For a first time owner it can very daunting knowing what kit you need straight away. Horses require a lot of equipment, some of it is essential and some of it is what we buy because we like it, but it is not essential. When getting your first horse/pony you can feel very unprepared and worried that you haven’t got everything you need. There is no need to worry, we have complied a list of essential items you will need to care for your first horse or pony. Once you have been an owner for a while you will begin to see more products that you like and find your own way for how you want to do things. Also remember that even if you have not got everything you need, fellow liveries will always step in and help you out. Find your local tack shop, most are open 7 days a week, so you can always pop down there, or with the internet most items are only a day or 2 away.

  1. Saddle: Some horses you buy come with tack, other you will need to get your own. Your saddle is likely to be one of the most expensive items you buy after the actual horse, so it is really, really important to get the right one. Make sure you seek the help of a professional saddle fitter, even if your horse came with a saddle it is best practice to get it checked, to make sure it fits both you and your horse. There are some saddlers who do not carry stock and only offer a fitting service, and other who have wide range of saddles available to try. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your horse and what your budget is, then give them a call and book an appointment. Make sure they are fully qualified and insured, you can find a list of them on the Society of Master Saddlers Website Also ask fellow liveries and friends who they recommend to use.
  2. Bridle: Again there are lots of different types of bridles and bits available to use, they vary in strength and how/ where they apply pressure. A good start is to ask the old owners what they were using and get the same, again always seek help from a professional. Your riding instructor is a good place to start, and there are also professional bit and bridle fitters who hold clinics and conduct yard visits to help you get the best combination for your horse. If you are struggling with where to start a plain cavesson bridle with an eggbut snaffle is a good place, again be sure to get the correct size bit for your horses mouth. More advice on fitting can be found here: http://nsbits.com/2014/01/15/measuring-your-horse-for-a-bit/
  3. Once you have got your tack it is very important to tack care of it. Tack should be regularly cleaned to prevent it rubbing the horse and also so you can check the stitching and make sure there are no splits or tears. For this you will need a tack cleaning kit. A basic one consists of 2 sponges and some saddle soap. There are loads of different types out there on the market at the moment. Bars, tuns, liquids and spray bottles. It really is a case of trial and error to see which ones you like best and which work best on your tack. My personal preference are the squeeze tubes, because i fins them very easy to use and store, my favourite brands are Renapur and Oakwood. If you are buying new tack some of them come with cleaners that are made by the saddle company, or you can ask your saddle fitter for advice, but ultimately it comes down to what you prefer. It is also a good idea to invest in a cover for your saddle and a bag for your bridle. Now days most new saddles and some bridles come with covers, however make sure the cover and bag is waterproof and machine washable, to give your tack the best protection possible. Again with these there are hundreds on the market and it comes down to your budget and preference to which ones you get.
  4. Vet kit, this is an essential item. It does not have to be really fancy a basic one will suffice. Most tack shops or eBay etc sell complete vet kits, which are a good starting point. You can add to it as you go along. A guide to what you should have it there can be found here.
  5. Grooming Kit – This is something you will use everyday, so make sure you pick one that you like. It is always good to have a feel of the brushes first to see how they fit in your hand, for comfort etc. There are literally hundreds of different types of grooming kit on the market ranging from a couple of pounds up to hundreds of pounds. It really is all about budget and personal preference. You will need :
    1. body brush
    2. dandy brush
    3. curry comb
    4. hoof pick
    5. mane comb
    6. face brush
    7. water brush
    8. Fly Spray

This is a very basic kit, again you can buy complete sets from any tack shop or online stores very cheaply. I would suggest getting one of these and then updating and adding to it as you go along.

Also check with the livery yard owner if they will provide any shelving or saddle and bridle racks as well. Some yards give you your own space equipped with racks and shelves, some provide lockers and other just provide the space.

If you are just getting space make sure you get saddle and bridle racks for your tack, you can get wall mounted ones you screw in, or you can get free standing ones if you do not want to attempt DIY. Also look in to some shelving or a big plastic box to put everything else in. DIY shops and Groupon always have really good deals on things like this. Again once you have settled into ownership you will gain a better idea of how you want to set up and store your equipment.

Finally it is always good to have a spare head collar and lead ropes to hand as well as a few extra hoof picks. These things are the bare essentials to help you get through the beginning of horse ownership. Other equipment you might need will depend on what type of livery you are on, if your horse lives in or out and also the horse.

