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Discuss: Your favorite *cheap* tack. What exceeded your expectations?

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    Discuss: Your favorite *cheap* tack. What exceeded your expectations?

    Lets face it. There are the COTH snobs who go around tooting their horn about their latest $5,000 saddle, or their $599 bridle. Truth be told, there are probably more people who CANT afford expensive tack than can. Most don't speak up, because they don't want to be labeled as "that person" or be bashed because their horses' well-being isn't of 'interest' to them if they don't own a $8,000 custom saddle.

    Let's talk about cheap tack that you've purchased/acquired that exceeded your expectations and why. I'm not loaded. I buy low-middle of the road tack, and upgrade as my bank account allows. I was just getting ready to upgrade my pony's bridle, but I'm thankful I didn't because I ended up trading her for a horse which needs *horse* sized stuff. Now I'm re-shopping for him, and that's where the idea popped into my head. I'll start.

    My pony came with a brand new bridle still in the bag. I knew it wasn't the most expensive bridle in the world (I want to say that the owner got it from dover maybe? and said it was something like $35). It's a no name leather bridle. No stitching, nothing fancy. See it HERE. The bridle was soaked in neatsfoot oil for several hours and then conditioned. I then used it. And used it. And used it. It went 10 months between cleanings/oilings and it was the most buttery soft bridle that I've ever had. I gave it with the mare when I sold. Honestly, the one I acquired with my new guy is SO brittle. It DOES have some stitching, and chances are it's a more expensive bridle than the one my mare went with, but I miss HERS!

    Another example, is the foam half pad. The one that either has shims in the back to raise the cantle, or shims built in the front to raise the pommel. My pony was going through some body changes, and has an extremely wide shoulder for her otherwise dainty narrow frame. This was a $30 investment and it has been the best thing to perfect the fit of my saddle while the hollows behind her withers filled in.

    $35 woof wear all purpose brush boots were my go-to's for leg protection for her.

    $15 no name leather standing martingale. Found it on e-bay. Unused. It was almost red. After soaking it in oil again as I did the bridle, it turned the same gorgeous dark reddish color my bridle did and looked magnificent.

    $60 stable blanket (Challenge Brand--commonly found on ebay) best fitting blanket (70") with gorgeous purple plaid to match my super cute pony (the one pictured above). Best cheap blanket ever. Replaced surcingles but only due to a horse dragging it out of her blanket box and eating them. Otherwise NEVER ripped, never came off. Love that blanket and it's now regretfully for sale since my new guy doesn't love purple and is bigger.

    M Toulouse Annice saddle with Genesis adjustment system: I was always leary of foam flocked saddles. Add that with an adjustable and any REPRESENTATIVE saddle fitter would tell you that you're crazy. The THREE horses this saddle has been fitted to have all gone super happy in this saddle. It was evaluated by a master saddler. Though wool is of course always wanted, if the foam panels are in good condition, they CAN still form to the horse and create a perfect fit. The genesis system changes angle and width and for average conformation horses it really is a little blessing. I bought the saddle used for $600 and I've never regretted it. Of course I want a nicer saddle. A newer saddle. A $5,000 saddle. But it's just not feasible right now. THIS is the saddle (before my super cheap foam half pad came in)


    Just examples of cheapo stuff that really worked out.

    What cheapo stuff has ended up working out great for you?!
    Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

    #2
    Waffle saddle pads..have around 10 of them....my favorite!!
    Boss Mare Eventing Blog

    Comment


      #3
      I love my thorowgood saddle.

      Cue the hunter princess leather purist gasps. But that thing is well made, comfortable, durable, has great fitting options for the horse, and I don't see any reason to spend more money.
      Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
      you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

      Comment


        #4
        I really, really, really like the Gatsby bridles (sold through Horzeloverz, Ebay, etc) for every day stuff. They're something like $30 for the bridle and reins, and I'm sure have some sort of weird treatment, but the leather is really soft, and stays soft. The dark leather cleans up decently enough for local showing.

        Not at all comparable to my $200 bridles, obviously, but totally adequate for a daily bridle, at a great price.

