Speaking of the long climb back to the saddle, here's a piece of equipment that I will probably never use on Fiddle:
A tailing rope is used by Ride and Tie competitors and Uber Jocks who spend a lot of miles running beside the horse rather than riding astride the beastie. Yup, not very useful to me! When doing Ride and Tie-esque activities like trail-building, I use rope reins and tie those to the tree. No extra equipment required.
Doesn't this fleece saddle and fender cover look comfy? Real Marino wool, ummmm.
It turns out that padding the fenders of the saddle with fleece makes the barrel of my horse seem GIGANTIC. I felt like I was riding a Thelwell pony, and my back and hips were sore for a week afterwards. These days, I have a Merino fleece seat cover, and my stirrup leathers are just fine being naked.
Speaking of naked:
Padded knickers? It is to laugh. God has provided me with plenty of padding, thankyouverymuch. Jim tried the men's version of these, and he didn't like them much either, even though God skimped on his derriere padation.
Here's an example of how A Little More Isn't Always Better:The Deluxe Stowaway pack has not only pouches on the front, but also bottle holders. Too much of a good thing for my taste. I like to strap my pouches to the pommel of the saddle, not onto the neck of the horse, and the Deluxe is too wide to do that gracefully. Also, I find that strapping the Deluxe onto the front of the saddle (as shown in the photo) means covering up a huge amount of hot horse. Not ideal. I use the smaller Stowaway packs, and they work fine--a water bottle in each pouch, and a few essentials in the middle pack.
I also briefly used and quickly discarded a ridecard/map pocket that clips to the breast collar. It sounded like a great idea...but turned out to be more of a pain than a help, and was just one more thing hanging off the side of my horse. It wasn't necessary, and the cards and maps fit just fine inside the fanny pack I always carry, so the extra pocket went into the used tack sale.
What about a heart rate monitor?
Well, after I ran my last set of HRM gear through the washing machine (the electronics don't work very well after that), I've been too stingy to go get another set. It's been about 5 years. Maybe I'll replace it eventually....maybe not.
I have a wristtop GPS, and I use it sometimes. However, with the amount of tree cover here in the Swamp, the GPS often doesn't get a good signal. Especially on cloudy days. We have a lot of cloudy days. My GPS gets left at home most of the time.
Other equipment that I've finally decided I don't need:
Glow-in-the-dark halter, which only glows for about an hour after sundown....which is NOT when I wake up wondering if my horse is where I put her. Also, this product is WHITE and shrinks in the wash...anybody want mine? It won't even fit over Fiddle's nose. These days I ziptie a glowstick to her halter (under her chin). It's usually still glowing by noon the next day.
I also no longer take billions of buckets to camp, although a former riding partner insisted we needed to carry them "just in case." In more than ten years of camping with horses, I've never needed more than a big water bucket, a small feed pan and a medium-sized bucket for each horse. The other buckets can just stay home!
Oh, and speaking of camping, who in the world invented hay bale bags?
What a ripoff. I've never had a bale bag last for an entire weekend without ripping a seam, breaking a zipper, or just losing a random torn-off bit. I put the last set into the recycle bin, and now I use a tarp. I've used the same tarp to wrap haybales for 3 years.
I wrote a whole blog post about containing horses in camp, and my negative experience with portable electric corrals.
I don't miss unravelling electric tape in high winds one little bit.
Finally, there's my riding crop. It's true, I rode with one for years. Now it's gathering dust in the trailer.
It turns out that Fiddle is one of those type-A perfectionistic horses who wants specific instructions rather than a general comment. She doesn't want a tap on her shoulder telling her to stop doing something. She responds best to a light poke from my spur to indicate that I want her to move a particular foot in a particular direction at this particular time.
Yes, my mare is a potential dressage diva, and if it makes communication with her easier, I'm happier to use the tool she prefers:
Jim bought me a pair of "bling" Prince of Wales spurs. The (purple) rhinestones are usually covered up by my halfchaps, but I know that I'm wearing something sparkley. I love that.
Using the POW spurs has also refined my leg cues--so I'm not working so hard to ask for something, and Fee doesn't have to work so hard to figure out what the heck I'm asking her to do.
So that's good.
Now it's time for reader feedback!
What equipment have you tried and discarded? What didn't work? What was incredibly inconvenient--or dangerous?
Share your experience in the comments!