Blog Archives

Improvements At Two Horse Tack

Two Horse Tack customers, rejoice! A brand new website is in the works to make your ordering process quicker and easier. Our upgraded interface should be in the works by Thursday morning, and we’d encourage you to give it a test ride–let us know what you love and what you want to see in the next update.

One thing we really focused on with this new and improved site is ease of custom ordering. There are a lot of choices to make when putting in an order for one of our pieces–color, size, hardware, bit end styles on bridles, and matching extras. Our hope is that this new layout will make it more quicker and easier to be sure you design tack you’ll love.

Check it out: www.twohorsetack.com

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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.

What’s that? Explaining long lines

Long Lines maybeYou may have heard a horse person casually refer to “long lining” their horse from time to time and wondered–what’s that all about, anyway?

Long lining is a great training tool for horses of all breeds and disciplines, especially young horses or those training for a new career. It’s also a great option for horses who are recovering from an injury and need some exercise but can’t yet carry a rider.

Long lining basically refers to driving a horse from the ground. Before beginning, it’s important the horse be accustomed to carrying a saddle or surcingle and recognize a verbal command to move forward.

Two lines of around eight or ten feet in length each run from the horse’s bit through a surcingle or saddle to the driver behind the horse. The driver can teach the horse to respond to the feeling of the lines on its sides and begin to encourage him to bend to the right and to the left when moving through turns and circles.

A horse being long lined

A horse being long lined

Being exposed to long lining before riding can give young horses a better sense of brakes and steering before carrying a rider. For dressage riders, it’s also a great time to begin to introduce some lateral exercises before climbing in the saddle.

Long lining can give riders a stronger sense of how their hands relate to the horse’s mouth, often encouraging them to be gentler.

We sell long lines in a variety of lengths, colors, and styles at our online shop. Our beta biothane long reins are excellent for use in the arena, where they may get wet or sandy–beta comes clean when rinsed in soapy water, and if you send it through the washing machine, it’s good as new! Best of all, our long reins are just as strong as nylon alternatives without being rough on your hands.

A study of our halter bridles

If you’re trying to decide between our two varieties of halter bridles, our four-legged friend Sue has a few suggestions for you. Sue was kind enough to model both our traditional halter bridle and our quick change halter bridle. Both options obviously switch between bridles and halters, but they do so differently.

Traditional halter bridle

Traditional halter bridle

Here we see the bit out of Sue's mouth with one bit hanger attached. Couldn't be simpler!

Here we see the bit out of Sue’s mouth with one bit hanger attached. Couldn’t be simpler!

The purple and black halter bridle is our traditional variety, which has bit hangers which clip onto the cheekpieces. As Sue is showing us, it takes a couple of quick seconds to switch between turnout and trail ride. This style, as the name implies, does have a more traditional look (it comes in single-color varieties as well, in addition to bling and reflective varieties).

Quick change halter bridle, which is three-in-one

Quick change halter bridle, which is really a three-in-one!

The orange item that Sue is wearing is the quick-change style halter bridle. Just unsnap the browband and lift the headstall and bit off the horse. As you can see, you’re left with a Western headstall and a turnout halter. When the pieces fit together, you have a halter bridle. The quick change style comes in all the same color, bling, reflective, and even camo options as the traditional style.

The quick change option is great for Western riders because it includes the headstall, but ultimately it comes down to which style works best for you and your horse. We can assure you that both are great, and equally maintenance-free! Just wash any of our beta pieces in soap and water to get them looking as good as new, no conditioner required.

Congratulations to Ayrk!

We recently completed a tack giveaway for Behind the Bit, which is a fantastic source for dressage riders to find event coverage, product reviews, and horsey fun of all sorts.

We gave away a two-tone English bridle, which is made from 3/4-inch beta with a 1/2-inch overlay. Our range of colors allows customers to be as bold or as traditional as they want; our winners decided to do a black base with a purple overlay–a nice mix of the conventional and the colorful!

Meet Ayrk, the Norwegian Fjord

Meet Ayrk, the Norwegian Fjord

The winners of the giveaway are Gemma and Ayrk. Ayrk is an 18-year-old Norwegian Fjord. The Norwegian Fjord is closely related to the Przewalski’s horse, and as you can see it’s known for its distinctive coloring and “rocker boy” mane. The Norwegian Fjord is a descendant of Mongolian wild horses and is considered an endangered breed.

Ayrk and Gemma have been working together for four years. They came together through a friend of Gemma’s riding instructor, and are currently learning about dressage. They also jump from time to time, as well. Ayrk is a huge fan of fruit–strawberries and tangerines being a particular favorite. We’ve heard of horses eating bananas and of course apples, but tangerines are a new one for us.

Enjoy your bridle, Ayrk and Gemma!

