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  1. #1
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    Sep. 30, 2011
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    Default Brown tack for hunters/jumping, Black tack for dressage...why?

    I've been curious for a while now as to why jumping saddles/tack are usually brown and why the majority of dressage saddles are black.

    I know there are exceptions (I own a very lovely brown dressage saddle), but was wondering if this difference has a long history or is more modern in origin.

    Thanks to any and all who can shed light on this mysterious topic



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default

    I think it's pretty much just fashion. Brown tack was very popular in dressage for awhile, which is why you see so many older dressage saddles that are brown. I'll be interested to see what more knowledgeable COTHers have to say, though.

    I've also wondered about padded bridles in dressage. The ones that just have padding behind the browband and front of the cavesson never made much sense to me.



  3. #3
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    May. 21, 2011
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    Default

    The more I look the more I like black for all english tack, regardless of use.



  4. #4
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    Oct. 11, 2007
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    Default

    Trends and fashions.

    I am probably about to purchase a brown dressage saddle for my palomino mare. It looks unbelievably fabulous on her. I use a cream saddle pad and dark cream breeches for show, and will be looking for a dark brown show coat. It's all silly vanity, but that's fine (Her mane and tail are not white, even when squeaky clean, but a mixture of cream, gold, and black hairs.)
    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

    Proudly owned by Mythic Feronia, 1998 Morgan mare; G-dspeed Trump & Minnie; welcome 2014 Morgan filly MtnTop FlyWithMeJosephine



  5. #5
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    Mar. 20, 2007
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    534

    Default

    also brown reins for ladies driving but black for gentlemen..
    "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

    It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 1999
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    Default

    it is about trend and fashion

    black dressage tack came in to fashion in the mid-80s.

    It is no different than any other trend and fashion

    standing martingales on hunters

    top hats for below "FEI" dressage

    color matching everything and barn colors

    anything but a black coat in hunters

    dressage riders will now scramble for new coats in colors that are approved on the saturation and intensity scale written by the FEI.

    and oh how the tack stores will love that

    and next year, something NEW ( kazam) for the hunters to glom onto, (or the judges will hate them)

    and so it goes

    you decide if your are confident enough in knowing what is important ( well fitting suitable tack) or what is on trend
    _\\\\]
    -- * > hoopoe

    www.meanderingwa.blogspot.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 1999
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    Concord, California, USA
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    Default

    *shrug* All my dressage tack is....brown. I have had black in the past. But despite the fact that my horse is quite a lovely mover, I guess I can't be a true DQ, 'cause my current beastie (and the three before him) is/were....Appies! (Guess I just buck the trend, whether it's tack color or horse color! ROFLOL)

    I don't, however, see myself growing (glueing on?) a baroque/Rollie Fingers mustache and getting a Knabstrupper like that fellow there was the thread on recently, though I do have his video (because the cover had a spotted horse on it.....).



  8. #8
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    Oct. 31, 2001
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    West of insanity, east of apathy, deep in the heart of Texas.
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    Default

    The hunter folk will tell you that only brown tack is appropriate, because of tradition. This, as they sit astride (should be sidesaddle for ladies), in their light colored coats with neon linings, GPA helmets and puke green Tailored Sportsman breeches.

    Um, yeah.

    I don't think black tack for dressage enthusiasts came into vogue until about 25 years ago. Prior to that, everything was brown.
    In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
    A life lived by example, done too soon.
    www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/



  9. #9
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Michigan
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ESG View Post
    The hunter folk will tell you that only brown tack is appropriate, because of tradition. This, as they sit astride (should be sidesaddle for ladies), in their light colored coats with neon linings, GPA helmets and puke green Tailored Sportsman breeches.

    Um, yeah. .
    ROFL, you forgot the Very Traditional thigh blocks, knee rolls, and padded seats.

    Probably someone figured out how to efficiently dye leather black and figured since dressage pads are bigger and usually white, they'd be easier to convince to go for a black saddle...

    That, or the dye IS crap and the people who started the black-saddle trend also sell white dressage breeches or Chlorox...



  10. #10
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    Mar. 6, 2006
    Location
    Canada
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    507

    Default

    I love brown dressage tack, however it's hard to find off the rack and even harder to sell!



  11. #11
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    Sep. 27, 2000
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    Default

    The Evil Chem Prof


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
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    Jan. 27, 2007
    Location
    Australia
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    53

    Default

    In Australia you see plenty of both colours in all disciplines - most people here pick which ever looks nicest on the horse - IMO black looks too harsh on chestnuts and palomino's but can look great on greys and bays etc.



