View Full Version : For those of you eventing the 14.3 - 15.2 horse

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:04 AM
Do you have a problem finding tack that really fits your horse? For myself, I could buy an off the rack cob bridle, but finding reins (esp web reins for xc) that were the correct length so my foot can't get caught in the xtra, was a problem. Had a saddler custom make them (and I never realized all freaking cob bridles that come with reins, the reins are horse length. WTF?).

Breast collars don't fit well, as well as a lot of martingales. We are looking at manufacturing tack for this market, and I want to know if everyone else out there has the same problems I do. The custom reins I had made were 2x what the bridle cost!

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:10 AM
I totally have the rein problem. Bridles are usually OK in cob size, but finding breastplates that fit properly is a big pain in the neck. In addition, I would love to be able to find cutaway saddle pads for less than the Mattes as I think they look better on the small short-backed horse. I also find that it would help to be able to mix pieces. I have had several that are cob length, pony nose and horse browband and that can also get expensive. Quality girths in smaller sizes are also very pricey and not that easy to find. Most of my horses are right around 15.2 - 15.3 with varying builds.

Auto Be A Storm
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:11 AM
I have a TB that is 15.1, and tack is a little tricky/ He has a shark fin wither and broad shoulders with a narrow back, so the saddle has be be custom. The bride I have found Ovation horse size bridles fit him well, but he has a skinny head so I usually have to add holes to get the nose or flash to fit!

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:13 AM
15.2 hander responding! Cob bridle with oversize brow band, horse figure eight, and horse reins preferably not big horse reins. Seriously need a place where you can buy the bridle you really need for a really good price. Hard to find one right of the rack that fits perfect for the in between pony. Breast collars are another story. Cob size can sometimes be too small for the big cob but horse is far too big. So have to find a big cob and make it work.

Bridles have been by far the most interesting. Need the cob cheeks but horse everything else. My other pony needs cob everything but pony nose band. Silly ponies!!!

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:21 AM
I see that Nunn Finer lets you piece bridles together, but wow, the bridle ends up pretty pricey when you are all done!

I also have a saddle pad issue, especially for dressage....to be long enough for depth, they end up on her butt! So need shorter length, with the depth. Sigh. I won't even go into how blankets fit her!

Desert Topaz
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:37 AM
My pony is a bit smaller (14.1) but she has the same issues. She's got a cob/horse sized head and I've been looking at bridles at Just Bridles (http://www.justbridles.com/) because you can mix sizes to your heart's content. As for breastplate I got an adjustable Tory Leather one and punched holes in it. I got the horse size, because I was able to try it on the pony at the time and could see that it fit, but in retrospect I should have ordered a cob, even though horse size (shrunk down) fits fine. The running attachment is long for her, so I'll find someone local to fix that.

My current sadness is that ThinLine reins don't come shorter than 54". I'm thinking I'll get them shortened, but it feels so wrong when I spent so much on them.

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:41 AM
Nunn Finer cob bridles are TINY. Like, ridiculously so. Ralph, my first itty bitty (15.2) worn cob sized EVERYTHING and it all fit him well...until I decided he needed an upgrade to a figure eight and bought him a cob size NF nose band. Not even frickin' CLOSE. When shopping last year for our pony, I was talked out of a cob size NF bridle for him by an NF dealer because they are just SO small.

I haven't had the rein issue- Ralph's cob size bridle came with cob size reins and they have been a very good length on everything little I've used them on. I used them on the pony while I was riding him (pony is 14.1 with a short little pony neck), but got his kid pony length reins (rubber pony length reins? Hard to get) because the combo of "long" reins and short rider caused a foot in the loop of the reins.

The two things I have the biggest issue with on our smaller horses are saddle pads that overwhelm a short coupled horse (always seems like they are getting eaten alive by oversized pads) and rugs with deep drops on them- most 69-75in rugs seem to have drops appropriate for a 17h horse, making them come to the knees of the shorter horses, they end up looking like they are playing dress up.

I don't have much issue with breastplates (Vernon is a cob size head but a horse size breastplate), boots can be a little tricky if you want real xc boots, but bridles are mostly ok with me. I do think having the option of easy to switch out parts is a good idea. And BRIDLE MEASUREMENTS. While I was shopping for the pony, I went to great lengths to measure him, but could not find ANYTHING on any of the sites I went to (FWIW, Five Star did put measurements up. Kudos, Five Star). And an easy to understand how to guide on measuring would be a big plus, too.

