Monday, October 7, 2019

Using the Minimum to get the Most: Tack and its Restrictions

by Mary Gallagher

I came home from the show I describe below inspired to tell the world about our 'less is more' approach to tack, though feeling like a voice in the wilderness. I fired up my computer and opened my email to find an excellent blog post on that very subject by someone I respect--Karen Rohlf [link at end of article]. It seems I'm in good company! Hopefully, we are part of a growing movement. Thank you for reading. - MG

At a recent horse show, I was struck by the common use of restricting tack—tight nosebands and martingales used with best intentions, in the name of safety and balance. I guess I’ve changed—twenty years ago I would not have given it a second thought. Of course we used nosebands and martingales as training aids to support our horses’ shape and carriage; now however, all I could see was the horses’ unnatural movement and bracing. The horses were using their martingales as part of their shape and balance—which is the idea, right? But their mouths were clamped shut, restricting their ability to relax in motion through working their jaw and tongue, releasing crucial endorphins. Many horses’ eyes told a clear story of physical and emotional stress.