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Tack Extras

Tack Extras

Halter and Lead Rope

A halter, also known as a head collar, is generally worn over the horse’s head when grooming, travelling, and turning out. Though similar in shape to a bridle, the halter is not intended for riding. Halters come in a variety of styles, sizes, materials and padding, and what you pick will usually come down to size and personal preference. While it might be tempting to lead your horse by the halter, this can lead to personal injury should a horse spook, so always lead your horse with a rope. You can also tie the horse using a lead rope, but do employ a quick release knot in case of panic.


The martingale is a strap or set of straps that attach to the reins, go under the horse’s chest and hook to the girth. The purpose of a martingale is to limit a horse’s ability to toss its head too high or pull against the reins.



Also known as a breast collar, breast strap and breast girth, the breast plate looks similar to a martingale, but it also has top straps that connect to the D rings of a saddle, essentially to stop the saddle from slipping too far back. Remember, you should be able to get a hand's breadth between the strap and the horse's chest.



Reins are the straps attached to a bridle that the rider uses to steer a horse (among other aids). Reins can be made of leather, rubber or webbing, and they come in varying thickness. The reins you go for will largely boil down to those that feel the most comfortable in your hands.


Boots and Bandages

Boots and polo bandages are designed to support and protect a horse’s legs during exercise. To no one’s surprise by now, there are quite a number of styles to choose from. Here are some of the most common:

  • Brushing boots – everyday boots that are designed to protect the lower part of the horse’s legs from damage caused by external knocks or the opposite hoof brushing against the leg. These boots also offer protection for the splint bone (see horse health). Brushing boots are fairly versatile and are used for training, flatwork, lungeing, hacking or turnout protection. They can also be worn on the front and hindlegs.

  • Tendon and fetlock boots – tendon boots are worn on the front legs while fetlock boots go on the back legs. Tendon boots are similar to brushing boots in that they provide protection for the inner leg, tendons and fetlocks from external knocks, but these are designed for jumpers so they are reinforced to take harder knocks, and open-fronted so the horse can feel when he touches a pole. Tendon and fetlock boots are made from a variety of flexible, shockproof materials, and most have ventilating properties.

  • Overreach or bell boots – these protect the hoof and heels should the hind hoof clip or cut into the front. Overreach boots can be used for training, flatwork, lungeing, hacking and turnout. They tend to be made from neoprene or rubber, and some have a fleece trim to prevent chafing around the pastern on sensitive-skinned horses.

  • Travelling boots – as it says on the tin, these are long boots that cover a large part of the horse’s legs to protect them while travelling. The front boots cover the knee down to the hoof, while the back boots cover from the hock to the hoof. Anatomically cut and made from shockproof, lightweight material, they tend to come in a wrap-a-round style with Velcro straps on the outside of the leg. Look for a tough outer shell with a soft inside material for maximum comfort on a long journey, and you may need to try a few options to find the right size and style for your horse’s build.

  • Therapy boots – these are a range of boots designed to help horses recovering from leg injuries or strenuous activity. To aid healing, magnetic boots increase blood flow to the leg, while ice or cooling boots help prevent injury by cooling the legs quickly following a workout. Supportive stable boots with bio-ceramic technology can also promote healing and aid recovery.

  • Hoof boots – designed for barefoot horses or horses that have lost a shoe, these boots are becoming steadily more popular. Giving added protection to barefoot hooves on harsh terrain, therapeutic hoof boots are also available to help horses suffering from lower limb or hoof problems such as laminitis and abscesses.


Legwear in General

Most horses require a smaller boot on their front legs and a larger boot on their hind legs. While each horse is an individual, fine-boned thoroughbreds will tend to wear a medium or cob boot, while warmbloods and sports horses may need large or extra-large boots.

When fastening boots always be sure to use even pressure on each strap. Do not over-tighten.

Remove boots and bandages immediately after schooling to allow any accumulated heat to escape.

Keep boots and bandages clean to avoid irritating sensitive skin.

Important note: Boots and bandages trap a lot of heat, which is believed to damage tendon/ligament cells. Right now, there is a lot of discussion about the use of boots and bandages on horses, and you’ll find some very credible information on the internet that should help you weigh up the pros and cons in order to come to the right decision for your horse.



Commonly used for lungeing, surcingles are also used to train green horses using long lines, side reins, or draw reins, Surcingles are also used when vaulting.

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