Category Archives: Helpful articles

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.

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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!

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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!

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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:

Calling all endurance riders!

It’s time for another tack giveaway for endurance riders! Pull out your phone and use your Endomondo or other mileage tracking app to show us the miles you’re logging in the saddle in conditioning rides and competitions. Send us your screenshots between now and 9 a.m. April 18 to 2horsetack@gmail.com. The rider with the most miles will win a $25 gift card to Two Horse Tack.

Want a reminder to log your miles? Join the contest event page on Facebook.

At our online shop, you can find halters, bridles, and breastcollars made from colorful, lightweight beta biothane to fit any size, shape, or breed of horse or pony out there. Check out our Green Bean Endurance line of products, designed especially for endurance riders and set up to benefit a great educational organization.

Want to get started as an endurance rider?

Have you been reading our blog posts on endurance riding and wondering how you can give it a try? Check out this calendar of endurance rides with intro divisions, where you can start off with as little as 25 miles or so. For entry information about the rides you see listed here, check out the AERC website.

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What’s that? Explaining the running martingale

If you’ve watched the Rolex CCI**** on television or YouTubed some grand prix jumping, it’s possible you’ve noticed a set of straps hanging down from some of the horses’ reins. You might have wondered–what are those things?

What you’re looking at might be a running martingale. The running martingale attaches to the girth and travels through the horse’s front legs, where it forks and loops onto each rein. Its purpose is to discourage horses from throwing their heads up in order to resist the bit.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 11.03.26 PMLike any other piece of equipment, it’s critical the running martingale be adjusted properly for it to be utilized safely and ethically. If the running martingale is correctly fitted, it has some slack while the horse has his head in a normal position, preventing any pressure on the reins. If the horse throws his head, he will reach the end of the slack in the martingale and the rings will place downward pressure on the reins.

The advantage of the running martingale over the standard, standing martingale is that the rider can loosen the reins to release the martingale’s tension if the horse trips after a fence. One additional safety consideration is adding rein stops to prevent the martingale rings from sliding forward and getting caught near the bit or on the rein buckles.

We appreciate running martingales for their ability to help keep feisty horses attentive to the bit. There are lots of options to address this issue, both with equipment and with training. Always work with your trainer to decide what’s best for your horse.

If you would like to try a running martingale, Two Horse Tack sells running attachments that clip on to our beta biothane breastcollars. You have your choice of single color, two-color, or bling running attachments, or you can add them on to your order of a custom breastcollar.