Western Tack & Gear Guide

Your guide to great tack and gear!

All Around 5 Star Saddle Pad

Why wool? As the people at 5 Star Equine Products will tell you, saddle pads made from this natural fiber offer superior protection while wicking away moisture, removing excess heat, absorbing pressure and contouring to your horse’s back.

The company’s top-selling pad is the All Around 5 Star Saddle Pad, an excellent choice for barrel racing, trail riding, and roping, as well as use with smaller-skirted saddles. The 100% pure wool felt cleans up easily and stabilizes your saddle with limited cinching. Handmade in the USA, this 30″ x 30″ square-skirted pad includes wear leathers for added protection and durability. It is available in 1/2″, 3/4″, 7/8″, 1″ and 11/8″ thicknesses, and in your choice of natural, cinnamon, dark chocolate, black, pink, turquoise, purple, red, royal blue or burgundy colors.

5 Star has been in business for 21 years and continues to offer exciting new tack and gear without compromising quality. Other 5 Star products include a full line of all-natural mohair cinches, breast collars and halters, as well as a full line of neoprene Patriot Sport Boots. www.5starequine.com; (870) 389-6328

Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles

Sooner or later, every rider dreams of a saddle that’s attractive, comfortable to sit in and easy on one’s horse—especially after long hours on the trail. But as the folks at Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles will tell you, not all saddles are created equal. That’s where they come in, offering progressive fitting techniques, excellent customer service and top quality materials to make your dream a reality.

Whether you prefer a saddle in a simple, traditional design or an over-the-top work of art, Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles is committed to meeting your needs and serves both trail and performance riders. Company employees strive to make you and your horse comfortable without sacrificing style or functionality. There are many models available, as well as custom options, and it doesn’t matter what kind of horse you have. He might be a draft horse, a gaited horse, short-backed, “as round as a propane tank or as narrow as a fence rail”—Allegany has years of experience working with even hard-to-fit equines. In addition, everything purchased from this company is backed by a 100% guarantee. www.trailridingsaddles.com

BOOMA® Flexible Rein Keeper

If there’s one fear among riders that’s almost universal, it’s losing the reins. Short of falling from your horse, it’s one of the most frightening things that can happen while riding. Whether it’s a child whose pony insists on grazing or an adult who drops the reins when his horse stumbles on the trail, it can lead to a loss of control. To make matters worse, the horse’s legs can become entangled in the dropped reins.

If these scenarios sound unnerving, the BOOMA® Flexible Rein Keeper is worth a look. Crafted of durable, water-resistant polypropylene, this unique device tethers the reins to the pommel or the saddle swell via an included carabiner O-ring, so they’ll always be in reach. It’s adjustable enough to fit any horse or rider and flexible enough to let a horse lower his head comfortably. The BOOMA® Flexible Rein Keeper is a safe, smart idea for everyday riding and training, trail riding or even speed sports like roping or barrel racing. To learn more or to order, visit the website. boomarein.com; (402) 440-5108

Cashel Drover Saddle

When you need a versatile, all-around saddle that’s handsome to boot, Cashel Company steps up with the aptly-named Drover. Heavy and durable enough for ranching, herding and everyday work, it is also built for comfort—think long days on the trail, hunting trips and just enjoying your time with your horse.

Crafted from high-quality Hermann Oak leather (now available in chocolate roughout), the Drover sports a fully padded seat and an AXIS™ tree for complete, even contact and a good fit on your horse. Other notable features include an association swell with a mule hide-wrapped dally horn; tie rings woven into each string set, with an additional crupper ring; and standard 4″-wide Monel stirrups.

This saddle is made in the USA, with 100% all-natural sheep wool and soft leather latigos. It is available in 14″, 15″, 16″ and 17″ tree sizes, as well as the standard gullet and wide gullet options. For more information, see your local Cashel dealer or visit the website. www.cashelcompany.com; (800) 333-2202

CSI Saddle Pad System

It goes without saying that a saddle pad should provide comfort under the saddle. But the CSI saddle pad system takes that one step further, helping your horse achieve a greater range of motion and possibly increasing his performance level.

