Much to my dismay, I did not get to attend this weekend’s blogger meetup with L, Megan, and probably others. Instead, we went stadium schooling at a nearby facility to prep for Camelot, and fuck is it a good thing I did. Stops all over the place man. I wore my show coat and shirt to see what the coat rides like, and it’s a good thing I did, as the weather report is just going down down down for this weekend and maybe coats won’t be waived after all. I might do a more detailed recap later, but maybe not. I have lots of pictures, at least, which will fuel my annoyance at my equitation for weeks to come.
Today is about Murray’s every day tack set up, as suggested by Stephanie!
I’ve actually really enjoyed reading about everyone else’s every day tack setups. I’m not even that jealous of all the beautiful shiny tack and high quality saddles. Not really. At all. Or maybe only a little bit.
I had a very entertaining time taking pictures of Murray for this, especially because he seemed thoroughly unimpressed by the whole process. However, he was quite good and didn’t run off as soon as I stepped away from him. It’s funny, the things I will trust this horse to do — like not run away from me when I release his reins and duck into the tack room to find a whip — when he’s so untrustworthy in other ways.
Anyway. I have only two sets of tack for Murray, because while mine is an equipment-heavy sport, I don’t have that much stuff. All of my everyday tack is also my show tack, and I’m not even really clever enough to keep certain pads for shows (except one white dressage one).
Murray says staaahhhhpp.
For jump lessons or conditioning rides, I use an HDR figure-8 bridle with a loop gag bit. Currently the bit is adjusted so it’s basically a single-jointed snaffle and has no gag action, but if I need it’s an easy switch to move the reins into the looped portion of the gag, which you can see better below. I also ride in rainbow reins, as per a blog post a few weeks ago, which are not hideously ugly but are, instead, semi-patriotic in a kinda navy-red-white scheme. I’m also all about rubber reins, so I have two spare sets in my tack trunk. If I’m in a jump lesson, I will also use a 5-point breastplate with a running martingale, but am frequently too lazy to put it on for conditioning, and Murray doesn’t need it that badly.
In this picture I’m using a Roma pad which is also my stadium show pad, but I have a few other AP pads (a solid purple Roma, a burgundy Dover with our barn logo on it) that I rotate through also. For a half pad I use an Ecogold Flip Half Pad, which I seriously appreciate because it is #flippinggenius. Murray used to get pretty sassy after the jumps sometimes, especially when I’d land funny, and since I got this pad he’s basically stopped that at home. Is that definitive evidence? In no way. He also got older, more schooled, and lazier in that time. But I appreciate it’s cushy padding and memory foam for his back. It’s on the white side in this picture, but obviously my flip side is JEWEL TONED PURPLLEEEE.
Okay, on to saddles. I have a 17″ BT Crump TomBoy that I found on Tack Trader for super cheap and essentially new last year. Its still got that (rather heinous, IMO) new-leather feel that not-super-high-quality leather gets. The seat and billets are breaking in nicely but the flaps are hard going. I need to ride more in the rain or something. It’s not a perfect fit for me or Murray, but he’s not a pansy boy and I’m not too fussy, so we’ll stick with it for now. I’d almost like to wait to upgrade our saddle until we can get a really nice one, which won’t be for several years at least. This is both because until someone STOPS dumping saddles I am not going to spend a lot of money on a saddle, and also because I am poor.
I use HDR leathers that are calfskin (I think) sewn over nylon that I bought back in 2010 and are still going strong. It helps that I’ve changed my stirrup length a ton in the last five years so no one hole is particularly worn. I also have regular Fillis irons with Super Comfort Iron Pads that provide extra grip. And finally a Stubben overlay girth that is quite nice and squishy with double elastic (someone thinks he’s really fat and then has to have the girth tightened mightily in the arena). Sometimes I also have a Nunn Finer neck strap, but right now I need to punch some extra holes in that baby to make it usable.
Murray always wears velcro bell boots on the front, because in the beginning I thought that would help him stop pulling shoes (spoiler alert: it doesn’t; rubber breaks more easily than nails) but now I mostly keep on to stop him from grabbing a quarter in turnout. My only set of jumping boots are Woof Wear brushing boots, which Murray sports for stadium, XC, and conditioning, typically on all four feet but once again: laziness can sometimes get me. I am lucky that he doesn’t interfere too much.
Okay so that was a shocking amount to write about my jumping outfit. Let’s see what I have to say about dressage.
Dressage Tack aka Purple Rain Outfit
I’ve seen several times on Facebook (and other locations) the meme that’s all “don’t make your gelding wear purple! he’s confused enough as it is!”
Don’t look at me.
To which I say, “fuck off, horses don’t have the same colour vision as us, and my horse will wear whatever the fuck I want him to.”
I only own two sets of polo wraps (purple and pink plaid), so homie gets to wear my favourite colors. Murray is also rocking the one bell boot look here because he ripped up the other and I hadn’t yet replaced it. I have a few dressage pads, but use either this purple one or a white one with purple piping regularly. My Equine Couture pad folds up funny on him and, as I don’t have any black or red boots or polos, does not make for a matchymatchy outfit. I also got my dressage saddle on tack trader, it’s a Forestier monoflap. Forestier is a French brand that isn’t very well known in the US, so I didn’t spend toooo much on it. I find it quite comfy, it fits Murray and I fairly well, and it has never hit the dirt thank goodness. I have the same calfskin HDR leathers on here, only in black, and regular Fillis stirrups as well. Since a certain somebody is sensitive about cold leather touching his precious tummy, when I first got this saddle I also bought a used Smartpak brand (I think) fleecy dressage girth that suits us just fine. Under my dressage saddle I use my Ecogold Stabilizer Pad, which I got originally for jumping but fits my dressage saddle fine.
I’m so ashamed.
Murray goes in a regular French-link D-ring for dressage, the kind with the flat middle piece. I originally had him in a Korsteel version with the bead in the middle, but Alana thought it was too big/heavy for his mouth, and he’s been just fine with this one since then. Our bridle is by Delfina Saddlery, a brand actually owned by a friend that I have some… mixed opinions on. The reins are lovely and soft and I adore them, but somehow not all the keepers fit the leather pieces. My browband I won in a raffle on Horse Junkies United, and it’s a magnificent, sparkly Judi browband that I hope to blind judges with so they can’t see our flaws. I seriously adore the way the rhinestones are set on the Judi browband, but it’s a good thing I won that baby because I would never have been able to afford it for myself.