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Hunt Tack Suggestions

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  • Hunt Tack Suggestions

    I am getting ready to order some tack from Bartville Harness for the upcoming season!

    My question is if one is more correct than the other in terms of buckles vs hooks and stainless vs brass in the hunt field or if it is just personal preference?

    Thanks so much! Any additional suggestions are, as always, appreciated!!!


  • #2
    JMHO !

    I don't think it makes a lick of difference to any of our local hunts. Just so you don't stand out I'd say is the best advice. But if you have to choose? hooks-last longer & less obvious I think and
    stainless-looks/stays cleaner looking longer.


    • #3
      If you are looking for traditional, I would suggest that you stick with flat tack. Bartville's flat hunter bridle in havana with SS hardware and hooks fit the bill.

      I prefer stainless because it is easier to maintain than brass, and I think our hunt actually has it listed as preferred for tack for this reason. With that being said, I have seen brass in the hunt field and the tack nazi's didn't chase them down and ask them to leave

      I don't see many buckle bridles and reins in the hunt field. In days gone by, reins were sewn onto the bits, and the hooks present the traditional appearance of sewn reins, with the convenience of easy removal.

      The following is from Stuart Lillie, who is a historic saddler who trained with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. It applies to the 18th century, but offers some unique insight on why some fo the traiditions are the way they are:
      "English Hunting Bridles by fashion were intended to appear practically the opposite of military bridles during most of the 18th century. Dragoon bridles had lots of buckles for adjustment, so civilian bridles had one or none. Dragoon bridles had nosebands, hunting bridles had none. Dragoon bridles were decoratively creased at the edges, hunting bridles weren't. Perhaps the oddest difference was in terms of stitching. Dragoon bridles had rows of stitching placed parallel to the direction of tension for the greatest strength, while civilian hunting bridles had multiple rows of stitching perpendicular to the tension on the leather. All these details would be hard to believe if they weren't so unequivocally documented in life size portraits by George Stubbs, Thomas Gooch, and Francis Sartorious, to name a few. English gentlemen made a conscious effort to make riding a modern leisure activity, as opposed to an extension of military training which it had been in the 17th century and they considered it to be on the continent of Europe. Accordingly, fashion pushed for very un-military riding tack."

      If you haven't purchased from Bartville before, you will be extremely pleased with the quality! Another suggestion I will throw in, is to suggest that you may want to use non-darkening oil on their tack. I used neatsfoot on my bartville tack and it is now almost black. I have also used the non-darkening hydrophane on items from them and they maintained their havana color.

      Best Regards,



      • Original Poster

        Thanks so much for the suggestions and the interesting historical reasons!

        I was planning on going with the SS hook tack, as that is what seems the most classic hunt-wise to me!

        I am really excited about the Bartville order and that is great to know about avoiding neatsfoot as I would like to keep the tack that lovely Havana color!


        • #5
          Definitely a matter of personal preference, but the folks I've seen with brass and buckles are usually eventers who are using foxhunting to keep their horses fit and who don't want to invest in another bridle.

          Traditionally, and if you want to fit in better, flat, hooks and stainless are the way to go.
          ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
          Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

          "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


          • #6
            I just picked up a bridle and breastplate at Bartville for my boy. I like buckles way better than hook studs, but got the hook studs for the sake of tradition, however, I did go with brass because I think it's beautiful. The quality is fantastic.


            • #7
              Count me in on the buckle side especially for the reins. I've had the hook pull out and I suddenly have only one rein when we're on a run.
              A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


              • #8
                I won't use hooks (we call them stud billets over here) for the same reason as above. I haven't had it happen to me, but have seen it happen.


                • #9
                  I also prefer buckles. I can quickly adjust or take apart my tack without using a screw driver. I clean my tack after every ride and I can more easily inspect and condition the high stress areas. Bit changes are much easier to do and my hands don't hurt afterwards.

                  I am an eventer as well, and very conscious of everything fitting well. It isn't fun to be galloping with a broken bridle...
                  Intermediate Riding Skills


                  • #10
                    Does Bartville offer a catalog? I don't know anyone IRL who has tack from there whose brain I can pick or whose tack I can inspect.

                    Count me in the buckle group. Studs look nice, but I've had them break (and with considerably less warning than a buckle). I, too, like to take my tack apart frequently to clean and condition, and buckles are much easier. While I adore the look of brass, I'm barely up to keeping my boots shined, let alone my bridles!


