough-to-fit, we can help with our wide range of sizes and custom sizing. If you’re concerned about getting the perfect fit, include your horse’s breed, age, height and weight in the order notes at checkout!

What’s that? Explaining lunge lines

For those of us who grew up riding in the English disciplines, lunge lines (or “longe lines” depending upon your spelling preference) are pretty commonplace. But for many trail or Western riders, the lines and their usefulness may be a little foreign.

lunge lineLunge lines are typically 20 – 30 feet long (though we offer them in a range of lengths from 10 to 40 feet) with a snap at one end and either a rubber stopper or hand loop on the other. Horses can be taught to circle their handler at the end of the lunge line while wearing either a halter or bridle at various gaits and can even jump small items that are open on the sides. Some people use lunging to allow a horse to get out feisty behavior like bolting, diving, and bucking on a windy day or after a long layoff, which can be useful ahead of a horse show performance or a ride at home. Others use lunging to help bring a horse back up to fitness without the weight of a rider, or can even to help scope out whether a horse is lame. (Often lamenesses are emphasized as the horse moves around a curve.)

Depending upon how you use the lunge line, you may prefer a lunging cavesson with loops around the noseband. This gives you options for where to clip or weave the lunge line. (Our lunging cavesson can be added underneath any bridle and is made from durable beta biothane.) lunging cavesson

No matter how you use a lunge line, it’s important to choose a length that’s safe for what you’re doing. A stiff or lame horse may benefit from a longer line that allows him to make a larger circle around the handler. Also keep in mind that you should switch directions to avoid placing too much stress on left or right front legs. One more consideration–don’t lunge too long. Stress injuries are caused by repeated force in one spot, and continuous turning in a circle can create that kind of stress after large number of repetitions.

Wondering how to teach your horse to work on a lunge line? Equusite has a great step-by-step troubleshooting guide to help. One thing that we’ve found helpful: vocal cues that help the horse learn what kind of transition you want from him. Those cues can also help you break through barriers under saddle.

Want to get started with your own lunge line? We offer lunging cavessons and lunge lines in a variety of colors of water-proof, dust-proof beta biothane at our online shop.

Conway buckles–your new best friend!

In the course of dealing with customers who ride in lots of different disciplines, we’ve found that some of them are huge fans of Conway buckles, while others may never have seen them before.

It’s a little tricky to explain how they come together, so we put together this little video to show you how easy and secure they are to use: