HI Spy: Favorite Things


Pragmatic horse people might stick to the bare basics when it comes to tack and barn gear. All you really need is a functioning saddle, bridle, a few buckets and brushes and you have a full kit. But where’s the fun in that?

Look at your tack box (or the spare closet in your house, the backseat of your car, or wherever you store your gear.) You probably have a special piece of tack or barn equipment that you would never give up, whether it’s for sentimental reasons or otherwise. Do you have unique argyle polo wraps? A bright pink saddle blanket that reminds you of your first barrel race? A curb bit that you might never use, but you hang on to because it belonged to your cowgirl great-grandmother?

Of course, your favorite thing in the barn is your horse. But what comes in second? Click “Submit a Comment” below and tell us about your treasure. Some of the answers may be selected to be published in a future issue of Horse Illustrated.

One selected response may be selected by the editors to win a monthly prize! If you would like to be eligible for the prize, please include your email address in the comment form (email addresses are not publicly displayed.)

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  1. The lead rope that goes with rope halter….. It reminds of when I had a coton halter and no control…. and it’s very usefull if you just want to ride around without a halter or nothing!

  2. It has nothing to do with tack, but everything to do with special memories with my horse. I have one small Christmas gift bag with a snowman watching Santa and his reindeer in the sky. Each Christmas Eve and Christmas night, I take my horse out an apple in the special bag. He loves it and licks me and the bag after eating his apple. I will keep that bag forever.

  3. I have recently acquired a wonderful Saddleseat Saddle and was able to replace my older, somewhat ill-fitting one! Any of you who ride Saddleseat will understand that getting a $600 saddle for $75, the kind with adjustable bars, is extremely exciting! The stirrup bars adjust where the leathers connect to the saddle, and have four notches. I am mostly excited about this saddle because I will be giving riding lessons soon, and I can adjust the same saddle to work with the conformation of different HUMANS! I bought it specifically to re-sell it, but there’s NO chance I’ll be doing that!

  4. My favorite piece of tack would have to be my jumping saddle. A friend gave it to me because she no longer had horses. Now I can reach for the sky and practice jumping my wonderful thoroughbred.

  5. My favorite piece of equipment is a Stubben Sieghfried that a family friend gave me a year or two back. She used to ride a lot, but stopped some years ago and wanted her saddle to go to good use. I can’t thank her enough for it.

  6. My favorite piece of equipment is my red, yellow, black, and white striped saddle blanket. It’s the first saddle blanket that I have ever owned, and it was also my grandma’s. Before I washed it, there were chestnut hairs from my grandma’s horse!

  7. Even though it’s too small, I can’t seem to give up my old Stueben Jumping saddle. I learned to ride in it and it means a lot to me. It’s ripping at the seams (literally), the girth is lost, and one of the stirrup pads are missing. I can’t seem to give it up. I love it!

  8. My absolute favorite piece of unique tack is my tiny face brush. It is half the size of a body brush, and I think its just so darn adorable! I never really use it, its just that stubborn little piece of tack thats never thrown away!

  9. I have a little green hoof pick in the shape of a rain boot. “Isn’t it cute?!” I always ask people. They only look at me as though I’m crazy.

  10. My favourite peice of horse gear would have to be my breast collar, It’s blue with crosses on it, Every time I look at it, It reminds me of my angel horses, And makes me think about how special my horses with me now really are.

  11. I love lead ropes! Where ever I go, I always come home with a new lead rope! I love to take long lead ropes and make halters out of them, then tie the loose end on the other side and use it as a bridle to ride around in the pasture! Leadropes are helpful! You can lead horses, ride horses, get horse away, and so much more! I just love leadropes….

  12. We have an old one-horse sleigh from my great-uncle who used to live on a farm with horses. We don’t use it, but I hope that one day, we can borrow my friend’s horse that can pull, and go for a winter sleigh ride.

