Confessions of a Tack Hoarder

As I enter into what I like to refer to as my third era of horsemanship, I look around and it dawns on me that although I no longer own horses I could easily tack up three of them.? This ?third era? began when I made the decision to start riding again.

After weighing all of the possibilities, I have opted to lease a horse.? I arrived at this decision too late in the season here in Arizona to do much trail riding, so I am in the process of? leasing a horse when autumn brings cooler weather.? I discovered that stables require that you provide your own tack.

Since I still have the tack I used during my first era of horse ownership, that’s not a problem! I dragged out my favorite old saddle to try it out for size.? I had a lot of miles on that saddle and was looking forward to putting it to use again. The sight of it brought back many fond memories.

My husband steadied it while I very awkwardly mounted.? It was not a pretty sight.? Did I really expect the saddle I rode at the tender age of 16 to be a proper fit for my backside at the (still tender) age of 55-plus?? Sadly, I did expect it, and even sadder, it did not. On the bright side, it was the green light for me to purchase another saddle and to begin hoarding tack once more.

I found a nice saddle on an online auction.? The seller must have been a fellow tack hoarder because she had two almost identical saddles she was getting rid of.? I won the first one with a bid that was well below its worth and noticed that her second saddle was going at a bargain basement price. I couldn?t resist such a deal, so I started bidding on that one, too.? Fortunately, I was outbid during the final seconds of the auction.? How many saddles do you need when you don’t own a horse?

Without a specific horse to buy for, I’m aquiring an assortment to fit an unknown horse of the future.? The new saddle did not have a girth, so back to the online auction I went. Someone was selling four different cinches in one lot. This was a perfectly sensible purchase! No matter what horse I end up with, one of these cinches will surely to fit.

I have a bunch of bridles previously purchased with a large box of miscellaneous used tack.? I had planned on cleaning them to resell, but decided to keep four of them. Of course, they all needed bits.? If this were an audio story, this is where you would hear the ?ka-ching? of a cash register.? Of course, the horse might do better with a hackamore. Another ?ka-ching? followed by a few more for Chicago screws, conchos, curb straps and reins.

Looking back, I realize my tack hoarding began shortly after I got my first horse, who arrived with all the necessary tack. Needless to say, it was the most economical quality the horse dealer wanted to part with– rope halter and lead rope, cheap bridle with utilitarian curb bit, saddle pad and an even cheaper plain brown saddle with wood stirrups and no brand name.? With limited funding from my after-school job, upgrades were slow in coming.

If I remember correctly, my first purchase was a set of braided reins in red and brown cotton.? Shortly after that, it was a new curb strap, because I discovered my horse could easily pull the braided reins through my fingers and give me rope burns.? The saddle I bought was a major upgrade–a used Bona Allen. I traded my old saddle along with $50 in quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies.? This is, by the way, the saddle that no longer fits me!

When I sold my second horse, a small Arab crossbred I had trained myself, I was left with two Western saddles, a bareback pad that had never been used, an all-purpose English saddle, five bridles, half a dozen bits, and a good collection of miscellaneous items.? I sold everything except for the Bona Allen saddle and my favorite one-eared bridle.? Due to my diligent tack cleaning and oiling, these items remained in my father?s garage in excellent condition until he proudly delivered them to me six years later, when I purchased my first home.

After I married and moved to a house on five acres of land, I began my second era of horsemanship.? With two incomes from full-time jobs, it became easier for me to hoard tack. Ten years later, my schedule was just too busy for riding. I sold my two wonderful Quarter horses, and faced the prospect of getting rid of tack–again.? There were three Western saddles, one English saddle, one Australian saddle, another bareback pad that had never been used, (they always seem like such a good idea), nylon halters, two halter-bridle combinations, four Western bridles, two English bridles and gobs of accessories.? I had everything from a grooming vacuum to a small manure spreader.

The yard sale was a huge success! Tack hoarding is seldom discussed, except in quiet corners of tack shops and feed stores, but there are a lot of us out there.

Now I am starting down that old familiar road once more.? My eyes spot tack at a garage sale as easily as a ?soaring hawk sees a rabbit a mile away.? During my last outing, I found a pile of worthless halters and nosebands–nothing I wanted.? But after seeing my interest, the owner pulled out a nice saddle that needed some cleaning, and she was only asking $75. Who could resist?? Definitely not a hard-core tack hoarder!

And, as luck would have it, I just happen to have an extra cinch.

Read more of Kristie’s exploits:

Pard’ners and Best Friends

Horses and Flying Saucers Don’t Mix

A Reader’s Story: Kristie Allison

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