                    • #11
                      DC, thanks for the history lesson. I really enjoy learning the reasons for the traditions.

                      I am a hunting newbie who's only been out on kind livery horses. But SOMEDAY when I manage to hunt on my own, I believe I'll buck tradition and go with buckles. Not only do I find the buckles easier to manipulate, I don't need reading glasses to see them


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WildBlue View Post
                        Does Bartville offer a catalog?
                        They do. You have to phone them to ask for it. I'd post the number, but my Bartville catalog is currently at the office.......
                        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BCGirl View Post
                          I am getting ready to order some tack from Bartville Harness for the upcoming season!

                          My question is if one is more correct than the other in terms of buckles vs hooks and stainless vs brass in the hunt field or if it is just personal preference?

                          Thanks so much! Any additional suggestions are, as always, appreciated!!!

                          Flat bridles are the most traditional, but I'd suggest asking the masters. Some hunts are more particular about tack than others.


                          • Original Poster

                            I can definitely see the pros and cons of buckles vs hooks, but I went with the hooks this time as I figured that was the most traditional. I do always get annoyed fussing with them when cleaning tack, but oh well!

                            I agree that brass is really beautiful when it is shined up and does look very handsome, but I went with the stainless steel as it is a bit less work.

                            A question for those who have ordered from Bartville- once you submitted your order, how long did it take to fill? I am anxiously awaiting my tack now haha!

                            And WildBlue or anyone else who doesn't have the number, the number for Bartville Harness is 717-529-6992, extension 0 and leave a message when requesting a catalog!

                            Thanks again for all the input!


                            • #15
                              From the time I mail my order to Bartville from the midwest it takes about a week and half for the items to arrive. Bartville's turnaround time is fast. The postal service can be pokey and with the Monday holiday your order will take that much longer.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Hinderella View Post
                                DC, thanks for the history lesson. I really enjoy learning the reasons for the traditions.

                                I am a hunting newbie who's only been out on kind livery horses. But SOMEDAY when I manage to hunt on my own, I believe I'll buck tradition and go with buckles. Not only do I find the buckles easier to manipulate, I don't need reading glasses to see them
                                No problem I enjoy history quite a bit, and I think it is extremely interesting when things are put into historical context. Like the buttons on your hunt coat hailing back to the days when rank in the British military could be determined by the number of buttons on your coat and its squared or rounded edges.

                                On the subject of buckles, Bartville uses stainless roller buckles, which I really like, as in my experience they are easier on the leather. I do like their buckle bridles, I have their padded version that I ride in often. I prefer a buckle bridle generally speaking (esp. for ring work or hacking), but hunt in a flat hunt bridle with hooks out of respect for tradition, and it is what most individuals in my hunt ride in. If in doubt about anything (tack, dress, etc) - I would always ask the master of your hunt, or someone knowledgeable about your local hunts rules and traditions.

                                I have been extremely pleased with everything I have ever ordered from Bartville. (martingales, breastplate, multiple bridles, reins, leather girths, etc.). They do a fantastic job, and their stuff is built like a tank, by individuals who still have a largely horse based culture. The bridles may not have the refinement or fine stitching of an edgewood or some of the other hunter bridles, but the leather is quality domestic leather, and they are build to last. I think Bartville is one of the best kept secrets around, and there are several tack stores around that buy and resell their products at a higher price.

                                On the subject of shipping time, if you send a check, they wait for it to clear their bank prior to shipping - which may take a few days. If you sent a MO, they ship upon receipt - which takes however long the postal service says it will take from their zone to yours.




                                • #17
                                  Did you get your bridle yet, and are you pleased with it?


                                  • #18
                                    Bartville will also do sewn in reins. I got them done for my bridle for sidesaddle and it looks wonderful.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Sorry DC, I just saw that you had asked if I like my bridle. Like is the understatment of the year! I adore it, and the reins and the girth and breastplate i ordered later from them. It is truly beautiful leather and you can tell it has been made by people that take great pride in their work. I highly recommend them!

                                      Also, they had to call me to deal with some questions about my order, questions most companies just wouldn't have cared about, but Bartville does. AND...they goofed and sent me the wrong reins, I sent them back and they felt terrible, were so apologetic. They are just great people to deal with, I really can't say enough good things about them.