A great source of information is your local tack shop. Halfway between the town where we live and the closest “big city,” tucked off the highway where you would never know where it is except for a roadside sign, is the best little tack shop around: C&S Western & Tack Shop. They have EVERYTHING there – tack, barn stuff, shoeing supplies, grooming supplies, boots – you name it. And the owner, Charlie, really knows his stuff. He’s been a great source of information and advice for us. He knows just about everyone in the area, too, so he knows who to talk to if you need something he doesn’t have (like hay). There’s a bulletin board full of resources in the shop, too. Charlie is also one of the nicest people we’ve met in a place full of nice people, and he has the best stories. If you’re ever in Greenback, Tennessee, look them up!
Many times over the last few weeks I have felt that horse ownership is not for beginners. Seriously – I think that people who have horses or supply horse stuff don’t even consider that horse stuff might possibly be used by someone who hasn’t always had horses. This is one of those times. I got the bridle/halter combo today, and it came in a big Ziploc bag. No pictures, no instructions, nothing. Here’s what I have to work with:
The bridle/halter was supposed to arrive in the mail today. The box did in fact arrive, but for some reason all they sent was one rein. I don’t know much about tack, but I don’t think I can make this work. The ride is delayed yet again.
We got a saddle today! A very nice person we know let us borrow a saddle. I can’t believe someone would be that nice. I love this place! She also came over and showed us how to put it on the horse, and made sure the stirrups were adjusted correctly for me. That was so thoughtful, I can forgive her comment that the stirrups were already in the right place for me because her kids had been using the saddle.
So I was perusing a horse products catalog, because there is just a ton of stuff we need. We’ve been getting things a little bit at a time since we got Valentine. Some of it I know we need, and some of it I’m sure “real” horse people would laugh at. I’ve gotten various grooming supplies, and both Valentine and I enjoy the grooming sessions. I just ordered a bridle/halter/reins combo; but, alas, we don’t have a saddle yet. Soon, I hope.
Here are some things in the catalog that I won’t be ordering:
Surgical supplies. Should you really be performing your own equine surgery? Really?
Breeding hobbles. Okay, yes, my horse is a gelding so this doesn’t apply to him at all – but is it really fair to hobble a mare so she can’t get away? Doesn’t she have any say in this at all? What if she doesn’t like his cologne? Maybe they don’t have anything in common. Maybe she just wants to get to know him better. Maybe she’s just not that kind of girl.
Sheath cleaner. If you have to clean your gelding’s sheath to be a horse person, I guess I never will be, because I can’t see a day coming where I’d be okay with cleaning his sheath. And Bill has flatly refused to have anything to do with another guy’s sheath.