The most important thing is to remember to enjoy the journey and have fun.

Don’t forget to check out all the brilliant tack room storage items we have, to help you keep your tack room organised as your collection grows.


Now the beautiful (typical ) British summer time is here, it is the perfect time to get your tack room organised and ready for summer. Over the warmer and drier months most of us like to get our horses out and about to competitions, long distance rides, the beach etc which means we need a different set of kit to what we were using. Also as our horses/ponies tend to sweat when we ride it often means a clean saddlecloth / saddle pad is needed for every ride, and we have to clean our tack more frequently. It also means we are now into bathing and sloshing off after work. So whilst we can discard of all those winter rugs and wellies, we now need fly rugs and buckets. So what can we do to make life easier for us, and give us more time with our precious animals enjoying the summer.

Start with the winter rugs, drag them all out and check them over. If you need to get them washed etc get that organised now. Any rugs you are not keeping put in the bin or on selling sites. Dig out those fly masks too.  Also look at how you are going to store the rugs you are keeping. There are many different ways of doing this. You can get a big trunk form any DIY shop or eBay, Amazon etc and pop them all inside. These boxes are great because they are relatively cheap to buy and you can lock them, however the downside is that they are not rat/mice proof. They can still chew through the plastic, and although all the rugs are away they are still jumbled in together which makes it difficult when you come to use them. However we have a solution for that too – our rug storage bags, they fit in these boxes very well and with the labels keep all your rugs organised and to hand, as well as adding an extra layer of protection.

If you have shelving then again our rug bags can be used on this too, again they protect the rugs from dirt, dust and water as well as bird poo etc

Once all the winter rugs are packed away it is time to dig out the lighter weight summer rugs, fly rugs, hoods, summer sheets etc. Check them over to make sure they are not broken / damaged and then store them in an easy to reach place, ready for use, we can help with this, with our range of bags specially designed for lightweight summer rugs.  Also check over your travel boots, make sure they are clean and ready for use. We also have a handy waterproof storage bags for travel boots here. Next its time to look at the saddlecloths. Have a sort through and check for rips or damage, make sure they are the right shape and fit for your horse and they are clean. Get rid of any you wont use again and wash any dirty ones. Then look at how to store them for ease of use. The saddlecloth / saddle pad i am using i put over my saddle and the rest go in a storage bag on my racking. I have different bags for each type of saddle cloth to make it easier to find the one i want. When i have used a saddlepad and it needs washing i take it home and use the laundry bag for washing that and the bandages, i also get the next one out over the saddle ready for my next ride. I also like to have my boots and bandages to hand. I store all mine in a wraps bag which are fantastic for organising and protecting everything, plus they hang up making it super easy to find the matching boots or bandages for your matchy set.

Now have a look at your tack, thoroughly check it all over including any tack that has been stored away or not used very much. Also have a look at your cleaning kit, do your sponges need replacing? Is your soap running a bit low? Now is a really good time to take apart all that tack and clean and check for any damage, loose stitching etc . Once that is all done pop it all back on its pegs and hangers. If you are short on hanging hooks grab some wreath holders from the pound shop to use, they do not need fixing to the wall, meaning you can place them anywhere and dont need tools either.

Next look at your vet kit, make sure all the lotions and potions are up to date, and that you have all the essentials. A guide to what to include in your vet kit can be found here. Remember to move anything that needs to be kept cool into  the fridge. I like to store my vet kit in a brightly coloured easy to grab grooming bag, that way it stands out and is very easy to grab when needed, it also makes it easy to pop it on the lorry or trailer for taking on trips out etc, and it makes it very easy to direct someone to, if you have sent someone else to fetch it for you.

Make sure you get your clippers out (if you have them) and check them over and oil. Do your blades need sharpening? a new set of blades for the trimmers? if so get those sorted out now ready for the next use.

Moving onto your grooming kit, get everything out and give your brushes a good wash, you can do it in a bucket of water with some horse shampoo, just remember to change the water before it gets too dirty, also make sure to thoroughly rinse off the shampoo. Give the box/bag a good clean out and then check if you have all the summer essentials?

