Aeron’s Picks….

I have been involved with horses for over 40 (yikes!) years….  I have worked in several tack shops, and I have owned my own tack shop.  I am also one of those people who likes to try out every new thing that comes down the pike, just out of curiosity mostly, but also to see if there are any really good new things available.  Here are some of my picks for favorites:

Please Note:  I have not been paid by, or accepted advertising from, any of the manufacturers mentioned here-in.  You can trust that if I say I like it the best, I really mean it.

Saddles:

I prefer riding in a treeless saddle, although I do own one treed saddle.  I find that I ride in my treeless almost all the time, except if I’m doing a lot of jumping, or have to go to a horse show.  I feel very secure in it, and my horses seem very comfortable.  After trying out about 15 different treeless saddles, my favorite is the Barefoot Cheyenne.  It fits every horse I own, is pretty indestructible, very comfortable, and looks nice too.   

NOTE!  Recently my Barefoot saddle was damaged (saddle slid around under horse’s belly when rider fell off…. horsey then kicked off both stirrups, damaging the saddle).  The stirrup bars were stitched on (there is no emergency release), and the stitching was pulled out when the stirrups came off.  The US distributor has informed me that she cannot repair the saddle, and my local saddler has said they cannot make the repairs…. it took me a while to find a saddler (thanks, Skeeter of Warrenton, VA!) who did a nice job of the repair and for only $20!

My treed saddle is a County Extreme, which I find comfortable and good for foxhunting and eventing.  It’s a beautiful, well-made saddle, and fits most of my regular-sized horses.

I am going to test out a new saddle I have been hearing a bit about called a Specialized.  Stay tuned for my review!

Bridles:

I absolutely prefer a bitless bridle to a bitted bridle any day!!!!   (For more on why, check out my page “Why Bitless is Better”).  Of course I have to recommend my own Aeron Riding Halter here!  It’s bitless bridle and NH halter in one.  For more info, click on Aeron Riding Halter in my links section.  For those wanting a more traditional look, you can do what I did:  I made a bitless bridle out of my Dr. Cook Bitless Bridle by removing the cross-under straps (my horses didn’t like them), and turned it into sort of a plain side-pull.  I use this for foxhunting and showing.  Other than that, I use my riding halter for all riding and training.

For traditional, bitted (if you must) bridles, I just use a plain brown leather Crosby bridle, and only ever use a french link snaffle… and that’s only if I HAVE to use a bit, for example in certain recognized competitions, or preparing a horse for sale (more on why later). I prefer a D-ring or, even better, a full-cheek snaffle, so that there is less danger of the bit pinching or pulling into the mouth in extreme circumstances.  I only use a french link, and not a regular single-joint snaffle, as these have a nut-cracker action in the horse’s mouth, both pulling down on the sensitive bars and jabbing the roof of the mouth all at once.  How lovely!

Attire:

I used to ride in chaps all the time.  Now I ride in Equissentials riding pants, because they are way more comfortable, and cooler in the summer.  They aren’t cheap, but they are very well-made, have gorgeous soft leather that never gets stiff, and are really really nice!  I love the full-seat, boot-cut jods the best.

Gloves: Neuman Tackified gloves are my faves.  The slightly tacky grip is great, and they really last well. They can be found in most tack shops.

Horsey boots:  Between my mother and myself, I think we’ve tried every horse boot on the market…  so far I like the Boa boot and the Easyboot Epic the best.  Both are made by the Easy Care company.

Equipment:

Round Pens: After doing extensive research into round pens, I like the Noble Round Pen the best.  Many many round pens out there don’t pass my safety standards, mostly because they might possibly endanger or injure the horse.  The Noble pens are safe and sturdy, and last forever.  A very good investment for any horse owner.

Continuing Education: I am a big fan of John Lyons.  Having met him several times, I can tell you that he is just as nice and polite and humble in real life as he is in his videos.  I highly recommend his first video series for those just starting out in natural horsemanship, or those needing a refresher course.  The original series can be hard to find… they’re the ones in the yellowish-orangish covers.  They were fairly cheaply done, but I think have the clearest, most easily understood instructions for learning horsemanship basics.  Sometimes the set can be found on ebay. They are well worth having.

