View Full Version : What items do you use to make riding easier and/or possible

Aug. 24, 2009, 07:56 PM
I'm looking for ideas to make riding and tacking up, etc. easier. Although I am hoping to help para riders and disabled riders with this thread, "normal" riders are welcome, too. I'll start :

1)VELCRO BELL BOOTS - before I became disabled, I would not use anything but pull ons. These proved far too difficult and dangerous for me. I fell pulling them off and got stuck on the floor between a spooky mare and a wall.

2)BRUSHING BOOTS- I have front and back boots for each horse for days when my hands aren't working well enough to properly bandage. My favorites so far are the DSB boots.

3)BUCKING STRAP- I might not need it, but I won't get on without it. If my hands are weak, I hook my reins around the bucking strap so if I drop a rein, I can grab it more easily. Holding the bucking strap along with my reins also helps my hands remain more stable on bad days.

4)THINLINE PAD- I don't know if it really helps, but it's supposed to help my horse's back if I'm a little bouncy. I figure any horse dealing with my weird problems deserves the most comfort he or she can get.

5)RUBBER REINS-I use either rubber reins or reins that are leather on one side and rubber on the other so I have extra grip and don't lose my reins if the horse pulls a little and my hands are sweaty (gloves prove difficult as i have a cumbersome brace)

6)FULLSEAT BREECHES-I want to make sure my tush stays in the saddle.

7)BRIDLES AND REINS WITH BUCKLE ENDS-It is far easier for me to change a bit when have buckle ends. My hands just cannot use the hook ends. I lack the dexterity.

8)TURTLE SNAP CROSSTIES-The large hooks attatch easily to the horse's halter without much difficulty.

9)BOOMERS BANDAGES-These are excellent when I need to bandage a horse but my hand is really bad and I can't handle a no bow and a bandage.

I'm sure lots of you have special items you use in order to make your life as an equestrian easier. Please share....no item is too small or too foolish. Join in and help others out.

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:29 PM
What items do you use to make riding easier and/or possible

a good Chiropractor and an even better trainer!:lol:
I honestly don't use any boots at all.....and only wrap for clinics. I love the rubber reins with buckles.... and a three step mounting block. I have to say as much as I love the brand helmet for fit...I HATE the hook and snap thing. The kids usually have to help me with it.:eek:

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:41 PM
ooh, this is a nice thread.

proper mounting block

tack that fits and is in good repair

good quality tack

I quite like my treadstone halfchaps with a nice sturdy zip that goes from top to bottom rather than vice versa

nice cheap microfiber hand towels, for quick wipe down of tack so its tidy

I'll second the thinline

a good quality curry & dandy & hoof pick

a good tack-up area: a sturdy place to hang my saddle while grooming, shelves for laying down brushes, etc, and ample room to place my sweaty pads and girth other than on top of my saddle, or on the ground

good lighting in the tack area

if you like rubber reins, perhaps check out nunn-finers rubber eventers, they're awfully soft & floppy & grippy

instilling exception ground manners probably tops the list though, its nice to be around a horse you don't even have to think about

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:42 PM
Stirrup pads that put my foot in the proper position :(

Aug. 24, 2009, 08:44 PM
Having shreded my left ankle a few years ago, I splurged for the Sprenger Bow Balance irons. Night and day difference.

Vesper Sparrow
Aug. 24, 2009, 09:09 PM
First and foremost, I'd say both my horses have kind temperaments and good heads. My four year old is very quiet and confident (no spook); my 25 year old is a little hotter but looks out for me.

Secondly, a three-step mounting block (nicknamed "the elevator") and I usually get someone to hold my horse when I get on

Rubber reins on all my bridles (Eventa or Wintec cushion grip)

Full seats

Bucking strap, stirrup leather around the neck for jumping and I just bought a breastplate for something to grab onto when hunting

I have one of those grooming kits that doubles as a stepstool--excellent for taking out braids, clipping, etc.

