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Re: RC: Any English riders out there?

>The problem with english is my total lack of knowledge. The English 
>saddle that I have is a all purpose saddle, not a name brand, not a 
>very expensive saddle, but seems to fit my horse pretty good.  I am 
>looking at an EquiFleece saddle pad by Roma in the Millers 
>catalog.  The problem with my english pad is that is will not stay 
>underneath my saddle. This pad has pockets that the saddle slides 
>into so it will not slip around. I though that was a neat idea, But 
>the pad is fleece. What is the difference between fleece and wool? 
>They also have one with a fleece top and a cotton lining. Would 
>these pads work in endurance riding? Also what do you do with the 
>buckle on the stirrups to keep in from bothering you or the 
>horse? What are the best snaffles for a light mouthed responsive 
>horse who needs  more control when he is frightened or excited. What 
>size works best for Arabs? Do they normally have smaller mouths? I 
>don't want to be bumping the roof of the mouth all the time. How 
>effective is the full cheek snaffle? Is it a must for the kind of 
>riding we do, in order to keep the bit in the mouth? I know that 
>this is probably some very basic questions, but I really do not know 
>anything.  Also what kind of cinch should I be looking at. The cinch 
>that came with the saddle seems to stretch out when I ride. It is a 
>rope cotton cinch.

Hi, Lynette,

Ridecamp seems a little slow, so my $.02 will go there, too.

I use Wintec Webbers instead of stirrup leathers--they're single 
layer with a loop on top for slipping onto the stirrup bars.  Can't 
imagine going back to conventional leathers after years in these.

For the last year I've used Cindy Crook's ( great 
sheepskin stirrup covers that look more like fenders.  They've held 
up very well; we only did 5 50s, pulled from 2 others and 1 LD in 'em 
but lots of conditioning rides, and they've got miles to go, unlike 
the sheepskin tubes I used to buy.

For distance, consider sticking to wool or poly-wool pads.  The Dixie 
Midnight or the expensive Supracor CoolPad work as well.  Skito and 
Toklat make good pads for endurance.

Cinches, or rather "girths" are something you choose based on your 
horse's preference.  Katee of Advantage Saddlery has good mohair 
girths--as long as you're riding in an area that doesn't have burrs.

Some horses like neoprene--I've only had good luck with those made by 
Ortho-flex.  You'd have to find one used now, or on eBay perhaps.

In any case, you want "roller buckles" on your girth.

Wintec makes a $30 one with hidden elastic in the center, that works 
well for a friend who rides in one of our RP saddles.  It's easy to 
overtighten a girth that has elastic and roller buckles.  Elastic 
allows the horse to take deep breaths without being constrained, but 
be careful evaluating girths with elastic at the end--they can pinch 
and the elastic can wear out.

Some of us even use leather girths--I do, but it's made of the 
material inside ballet shoes, and I have to clean it daily so it 
retains its softness.  I use it because it has elastic in the center 
and a wide belly plate, cut in at the elbow for clearance.

Your pad slippage is not unusual.  Sometimes it's an indication of 
poor fit.  Sometimes it's because of the material, either that 
against the horse or against the saddle's tree.  Sometimes it's 
because of the way the horse moves.  Sometimes it's because the pad 
isn't an endurance pad, and is little.  Look for "English Endurance" 
in the catalogs.  Skito sells through catalogs and directly.

Some people affix little grommets on the front of their pads and tie 
it to the dee rings.

One note on the French link bits--lay the bit you're considering flat 
on the counter.  If the center piece lies flat, then that is indeed a 
French link.  If it angles back, then it's a Dr. Bristol, and is much 

Arabs generally have low palates, so thick bits can be a problem. 
Some do better in mullen mouths (more like a straight bar, with a low 
port for tongue relief.)  Personally, I've found that the Myler 
hackamore works best for my mare, who is strong at the starts--well, 
not like she used to be, but it is indeed insurance.  I use the one 
with a soft leather cover over a chain; it's got "S" shanks, but 
unlike the popular "S" hackamore in use, the curb chain actually is 
in the proper position for Arabians.  The "S" shanks are effectively 
shorter, so that the horse can drink from shallower puddles than what 
a Sliester hackamore with long shanks would allow.  They're also 
handier for drinking from stock tanks and eating hay or other chow 
along the way.

Mine go in a snaffle or French link for arena work.  I use flat reins 
as a personal preference.

Your question made me reflect on all the gear changes my girl has 
gone through over the years.   Laughing at the amount of thought and 
$ that has gone into her current bridle: Zilco hackamore headstall, 
thin Pat Fredrickson rope halter underneath, Myler S hack, nylon and 
three strand curb chain, pet tag for ID, Zilco 10 ft rubberized flat 
reins--and at the lunch check, we're down to the rope halter and 
reins.  :-)  Never thought my fire-breathing mare would be able to do 
it.  Bought a new Pat F. halter with sidepull rings and tried it on 
the last ride; my mare liked it better than having the reins hooked 
to the halter loop--the scissor snaps could  hit her in the chin if I 
didnt' keep some tension on the reins.  Now I can ride on the 
"buckle" again, a great English expression meaning the reins are so 
loose you're holding them by the buckle in the middle...

Hope that helps,

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