11 Responses

  1. Hello Aeron,
    I have just found your site (from http://www.Endurance.net) and thoroughly enjoy it so far!
    It so happens that I own the series of the 6 John Lyons videos (John lyons Symposium Video Collection)you mention in your article, plus 3 books of his:”Communicating with Cues part 1 “and “Part 2 “and “Perfectly Practical Advice on Horsemanship”. I am willing to sell them if anyone is interested.
    If interested, contact me at: yanoelle52@hotmail.com
    Thank you and keep up the good work! Noelle

  2. I recommend that you start using a breastplate and crupper with your treeless saddles, otherwise you run the risk of having this same problem happen again regardless of what brand the saddle is. Those two items are important safety items with any treeless saddle.

  3. Shelly, that is good advice…. thank you!

  4. I love Skeeter. He doesn’t mess around and knows what he is doing!

    I got my treeless western from Skeeter. Love it!

    Hey from around the corner in Midland. 😉

  5. Aeron:
    I have three pair of Equissentials, my daily rider is the western boot cut for men. The best, period. Forget the Levi’s and Wranglers! For treed saddles, I have really enjoyed my old Balance Saddle. Carol should get extra cheers for that improvement. Nice blog, keep up the good work.

  6. Aeron,

    I have a question about choosing between the Nurtural and Cook bitless bridles. I am ordering your halter to start working my horse in (thought I would start with walk – halt transitions and serpetines in the round pen to get her use to it) but was wondering which bridle might be better for later when i move up to more advanced trail riding and small jumps, etc?

    The Nurtutal and Cook bridles seem similar but at the 200 price range I would like to make the most informed decision possible. Any advice or comments on either would be helpful.

    Thank you,
    Marissa

    • Hi Marissa,
      I have never tried the Nurtural, so I can’t give any anecdotal advice on that one….. I liked the Cook pretty well, but my horses didn’t; when you pull on the rein, the cross-under straps “hug” the face, but when I drop the rein, the hug didn’t release, so the horses were getting frustrated. If you were just switching from a conventional bitted bridle to a bitless, then I think the Cook would work fine. Once your horse does Natural Horsemanship, however, they will get frustrated if they do something right, and the release is not immediate. I use my bitless riding halter for everything right now: I foxhunt in it, school cross country in it, trail ride, etc. Once you work with your horse and they “get it,” you will be able to do whatever you want in it!

  7. Hi Aeron,

    I’m really thrilled to come across your wonderful info. I was involved with Parelli for a little while, but am glad to find more individuals like yourself on the EAST coast (I’m currently in Maine)!!

    Anyway, I too love my Equissentials-even bought ’em in Saratoga, NY back when they were called Aanstadt Das, if I remember correctly. But, have you tried the F.I.T.S. full-seat breeches with the segmented & perforated leather? They are my new fave!! I find I can move in them like no other. Just my 2 cents…

    Thanks & I think I’ll order one of your bitless bridles soon-keep up the good work!

    Marsha

  8. Hi I just found you on youtube while searching for “the seven games” I’d like to say thank you first of all. I am finally getting a horse back into my life but between the cost of fencing shelter , it doesnt leave much for very expensive dvd’s no matter how good they are. So thank you for making it about the love of these wonderful animals as well as making a living!
    My question is what size of halter should I order for a 1yr old Canadien (not as fine boned as some breeds at that age)?
    And can a traditional leather bridal be altered to work the same as the rope halters for a dressier look?

    Thanks so much….love your website!

    • Hi Laura, Thanks for your comments! For halter size, I think any old rope halter would be fine, since you won’t be riding him/her for a while. It doesn’t matter really what kind or what it looks like, only that you have some control when you need it as you are doing your groundwork. For a bridal, there are several that are bitless but look like traditional english bridles…. some people like Dr. Cooks, some like the LG, and some like the Nurtural…. there are several others. My horses did not like the “hugging” (and not releasing) effect of the Dr. Cook’s, but I simply took the cross-under straps off and fashioned a plain cavesson side-pull with it, which my horses like. Thanks for watching my videos, and keep up the good work!

  9. Check out Kuda Store’s treeless saddles and breastplate. They cater primarily to the paso fino/ gaited breeds. Kuda makes a very well made and nice looking treeless saddle, in both English (which is what I bought to show in) or trail. All of Mauricio’s products are so well made (he’s an engineer). I see alot of ugly treeless saddles out there, and this is one that looks stylish and like a normal saddle. Very nice headstalls and reins, too.

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