How Your Half Pad Can Make or Break Your Ride

dressage saddle and pads on horse

So many of us use them, and for so many different reasons. Whether you choose your half pad for the softness that offers extra cushion for our horses’ backs, the pretty colors that contrast our saddle pad so beautifully, or the inserts that offer extra shock absorption or the ability to shim up the saddle… half pads are becoming almost as much of an art and science as saddle fitting! This is good news and bad news. On the one hand, buying a half pad is a much smaller investment than buying a new saddle, and for the almost-fits-perfectly saddle,…

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Myler French Link Bits

Anyone who knows me (or even follows me online) knows I’m a total bit nerd. My big dream someday is to have a lab set up where I can x-ray and pressure test different bits under different conditions. I have spent countless hours trying different bits on my horses to see how they lay in the mouth, both at rest and under pressure (many rotate in the mouth when under rein pressure… an interesting variable when considering how they work on the different parts of the mouth!), and how horses respond to one compared to another. There are very few…

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Micklem Bridles

I love the fact that I’m seeing these bridles get more popular, I’m taking that to be a sign that more riders are choosing tack with their horse’s comfort in mind. The Micklem bridle was designed to avoid facial nerves and pressure points on the horse’s face, and to fit comfortably by leaving room around the ears and eyes. The noseband works like a drop or flash noseband does, supporting the bit and lower jaw, but without wrapping all the way around the horse’s nose like a standard or crank cavesson does. More information about the design of the bridle…

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The Easiest Way to Test for Saddle Balance

How your saddle sits on your horse influences how you sit in your saddle.  Once you become aware of this relatively simple fact, you’ll never not notice it again. But I see people riding in improperly balanced saddles all the time, and they are usually struggling to maintain their own position and balance, which of course makes it very hard for them to ride their horse effectively… it’s basically a downward spiral. So what can you do easily, daily even, to double check your balance? Post the trot stand-stand-sit-stand-stand-sit and see if you can get into a rhythm. As an…

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CAIR Panels – Not What I Expected

I’m the curious sort. I love to take things apart and see how they work. I love my Wintec and Bates Isabell saddles.  They are so adjustable, and I can open them up and change the gullet plates and add shims to fit my horse, and change it as often as I need to.  I also love the placement of the stirrup bar on the Isabell, when the saddle is sitting on the horse correctly it makes it very easy for the rider to find the correct position and ride in balance. The leather on the Bates version is soft and…

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