Safety check on tack
Published 03-04-2010 2:39 PM
This blog was written by Tara Gamble. She is the current CHA president, an AQHA Professional Horseman, and a CHA Master Instructor.
When you are working with horses, it is important to remember they are large, unpredictable animals that require a healthy respect. Therefore SAFETY is of the utmost importance and must come first.
How to perform a safety check (should be done each time you are going to mount):
Perform a safety check on both sides of the horse. You must check all equipment – the bridle, the martingale or tie down (if being used), blankets and/or pads, and the saddle.
Secure all keepers on the bridle, and check the fit of the bit. There should be one wrinkle in the corners of the horse’s lips. If the bit is too low, it could bump the horse’s teeth, if it is too high, it will pinch the corner’s of the mouth. Both problems could create control and steering issues. The brow band must be level on the horse’s forehead. The throatlatch keeps the bridle from slipping over the horse’s ears, and you should be able to place one fist between the cheek and the throatlatch. Curb chains on leverage bits must contact the chin groove when the shanks are pulled back to a 45 degree angle.
Check that blankets and pads are in front of the saddle, even on both sides, and pulled up into the gullet of the horse; which helps take some pressure off of the withers and spine, and allows air to circulate to the horse’s back.
The cinch/girth must be tightened so when you reach under the center of the horse (not his side), you can put the tip of one finger between the horse and the cinch/girth. If the saddle is too loose, it will roll. If it is too tight the horse may become cinchy, or cause saddle sores.
Check tack for wear and tear. If anything looks like it may break or become unstitched, do not mount anyways. It should be replaced immediately.
Tack fit is very important for the comfort, soundness and performance of the horse. If you are uncertain of what to look for, please seek the help of a professional. They can offer advice and ensure maximum comfort for your horse and you!
CHA President – www.CHA-ahse.org