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:41 AM
I have a 15.3h TB, but he's on the skinny side. Had to have my saddle tree narrowed. Some full size bridles are too big. It really depends on the brand. He has the Smart Pak Wellfleet flash bridle in a cob size, and that fits perfectly. He also has a Five Star flash bridle that is cob with full size browband. he really needs a full size browband. My Nunn Finer figure eight in horse size fits him, the cob noseband was ridiculous and pony sized! My horse sized breastplate is little big, but it works. I had Five Star custom make him a breastplate which cost no extra and fits just right (even the cob was too big). It's been a little hit or miss for us b/c every brand is so different.

As for reins, pcwertb, why would you have them custom made? It is much cheaper to just get horse reins and have them shortened. I love the Nunn Finer soft grip reins. For XC they will be fine b/c I have room to put the buckle end in a knot. For flatting though, since they were too long, I took them to my local tack store and for $25 they cut 3" of leather off of the buckle ends, so now they are just right.

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:42 AM
as for the reins, I use nunn finer pony reins :) They run longer than most reins so the length ended up being perfect!

I know what you mean about bridles though. My horse has a horse sizes head but I end up having to punch tons of holes in the noseband and flash :(

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:44 AM
My horse was just under 15.2hh when I bought him; thankfully he grew up to be 15.3hh with a short neck, so the only place he wears a cob size now is the running attachment on the breastplate. So I feel your pain, but not anymore. ;)

I see that Nunn Finer lets you piece bridles together, but wow, the bridle ends up pretty pricey when you are all done!

Bartville Harness Shop is NF's supplier for that custom bridle, and you can order piece by piece from Bartville for about 40% less than the NF price. Search COTH Forums for Bartville Harness Shop and read all about it.

There's also http://www.justbridles.com, which will let you mix and match any of their bridle pieces to make a custom fit.

Regarding reins: put a knot in them at the end. It eats up the excess, and it makes it easier to recover your reins after a mistake in XC/stadium.

Regarding the cost of custom work, it pays to shop around. Bartville will customize from their catalog for 15% above their retail rate. So for custom-length rubber reins, that would be about $80 + shipping.

I also have a saddle pad issue, especially for dressage....to be long enough for depth, they end up on her butt! So need shorter length, with the depth. Sigh. I won't even go into how blankets fit her!

You could use a fitted dressage pad instead of a square one. My friend rides a 15.1hh horse and gets along nicely with this Jack's version--notice it's 2 inches shorter in the topline than their square fitted pad, but it's just as deep/long as the square fitted pad:

They also make a fitted version of their GP and jumping pads.

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:45 AM
We have Haflingers, an Appy, and an Arab/Percheron cross. Not a single one of them is wearing an off the rack bridle. Browbands are NEVER long enough in the bridle size that fits without pinching their ears and cheek pieces are usually too long...

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:50 AM
You could use a fitted dressage pad instead of a square one.
I did this for Ralph. He looked spiffy. Vernon went that way some, too, but because of his skin (the fitted pad was sheepskin). It IS a classy, clean look and nice on a little horse. I also like the just a half pad look (also done a lot on Vernon because of his skin).

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:51 AM
I have a 15.1 gelding and he's horse sized everything. Generally, he goes in medium sized boots all around (but pony polos in front LOL) regular horse sized pads (try the Dover a/p ones, they tend to run small. I don't know what to tell you about dressage pads though, I have the same issues...), horse-sized bridles (although he has a GINORMOUS head), and a horse breastplate with holes punched in it is annoying but works just fine. He's a 72 in blankets and his medium- and heavy-weights fit him fine but his sheet is all over the place. It's not too big or small, it's just the fit...

Good luck!

Mar. 30, 2011, 12:04 PM
A little bit... breastplates not so much (but that is bc i ride a big chested QH)... reins are definitely on the long side.. and he is generally right in between cob and full size (varies depending on the individual bridle...) ex: he has gone in a cob sz. stubben flash, but his new bridle from five star tack is a full...

I have the most trouble w/ xc boots... I went with woof boots S front M hind... And that seems to work, although I would like some of the vented boots at some point I will be limited in which ones I can buy based on who makes S (I believe EcoGold and Premier both do..)