We're loving Ayrk's rocker boy mane!

We’re loving Ayrk’s rocker boy mane!

What’s that? Explaining cruppers

You may have seen straps extending across a horse’s rump from time, especially horses in harness and wondered what’s going on there. Is it just to keep a horse’s tail raised in a showy manner?

Saddle-crupper Nope. Those are probably cruppers, and they have a real safety purpose. Cruppers (or croupers) consist of a loop that fits under the horse’s tailhead, and an adjustable strap which fastens onto a saddle or harness. The crupper’s primary function is to keep the saddle or harness from sliding forward, where they might fit more loosely. The portion that fits under the tail was once made of leather but these days is usually a smooth tube stuffed with linseed to keep it from becoming hard and irritating. Cruppers may be single or double forked across the croup.

Cruppers should be adjusted so that they’re snug but not so tight that they cause irritation to the skin under the tail. Like many other safety devices, they’re meant to engage only when needed, so the horse shouldn’t feel pressure on the tail unless the harness or pack saddle actually begins to move. They’re especially helpful for horses with low withers or narrow shoulders, whose conformation makes equipment more likely to slip.

You’ll most often see cruppers being used with harness, but when they are used with saddles you’ll find them in endurance riding, trail riding, or patrol work. br croup 1

We sell cruppers in a variety of colors and styles in both beta biothane and leather. They’re priced so affordably that it’s worth picking one up if you think it could help you and your equipment stay safe.

Tuesday Tips: Ding Ding Ding!

Finally, we’ve found a good solution for those pesky rubber bell boots.

This horse is wearing bell boots

This horse is wearing bell boots

Bell boots are a great way to protect your horse from overreaching if he strides out with his back legs and tends to grab his front heels with his hind toes. The most common type of bell boot is the rubber pull-on, and those can be tricky to get on and off.

Just flip the boot upside down while it’s on the horse’s leg, spray the inside of the boot with WD-40, and off it pops. The spray shouldn’t do harm to the horse’s hoof, but if you’re concerned, try rinsing his feet and ankles after you pull the boot off.

It’s grooming season!

The weather is staring to turn (hopefully) and with spring rains comes spring mud. Sounds like it’s the perfect time to pick up a grooming halter!

This month’s tack giveaway is for a beta biothane grooming halter, 199-aquawhich has all the durability of our turnout halters with the cheek and chin pieces removed, allowing you to more easily use a curry or brush to get that stubborn mud off. It’s also great if you need to clip your horse’s face and would rather not hold the halter out of the way while juggling the clippers.

If your horse also needs a quick bath while wearing our grooming halter, it’s no problem–our beta tack is waterproof and crack-proof and comes with no-rust stainless steel hardware (brass also available). As you can see, you can get any color you’d like, and bling options are also available!

Get a $5 gift card just for entering the contest

Meet Our Breeds: Solitaire and Commanche the Appaloosas

This week in our Meet Our Breeds series, we introduce you to Solitaire and Commanche, our Appaloosa models.

The Appaloosa is a breed based on a coat pattern. The breed was originally developed by the Nez Perce people of the Pacific Northwest. The tribe lost most of its horses in war, threatening the breed’s future until it was revived in the 1930s.

Commanche

Commanche

Today, the Appaloosa is the state horse of Idaho. The breed’s body type is influenced by Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, and Arabian blood. Solid horses may be included in the registry if they can be blood typed to verify Appaloosa parentage.

In addition to their unique coat colors, most Appaloosas have striped hooves, mottled skin, or white sclera around their eyes. More than 700,000 Appaloosas have been registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club since its foundation in 1938.

Solitaire

Solitaire

We are lucky enough to have two Appaloosa models on our website. Solitaire is one of the many fantastic equine teachers in the Asbury University’s equine program. Asbury offers undergraduate degrees in equine science, and also has its own riding program.

Commanche hails from Easy Riders Ranch in Georgetown, Ky. He is one of nine horses who provide riding lessons, riding by the hour, and rides at birthday parties.

Fits like a glove

If you’re like us, you hate having to buy something without being able to try it on and just like humans, horses don’t always conform to standard sizes, which makes tack buying a challenge. 

Cori western bridleLots of customers have emailed us, inquiring how to best take measurements of their hard-to-fit horse to decide what size tack to order. We’ve found that everyone measures a little differently though, and even an inch or two goes a long way in changing the parameters we use to custom make your order. 

Often, we can determine how best to make your tack based on your horse’s estimated height, weight, and breed, which you can enter in your order notes at check-out. If you’re still concerned about a perfect fit, you can use our new trial program! Put down a deposit, and we’ll send you one of our stock items in a standard size. Try it on your horse to decide what size he needs, then send it back with our return shipping label. What could be easier?

Learn more about our demo program here.