Always wear tall boots and mine are steel toed

Deep seated saddles

I'm in my mid 50s and don't bounce anymore

Aug. 24, 2009, 09:16 PM
I forgot...ZIP UP BOOTS!

Aug. 24, 2009, 09:25 PM
I like those velcro-closure half-chaps for day to day riding - easier than zip ups, especially when my hands are cold or my calves are swollen or I wore jeans instead of britches...

I am a huge fan of large mounting blocks. In fact a friend's barn has a permanent one made of wood - three big steps, so heavy it can't be moved (except by two people or a tractor) and you can sit on the horse like it's a couch.

(excuse me - arg - mosquito in the house and I just missed it!)

Anyway (excuse me - YAR!!! - got it!!!!) Anyway, I am also a huge fan of the jelly-plastic scrubby curry combs - big nubs on one side make mud vanish, little teeth on other side just clean like crazy, without too much pain to my tendonitis-prone hands. Much less effort required for same amount of clean, I think, than the traditional curries and brush combos.

I also love having a nice whip rack in the arena - it's attached to the wall by the door, and all the crops and whips hang handle-up in these little circular openings. It's super easy to ride up, pick out a whip, put it back at any time without leaning too far over or having to dismount and get one from the corner/barn/behind the chair, etc.

Aug. 24, 2009, 09:33 PM
Guter Sitz! Its NOT CHEATING!:winkgrin:


Aug. 24, 2009, 11:10 PM
a 3 step mounting block is haven!
In winter, I can't survive without my fleece lined Middleburg tall boots, Mountian Horse Coat, SSG Winter Trainer Gloves, underarmour.
a 3 pronged hook to hang halters, bridels, stirrup leather, on when cleaning.

And winter in the barn is so much nice now that I have a kerosene heater out there.

Aug. 24, 2009, 11:36 PM
My horse show tack trunk: http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Consumer-Storage-029025R-Gallon/dp/B000Q5NJ4S/ref=dp_cp_ob_hi_title_1

Wheels with a roller bag type handle. I can put just about everything but my saddle and big spray bottles in this trunk. I only bring essential grooming equipment and get "travel size" tack wipes from Carr Day and Martin.

Austin Rider
Aug. 24, 2009, 11:45 PM
Ace bandages and Ibuprofen. :)

Pat Thrasher
Aug. 25, 2009, 12:00 AM
A mounting block which lets me get on without touching the stirrup (tailgate of pickup will do :) ).

Zip-up boots (mine, don't use horse boots).

Sprenger jointed stirrups which are kind to my arthritic knees.

A saddle which I super-duper really-truly splurged on which actually fits both me and Hoofer so he doesn't buck me off any more.

Deerskin full seat breeches in three weights for all seasons.

And (purists, look away) a double bridle for my Second/Third Morgan who is incredibly strong and inclined to be a bully with his neck and also to just go off over There somewhere with his ADHD but hey, you know, a curb rein sorta gets his attention back PDQ. Like a bucking strap, there when I need it....

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Aug. 25, 2009, 02:53 AM
I like the DSBs because I'm too dyslexic to do polo wraps. I can pretty much figure those out.

I have all my tack in bags, even side reins, my paddock boots, my surcingle - not only protective, but so much easier to grab and carry around.

Aug. 25, 2009, 03:39 AM
I used to try to put that sticky stuff on my boots when my trainer wasn't looking but then it would squeak through out the whole ride and my trainer would laugh her @$$ off at me. :lol:

Aug. 25, 2009, 05:20 AM
Good thread! For me, the following have been wonderful:

A) Bates or Prestige single strap bottom adjust leathers - wonderful for those days when your hips are giving you problems or your fingers are all fumbly with buckles.

B) MDC Intelligent stirrup irons - they have an "eye" at the top that allows you to adjust the angle of how the stirrups hang. Love them.

C) Believe it or not...I love the Wintec reins. They are grippy but soft (I have bone spurs in my fingers and hard rubber reins just aggravates them) and at least for me, not slippery and very easy to clean.

