Author: Tim Manson
Let's begin with a look at the western gear you are going to use. First,
of course is the saddle. With the saddle comes a saddle blanket and saddle
pad. Many Western riders use both the saddle pad and the blanket, with
the latter protecting the pad more than anything else.
So far, sounds pretty much like the English tack doesn't it? A saddle, pad and bridle. But in Western riding, there are a few other accessories which English riders probably don't use most of the time, or they may look a bit different than their English counterparts, especially the flank cinch. I'm going to throw a picture of a western saddle in here, just in case you have forgotten the parts I will be referring to.
For example, There are several types of western Breast Collars that are available, depending on what you want to do.
The Breast Collar keeps the saddle from slipping back on the horse, especially when traveling uphill, or keeps the saddle in place when executing fast reining and/or cutting maneuvers. Most modern breast collars are fashioned to attach to small d-rings on the front of the saddle as shown here or simply to the girth rings.
I recently had a new saddle made, complete with accessories, in an older style, based on saddles and tack of the mid 1800s. In the next picture, you will see how my breast collar attaches to straps that are attached to the pommel, for a tear drop, collaring effect.
The bottom strap attaches to the front ring on the front cinch.
Western saddles are also equipped to use a flank or rear cinch.
The flank cinch is used to keep the saddle from rising up off of the back and to secure it better when moving up or down hill or while doing cutting or reining activities, and is clipped to the rear ring on the front cinch for security.
On the next page - let's saddle up.