Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Tack Change

Apart from adding the non slip grip gel pad, I've also gone back to using my Cope safety iron.

Betty Skelton mentioned in her book, Side Saddle Riding, that her father always made her ride with a safety iron even though her side saddles had safety stirrup bars on them as it would be unlikely that both safety devices would fail if she came off. I used to use this iron on my Champion & Wilton saddle for that very reason and when ever I came off, I always felt the iron release before the safety catch did on the saddle (it was kept well oiled and opened easily).

I'm glad I had this iron on my off-side side saddle when I fell of jumping last August as the saddle had a roller bar on it and once again, the iron opened up before I even hit the ground.

My Whippy came with a normal side saddle egg- eyed Prussian stirrup iron which I do like as it's a nice trim iron but better to be safe than sorry! The only problem with the safety iron, is that it's long and I had to punch extra holes in the stirrup leather to get the correct length for me. It's an OK length for me now although I would prefer it a little shorter but there isn't enough room left to punch any more holes. Maybe when I get some extra cash, I will buy a slightly shorter leather but it's ok for now.

I was really pleased with my three buckle three fold girth made by Owen on Sunday as well. This is another piece of tack that I used to use with my C&W saddle.

I had wanted to use it when I first got my Whippy but because it was newly and heavily flocked up, it was too short. It fits now as the flocking has settled in and Hattie has become fitter and trimmer due to all the schooling and riding we have been doing since actually having a saddle that fits. Hopefully it will still fit after my saddler adjusts the flocking.

This is a really handy girth due to the triple fork in it as it stablizes the saddle. It's also handy for Hattie as the forked ends can spread out to each billet and not cause the girth to drag the saddle forward (you can see how they spread out on her in the photos). The saddle stayed put while jumping on Sunday and it stayed put while schooling today too. I have a normal atherstone elastic ended girth for my close contact saddle (astride) and that has a split end as well so that I can buckle it to the point and 4th billet with ease as the elastic end will spread as does the split side. I think split/forked girths are a Hattie necessity.

It's a shame they don't make three fold girths like this any more as the forked ends do seem to be kinder to the horse and also as an extra safety precaution too. If one billet goes, at least you have two more. The Manorgrove saddler did make me a three buckle girth but it didn't have forked ends so it was always a hassle girthing it up due to the last billet being far back and so fork to reach it.

There you go, to all you saddlers out there, a nifty idea for you to make, start making the Owen three buckle forked three fold girths again!


  1. I have the same issue with my safety stirrup it seems HUGE and I have trouble a) getting the stirrup short enough and b) my foot seems to move around in it too much and it's distracting.

    Love that girth though, looks interesting!

  2. Leila - where is a good online source to buy a safety stirrup? I'd like to put one on my saddle (I'm a bit suspicious of the mayhew fitting, it feels stiff) and I really want to start jumping this summer & want to be super safe. I have already found myself a pink body protector! lol

  3. American Lady Aside and the Sidesaddlery have them I believe.

  4. Laura Dempsey sells them for £35, Side Saddles sells for £35 as well (this is where I bought mine from). Robert Jenkins has them on his website as well but no price listed but I'm sure he's selling his for about the same as everyone else in the UK. It may be cheaper buying one from the UK since they are made here as they are quite expensive in the US.