D) A good bucking strap is a must in my opinion, as is a decent mounting block.

E) Thinline pad. I haven't ridden my horses without one in almost 20 years. And yes, I can tell the difference with or without it.

F) A rolling tack box...actually I found a portable mechanic's tool box that has a pull out handle and wheels so that you can just pull it along like luggage. It's sturdy enough to stand on - making it a convenient mounting block (I don't recall the measurements, but I'd say it's about 15" high), and roomy enough to hold all the necessities and more.

Aug. 25, 2009, 07:59 AM
I have a custom homebuilt (and VERY sturdy) 4 step mounting block. When I had Mac (who was pushing 18 hands) that thing was heaven, but now that I'm riding a shorter horse, it's still great, because I'm only 5'3. No straining, and the saddle stays right in place - I just step across and I'm on. the horses like it too, and I swear it saves me on chiropracter bills as I don't torque on their spine. I use it for dismounting as well.

That and training the horse to stand rock solid (I'm currently doing that for 3 schoolies, and it's a pain, but will be well worth it when I'm done! Oh, and I'm training the KIDS to train the schoolies to stand, btw).

Oh, and I can't live without my dressage whip with a rubber grip and a knob at the end. I drop anything else.

Aug. 25, 2009, 08:36 AM
3 step mounting block (and my guy is only 14.2..).

bow balance stirrups

one of heather moffetts seat savers (tho i'm going to try a wow saddle..up farther off the horse - bad....getting more leg on mr propane tank and not having to spread the hips - good).

neck strap (i can never remember to actually grab a bucking strap).

funky shoes and half chaps. was riding in z-coil work boots. now my hip won't tolerate them (post surgery)...will probably start back riding in low cut keen's and toe cages.

something STICKY on my butt!

does anybody feel that big honkin' knee blocks help stability? i have had a hip issue that's made me crooked for the last 40 years. just had the hip operated on, but it's probably never going to be 'normal'.

also - i have lost so much muscle mass that it's going to take about forever to rebuild it!

a horse with not extravagant but VEEEERRRYYY smooth gaits (altho the little sucker did dump me once....).

Aug. 25, 2009, 11:33 AM
Cheese grater stirrup pads. I have wriggly weakankles and have trouble pushing/keeping my heels down. Cheese graters really help me.

And ditto proper mounting blocks, full seats, bucking straps! And my wonderful trainer, who has made all the difference for both the horse and me.

Aug. 25, 2009, 11:47 AM
I use the same schooling bridle on all three horses.

It is easier to adjust the cheekpieces than to clean three bridles.

Aug. 25, 2009, 11:49 AM
I have been riding someone else's horse in an endurance-style biothane bridle that goes on over halter. It's just a headstall with a browband that clips to halter, and the reins have clip ends. This is great because you don't have that awkward moment when the horse is not tied, and you can unclip one side of the reins for a second if, say, you have to lead through a narrow space.

It may not look stylish, but it saves valuable time tacking up. The rubber reins on the biothane bridle are supple and not too thick.

And of course you can just scrub with soap and water and hose it off to clean.

I love nice leather but would rather spend the care time on the horse, not the tack... I am planning to get one of these biothane bridles for daily schooling of my own horse.

If you are riding in a public barn you may have to withstand ridicule or scorn - but I look at that as the resistance phase just before someone gives in to a new idea!

Aug. 25, 2009, 12:17 PM
I like heavy stirrup irons. Even better is the heavy irons that are offset, like this one: http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-0708&ids=486208430, or this one http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-07013&ids=486208430. The weight and the offset makes it much easier to pick up your stirrup once you lose it.

Aug. 25, 2009, 01:29 PM
Wonderful thread, Invite!

Um, yes on the mounting block :) Deeper saddle with more support and grippier leather. Grippy half chaps.

