A Glossary For Horse Tack

September 18, 2013

horse tack​If you're new to equestrianism, or even an old horse hand, there may be a term or two you hear used that you don't quite understand. Here's a brief glossary of terms for horse tack to help you talk like the pros.

Tack: Right off the bat, I suppose we should define tack. Tack is the equipment needed to ride a horse. Outfitting a horse for a ride is called tacking up.

Cinch: The strap that goes around a horse's belly to secure the saddle in place. This is the Western-style term for the strap. In English riding, it's called a girth.

Saddle blanket: A blanket used to pad a saddle, more for the horse's comfort than the rider. In English riding this is called a saddlecloth.

Breastplate: Also known as a breastcollar or breaststrap, a breastplate keeps the saddle from sliding back on a horse. The straps connect over the sternum, and then go down through the forelegs and connect to the cinch.

Crupper: A crupper provides the same function as the breastplate, but from the other direction. A crupper hooks around the base of a horse's tail to keep the saddle from sliding forward.

Bridle:The headgear used to 'steer' a horse. Includes the head collar, bit, and reins.

Bit: A piece of metal that rests in the horse's mouth (not on the teeth). If you've heard the expression 'Chomping at the bit', this is where it comes from.

Hackamore: A type of bitless bridle which uses a noseband instead of the bit to control the horse.

Martingale: A strap that connects from the horse's noseband to the breastplate or a neck strap. This is primarily a safety device for the rider, which prevents the horse from lifting her head too high and smacking into the rider.

If you've got a term you're curious about the meaning of, or just want more info, post it on our Facebook page.