  13. I have an old wool saddle pad I used on my old pony before he passed away. It is a cream color with 3 large navy stripes and a little bit of maroon. Not very attractive! I now use it on my new paint horse, even though I also own two brand new ones. The cream saddle pad is dirty from long rides and still has gobs of white hair, but i use it on my paint horse every day! It reminds me of my first pony, and the amazing adventures we had together!

  14. I love my Mikmar Pelham bit. When I first bought my horse, he would run away with me and nothing would make him stop until he literally fell over. It took a year after I bought my horse to find a bit that he would respect, let alone like. But he loves the copper roller and comfortable mouthpiece on this bit! I really don’t know what I would do without it!

  15. My favorite piece of horse equipment would be my bright orange lunge whip! With this I can train my horse all I want which can help me make a better and deeper connection with her.

  16. I have a velvet riding helmet that my grandmother gave to me. She used it for riding when she had a horse so it has a lot of sentimental value.

  17. My saddle. definitely. I got it for Christmas from my dad, and it is exactly all I ever wanted in a saddle and more. It doesn’t sound so special or amazing, and it wouldn’t be to any other person, but I can’t describe how special it is to me.

  18. My favorite peice of equipment is a simple loop of rawhide rope. I just have to put it around my horse’s neck and we can go, no bridle and no halter. It is hard to explain how I can be attached to a piece of rope, but there is also something to say for riding in a reigning competition without a bridle for the first time.

  19. My nylon zebra halter. I’ve had it since before I had a horse and now I use it on my beautiful gelding. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  20. I have a silver plated hoofpick with a reiner on it. I’ve never used it because I’m afraid of scratching up the silver. 🙂

  21. I absolutely love every horse equipment that resides in my overflowing tack box…and I must admit, I’m kind of a hoarder when it comes to owning tack! But one special piece that I rarely use would probably be my 88 year old Grandpa’s bridle. He gave it to me when I was just a beginner and I treat it like a special family heirloom. On the brow band, it has his brand: Art (his first name) and then a “Z” and a lazy “K”. It is super special to me and I love it!

  22. I have a nylon purple halter with lead rope that I love! I was given this as a gift as purple is my favorite color and I love horses so much! I don’t actually own a horse yet but my coach allows me to use this for my weekly lessons on my horse I lease.

  23. My favorite horse equipment is a purple and gold nylon halter. Over the nose band my horse’s name is stitched and on another strap her registered name. She only wears it for shows or the family Christmas card!

  24. My bay gelding wears a bright pink halter that my best friend gave to me several years ago. It reminds me of my dear friend, and I will never get rid of it. I guess you could say I am sentimental.

  25. I have comstumised purple and black halters for my white Arabian gelding my black (registered paint)Thoroughbred gelding. They have their names on the noseband and even though they TOTALLY need new ones, they still wear their black and purple halters (Purple: Manly color right??)

  26. I have a special connection with my zebra saddle pad that I got for Christmas. It reminds me of my first horse show where it took first place in barrel racing. I also think about the great times we have had in lessons. It was the first saddle pad I’ve ever owned and by far the greatest.

  27. My favorite piece of tack would have to be my royal blue rope halter. It looks amazing on my black gelding. And until we can master bridleless riding: we can do everything without a saddle, but we can do almost nothing without a halter. 🙂

  28. Although I’ve collected many saddle pads over the years, my favorite has got to be the one I won at my second District 4-H show for getting first place in my equitation class. Even though the saddle pad is red (not one of my favorite colors, I still love it because it reminds me of how far I’ve come as a rider.

  29. Polo wraps! I have tons! I love buying matching shirts for me and saddle pads for my horse. The wraps just make the “look”! I also like mixing and matching! It’s so fun!

  30. I’m obsessed with my Tough-1 bareback pad. It was a wedding present, though it wasn’t for my husband at all! I decorated it with iron-on patches for flair, and it’s my favorite lazy trail “saddle” for my Haflinger, Billy.

  31. My favorite is my western barrel saddle. It’s color is so different from other saddles and is such a pretty dark deep color. I love it!