        I guess I don't really know what qualifies as "cheap" when we're talking saddles, but I really don't think anyone can go wrong with Thorowgood/Kent and Masters if they are needing to buy something NEW in the $1000 range. (Slightly under for Thorowgood, slightly over for Kent and Masters)

        Comment


          #5
          I have a couple of Wellfleet bridles I got from Smartpak when they sold them on clearance. I paid $35 each for them. They are totally gorgeous.

          I also got some super raised fancy stitched laced reins from the Vespucci outlet for $25. They are pony sized, but so is my tiny TB so they fit him just fine.

          I am always on the random lookout for bargains...if I wait long enough, the thing I am looking for will usually come around somewhere at a steep discount. And I am usually somewhat flexible about exactly what I want. I usually do that instead of buying the totally cheap brands. Like last winter I was looking for heavyweight TOs, and waited around until I got some Weatherbeeta 1680 originals for $99 with the neck covers. They are awesome blankets, just an ugly color. All my blankets are an ugly color because I usually always buy the discontinued models no one wants! I don't care, they work great to keep the snow off.

          Oh, another cheap tack trick -- if you ever need a gag bit and don't want to shell out the dough for one, just run a piece of climbing rope through the bit, over the poll and through the bit out the other side. then decide how long you want your reins to be, knot and cut. Insta-gag and very effective, keep your original reins on so you've got two sets of reins and it gives you a very nuanced feel too.

          Comment


            #6
            I find I am grateful when someone posts information on COTH regarding sales going on. I recently got the shock of my life though, when I starting going a little "shop crazy" on Dover and found that they really hate to give free shipping. I had something like $290 in my cart and they wanted another $30 for shipping. Thanks I'll just stick to Smartpak where I can get free shipping after $75. Not as much variety, and a little pricier depending on what you look at, but honestly when you save $30 on shipping, you have $30 more to spend on a bridle
            Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

            Comment


              #7
              I've got some bridle from Dover or State Line that is probably thirty years old at this point and besides periodic cleanings when it's been in use has received no special care or storage. I pulled it out of the toy chest after five years and it works just fine on Lucky. It was, I can promise, NOT expensive at the time of purchase. Likewise, the new bridle I bought was off the apparently defunct Poor Man's Equine. It's a racing bridle, and if anything it's much better-made than stuff from regular tack stores-stronger, better stitching, better reinforced. I don't remember what it cost (I got a set including bridle, cavesson, reins, and yoke) but it was much cheaper than buying fancy new. It works great.
              Author Page
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              Steampunk Sweethearts

              Comment


                #8
                I still use my brushes from the State Line Tack catalog from 1990. My Baker sheet was $15 in 1994 from a newspaper classified ad and is still going strong!

                Comment


                  #9
                  I've always been a bit of a tack snob, but when I chose to buy a horse instead of riding my trainer's horses, I had to sell some of my precious stuff.

                  I just bought a used Thorowgood saddle for my horse. It's the T6 model, so now discontinued. I have a giant shouldered horse who doesn't fit will in most standard trees (which is why my Voltaire is very sadly gone). It looks so nice. Granted I haven't tried it on my horse yet, but I can't wait to ride in it. I am very impressed.

                  a Beiler's leather halter. I got it for $20 and I have to say it's pretty nice.

                  The HDR comfort padded monocrown bridles. I'm also impressed with these. Very nice for the money.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I have to add that my pony mare had a leather halter from dover, you know, the triple stitch suffolk halter that goes on sale for $20 often??? Yah I just sold that sucker for $25 with worn fittings. Still there integrity wise, but the 'brass finish' was coming off. The leather was so nice though, that someone offered $25, so I accepted. Is that wrong
                    Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      OK, I think the OP wants to hear about things that are not top-of-the-line items bought on discount, but about brands often considered second-rate that actually have turned out to be of better-than-expected quality.

                      Personally, I have an Ovation martingale that is very nice. A cheapo schooling bridle from Stateline (I think the brand name they used was "Nottingham") I bought ten years ago for DD has seen heavy use and still cleans up beautifully for shows. The Bobby's fancy-stitched hunter bridle and matching breastplate I bought for her later are just gorgeous; she always get compliments on them.
                      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I have been VERY happy with my Dover Crown bridle that I bought for $89 about 5 years ago.

                        It still looks good! See - here it is, 5 years old.