On the stirrups, I've been using composite stirrups, so I don't loose them when my heels come up, but lately my right foot has been getting numb so I'm going to have to try something else :(

Aug. 25, 2009, 02:40 PM
I use Equiwing wide track composite stirrup irons. The tread is very wide and has a little give to it. It also tilts down to help get your heels down. My foot does not go numb anymore. I know they are working because I had to ride in a normal fillis stirrup and was in pain after 20 minutes.

Aug. 25, 2009, 02:43 PM
Thanks, I was thinking about the Reflex stirrups, but really am coveting the expensive Royal Rider jointed composites.

Bad back people- composite stirrups take a couple of lbs off of the weight of your saddle and alter the center of gravity for lifting/carrying. I highly recommend them.

Aug. 25, 2009, 02:51 PM
I would love to have a pair of Flex Royal Riders! Way back when I was stirrup shopping I couldn't put that much money into a pair of stirrup irons without knowing that it would be worth it. So I got the Equiwings as a cheap alternative to see if it made a difference. Now when I get some extra cash I think the Royal Riders would be worth it. :yes:

Dressage Art
Aug. 25, 2009, 04:00 PM
What a fun thread! ( and I like fun :D ) I use:

mounting block
show tack trunk with wheels from Home Depot
Cheese grater stirrup pads.

+ items that didn’t get mentioned yet by others:

*** Fleck whips – very flexible and can be used with out affecting the stediness of your hands. http://www.smartpakequine.com/ProductClass.aspx?productclassid=4834&cm_mmc=Froogle-_-Shopping%20Feed-_-NA-_-14834

*** Jeffries Biothane reins – more soft than rubber reins but same grip. http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-03025&tid=froogle&CATALOG_CODE=1X814&EID=X1814001&zmam=1460880&zmas=1&zmac=49&zmap=X1-03025&bhcd2=1251226204

*** Women’s padded brief for biking (- no rubs): http://www.treefortbikes.com/195_333222339640__Women's-Padded-Brief.html

*** Body glide – for putting it on the skin where it rubs – preventing rubs! http://www.treefortbikes.com/301_333222351462__Skin-Formula-.45-oz.html

*** Liquid Glycerin Saddle Soap in spray bottle – spray your saddle/bridle and just whipe it off. No scrubing, no rubbing, no rincing, one step easy and very fast. http://www.drillspot.com/products/273698/fiebing_company_inc_lgss00p016z_liquid_glycerin_sa ddle_soap

*** Rubber Grooming Mitt with small pimples – takes a lot of loose hair and makes your horse shine like no other brush or tool! Amazing thing! http://www.legacytack.com/p/10620/Rubber%20Grooming%20Mitt.html

*** Extra large brow bands that do not push on horse’s ears.

*** European Balancing Side Reins for lunging http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-3087&ids=486227922

Aug. 25, 2009, 04:33 PM

no tears kid detangler so I can brush my boys' mane and braid it quickly

place to put my saddle (which I'm currently lacking and why I'm grateful my horse hobbles)

Um. a great whip- I love mine.

and I have deerskin driving gloves- they were cheaper than riding gloves and actually fit and I can use them for other things and not worry about tearing them to shreads. happy 15 dollar purchase! =)

Aug. 25, 2009, 06:06 PM
How in the world could I have forgotten my PINK 3 step mounting block?!?! I love it!!!!Sadly, I still need someone to put my foot in the stirrup...and sometimes push my tush ;) I'm getting more strength and the foot is "almost" there. I just need another 2 inches!

Aug. 25, 2009, 06:10 PM
Oh, grooming! My FURMINATOR! I never curry, the furminator removes the shedding hair and the dirt!

Aug. 25, 2009, 06:34 PM
Not an object, per se, but having my horse's mane roached has saved us a lot of time and aggravation! I will never go back (unless I get a horse with a really skinny, hideous neck, maybe). But having that extra half an hour of sleep instead of braiding is totally priceless.

