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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Ellis

Tack Upkeep

Updated: Mar 6

Reddington my 17-hand giant of a horse, sired by Uncle Mo, has two gorgeous saddles all to himself. Here's my personal saddle for Reddington, a beautiful two-toned Black Country. My saddle fitter, Allie Fleitz with Last Chance Tack, is stitching the underside back together after completely flocking it with new wool from England. Send her a message on her Facebook page to request her services; she manages the Southern Indiana area. She did exquisite work, if I do say so myself!

So, let's talk about what else needs to be maintained on a saddle. This goes outside of each ride's wipe-down, monthly leather conditioning, and general leather maintenance. Billets get worn out after dust, sweat, and just plain old resistance to being stretched while the saddle is in use. These need to be in good shape! You don't want to be riding and have your billets break, you'll meet the ground hard! I mean, it holds your girth and saddle together onto the horse. I'd like to think that people keep up with making sure that part of the saddle doesn't break!

Other things need to be reviewed by your fitter or leather worker regularly. The fit of your saddle, as it can change on your horse multiple times a year. An ill-fitting saddle can cause so many issues with your riding, your seat or carriage, your horse's performance, attitude, and willingness to carry you and it can affect the overall movement - or lack thereof. Outside of saddles, condition, and fit, other leather pieces need to be checked regularly as well. Bridle connections and bridle pieces can get hard and break; these can be stitched back together with new leather.

If you do not upkeep your flocking, you could damage your horse's back and induce sore spots that eventually may make them unhappy to ride with you. Your horse is an extension of you, your partner and they depend on you to look after their well-being. You can rest assured that these are all things that Sassafras Crest Stables has checked by a fitter multiple times a year; as well as personally reviewed the overall condition of the saddles and riding equipment after each ride. We take this very seriously here.

Speaking of tack used at Sassafras Crest Stables, Allie is now working on a lesson saddle of ours. It fits Veddy and Fawkes well and it will be used in our upcoming lesson plans. It's a Barnsby, which just like the wool flock also originates from Walsall, England. This brand is no longer being made but with regular upkeep and reflocking when the wool gets hard and unworkable a good saddle will last a very long time. Here's a fun fact, Barnsby saddles were in production for over 200 years and are very coveted and easy to maintain. I happen to be lucky enough to have found three in superb condition, a jump, an all-purpose lesson saddle, and a beautiful dressage saddle.

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