  13. #13
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    May. 25, 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    Default Brown is the new black, which was the new brown.

    [QUOTE=hoopoe;5921814]it is about trend and fashion


    This.

    In the late 1970s dressage tack - most tack, really - was brown. There was dark brown and red-brown and sometimes a lighter brown (Western had dark-oil and light-oil finishes). Black came along, was a fad at first, then became a fashion (it said "I have money and can purchase the latest thing!") and eventually there came to be a large number of dressagistas and fashionistas buying black saddles, which was a great boon for the tack portion of the horse industry. After all, if you've always had brown tack and now you have a black saddle, you need, at least, a black girth, black stirrup leathers, and a black bridle with black reins.

    Now that black has been fashionable for a long time, and the industry is in a bit of a slump, we're beginning to see "new, they're the latest thing," BROWN saddles and strap goods, but with vastly higher price points, forty years on...

    I think the moral of this story is "Never sell any tack, ever, because (a) the very next horse you own or take for training is going to need exactly that specific, expensive item that you will now have to replace... and (b) if you're patient, everything is going to come around again (bell-bottom jeans are back! Check the latest fashion magazines). Right now, and probably for many years to come, your long-ago-fashionable, then-for-many-years-unfashionable, brown tack is now, hurrah, fashionable again. Author message: Keeping trunks full of old tack is practical! You can dig through those trunks and become instantly fashionable without spending a dime.

    On a similar subject, the 1970s and early 80s also featured a lot of coats with velvet collars and velvet flaps on the pockets, replacing the "boring, old-fashioned" plain coats." In the last several years, the velvet trim has been brought back and appears to be trendy once again, so check those trunks, people! Even if you know you got rid of all of your brown tack and/or jackets with velvet trim, check those trunks... I just re-discovered three good buckets for barn use and a perfectly good black-with-gold-trim cooler, perfect for after-bath use. I'd completely forgotten about them.

    Personal rant: It would be so nice if even riders who do a lot of showing could just use whatever fits their horses (or themselves) well and looks good on them, regardless of whether the colour is currently trendy. Some horses look fabulous in one or another shade of brown; others look gorgeous in black... and just to digress once again, have you noticed that being matchy-matchy isn't all that easy? It's just as challenging to match blacks as to match browns, if you're buying from different manufacturers, or even different dye lots from the same manufacturers.
    Home page: www.jessicajahiel.com
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  14. #14
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    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Welcome, Jessica.

    I'm right with you there on Use What Makes You Happy. The judges really don't care that much about fashion. They do care about neat, tidy, well-fitting, and functional. If you lay down a great performance, everyone will be looking to copy YOU.

    I've shown dressage in a black bridle and brown saddle, and in all brown tack; I've also shown hunters in a black bridle with a brown saddle (back in the '80s when the black was so hot). No one has ever said a word to me about it at any time.

    Today you can hardly buy a dressage snaffle bridle without a flash noseband. But before the flash, the drop nosebands were the fashion.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  15. #15
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    Mar. 27, 2011
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    Default

    For the sake of tradition can we please tell all who feel it is necessary to encrust themselves and their horses in rhine stones (sorry,Swarovsky) that they will be eliminated from competition if they have more than one blinged out item on at a time?

    I am not against a nice browband that compliments your horse, but jeez! The craze passed ridiculous when saddles found themselves at the mercy of bedazler-weilding humans.
    And this is the story of your red right ankle.



  16. #16
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    Jan. 12, 2000
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    Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
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    Default

    To answer the OP's question in the subject line...because. There is no reason other than someone popular used it and everyone else jumped on board thinking it would make them "fit in" or instantly become a better rider.

    No reasons. I still love and own some brown tack, but it happens black looks better on my current horse so that's what we're using right now.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  17. #17
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    May. 25, 2005
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    Illinois
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    Default Flash nosebands, meh!

    Quote Originally Posted by poltroon View Post
    Welcome, Jessica.

    I'm right with you there on Use What Makes You Happy. The judges really don't care that much about fashion. They do care about neat, tidy, well-fitting, and functional. If you lay down a great performance, everyone will be looking to copy YOU.
    ***
    Today you can hardly buy a dressage snaffle bridle without a flash noseband. But before the flash, the drop nosebands were the fashion.
    Thanks for the welcome - and you are so right on both counts! And - fair warning - you've just poked one of my major hot buttons!

