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Handy Hints

Are you new to horse or pony ownership?

No idea what you need?

Here at Discount-Equestrian we have put together a list of things we think you should have and things you might find useful.  Please bear in mind though that each horse and pony is different and will have different needs.

Horse / Pony Tack

  • Bridle - The type depends upon your horses need.  What bridle is he/she currently being ridden in?  Does the horse try to get his tongue over the bit? What colour would you prefer?  If you are planning to enter showing classes then brown or havana is best.  Cost of bridles varies dramatically and price is typically dependent on quality of leather used and brand, also if the bridle has fancy stitching it will cost more.
  • Bit - There are many different bits on the market which are used for all different purposes.  You should seek the advice of the person you are buying the horse or pony from, so that you use a bit that the horse is used to.  You also need to ensure you get the correct size of bit.  Too big and it will sit too low in the horses mouth, too small and it will pinch his lips.
  • Reins - Some bridles (usually the more expensive ones) don't come with reins so you need to check this, rubber covered reins are good as they offer great grip even in the rain, but they may be a little thick for little hands, in which case half covered rubber reins are a thinner alternative
  • Martingale - does your new horse or pony throw their head in the air?  You may need a running or standing martingale.  Bear in mind that only a running martingale should be used for jumping and no martingales can be used for showing.  If you buy a martingale you will need a martingale stop and rein stops (unless your reins come with these already.
  • Saddle - The fit of your saddle is of the up most importance as if this doesn't fit properly you could cause damage to your horses back.  We would only advise you purchase saddles online if you have had the horse fitted for a saddle previously or if you buy a saddle with an interchangable gullet system - please call us if you are unsure and would like advice
  • Girths are used to keep the saddle secure on your horse or pony's back.  In order to gauge the correct size sit a saddle on your horses back and measure with a tape from half way up the girth leathers on one side to half way up the leathers on the other side.  If your horse is currently overweight and you are planning on slimming him down then go for a slightly shorter girth and if your horse is underweight go for a slightly longer length. 
  • Stirrup Irons - There are a wide variety to choose from depending upon your requirements.  If you are purchasing for a child we would advise Peacock Safety Stirrups as they prevent a child getting their foot caught in the event of a fall.  Mark Todd Flexi Stirrups are an excellent choice for those interested in showjumping and eventing as they move with the foot when the heel is down.
  • Stirrup Leathers - These attach the stirrup irons to the saddle.  The come in a range of lengths, colours to match the saddle and qualities.  We would advise reinforced, bonded or pre stretched stirrup leathers as these wont stretch over time.
  • Leather care products - Probably the biggest investment you will make after buying your horse or pony is their tack and we have a wide range of leather soap and conditioners to keep your tack in tip top condition.


Horse Wear - Rugs 

  • Outdoor rugs - Outdoor rugs come in different thicknesses this is described at the gram weight of the rug.  The denier of an outdoor rug is the durability of the outer fabric.  The thickness or weight you require will depend on the type of horse or pony you have and the weather.  Another factor will be if your horse is clipped.  A clipped horse should always be rugged.  
  • Indoor or Stable Rugs - Again the thickness or gram of the rug depends on the type of horse and whether they are clipped and of course the weather 
  • Fleece/cooler rugs - These are typically used for travelling and at shows.  They are lightweight and keep the chill off a horse or pony which is standing around however they also tend to have good wicking properties allowing the horse to sweat without getting a chill.
  • Exercise Sheets - These are typically used when riding out on finer breeds or clipped horses.  We have these in both standard and reflective fabrics (great for riding on the road at dusk).
  • Fly rugs - These have a number of purposes the first being that the tight weave mesh keeps the horse cool without letting the insects through.  The second is that they offer great protection against the suns harmful rays, this is particularly useful if you have a grey or coloured horse which is susceptible to sunburn.


Grooming and General Care

  • A basic grooming kit is an essential for any horse or pony owner.  The kit should include - Dandy Brush, Body Brush, Hoof Pick, sponges for eyes and dock area.  Items which you may like to add are things such as rubber curry comb, sweat scraper, tack box to keep everything neat and tidy.  At Discount-Equestrian we sell individual grooming items and complete kits 
  • First Aid - Every horse or pony owner should have a basic first aid kit allowing you to attend to minor cuts, bruises, swelling and scrapes.  If in doubt however always ring your vet!   A basic first aid kit should consist of basic items such as Thermometer, Scissors, Gamgee or other absorbent padding, Antiseptic Wound Cleaner such as wound wash, clean bandages, antiseptic cream, Salt - either epsom salts or ordinary table salt to wash out wounds.  The amount of products available is great and you could easily find yourself with a box of products with no idea how and when to use them  so we would suggest only adding additional items if you are confident in using them.  Robinsons Heathcare have a great First Aid Kit for Horse and Rider which comes with all essential items 


Stable Products 

  • Mucking Out Tools - It's a dirty job but we all have to do it!  The tools you will need depend upon the type of bedding you use.  Shavings need shavings fork and we do two types depending on whether you have rubber matting underneath your shavings and straw beds need something like the Fynalite Hi Strength Manure Fork.  We also have a range of brooms and shovels.  You will notice that we dont sell wheelbarrows and would advise that your local DIY store should have something suitable.
  •  Buckets - You will need a water bucket and if your horse or pony gets two feeds a day you will need 2 feed buckets.  You will also probably need a bucket to soak your sugarbeet if you feed it.  
  • Hay or Haylage - You could either go for a hay or haylage net or a fixed on wall hay rack - this is entirely down to personal preference.
  • Feed Scoops - We advise dustbins to house feed which can be purchased from DIY stores rather reasonably.  You will then need scoops to measure out the feed and a stirrer so your hands don't get covered in feed every night!  
  • Saddle, Bridle, Rug and anything else racks!  You will quickly accumulate lots of rugs, tack, straps, boots etc and if you want to keep them neat and tidy you will need some storage products.  We have a large range of all manner of hooks and racks available


We hope you have found this guide helpful.  Should you have any questions or would like further advice please call us.  All of our staff have had horses for many years and would be glad to assist any new horse or pony owner with products they may need or just general advice.  01740 645938