  32. The good old Curry comb! its like a bonding tool for me and the horses it like a massage,
    and it really helps me clean all that mud!!

  33. My favorate piece of horse equipment has to be horse boots (bell boots etc.). They protect my horses legs or hooves while jumping or just trail riding.they also come in all sorts of adorable colors and designs!!

  34. My special piece of tack is my “Horsin’ Around” black synthetic Western saddle. Why? My dad put in a kitchen for my grandparents, and they paid him (partly) with this saddle. It’s special because my dad worked for it, for me.

  35. My favorite piece of tack is my saddle blanket. It goes everywhere with me. Of course I use it most everytime I go riding but my favorite thing about it is that is doesn’t even need a saddle on it. Whenever I dont feel like cinching up a saddle I just strap on my blanket with a spare girth and lead rope and take a ride. This keeps me from getting soaked( my hore sweats like crazy,no matter what we do), and it also keeps my 19 year old’s backbone from annoying me. I do ride bareback a lot but there’s just something about having your saddle blanket along. It is pretty old but still has not a tear in it. My blanket is full of sorrel hair and sweat and that is one of the things I like about it, it smells like my mare.

  36. My favorite piece of horse tack are my Hot Pink Woof All-Purpose Boots. I ride Dressage generally, but one day I’ll wake up deciding that were going to jump today, the next I’m pole bending! I love doing it all, and I love the feeling that no matter where I am, or what I’m doing, my horse is safe. And stylish!

  37. As strange as it sounds, I will never get rid of my curb chain. An odd thing to hold to I know but it’s been patched and re-patched with tape, leather straps, and even a plastic bag! I got it when I got my mustang mare and the bond I have with her is like no other, I will never get rid of anything that reminds me of my girl! No worries though, it’s finally been retired and is hanging in my house on an old bridle as decoration!

  38. My favorite peice of tack is a lite blue saddle pad that I won at eventing rally three years ago. I use it almost every time I ride. It says Oregon Region Pony Club on one side and has the United States Pony Club emblum on the other side. I love it so much that I’m actually going to try to get a replica of it for my birthday.

  39. As molded and chewed on as the horses have rendered it, I could never part ways with the old, leather halter that our colt used to wear before catching him was possible. Although it now resides on a hook in the tack room, it used to gallop about the field at all hours of the day.

  40. My favorite piece of tack used to be my braided leather reins. They were so beautiful and confortable to hold, and I absolutely loved them. But recently one of the horses at the barn decided to taste them…. let’s just say, now I need to save up for new ones.

  41. My favorite piece of tack is my beautiful saddle. It has the most beautiful colored leather and it’s really comfy 🙂 I use it every day

  42. My favorite piece of tack is the old western bridle and elegant grazing bit carved with an intricate oak leaf motif that hangs in my bedroom, nestled in the tiny alcove that houses my beloved old gelding’s ashes. That bit and bridle will never be placed on another horse as long as I live. It holds a special place in my house and my heart as a reminder of the special relationship I had with Woodrow – because at some point, we simply stopped needing it; the only thing we needed was our own two bodies and minds, unencumbered by tack of any kind.

  43. Probably my blue bag. It’s a bag made to hold brushes and stuff for grooming. I got it for Christmas a few years ago and it’s been with me through a lot. It’s very handy and I like it a lot :).

  44. I would never give up my english saddle. It is my first english saddle and I learned to jump in it. I rode in it the first time I went foxhunting and to the first jumping show I competed in. I won my first blue ribbon in that saddle. Most all, I bought it new and at a great price!

  45. My first saddle, which my Dad had gotten for me. He has passed away, and so my saddle has more meaning to me, than all my other tack. I remember how every mark was put on it.

  46. I don’t think I would ever give up my Western saddle. I’ve had it for more than 7 years, so far, and I can always count on it. Whether I’m in the arena or on the trails, it always gets me where I want to be.