Aug. 25, 2009, 07:18 PM
Those nifty lightweight Italian stirrup knockoffs with th built-in cheese-grater footpads. These stirrups have little shock absorbers in them and they really take the stress off the lower leg! Dover has the expensive ones, but I found mine locally for around $35. Good buy!

Aug. 27, 2009, 12:59 AM
I would love to have a pair of Flex Royal Riders! Way back when I was stirrup shopping I couldn't put that much money into a pair of stirrup irons without knowing that it would be worth it. So I got the Equiwings as a cheap alternative to see if it made a difference. Now when I get some extra cash I think the Royal Riders would be worth it. :yes:

JNEL, guess what they had at the tackstore when I went today, that's my new object of desire?


Waaayyyyy cheaper than the Royal Riders! THey were lovely! They were actually cheaper at the tack store, though :confused:

Aug. 27, 2009, 12:58 PM
GREAT thread!

1 - Ditto the MDC stirrups for the weight and the angle. Totally relieved the pain in my shredded knee, plus I can pick them up easily if I loose them. Plus, if I get bucked off, the weight of the stirrup allows my foot to slide out more easily than the light weight stirrups.

2 - Ditto the 3 step mounting block!

3 - Ditto the buckle bridles/reins vs. eye and hook for arthritic hands.

4 - Myler comfort snaffle for horse that tends to lean on the bit. This snaffle doesn't give them as much opportunity as others

5 - Ditto deep seated saddle with large knee rolls.

6 - 2 pairs of tall boots, both with zippers: 1 pair of stiff Koenigs, the other pair tall Mountain Horse for days when my calves are puffy :uhoh:

7 - Stock ties that are already pre-tied for arthritic hands

Aug. 27, 2009, 01:12 PM
The Oster hoofpicks with the fat handles. Way easier on the hands! Brushes sized for women (or even kids)...easier to hold, especially if they have a rubberish coating.

Charcoal hot packs for cold weather are no longer considered a luxury, even if only needed for an hour (seemed wasteful when the things were to last for 7 hours). I have granted myself permission to consider them a necessity!

Various long handled brushes to keep my hands out of water as much as I can (buckets, a dish brush for the tack room sink for scrubbing galloping boots and such).

Great thread!

Aug. 27, 2009, 03:09 PM
Ambry, thanks for the link! They look like what I've been looking for.

Aug. 27, 2009, 08:32 PM
I have the Herm Sprenger stirrups with the offset eye, as they were MUCH cheaper then the MDCs and are set at the setting I would have used for the MDCs.

I bought the HS system 4 "flexi"stirrups when I was in my most recent H/J period. I liked them with short stirrups and for my dressage riding. With my neuropathy (basically no feeling in my feet) I find the stirrups too "active" for me. I need the stability and sturdiness of good ole regular stirrups.

Dressage Art
Aug. 27, 2009, 10:13 PM
http://www.painreliever.com/bionicglove_bioequwom.html?source=froogle_pr_bioeq uwom
How could I forget the Bionic gloves for arthritic hands!!!!! they are my riding life savers!

Also Cool Medics Vests for hot dry days: http://www.coolmedics.com/categories.php?category=Riding-Wear

Aug. 27, 2009, 11:23 PM
I love the Equilibrium Stretch & Flex Flatwork Wraps. It's way too hot here for fleece-lined boots like the DSBs. These are light, they breathe, and are quick to Velcro on. I have black ones for everyday, and white ones for clinics.

I also love my Suncast Deck Box with Seat ( http://www.suncast.com/productdisplay.aspx?id=238&pid=139 ). I leave it by the rail in my arena next to my 3-step mounting block and whip rack, and I store my helmet, gloves, longe line, side reins and a boom box in it (in case I want to ride to music). That way I don't have to cart all that stuff back and forth from the barn, and if a horse gets squirrely in a ride, my longeing stuff is right there. It is built to be outside, so it doesn't crack in the sun and it keeps the rain off my stuff. (I tried using Rubbermaid Totes, but they kept cracking after awhile and water would get in.)