How To Make Tacking Up Easier
I don’t know about you, but I find that I spend most of my time trying to find everything I need to ride, before I can actually ride. And this can be a big deal. If you have limited time to ride, you need to be able to make the most of that time, especially if you want to be riding. So I want to share with you 10 different tips so you can tack up easier and faster.
Keep Your Tack Locker Organized
This is easier said than done, believe me, I get it. But by keeping your tack room, or tack locker organized, it will be easier for you to get your horse tacked up for riding. This actually starts at the end of your ride. After you are done riding or working with your horse, put everything back where it belongs. Hang your bridle up, put your saddle away on your saddle stand, put your grooming kit away where it belongs. All of these things might seem like a pain to do, but you will really appreciate it the next time you get ready to ride.
Hang Up Your Bridle
I mentioned this above. When you are done riding your horse, hang up your bridle where it belongs. If your bridle rack is really far away from your tack area, add a bridle hook. Keeping everything in one area will make this easier for you.
Get Your Tack and Grooming Kit Ready Before Your Horse.
Getting everything ready before you ride will make tacking up easier. If you have a tack locker far away from where you will be tacking up, bring everything to your get ready to ride area before you get your horse. Have everything you will need to ride, before you get your horse. Ideally, you want to be able to have everything close by so you won’t have to walk back and forth so much from the tack room to your tacking up area. The less time it takes you to tack up means the more time you will have in the saddle.
Keep Your Grooming Kit Simple
If you know where everything is in your grooming kit, you will spend less time searching for stuff. I am guilty of this. I spend my time searching for the brush I want, or a hoof pick. My grooming tote is packed with so many different items sometimes, I have to rummage through it to find what I need. I have many different brushes, scissors, rub rags, or cleaning products in my grooming tote and I don’t really need all of that stuff. SO one thing that I have done to keep it less cluttered is to have the bare necessities. Yes, it is good to be prepared, but do you really need 12 brushes in your grooming tote? I don’t think so.
Minimize your grooming tote, and keep it organized to save time when tacking up.
Keep Your Saddle and Bridle Clean
Again, easier said than done. But, if you clean your bridle and saddle after every time you ride, you will be better prepared for your next ride. You will also make your tack last longer if you care for it after you use it. And I don’t mean getting out the buckets of water, and spending an hour cleaning your saddle after you ride. What I do mean is having tack wipes, and conditioner in your tack room or locker that you can apply after using your tack. Take an extra minute and wipe down your bridle, and clean your bit if you use one. Clean your girth if it is leather, and try not to store your girth on the seat of your saddle.
Have Everything You need To Ride
Sometimes we get new tack, a new bridle or saddle pad and those new things can just pile up, if we don’t take them where they are going to be used once we get them. This may be a little challenging if you board your horse, and you get a new saddle. But, if you do get something new like a saddle before you take it to your horse put your stirrups and leather on, if you ride English. Or if you ride western, have everything on your saddle before you take it out to your horse. If you get a new bridle, attach your bit and adjust the size to what you r horse normally wears.
And let’s say you get done with your ride, and you noticed you need a new girth, bit, or anything really. Make a list of what you need, and once you get them, take them out to the barn or wherever you will be able to get to it. It can be fun to go on a shopping spree and get a lot of new horse stuff. And when you do have that opportunity be sure to get it ready before you take it out to ride with it. Again, preparation is key to success when you want to tack up faster.
Keep Your Horse Clean
In a perfect world my horses would always be clean. But in my reality, that rarely happens. But there are things you can do to keep him at least a little bit cleaner. Keep your stalls clean. If you board your horse, you are probably lucky enough to have someone clean your stalls every day. But if you are like me, you are the one who does the cleaning. So if you can, keep your stalls clean. They don’t have to be clean enough you can eat off of the floor, but if you keep your horses stall clean, it will be easier to keep your horse clean.
One way to do this is to clean when you are feeding. You have to feed at least twice a day, right? So why not spend a few extra minutes scooping some poop? The more often you clean up the manure, the less time it will take you to clean the stall overall.
And depending on the time of year, you may choose to blanket your horse. This will definitely help to keep him cleaner. But keep in mind that blanketing your horse is a commitment, and if you plan to keep your horse blanketed, learn all that you can about blanketing.
Groom Your Horse Daily
This is easier to do at certain times of year, but grooming your horse every day will not only make him shine, but it will make taking him out for a ride even quicker. When your horse is groomed regularly, his coat will shine, and you won’t have to spend an hour grooming before you ride. Even if you don’t ride every day, it is really worth it to spend a few minutes grooming. Here are a few benefits of daily grooming:
- It gives you down time with your horse
- It gives you a chance to look your horse over closer for injuries
- It will help prevent skin problems
- He will be shiny
- He will learn to be patient
- He will not anticipate every time you come to see him he will get worked
- Bonding time with your horse out of the saddle
- He will have better manners on the ground
- He will be shiny and show ring ready in no time!
I know I spend more time grooming my horses than I do riding. But that is because I just love being around them. If you take even 10 minutes out of your day, every day, in a few weeks you will really see the benefit in your horse’s appearance.
Put Everything Back
I know I said this earlier, but that’s because it’s so important! I know after your lesson, or ride you will be tired. But don’t let that stop you from putting everything away where it belongs. I like to groom my horse more thoroughly after I ride him. And once I am done, I put him back into his stall. This way I can focus on the task of cleaning up.
Sometimes when I am done working with my horse, the area is a complete mess. I have everything thrown about, and just, well, a mess. I am tired, and I just want to throw everything in the barn and go inside. But then I remember if I do that, it will take longer to get ready to ride next time. So I clean everything up.
If you used baby wipes on your horse, and pushed them into your grooming tote, throw them away. Wipe down your saddle and bridle before you put them away (where they belong). Pack up your grooming kit, and put it away. Hang your horse’s halter up, and if you used any boots, or training aids, put them away too. Everything you do now, right after you ride, will make next time that much easier. If you need to sweep the aisle way, or rake the ground and clean up manure do it. Try and make your grooming/tacking up area neat and tidy
Have A Plan
This may seem like a lot to think about before you go to ride your horse. And you don’t have to do everything all at once. But try to find some things you can do to make tacking up easier for yourself. You always want to be sure and be safe when you are getting ready to ride, so don’t just tack up faster, have a plan. Organize your barn or locker so you know where everything is. Keep an eye on how much of different things you need, and reorder, or buy before you run out of something. Make sure your tack is safe to use, and well cared for.
Set small goals for yourself for tacking up more efficiently, not just faster. Time yourself to see how long it really takes you to before you get on your horse. Then, make some changes in your habits and a week later, time yourself again. Again, I am not telling you to race at tacking up, that could be dangerous. All I am saying is take a closer look at your tacking up process, in order to get riding faster.
About Lisa Goodwin
I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you.
You can find me over on my website, Budget Equestrian or catch up with me on my YouTube channel, The Budget Equestrian