Quick tack safety check

Inspect four areas to make sure your bridle and saddle are in good shape.

A full-scale safety check of your tack before each ride is ideal, but it’s not always possible. At a minimum, take a good look at the following locations as you tack up. If you find any significant problems, swap out equipment or postpone your ride until the issue is fixed.

Close up of a bay horse's head wearing a bridle with a snaffle bit.
Places where leather meets metal tend to wear quickly.

• Straps and billets that secure cinches and girths. Cracked leather or stretched holes are an indication of weakness that could lead to failure and possible catastrophe during a ride.

Click here to learn how to read equine body language.

• Stirrup leathers. Worn, stretched or otherwise damaged leathers are at risk of giving way.

• Locations where metal and leather meet. Places where buckles and bits connect with leather tend to wear quickly and undermine tack safety. Any significant damage is cause for concern.

• Hook studs and Chicago screws. Just like buckles, these pieces of hardware hold your strap tack together. Give them a solid wiggle as you tack up to ensure they are still holding tightly.

This article first appeared in EQUUS issue #466, July 2016.

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