The History of Horse Tack
History of Horse Tack
Horse riding equipment can be traced back to about 700BC, although there is disagreement about dates, with some scholars believing that Equus (Latin for horse) or horses were being ridden as far back as 4000BC. Saddles were no more than tasselled cloths or pads, held on to the horses back by a strip of material, known in modern times as a girth. From the earliest time, saddles were used as symbols of wealth. Elaborate decorations including fancy leather work, stitching and precious metals were added to prove an individual’s status. Comfort and distinction was for the rider, rather than the horse.
Although designs progressed, including the addition of basic frames, pommels and cantles, early saddles were still treeless and did not use stirrups. It wasn’t until around 100BC that a wooden saddle tree was invented by the Romans. As far as horse’s welfare was concerned, this was a major development. Saddle trees helped to spread the weight on either side of the horse’s spine and distribute evenly over the horses back. The saddle was at last comfortable for the horse as well as the rider.
Another milestone in horse tack development was the invention of the stirrup. The first pictorial evidence was on a tomb in China around AD 300. Stirrups greatly increased the rider’s ability to stay securely in the saddle and control the horse. It is argued, the invention of the stirrup was as important in the spread of modern civilisations, as the invention of the wheel or printing press.
At the same time as the innovation of the saddle, a basic bridle or headgear was used to control the horse. The bridle is likely to have been bit less and made of rope, sinew or leather. Early bits were made from bone, horn or hard wood, with evidence of metal bits as early as 1200BC. The need to use horses for pulling, carrying and warfare, meant the design and evolution of horse equipment changed frequently, developing into two main categories “Western” and “English” styles during the 1800’s.
Horse Tack over the last Hundred Years
Over the last hundred years or so, horse gear has been predominately made of leather, with designs aimed at specific disciplines, such as Show Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, Showing, Horse Racing, Horse Polo, etc. but ultimately geared towards comfort for the horse, whilst maintaining comfort and control for the rider.
Since Pink Equine was established in 2007, Horse Fashions have changed dramatically. Horsey clothes were not cool and badly stereotyped. Think of a “Horsey Person” and imagine a wearer of ill-fitting breeches, wellies and a fluorescent jacket or bulky tweeds. Whilst traditional athletic gear was being designed for everyday fashion even if the wearer wasn’t sporty, equestrian fashion was being left behind. The last ten years however, has seen a huge leap forward in Equestrian design and couture. The realisation of “Riding” as a lifestyle choice and the invention of modern technical fabrics, have seen an influx of equestrian inspired fashion designs, which can be worn on or off the field.
Of course having gone to the trouble of co-ordinating your own look, it’s natural to assume you want your horse to look as good. In the past, you had two choices when choosing your riding tack, black or brown leather. Saddle pads were available in white, black, brown and if you were lucky green.
Sadly in recent years, rather than innovate, manufacturers and retailers have used cost cutting exercises to sell horse accessories as cheaply as possible, resulting in a tidal wave of low quality, inferior equestrian equipment. A business model based on always being the cheapest cannot be sustained for ever and Equestrian Clearance was a good example of this, having recently gone into receivership.
Discerning customers understand that the old saying is certainly true “You get what you pay for”, but we also recognise there is a balance to be had between cost and quality. Since our inception, Pink Equine has been one of the market innovators in horses tack fashion. Our unique designs offer you the rider the means to co-ordinate the look of your horse and make a fashion statement.
Pink Equine the Future of Horse Tack
If you love horses and beautiful things, as we do, our products are elegant and top quality to match. We only use premium Italian leather and genuine Swarovski crystals. All items are finished by hand and protected by our Quality Guarantee. We believe that tack for horses should feel good for the horse, function correctly for the rider, as well as look amazing!
Always pushing the boundaries of equestrian tack design Pink Equine is proud to launch their bespoke configurator. The configurator is easy to use and allows you to become your own designer. Each item of horse tack can be customised to suit your own colour scheme and style. Save designs in your own account, or print them off to show your friends.
“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered” – Giorgio Armani
We look forward to welcoming you as a Pink Equine customer and bringing your aspirations to reality. We love receiving pictures of your new horse riding tack and the lucky horse who is wearing it, so feel free to send in your snaps!!