The key to this unique system, which works with all types of saddles (including flex-panel and treeless models), is the revolutionary CSI Flex-Plate. This in-pad plate increases the contact area of the saddle bars and creates a larger footprint for the tree. This spreads the pressure of the saddle—and with it, the rider’s weight—over a larger surface area, which, in turn, reduces or eliminates pinch and pressure points. (Even with a treeless saddle, the CSI Flex-Plate provides highly flexible weight and pressure distribution that helps reduce soreness and fatigue.) In effect, the CSI Flex-plate acts as an orthotic for the horse’s back, promoting unhindered movement and even wither relief, thanks to a 2½-inch contour design. CSI products are proudly made in the USA, and each pad comes with a 30-Day “Ride It, Try It, Get It Dirty” money-back guarantee. For more information, visit the website. www.csisaddlepads.com

Dixie Midnight No-Sweat™ Vent Pad

A classic is a classic for a reason; it works well. For 23 years, the Dixie Midnight No-Sweat™ vent pad has helped trail riders keep their horses’ backs cooler and their saddle pads clean and dry. Dixie Midnight guarantees it, or your money back.

The No-Sweat™ vent pad is easy to add to your saddling routine. Just place it on your horse’s back, with your saddle pad on top of that, and then your saddle. The vent pad’s soft material, which is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, is designed to conform to the horse’s back. Airflow is maintained under even a fuzzy saddle pad thanks to the vent pad’s large, loosely-interlocked fibers. Increased airflow results in a cooler equine back, with no sweat trapped in the saddle pad. A cooler, drier back is less prone to soreness from lactic acid build-up and less likely to develop skin infections. And with no need to launder your regular saddle pad after every ride, that pad might last longer, too. Cleanup of the vent pad is simple: Just rinse it with water. Completely made in the USA. www.dixiemidnight.com; (888) 287-6716

Fabtron Saddles and Tack

“Made in America” means a lot to Stan and Brad Headrick, whose family business, Fabtron, began handcrafting leather tack in the 1970s. It should mean something to riders, too, if they appreciate premium materials and craftsmanship. In an era when many saddles sold over the internet are cheap, questionably-tanned imports that aren’t even steer hide, Fabtron is one of the last family-owned companies in the U.S. manufacturing a full line of saddles and tack from vegetable-tanned cowhides.

From its Lady Trail, Easy Rider and other trail models to saddles for youth, barrel racers, gaited, Arabian and draft horses (to name a few), Fabtron’s range of products is broad. The Tennessee-based company also offers a wide selection of quality tack, halters and strap goods made from nylon, cotton and poly. These days, Fabtron is taking the tack-making tradition to a new level by introducing computerized automation for precision cutting and sewing. What does this mean? Parts that fit perfectly in your saddle, your headstall or your halter, time after time. It’s an investment in the future that not many companies are undertaking, but Fabtron is going the extra mile for discerning customers seeking quality saddlery and tack that lasts. www.fabtron.com

SuperMask® II Horse Fly Mask

Sometimes your horse needs a fly mask that does more than keep flies at bay. That’s why Farnam designed the SuperMask® II Horse Fly Mask, which not only blocks flying pests but shields against dust, windborne debris and harsh sunlight. A handy solution for year-round turnout, this mask can be especially beneficial to equines whose delicate facial skin is easily irritated by insect bites. And if you’ve ever wished for a way to protect your horse’s eyes while trailering, this mask can help. The same goes for horses recovering from eye surgery or being treated for an eye infection.

The mask’s comfortable style offers generous coverage that extends down the face without rubbing, abrasion or obstruction of vision. There’s even a horse-proof, double-latch closure to help foil mischievous pasture mates who might try to remove it. Extra mesh protection for those oh-so-sensitive ears is also available, if needed. Last but not least, the SuperMask® II boasts a personalized name tag, a real blessing at a busy facility with multiple horses. No more switched fly masks! Available in X-large, horse, small horse/Arabian, yearling and foal sizes. Farnam.com

Tough1 Canyon Sunset Collection

Whether in the show ring, the practice pen or out on the trail, the Tough1 Canyon Sunset Collection lets you add a little personality to your ride. The secret is the fun “canyon sunset” fabric print at the heart of this collection. The high-quality, leather-brow headstall and breast collar sport wide panels that help show off this striking fabric. Other attractive design elements include red finished leather accents, as well as black berry-edge conchos and buckles. This set is available in horse size as well as mini/pony size.

