Tack is just a fancy word for the equipment you put on a horse. And you can imagine that anything you strap onto a sweating, dusty horse is soon going to need to be cleaned! Cleaning your tack does three important things:
1. keeps you looking good!
2. keeps your tack strong and supple.
3. keeps your tack from rubbing your horse’s sensitive skin.
Dirt and sweat can make leather crack and break, not to mention giving your poor pony sores. So don’t be afraid to buckle down and scrub up. To help you out, here’s a two-part video of how to clean your tack. Let me know if you’ve got any questions. Happy sudsing!
So I had a great question from Alese about tips for jumping. To kick it off, here’s a quick “top ten” of my jumping advice. You’ll notice quite a few of these are from my “top-ten always said” list–jumping is a lot like dressage, just with bumps!
1. You go where you look. This law is true for good and bad. It means that your horse can tell which way to turn after a jump just because you’re looking at the next jump–or it can mean your horse comes to a skidding halt because you’re looking down at the jump! Picking a tree or building to look at that is directly beyond your jump can help you keep your eyes up and ride a straight line to your jump.
As with all things horses, there is not just one kind of jump. There are dozens of basic jump types, all with their own names and variations upon variations. Here is a diagram of the basic “cross rail” stadium jump. Stadium jumps can be knocked over, and are usually made out of light wooden or plastic poles resting between two supports, called “standards.” These poles are held up by “jump cups.” If a jump has a ground pole, you ALWAYS jump the jump so that the ground pole is in the front of the jump. At shows or busy arenas, there is always a red flag that marks the right side of the jump and a white flag that marks the left side. Always jump a jump with the red flag on the right side of the jump.