Mar. 30, 2011, 12:12 PM
I have a petite 14.2 TBx. While I have trouble with bridles (need the cob length and the pony circumference), girths, saddle pads, and bits, another bummer is show prizes! I was all happy to have a pretty embroidered dress sheet for my pony when he won his novice division at UNH. I walked over to the prize booth and asked what was the smallest size they had available. It was an 80". The look on my face must have said it all and the girl offered, "Well, it will fit over your saddle!" I replied, "He wears a 66..." :no: Poor pony can't even wear his own prize!

Mar. 30, 2011, 12:19 PM
I went with custom reins because otherwise the rein had too much on the leather side and the webbing started a bit late. And I still tie a knot in them..they are 44 or 46" in length, I believe.

All my blankets/sheets in 66- 72 have a ridiculous drop to them as well.

Mar. 30, 2011, 12:40 PM
Second everyone else's recommendations re bridles etc. Also, find out what leatherworker in your area does horse tack; if you find something off the rack that's a bit too big, it's fairly easy and inexpensive to get leather strap goods shortened.

For blankets -- check out Schneiders. Their "Euro" line is cut for the big WBs and has a deep drop, but most of their other blankets don't. Pricing is great for the quality. Sizing is true, maybe a tiny bit small (e.g. my mare takes a 72 in Rambo, which runs big, and a 74 or 76 in Schneiders.) If you do order from them, be 100% sure that if you are returning a blanket, it does not have one stain or horse hair on it! I put a sheet over my mare when trying them out and that did the trick.

Wee Dee Trrr
Mar. 30, 2011, 12:55 PM
I second Bartville Harness Shop for bridles as well as breastplates. They are lovely and sturdy (although not fancy). You can write them and have them send you a catalog, which I believe lists all the pieces of the bridles in inches. (bridles do tend to run small. A horse size works well for most cob-faced dudes, and cob works for ponies.)

I usually like cob or pony reins to avoid the foot snag. Also, when I'm too poor and don't have short reins I knot the end for XC. That's worked well for me in the past.

Pretty much everything else I use is standard issue. I do have a student with a 13.1 pony that we had a bit of trouble finding xc boots for. He's just so small vertically and wide around!! She ended up getting Davis Boots in small, they aren't perfect but they are suitable for now.

Mar. 30, 2011, 01:01 PM
Take a look at justbridles.com and Bartville Harness

Mar. 30, 2011, 01:26 PM
My girl is 14.2 on her tippy toes. She's a Arab, so has a fine horse build rather than a pony build, so I am fortunate there, at least. :yes:

She wears a horse-size browband with cob-size everything else - usually. Sometimes the throatlatch on a cob size is too short, though. I haven't had an issue with reins yet, but maybe that's because she does have a decent neck. I do SO wish places would just list measurements on bridles. I hate having to play the round-and-round game with sending them back and trying different ones over and over. Measurements don't fix the problem completely - I've still gotten the wrong size at tack shops when I measured them myself - but it does at least give me a place to start.

She takes a 4 1/2 inch bit (as did my 15.2 h retiree), and sometimes I think I'm the only person on the planet who bothers to make sure my bit FITS; I'm always getting, "Well, most people just use a 5"" at tack shops when I ask if they have x bit in a 4 1/2. :mad:

Halters don't fit her - if it fits her face, I have to strangle her with the throatlatch (even the ones meant for Arabs). Her halters are all too big in the noseband/length - not dangerously so, but just annoying. Her show halter when she was younger and doing such things had to be custom-made.

And let's not even discuss blankets. Even when I can find one that LOOKS like it fits, it still rubs. I hate it when people say, "Well, if it rubs, you should get a new blanket that fits." :rolleyes: Yeah, well, I would if I could. Until then, I've got stock in shoulder guards.

Boots are just all over the place. I have (in different brands) smalls and mediums that fit her in front, and smalls, mediums, and larges that fit her in back. :confused: When it comes time to get real xc boots, I want Ecogolds, but I am not sure if they will be small enough.