Fly Spray

Plaiting Bands

Needle Thread

Pulling Comb

Plaiting spry / gel

Whitening Shampoo

Chalk

Show Shine

Hoof Oil

Stable Rubber

Sun Lotion

Sponges

Slosh for after work

Proscceco

Finally give everything a really good sweep out and dust down, remember to de – cobweb the walls and ceilings too.

If you need to stock up on anything write a list and get it in now, so your are prepared – we all know how changeable the weather is in Britain!!!!!!!!

You might want to pop up some fly catchers and also look into wall planners, to help you keep organised and on top of entry closing dates, vaccinations, height certificates  and membership renewals.

Most importantly remember to have fun 🙂

 

 

 


 

As the competition is now in full swing it poses a new set of problems for the horse owner – theft. Unfortunately the number of thefts at competitions is on the rise, so what measures can we take to help protect our equipment? Fortunately there are many options available to us.

Firstly look at insurance, so that if the worse happens you are covered. Some companies do tack only options and other give you the choice of adding it onto your horses policy, you may even be able to cover your tack on your house insurance. When insuring your tack please read the policy wording carefully and make sure you can meet all the clauses in place – for example the type of locks you must have etc, there is no point paying for something that wont actually pay out because you had the wrong lock.

If you decide against insurance it may be a good idea to look at putting a bit aside each moth to cover you if anything does go missing. There is nothing worse than not being able to ride because your tack has been stolen and you cannot afford a replacement.

Secondly look into the options of marking your tack and equipment,  some police forces offer a stamping service where you can have you postcode stamped onto your bridle and saddle and it is then registered on a central database, meaning that it not only acts as a deterrent,but also may help you to be reunited with stolen items in the future. The company data tag who do the trailer marking  also offer a saddle marking kit and a tack room security kit, which can just as easily be used on a lorry or trailer.  You could also look at putting trackers onto your tack, you can get ones for pets that would be suitable, there are a variety on the market, so that if your saddle does go missing you can track it. More info can be found on the previous blog: Tack Room Security

So after marking your tack what measures can you put in place to protect it at shows? Well if you are only taking one horse the chances are that you will have your tack with you whenever you are away from the lorry/trailer as you will be using it. However if you are competing in a few different classes/disciplines then you will probably have more than one set of tack with you, meaning that some will be left unattended whilst you are in the ring.

Thieves like to be in and out as quickly as possible so anything that is easy and quick to grab is what draws the eye, any measure you can put in place to keep your tack out of sight and hard to get at will help to keep it safe.

If you have a tack locker on your lorry make sure the door shuts flush and the lock is working, this will give you a secure place to leave tack, and also means that anyone trying to get in is going to take a while, make a lot of noise and hopefully draw attention. If you are using a tack pack or movable tack locker make sure it is attached to the fabric of your lorry/trailer to prevent it being pushed away, a good option for this is bicycle locks – the cable ones that cannot be cut, simply pop it through part of the tack locker and then around part of your lorry/trailer. Make sure you are putting it around parts that cannot be removed, and also make sure that the locker is locked shut.

If you have a lorry with the saddle racks in the horse area have a look at the way your ramp closes, if is one that runs on electric then it will be secure when the lorry is locked, however if it is a manual clip one that you pull open be aware that it can be easily opened by anyone, and people at surrounding lorries may not know you, and would not be aware if someone else was entering your lorry without permission. If your lorry ramp or jockey door cannot be locked shut but you still want to make use of the saddle racks in the horse area have a look at other ways of ways of securing them, you can get special saddle racks that have locks on them from both Stubbs and Bulldog, more information can be found on theses here: Tack Room Security

If you do not have a tack locker and are keeping you tack in the car be sure to cover it up when you are away, putting it in the boot with the parcel shelf down is  quick and easy way to cover it up and prevent people seeing what is inside.  It also acts as a good deterrent as they car alarm will go off if anyone tries to break in.

If you don’t want to leave anything unattended then there are a couple of options try and find a willing volunteer that would be happy to come and sit in the lorry or car whilst you are in the ring this would mean that nothing was left unattended, however there are not many people willing to give up a day to sit in the car.

The other option is to take everything with you, again you will need a willing volunteer and a good tack trolley to put everything on, then you can take it all with you whilst you are away from the lorry/trailer.