To complete your look, there is also a 1” red felt saddle pad with a shock-absorbing foam inner layer and coordinating “canyon sunset” wear leather accents. And while you’re investing in tack embellished with this colorful theme, take a look at the four-piece grooming set available in a matching design. It consists of a body brush, a finishing brush, a face brush and a hoof pick—important tools to have at the barn and on the road. For more information, visit the website. www.Tough1.com

TrailMax 500 Series Saddle Bag

If you and your horse hit the trail regularly, chances are you need more than a saddle bag—you need a system. And who knows these needs better than other trail riders? That’s why Outfitters Supply created the TrailMax 500 Series saddle bag components. Designed by trail riders for trail riders, they work together to carry everything and keep it organized.

The system includes a set of rear saddle bags, a cantle bag, a water pocket with an outer pocket and stainless steel water bottle, a pommel pocket, and a side front pocket with a small outside pocket. The saddle bags have several outside pockets and an inside mesh pocket for smaller items. All of the saddle bags are constructed from double-stitched, reinforced, water-resistant 1680-denier fabric with weather-resistant zippers. The saddle bags, water pocket and front pocket are all padded with closed-cell foam for additional protection. Use all of them for an extended ride, or just one or two as needed. Multiple attachment options enable you to add the bags to almost any endurance or Western saddle without fear of shifting. www.outfitterssupply.com; (406) 892-3650

Phoenix Rising Legacy Saddle

Whether your horse is gaited or non-gaited, Phoenix Rising Saddles can improve your ride. Designed to encourage freedom of movement through the loins, back, shoulders and neck, they enable a horse to round up and collect comfortably under saddle.

The company’s latest offering is the Legacy, a saddle with a traditional look and cutting-edge features. Its unique forward placement prevents pressure on the loins, places the rider in a naturally balanced bareback position and is especially good for short-backed horses. Flexible tree bars adjust to fit each horse, with a suspended leather ground seat providing stability and allowing a closer feel. Thanks to its three-point rigging, the saddle is evenly strapped down and the cinch sits farther back, preventing elbow galls. Last but not least, Supracor Therapeutic Honeycomb Padding distributes weight, prevents pressure and conforms to a horse’s build, while Supracor Stimulite Honeycomb delivers shock-absorbing comfort in the seat and stirrup tread.

At Phoenix Rising Saddles, “white-glove” customer care includes remote fitting assistance and a flexible, 14-day trial on all of its hand-crafted saddles. To view a video, see the website. Also, sign up for the newsletter by Oct. 1 to be entered for a saddle giveaway. www.phoenixrisingsaddles.com; (716) 665-2999

Soft-Ride Gel Comfort Boots

No foot, no horse: That old adage is worth heeding, because the health of a horse’s feet is essential to his well-being. Unfortunately, when a horse stands tied for any length of time—whether in a stall or a moving trailer—his feet and legs are susceptible to not only fatigue, but soreness. Soft-Ride Gel Comfort Boots are designed to help minimize that fatigue and accelerate recovery time by providing traction, support, stability and shock absorption—and therefore, comfort.

The secret lies in the exclusive Deep Gel patented orthotics. Use of this technology can lead to improved circulation in the hoof and relief of static tension to the deep flexor tendon. The only such boots that can be used with or without shoes, Soft-Ride Gel Comfort Boots come in 18 different sizes, with options for horses with medical conditions.

Also available: The portable Soft-Ride Ice Spa, which is ideal for pre/post workout or competition, as well as for the 72-hour continual submersion laminitis icing protocol. When combined with the Sea Salt minerals, it offers safe, rapid recovery from inflammation. For more information, visit the website. www.softrideboots.com; (885) 763-8743

Specialized Saddles

A precision fit for your horse: That’s the goal of Specialized Saddles, which custom-builds saddles to your personalized order using grade-one leather from the oldest, most reputable leather manufacturer in the U.S.

All models feature a patented, 3D adjustable fitting system that takes into consideration all three dimensions of the equine back. This unique system allows you to independently adjust your saddle to fit each side of your horse in terms of width, arch (dip of the back) and angle. After all, our equine partners can be asymmetrical (with one shoulder slightly larger than the other, for example), just like people.