                        I am also very happy with my Collegiate saddle that I bought new for under $700. Its wool flocked, has grippy leather - super comfortable. (its sitting on a Dover knock off "poly pad" that runs about $20, and last a super long time. Oh, and a thinline pad that I got at a tack sale for $1 )
                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                          I have been VERY happy with my Dover Crown bridle that I bought for $89 about 5 years ago.

                          It still looks good! See - here it is, 5 years old.

                          I am also very happy with my Collegiate saddle that I bought new for under $700. Its wool flocked, has grippy leather - super comfortable.
                          two good finds, Appsolute!

                          Currently searching for a cheap but not terrible bridle for my new guy. That's what prompted this. I wish I knew for sure where my last girl's bridle came from. I'd be perfectly fine ordering another for schooling and retraining this horse.

                          LOVE your collegiate! Good steal there!
                          Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            What kind of bridle are you looking for? something for hunters? Horse or cob?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              My $60 Schneiders Viking winter blanket.

                              It's been used on two horses (how it fit a 15.1 Morgan and a 16.3 TB I don't know...) for the past 5 years. It's needed a repair to have the tail flap sewn back on. Nothing else. No rips to the exterior, and still waterproof.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by fordtraktor View Post
                                What kind of bridle are you looking for? something for hunters? Horse or cob?
                                Something for the hunters, Horse size. 16.1 hand OTTB.

                                The one he came with is dry, despite oil and conditioning, and someone (cat?) chewed on every piece that hangs through a keeper. Nice for free, but he deserves at least something not so scratchy. I was surprised, considering its most likely worth more than the one I had was!
                                Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Cabaret SK View Post
                                  My $60 Schneiders Viking winter blanket.

                                  It's been used on two horses (how it fit a 15.1 Morgan and a 16.3 TB I don't know...) for the past 5 years. It's needed a repair to have the tail flap sewn back on. Nothing else. No rips to the exterior, and still waterproof.
                                  I am debating purchasing a schneiders blanket for the new guy. For horses who aren't "special" in turn out, I have never had a problem with cheap blankets.
                                  Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Years ago, Santa wanted to bring DD a bridle for her pony. Santa decided on this only a few days before Christmas, so was limited on what he could get in time. Santa ended up getting a $40 Kincaide bridle for her.

                                    That bridle is still in use - two horses later - and in good shape. It's done rated shows and no one has pointed & laughed. It still feels good, too.
                                    A proud friend of bar.ka.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Crown & Suffolk bridles from Dover ($20-$50)
                                      Tony Slatter Martingale ($20)
                                      Courbette bridles (used sell cheap, ~$40)
                                      Ainsley Saddle ($500 and people ask if it's a french saddle )
                                      Bobby's English Tack leather goods ($100-$200 but worth it)
                                      Schneider's Blankets (have one that is 10y/o, still looks brand new)
                                      AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Dewey View Post
                                        OK, I think the OP wants to hear about things that are not top-of-the-line items bought on discount, but about brands often considered second-rate that actually have turned out to be of better-than-expected quality.

                                        Personally, I have an Ovation martingale that is very nice. A cheapo schooling bridle from Stateline (I think the brand name they used was "Nottingham") I bought ten years ago for DD has seen heavy use and still cleans up beautifully for shows. The Bobby's fancy-stitched hunter bridle and matching breastplate I bought for her later are just gorgeous; she always get compliments on them.
                                        You know, OP posted about how she can't afford top of the line stuff. Well, neither can I at full price. I just posted about one strategy for getting better stuff than I could otherwise get. I don't see how that's a problem. It's like telling someone to buy used instead of new when looking at budget saddles, people do it all the time.

                                        I, meanwhile, will keep an eye out for a horse size hunter bridle of nice quality, and if I see one I'll let OP know. Right now all my favorite haunts for finding deals either have a flash or jumper reins on their offerings.

                                        But, for example, there are three Edgewoods in cob size on Ebay for around $100 brand new, which my 16h TB wears because they run big. You could add reins to those for $50 from the Vespucci outlet and have something really nice for little more than the price of an HDR or Dover Crown. That's still more expensive than OP was looking for I think, but an example. I'll poke around for something better but that's the best I see at the moment.

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