If you are going away for a few days competing make sure you bring all you tack back to the lorry/trailer each night, even if you have a tack locker i would advise bringing it back to the lorry/ trailer and locking it away each night. If you leave it outside your stable, then during quite hours when none is about it makes it easier for someone to work on opening it for a while with out being disturbed.

Be mindful of other equipment at shows as well,again its best not to leave anything unattended as it make get taken or borrowed and never returned. It is a good idea to look into luggage that is easy to transport and carry, so you can take everything back to your lorry/trailer and not leave it outside your stable. We have a very good range of luggage designed for these purposes – be sure to check it out here www.tidytackrooms.co.uk.

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A good tack trolley is a must at stay away competitions. Have a look at our one that folds flat for easy transport and storage, and takes 2 sets of tack as well as all the other equipment: The Saddle Sherpa

 

You can use your wheelbarrow, but ensure to wash it out after mucking out to prevent your gear getting dirty/stained.

I would also advise to not leave anything outside your stable at stay away shows, not bedding or hay either as things do go walkabout, the shows are very busy with a high footfall and people arriving and leaving each day making it easy for things to go missing. Basically if you value it, don’t leave it unattended. Even small things like mounting blocks, brushes, brooms etc

As mentioned above thieves like to be in and out as quickly and as quietly as possible so anything you can do to prevent items being grabbed quickly and quietly will work as a preventative measure, anything you can do to secure your equipment that would need electrical tools to remove again is a bonus as thieves will not have access to an electrical supply, nor will they want to be making lots of noise.

Having had my trade stand burgled overnight i know how awful it is to have your hard earned items taken. It is horrendous and then involves lots of time sorting it out with the police and insurance and then finally replacing the items, which in some cases – especially involving tack, is much easier said than done.

If you have tips for keeping equipment safe at show please share them with us.


WE ARE BACK AGAIN THIS YEAR, and super excited. We have a completely new designed trade stand which i am very excited about, and we have a completely new stock range. In fact everything on the stand is new to Windsor, and a lot of the items are new tot eh UK. We will have our amazing range of the Horse and Travel luggage bags and suitcases. These are the best designed storage bags ever. Every part has been cleverly thought through, and designed to provide a solution to issues involving storing and moving equestrian equipment. They are not only beautifully made, very cleaver and super practical, but the whole range is simply stunning and very hard wearing.

We will have the stylish Zilco luggage bags and harness bags. There is the Heritage Collection for the grey lovers out there, and the Bling collection for those who love to sparkle. Both ranges are stunning and very well made. With clever added touches such as the whip holder ont the outside of the bridle bag, and the fleece lining in the boots bags, that protects and shines your boots. The bridle and saddle bags are very roomy and will easily accommodate a full size double bridle and large dressage saddles. The holdalls are also very roomy and have lots of extra outside pockets – a real bonus for popping in last minute luggage additions. They are also stylish enough to use on weekends away t non horsey activities.

We will of course be bringing our own range of storage bags with us. In four colours – Black, Blue, Pink and Purple. We are also adding western pad bags to the collections as well. All the bags come as standard with the writing on and personalisation can be added too. Personalised bags ordered at Royal Windsor will be posted out after the completion of the show, as we are unable to do the personalisiation at the show. However you can pre order your bags, and collect at the show, we currently have 10% all personalised pre ordered bags, that are collected at the show. These bags are really, really great and every tack room should have a set. They are waterproof, and machine washable, and hold so much equipment. They are a really simple, easy way of getting your tack room super organised and super smart. They are also fabulous for on the lorry at away shows too.

We have recently added another new luggage range to our shop. It is from America and is BEAUTIFUL. the bags are all made from neoprene and are waterproof and machine washable, and they have been made in collaboration with artists. The artists paintings have been printed onto the neoprene and then made into the bags. There are a few different designs and we will have 2 to choose from. The collections include hat bags, bridle bags, jacket bags, stirrup covers, holdalls, boot bags and saddle covers. The saddle covers are reversible and are florescent colours on the underneath, so when hacking out you can turn the cover over and add some visibility whilst protecting your saddle. I am very excited about this new range.

We hope to see you at Royal Windsor, please pop by check out the ranges and say hello – stand A147 Tidy Tack Rooms.

To get your discount for collecting at the show simply pop RoyalWindsorCollection in the box at checkout, and 10% will be removed from all qualifying items.