Thursday, 19 June 2008

Stage III Preparation - Element 2 - Saddlery

The second element (previous elements HERE) of Stage III Syllabus is Saddlery and here is what the BHS wants the candidates to know:
Know the correct principles and fitting of saddlery and bits in general use, including those used for training and competition work. Know how to organise a saddle room and its contents. Know how to to clean and store saddlery and rugs.

Assessment Criteria:

2.1.1. Demonstrate correct applications and fitting of tack commonly used in dressage competitions including double bridle.
2.1.2. Demonstrate correct applications and fitting of tack commonly used in cross-country competitions

2.2.1 Explain indications of incorrect fitting and/or inappropriate saddlery, and the possible consequences
2.3.1 Explain the action of a variety of bits in general use
2.4.1 Apply and fir variety of boots used for protection, suitable for various competitions
2.5.1 Describe the perfect Tack Room
2.6.1. Give examples of appropriate practise for storing tack & rugs

I would probably have to set up a new blog if I wanted to write all that is currently discussed on the matter of saddle fitting and the variety of bits!
What is understood by 'correct applications and fitting of tack' ? Well, at least there is no problems with boots in dressage as you are not allowed to have them on while competing. However, to ride in, dressage riders use a rather diverse range of leg protection, mostly all sorts of wraps, overreach boots/bell boots (for those BIG moving warmbloods :) not to mention turn out boots like Equi Chaps.
Have a look at Boots, Wraps or Chaps?
In Show-Jumping and Eventing there is a more headache giving choice ;) I included some examples when talking about Element 1 of Stage III Syllabus. How do boots need to be fitted? It seems that every manufacturer now has its own sizing and own guidelines!
For example, here is what Equilibrium advises on Size and Boot Fitting Matters

The Saddles

And onto saddles. Here is an excellent article by Sustainable Dressage on The Saddle - it's Construction, Function and Malfunction

Fitting The Saddle
- by Equilibrium

Here is also a video on Saddle Fitting but I wouldn't say all the information is spot on. Try to assess yourself and compare with the information in the above articles.
Here it is for you to watch:

How To Fit A Saddle

Modern saddles, from treeless to air inflated to Bespoke are certainly earning attention:

WOW Saddles
"WOW™ is totally new way of owning a saddle. For the first time one can buy a traditional looking saddle and by buying different components, alter all of its’ characteristics to suit different horses, riders and disciplines. WOW is the worlds first modular saddle."

The Sue Carson Bespoke Saddles
"Made to measure Sue Carson Saddles' reputation for balancing comfort, style and performance has attracted many professionals across the disciplines, including Peter Storr, Steph Croxford, Heidi Woodhead, Clea Phillipps, Steven Smith, Vere Phillipps and Malcolm Pyrah, many of whom have contributed to the development of the saddles."

The Bridle & The Bits

Yet again, you can't beat Sustainable Dressage blog on this topic - The Bridle & The Bit - How headstalls and bits fit and work.

Storing Tack and Rugs - Ideal Tack Room

The Very Best Tack Room Ideas

How to Clean and Organise Your Tack Room

Tack Room Accessories (I personally love well made Rug Rails - they certainly make the job of drying and storing rugs much easier).

Tack Room Equipment

Cleaning/maintaining Rugs & Tack

Rug Repairs
How to clean a Leather saddle
Tack Cleaning - Video

And another one:

How To Strip Clean Horse Tack

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