is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting stories
and helpful tips for your horse care, training, and riding.
January means taking inventory and getting a fresh start. It seems
like the first of the year always finds us at the barn doing a major organizing
and cleaning. While we were sorting this year, we pulled out a stack of tack that
we didn't need and added a small Tack Store to our site. There is only one of
each item, so first come, first served! Visit the Horsekeeping Tack Shop at http://www.horsekeeping.com/tack/tack.htm
To help you make good choices when choosing tack and to take good care of
your tack so it looks good, is safe, and lasts a long time, here are two full
length articles - one on Stable Blankets and the other on Western Cinches.
Selection and Care
A winter stable blanket should
be comfortable for your horse and stay put. Since shifting often leads to blanket
damage, generally I prefer a blanket with leg straps which tends to hold a blanket
in place. I also like a cut back wither which prevents mane rubbing and I prefer
nylon lining which helps polish the coat over fleece and flannel linings which
tend to be hay, hair, and dirt magnets.
A stable blanket must
be tough enough to withstand a horse rolling and rubbing but it doesn't need to
have the weather proof qualities of a turnout blanket. A winter stable blanket
needs to be warm in temperatures from about -10 to 40F and not cause sweating
if it gets a bit warmer than that.
How heavy of a blanket you
should use on your horse will depend on your climate, the length of your horse's
hair coat, your horse's metabolism, activity level, type and amount of feed, and
the barn temperature and draftiness.
When talking about lightweight,
midweight and heavyweight blankets, the terms refer to
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A front cinch lays against the horse's heart girth and fastens to the saddle with
either a full latigo on the near side and either a full latigo or half breed on
the off side.
Cinches (also called cinchas) have long been
made of yarn, cord, or string. Traditional string cinches are referred to as cinchas.
Those of solid material are referred to as cinches. With a cincha, there are up
to 31 individual strings rather than a single solid piece of material against
the horse's skin. This allows the horse's skin to breathe and the hair to dry
as the horse works and sweats. The biggest complaint about string cinchas is that
they absorb the sweat, hold onto the dirt and then rot and break. But, when properly
cared for, string cinchas can last a lifetime. It's important to keep string cinches
clean not only because they'll last longer but for the horse's comfort. A dirty
cincha is more likely to gall a horse (rub the skin raw) because the crusty, sweaty
fibers act like sandpaper on the tender skin behind the horse's elbow where there
is little protective hair.
String cinchas have either one or
two layers of strings. Single layer cinchas generally have from 14 to 17 strings;
double layer cinchas have from 27 to 31 strings and offer greater strength while
still being nearly as breathable as single layer cinchas.
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it for this month.
when you ride, keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.
a great new year with your horse!