    Drop nosebands do sometimes have a purpose, especially if a young horse is involved. Flashes, meh, not so much. The first flash noseband was created specifically for a jumper called "Flash" (makes sense, yes?) and for one specific purpose: The horse was ridden in a drop but the rider also wanted to use a standing martingale, which doesn't work well at all with a drop noseband... so some clever-clogs came up with a noseband that combined the normal noseband as a suitable anchor point for the standing martingale with the drop to keep the horse's mouth closed.

    Ordinary, "regular" and French cavessons are still available from any/every manufacturer of strap goods. All that's necessary is for the purchaser of the bridle to announce "I want this with a regular cavesson, no flash" at the time of ordering. (By the way, if your horse has a head that requires an oversized browband, full size cheekpieces, a cob size cavesson, and extra-long reins, you can also specify all of those things when you order a new bridle, although you'll probably have to pay a little more for the extra-long reins.

    Flash nosebands may come with many bridles, but they don't have to stay with the bridles... For almost all bridles that "came with a flash" or were purchased used, from someone who liked a flash, there's a very simple "fix" involving a steady hand, an Exacto knife, and about five seconds of your time. That little loop that holds the flash attachment can be cut off - it looks much tidier than having it sit there being a useless empty loop.

    As for the flash attachment itself, it's usually a nice little strap. Don't throw it away, attach it to your saddle! I get this "I have to use the flash on my bridle, it came with my bridle, what else can I do with it?" question quite often at clinics, and my answer is always the same: USE it! It takes no time to remove most flash attachments, very little time to surgically remove the annoying little loop, and if you look at it the right way, every bridle with a flash attachment actually comes with a free grab/SOS strap!

    I want my horses, and my students' horses, to be free to open their mouths - it's often the only way they can express their discomfort. If they have a complaint about their teeth, their bits, our hands, etc., we need to be able to hear it (well, okay, see it and feel it) and then do something to get rid of the problem, not just cover up the symptom. To me, using a flash to tie a horse's mouth shut is like using duct tape to close the mouth of a crying baby - yes, you do get rid of that annoying open mouth, but it's an unkind thing to do and doesn't acknowledge, much less address, the underlying issue.

    Ack. Okay, rant over. I did say it was a hot button.
    Home page: www.jessicajahiel.com
    Horse-Sense newsletter: www.horse-sense.org



  18. #18
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Young Equestrian View Post
    For the sake of tradition can we please tell all who feel it is necessary to encrust themselves and their horses in rhine stones (sorry,Swarovsky) that they will be eliminated from competition if they have more than one blinged out item on at a time?

    I am not against a nice browband that compliments your horse, but jeez! The craze passed ridiculous when saddles found themselves at the mercy of bedazler-weilding humans.
    But if I don't blind the judges with my bling they might actually be able to see my ride.



  19. #19
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    Oct. 2, 1999
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    Default

    I rather dislike flash nosebands myself. You can't use the drop portion neatly without overtightening the top cavesson. The bottom strap always gets crusty and nasty and takes special care to prevent rubs. It's an engineering nightmare unless you needed it for that standing martingale. I can't say that I've ever had a horse go better in one.

    I don't know why catalogs don't sell the plain cavessons in dressage style bridles more prominently.

    If you need control of the top and bottom jaw, a figure-8 would be better. But those are also out of fashion. (I don't think I've ever even seen one for sale in black. )

    I am interested to see the Micklem gain some traction. It seems to have some of the advantages of supporting the bit like a drop noseband without being so restrictive in keeping the mouth closed. I can see why some horses would like it.

    Jessica, do you use two flash straps together for a grab strap? I need to put one together for my daughter, and I was thinking it was time to stop embarrassing her with my baling twine solution, but I hate buying a special purpose one. It seems to be fashionable for every dressage saddle to now have the fancy rolled leather ones... but I resist.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  20. #20
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    Sep. 30, 2011
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    426

    Default Thanks everyone!

    Thanks for the thoughts everyone.

    I had assumed the answer would probably be "because it is trendy", but as a younger rider, I wasn't showing at the time when brown tack was the norm in dressage.

    I myself am a whatever suits the horse and myself best sort of person when it comes to tack selection.

    Lostboy, I am curious between the difference in rein colors for gentleman and lady drivers? What is the tradition behind that?



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