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What Materials Are Horse Tack Typically Made Of?

What Materials Are Horse Tack Typically Made Of?

Learning how to tack a horse properly is an essential skill for any rider. Not only does it ensure the safety and comfort of the horse, but it also helps to establish a bond of trust between horse and rider. In addition, learning how to tack up a horse also improves the rider's skills and confidence. Tacking up requires attention to detail, patience and a willingness to learn. These are all qualities that can be applied to other aspects of riding. 

Below, we discuss horse tacking, the most essential components and the commonly used materials for a tack. We’ll also provide maintenance tips so you can keep your riding essentials for longer.

Let's get started!

What Is A Horse Tack?

Horse tack is a set of equipment used to ride and control a horse. It includes various items that are essential for the rider's safety and comfort, as well as the horse's well-being. 

  • Saddle: The seat on the horse's back that allows the rider to sit comfortably on the animal.
  • Saddle pad: The saddle pad is used to absorb sweat, cushion the saddle, and protect the horse's back.
  • Bridle: The headgear used to control the horse while riding. It is composed of three main components: bit, headpiece and reins. Also known as a headstall in western riding.
  • Bit: A metal bar placed in the horse's mouth that reinforces control signals from the rider.
  • Reins: Straps that are connected to the bit to aid the rider in steering the horse. 
  • Boots: A protective boot wrapped around the horse's leg to prevent the hooves from experiencing force trauma.

The items mentioned above make up the basic horse tack required for riding a horse safely and comfortably.

Common Materials Used for Horse Tack:

Knowing the common horse tack materials is essential for every rider because this allows them to make informed decisions when purchasing and caring for their equipment. If you're a new rider who wants to make intelligent buying choices or a seasoned one looking to take good care of the gear you currently own, then keep on reading:


Leather Tack

Leather is one of the most common materials for making horse tack equipment. It is durable and flexible, and has been used for centuries to make various items, including saddles, bridles, reins and stirrups. Leather is made from animal hides, and the quality depends on how it is processed.

Cowhide is the most common variety utilized for horse tack equipment, particularly headstalls, mainly due to its durability and affordability. Buffalo hide is also popular due to its strength and thickness, making it suitable for heavy-duty equipment like saddles.


Nylon Tack

Nylon is another material that is commonly used in the manufacturing of horse tack. It was first introduced in the 1930s and has become famous for horse owners due to its strength. Nylon is made from petroleum and is known for its resistance to abrasion, mildew and rot. It is also a useful way of adding a pop of color to your horse tack since the synthetic material can be made into any hue possible.


Rayon Tack

Rayon is a synthetic material that can be blended with other fibers to create a variety of textures and finishes. It is known for absorbing moisture, making it an excellent choice for horse saddle pads and girths. One main advantage of rayon in horse tack is its strength. Rayon fibers are stronger than cotton and can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.


Neoprene Tack

Neoprene is a synthetic rubber material that has become increasingly popular in the equestrian world due to its numerous benefits. It is highly resistant to wear and tear, making it ideal for gear used frequently or consistently exposed to the environment. Another reason why neoprene is among the most preferred horse tack materials is its flexibility. It is highly elastic, meaning it can easily conform to the contours of a horse's body, giving the animal a comfortable and secure fit. 


BioThane Tack

BioThane® is a brand name for web-coated nylon. Many consider it one of the best materials in the equine marketplace since it is more durable than nylon and leather combined. It has a similar finish to leather and is famous for being strong, flexible and lightweight. Horse tack equipment made from BioThane® is available in various colors and finishes, making it an excellent choice among riders who want to customize their tack.

How to Choose the Right Material for You

When choosing the suitable material for your horse tack, it's essential to consider the following factors:

  • Durability: If you plan on using your gear frequently or for heavy-duty activities, you'll want to choose a material that can withstand damage. BioThane® is a good choice when durability is your main priority.
  • Horse's Comfort: Some materials may be more abrasive or uncomfortable for your horse, leading to irritation or injury. For example, some horses are allergic to nylon. So it's essential to regularly check the animal's skin for any signs of irritation if you have just incorporated nylon into its tack.
  • Personal Preference: Some materials may be more aesthetically pleasing or fit better with your riding style. Leather, for example, is a classic and traditional choice for horse tack, while synthetic materials, like nylon and BioThane®, offer more color and design options. 

Tips on Maintaining and Caring For Your Horse Tack

Horse riding is a fulfilling and enjoyable activity, but it comes with a significant responsibility to maintain and care for your horse tack. Neglecting your riding equipment leads to your horse's discomfort and shortens your gear's lifespan. 

So, how can you ensure that your horse tack stays in top condition no matter what material they are made of?

Useful tips:

  1. Clean your equipment after every use to avoid dirt and sweat buildup.
  2. Wipe down your gear with a damp cloth. Only use mild soap and water to avoid damaging the material. 
  3. Only use conditioners and protectants made for a specific material. For example, you can buy leather conditions specially made for horse tack equipment since general leather products may contain ingredients that are harmful to horses.
  4. Be careful not to use too many cleaning products on the material. To ensure that you are using the item correctly, read the instructions carefully. If there are no directions on the product's bottle, you can usually find it on its box or paper inserts.
  5. After cleaning, allow the equipment to air-dry completely.
  6. When storing, avoid exposing the material to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can cause the material to break down quickly.
  7. If you notice any signs of cracking on the horse tacking materials, replace them immediately to ensure the safety and comfort of your horse. 

By following these tips, you can ensure that your tack remains in good condition and lasts for years to come. 

Shop at AJ Tack for High-Quality Riding Equipment

If you require high-quality horse tack equipment, AJ Tack is the go-to destination for all your riding needs. Our extensive range of products, exceptional customer service and competitive prices will give you the best deals.

Feel free to visit our website to explore our collection of riding equipment. Contact us  today if you have any questions about our offerings.

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