  47. After thinking about it for awhile I came to the conclusion that my favorite piece if tack has to be my Pro Choice star pattern boots. My Quarter Horse hunter looks so cute all booted up in rainbow stars. Plus they keep his legs safe while making a fashion statement!

  48. I will never ever give up my barrel saddle! I’ve ridden in many other saddles over the last few years, but none of them even come close to comparing to mine! Not only is it perfectly broken-in to me, but the memories I’ve made riding in it are too precious for me to ever dream of letting it go!

  49. I will never forget my first all purpose english saddle that i helped my parents pick out for me many christmas’ agio…i learned to jump in it, and i tried to even barrel race in it too! It was good to both me and my donkey. Too bad i grew out of it. Good memories though.

  50. I know they aren’t exactly tack but my boots are my favorite hands down! Whether its cleaning stalls, training my colt, or riding on the trails my worn cowboy boots are on my feet!

  51. Our old pony cart that my Grandpa had for our pony. The only reason that we never used it is because Our little Shetland faked sick (farting, Bloating, and laying down) every time we tried to put the harness on him.

  52. My western snaffle shank bit, that I won from the Horse Illustrated Bit Contest last year. Even though it has been used it is sitting idle at the moment but it still has many more years of use.

  53. My mecate reins and slobber straps may not hold much sentimental value, considering the fact that I bought them less than 6 months ago, but I love them! They are such an excellent tool and help me communicate with my horses and help release pressure quicker. For me, the less pressure on a horse’s mouth, the better.

  54. My first english saddle and bridle! I saved up money for a long time to buy it by myself. The saddle is extremely comfortable and they are so special to me because the first horse I used that saddle and bridle on has passed away, and now those pieces of tack always remind me of her and help me to feel like she is with me wherever I ride.

  55. My favorite piece of tack would be my first saddle. It is a barrel saddle my grandmother both made and won in 1988. She never rode in it, so when I got my own horse in 2006 she gave it to me. It is still in good shape even though it is older than I am!

  56. My favorite piece of tack would have to be my blue-black-and-white saddle pad. The first horse to ever wear it was my first barrel horse Pearl. It is so special to me.

  57. My Ortho-Flex saddle. When I bought it it was the most expensive piece of ridding equipment I had. I have ridden that saddle for about 15 years. It has saved me from several bad falls because of its construction and fit. I have used it on several horses and it fits each one well.

  58. I love it because I can relate to it. Although my beloved mare of 32 years has passed, I’m still a huge horse lover, & I always will be. That article gave me a new look at all the tack I own. I’ve still got every piece from when I first got my mare, which was 1974. I just can’t get rid of any od it. There’s so many good & challenging memories, that I just can’t part with them. I loved my horse & I miss her terribly.

  59. I love this article because I can relate to it. Choosing just one piece of tack is tough. Although my mare of 32years has passed, I’d have to say my 35 pound western saddle is my favorite. I’ve had it when I got my mare back in 1974, & even tho it’s been polished several times it still smells like her.

  60. I love my horse brushes!I love to groom my horse Dreamer and she loves me grooming her.Thats the way we can really bond and get to know eachother better.

  61. I have a one eared headstall that I bought in the early 80’s. It was handmade by an Amish lady who made horse tack. It proves the point that good quality tack will last forever!

  62. My saddle. It’s my first saddle ever. My dad suprised me at the barn, I used “another girl’s saddle for one horse” and it turned out to be my late Christmas present. I really love it, because it is sooo comfortable (it was used).

  63. I will never get rid of my gloves. I got them when I first started riding at 6 years old. I’m not 13, and they are still in good shape. After we bought the gloves, I remember wearing them non-stop because I felt like a real horse-person. I love my gloves, and I’ll never throw them away. Even when I can’t wear them anymore, I’m keeping them!

  64. My favorite piece of equipment is my show shirt. It has been worn my all the kids at my barn and has a verrrry lucky collar. I wore it at my first show and got champion!


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