Saddle-wise our only issue is that I have to be careful how the seat/panels are shaped, or it sits too far back on her (since while she is pony-sized, I am a normal-sized adult!). So far that hasn't been a huge deal, because she fits into a normal tree, so I have plenty of options. I don't have a dressage saddle for her yet (we're still doing the little stuff), but for my AP saddle we use the Dover AP pads someone else mentioned - they're perfect. (And cheap! ;))

I didn't have nearly so many problems with my 15.2 h TB. We did have the bit issue, and I had to buy sort of mid-range bridles (horse size) for him - both the cheap ones and the expensive ones were just sized wrong for him. Cob would be too small and horse too big. He was AWFUL to fit a saddle to, but that was the TB withers, not the height! Otherwise, he wore average sizes in pretty much everything.

Mar. 30, 2011, 01:39 PM
I have a 15 hand (15.1 if he stands up very straight and tall) mustang, and have some similar problems. Reins are generally on the long side, and all boots have to be small and medium. His head is HUGE and he generally wears horse-sized all around in bridles, but his figure-8 has many many extra holes punched in it.

He has a cob-sized surcingle, a 22" dressage girth, and I'm shopping now for a cob-sized breastplate. I'm in love with the Nunn Finer hunting breastplate (http://www.bitofbritain.com/Nunn_Finer_Hunting_Breastplate_p/0060.htm) but am not clear on how the cob size fits...anyone have feedback? I'm getting just a little bit of saddle slippage and I'd like to have the option to add a breastplate if we start to have problems cross-country!

Mtn trails
Mar. 30, 2011, 01:46 PM
My 14.2 mustang has a ginormous head, so most horse size bridles fit well enough but had to make tons of adjustments. I have found the reins to be way too long because combined with the big head, she's got almost no neck Her head is so big, it's bigger than my 15.2 hand qh/foxtrotter cross.:D

Hey Kerliin, one big headed mustang owner to another. I have the horse size NF hunteing breastplate and it fits my girl just fine and didn't have to punch any extra holes.

Mar. 30, 2011, 02:05 PM
Keebs is 15.2 with his wedge shoes on :D and is probably who scubed is referring to with the "cob size headstall, horse size browband" comment. :lol:

My breastplate fits him well, but finding a dressage girth that works for him and the monoflap dressage saddle is a little tough--he literally could use an 18" dressage girth, and those are hard to find. A 20" barely fits. :lol:

The one thing I do wish someone would make is cob-sized saddle pads!

Mar. 30, 2011, 02:46 PM
For boots, if you can find something suitable, the Western brands seem to fit better. They tend to be geared toward a smaller horse with finer bone and shorter cannon bones. The small & med "English" boots usually are too tall for our Haffies & our Appy.

Mar. 30, 2011, 03:21 PM
I'm in love with the Nunn Finer hunting breastplate (http://www.bitofbritain.com/Nunn_Finer_Hunting_Breastplate_p/0060.htm) but am not clear on how the cob size fits...anyone have feedback?

Nunn Finer has a lovely, comprehensive Excel spreadsheet of measurements. Unfortunately, said spreadsheet is buried deep in their web site where many people would never find it:

PS--Bartville makes that breastplate too. ;) Although there's a vendor online who's closing it out at around $85 shipped, which I assume is the wholesale vendor's price because it's even lower than the price in the Bartville catalog:

Deltawave, I'm sure you know this, but justforponies.com sells some very reasonably priced dressage girths that are as small as 14"!

Mar. 30, 2011, 03:25 PM
Hadn't thought of looking there,thanks! Wouldn't THAT deflate his ego a bit! :lol: "Pony girth!" :D

Fancy That
Mar. 30, 2011, 04:48 PM
I have a Morgan who's 15.3 on her tip toes but with a refined head. She takes a COB bridle with FULL or OVERSIZE browband.

JustBridles.com is a godsend :) They found an oversized KL Select browband for me, because I bought a cob -size which of course, had a too-small-browband!

She takes "normal reins", so I don't have that problem.

I really love the idea of saddle pads for the cob/Morgan/Arab. They tend to be short-coupled and look like they drown in full-size pads. It makes an already-small-horse look even more diminutive!

I agree - I love the shaped pads. This is what I use, a shaped Engel Sheepskin pad and love it:

Mar. 30, 2011, 06:56 PM
Keebs is 15.2 with his wedge shoes on :D and is probably who scubed is referring to with the "cob size headstall, horse size browband" comment. :lol:

My breastplate fits him well, but finding a dressage girth that works for him and the monoflap dressage saddle is a little tough--he literally could use an 18" dressage girth, and those are hard to find. A 20" barely fits. :lol:

The one thing I do wish someone would make is cob-sized saddle pads!