But what about the rider? Comfort is a priority, with saddle seats fashioned from soft, supple leather and padded with reboundable foam. Adjustable stirrup positioning allows a rider to set the stirrups in the way that is most comfortable for his or her body and posture. Specialized Saddles offers a full line of Western saddles and saddles without horns, at weights starting at only 9 pounds—all handmade to your specifications, one at a time, in Texas. www.specializedsaddles.com; (915) 345-4130

Sycamore Creek Saddles

The exclusive North American representative for CTK Saddlery of Bogota, Columbia, since 2003, Sycamore Creek Saddles—which is based in Montana—offers handmade, custom leather saddles designed for the way you ride. That means saddles for gaited and non-gaited horses, in your choice of Western, endurance, Tereque or trail saddle styles, crafted with only the highest quality materials, including fine Columbian leather.

Answer a few simple questions, and you’re on your way to that made-for-me feel that every rider craves. Easy Back mapping helps ensure a great fit for your horse, too. Added comfort features that benefit both horse and rider include a high-density, closed-cell memory foam under the saddle and in the seat. In addition, Sycamore Saddles are fully customizable—whether you select from the suggested options or prefer to get more creative, such as with custom designed stamping or custom colors. This company’s goal is to make every horse and rider, regardless of discipline, a beautiful, comfortable saddle that fits well at a fair and reasonable price. www.sycamorecreeksaddles.net

Synergy® Natural Fit Performance Pad

Have you ever stopped to consider whether your saddle pad follows the rising of your horse’s back as he travels? Many pads respond to this motion by breaking down in the center, but the Synergy® Natural Fit Performance Pad from Weaver Leather is specifically shaped to accommodate a horse’s collected back.

The specially contoured pad conforms to the back, creating a pocket for it during this upward movement and encouraging comfortable collection. It also features a lightweight, ventilated Natural Fit EVA sport foam insert that is designed to maximize airflow for cool performance. Because the foam has excellent recoil and resists compression over time, the pad retains its “natural fit” shape ride after ride. In addition, sweat is pulled away naturally by a moisture-wicking wool liner for even cooling on your horse’s back. The Synergy® Natural Fit Performance Pad is built for durability, too, with a tightly-woven, rugged 100% wool topper and premium wear leathers that are constructed to last. It measures 33″ x 38″ and comes in four color options. To purchase a pad or find a dealer, visit the website. www.ridethebrand.com/synergy

Troxel Rebel Navajo Helmet

Low and bold: That’s the trendsetting concept behind Troxel’s new Rebel Navajo, a low-profile Western helmet tastefully accented with bright, Southwestern-style graphics. The striking design is sure to appeal to riders who want to make a statement or those who like matching their horses’ apparel and gear to their own.

But fashion in the saddle needn’t be bulky, heavy or uncomfortable, as Troxel proves time and again. This lightweight, streamlined helmet also sports features like full, mesh-covered ventilation and the SureFit™ Pro system, which adjusts to the shape of your head. In addition, the Rebel Navajo is ASTM/SEI-certified for the latest in protective technology. Caring for this helmet is easy, too, thanks to its sturdy, Matte Duratec™ finish and FlipFold™ removable, washable headliner with Air-Channel™ technology. Available in the following sizes to fit every rider: S (6 5/8–7), M (7–7 1/4), L (7 1/4–7 3/8) and XL (7 3/8–7 3/4). For more information, check out the website. www.troxelhelmets.com/rebel

The ULTIMATE Helmet Holder™

Transporting and storing headgear can prove a bit tricky, especially since it needs protection, as well. Fortunately, it’s a challenge that the new, patent-pending ULTIMATE Helmet Holder™, a sister product to the ULTIMATE Hat Hanger™, was created to solve.

A study in versatility, the Helmet Holder, which is crafted from vinyl-coated steel, is adjustable, mountable and portable. You can even customize its shape to fit your particular helmet with a gentle bending of the legs or front bar. It can hold helmets on the front, back or side—as well as other items such as bridles, chaps or even boots in addition to the helmets. Thanks to its swiveling hook, multiple options are possible. Permanent mounting of the Helmet Holder to your tack room wall or trailer rib should not prove an issue, since it comes with a self-contained mounting plate. Should you prefer to keep it portable, however, the Helmet Holder can also be hung from the headrest pole in a vehicle or from the back of a chair, to name just two possibilities. www.MyHelmetHolder.com

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