I’ve been riding Thunder in a western saddle because Baron’s saddle doesn’t fit him at all. They’re built completely differently and Baron’s saddle was clearly not going to work. The western saddle has been at the barn for years, not even sure who it belongs to, but it fit Thunder perfectly and it worked until I could find a deal on something of the English variety.
I found a Courbette Luxor on Ebay for $250. It’s older but still in great condition. I love it because the flap isn’t super forward. I can do flat work with a longer leg position and not feel weird. I don’t jump a ton, hardly ever really, so the dressage-ey flap is great for me. Y’all, there is a reason those saddles cost thousands of dollars. It is so comfortable! I slide right into it and I feel like I’m sitting exactly where I should be. Most importantly, it fits Thunder. He looks so cute all tacked up, it’s ridiculous.
Thunder’s old owner threw in his bridle when I bought him. The bit is a full cheek French link with no keepers attached. I had to google the purpose of a full cheek bit. It really only works if you attach keepers. The keepers are little pieces of leather that attach to the cheek piece which in turn connects to the top of the bridle. It acts as leverage on the poll. It’s meant to encourage the horse to keep his head down or to have a more vertical headset. I’m not crazy about any artificial aid that puts a horse in a frame, but it’s a non-issue because the keepers weren’t attached and so the leverage effect wasn’t happening. Without the keepers the full cheek is kind of useless. It may as well be a D ring or eggbutt. The cheek pieces can get caught on things without the keepers as well, so I decided to toss it in favor of something else.
I’ve been riding Thunder in Baron’s snaffle bit which he seems to like. I borrowed a D ring snaffle from another boarder and, if it fits him, I’ll buy it. I’ll try him in it tomorrow and see how it works. Mostly I want Thunder to be comfortable and not mind being ridden. I googled “What is the kindest bit?” and the general consensus seems to be that it’s the rider’s hands that make a bit gentle. Harsh hands make a harsh bit. Since Thunder is an easy going guy, I feel like I can get by with a really mild bit.
We all know the tack situation is a big deal. To work at their highest potential, horses need saddles that fit and bits they don’t hate. This is one step closer to setting Thunder up for success!