I have a brown 18" short girth that I got from ebay uk. I believe you can get black too. They are synthetic, easy to clean, don't rub, and even with shipping still run about $45. made by Thorowgood I think. Cob sized saddle pads would be great! I try to stick with certain brands for saddle pads that are on the smaller side, and/or will shrink a bit in the dryer. The Dover ones usually fit well. I have a couple Lami-cell pads that are perfectly sized when put in the dryer. Some Roma pads tend to be too long. My Barnsby grip jump pads are also perfectly sized.

Mar. 30, 2011, 08:33 PM
Thanks everyone!

Mar. 30, 2011, 09:54 PM
Even though my Tb mare is 16.1 (with a big ole heartgirth) I still have problems with finding boots that fit her well. Seems like the "average" horse size boot can be too wide around (but I need the height of the "regular" size boot). The boots that come in a small are then too short.

My young horse is sporting a total mix of cob / horse wear. She is 16 hands, but is petite. She has a little head, so a cob bridle works (but like others here, I had to get a slightly bigger browband). She also has pencil thin but long-ish legs that again require a "tall" but narrow size boot. She wears a regular size breastplate and a 76 blanket. Dressage saddles can also be huge for small horses. My dressage saddle has short flaps and a fairly short seat--it is actually marketed as a "youth" saddle (Stubben Juventus). It looks very proportionate on my shorter coupled horse. Very comfortable for me too.

I use generously sized all purpose saddle pads instead of dressage saddle pads for dressage. Those don't look ridiculously large on either of my horses. I have been eyeballing those plain (no fleece) mattes pads with the "Euro" cut for a show pad. I think that style pad would look very nice on a small horse. I just have to wrap my head around the price for them (~$70)!

Mar. 30, 2011, 10:38 PM
I have a Bobby's cob bridle for my little ISH mare (I think a smidge under 15.2); the noseband around her nose is on the shortest hole, and the strap over her poll buckles almost to the top--same with the cheek pieces, but the browband is just a little too small. It works, but I would like to find something that fits better. I think a pony bridle may be too small (definitely the browband).

The dover square saddle pads are small enough to fit well and not be overwhelming.

I use Woof boots for XC, which work well: small in front; med behind.

My shipping boots (I have three sets!) are way too big for her; I've been researching cob-size shipping boots, and found some Weatherbeetas that might fit the bill (about $70). Anyone use these or have suggestions for others that are smaller than the horse size and won't break the bank (i.e., not over about $125)?

Mar. 30, 2011, 10:47 PM
jn4jenny - thank you, thank you for that link! I will use it to measure asap!

I have tried horse sized breastplates and surcingles on him before with no luck - he's just too small. He hasn't got nearly enough chest.

His head, though, belongs on a 17 hand draft cross...

I am feeling lucky after reading this thread though that he's a touch long-backed and can wear a horse-sized saddle pad with no problems at all!

Desert Topaz
Mar. 30, 2011, 10:50 PM
The small Ecogold XC boots fit my 14.1 pony, though if they were any bigger they wouldn't fit.

Mar. 30, 2011, 10:54 PM
I'm OK for tack (pony reins are fine) but don't have good galloping boots - pony is too small and horse is too big.
Saddle pads - Mattes makes square pads that aren't actually square - they're partially shaped. I don't know what they're called but they're great on small horses. Ask World Equestrian Brands.

Mar. 30, 2011, 11:22 PM
My horse is 15.1, but I am lucky that he is a stocky QH! Horse stuff for the most part fits him well, hes just so short because he has short legs, as in he can almost wear pony sized boots. He takes a 78" (rambo) blanket, 48"/50" girth....ok so he might be fat :lol: But yes horse reins are sometimes a little long on him and if I was going XC I would likely want something a little shorter. Bridles fit fine for the most part, but aside from the throat latch (remember QH jaws) and browband everything else is close to the top so on his nice bridle I did have things cut down.

I will say I had a morgan/arab/welsh 13.2hh pony at one point and it was a challenge to get things that fit him and we often were piecing together bridles to make things fit!