horse and saddleContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

You could just go basic. You know, a horse, a blanket and a halter. Or just add a simple saddle and stirrups. But what would be the fun in that? Or the usefulness? What about making it useful for long trail rides or a working day with the cattle? Or if you’re a show rider, where’s the bling and beauty?

Plain and basic is fine once in awhile, but when you’re ready to explore, work or show you stuff, you need the extras. Here are ten popular Western riding and saddle accessories you just might want to add to your tack collection before you saddle up next time.

10. Conchos

I recently heard someone say that some girls are just born with glitter in their blood — she could have been talking about me! I love bling and sparkle, so that probably why saddle conchos came to mind first for must-have saddle accessories.

In case you don’t know, conchos are those lovely silver decorations on saddles, usually seen at parades and rodeos. They come in round, oval, triangle and special shapes like hearts and stars. They might not be necessary on the trail, but that never stopped a glitter lover!

9. Saddlebags

saddlebags  and saddle

If you’re planning on spending time out on the trail, or you’re a working rider, a good set of saddlebags is a must have. Make sure the bags you buy are made to stand up to years of use without shifting or “slapping” your mount as you ride. Look at materials and seam construction before you buy… this is one of those places where good looks just aren’t enough.

8. Chaps


Whether you’re on the trail, on the range or on the parade route, chaps will keep you comfortable for the long ride. Just make sure the pair you choose fits well… poorly fitted chaps or chaps worn incorrectly will do more harm than good.

7. Pack pads

horse with packs

If you’re packing for the long haul, protect your horse with a proper set of pack pads. This isn’t a place to compromise. You want a set that will protect your horse from pressure points, overheating and shifting loads.

6. Breast collars

horse breast collar

If you’re heading uphill on your ride, make it easier on your horse by adding a breast collar to distribute the weight and stress of the load. Make sure it’s fitted properly… a poorly set breast collar can slip and irritate or even create stress and injury.

5. Saddle pads

saddle pad

Your saddle pad is your horse’s… and your… best friend. A good saddle pad will prevent your saddle from slipping, while protecting your horse from pressure points. Make sure you get one designed to prevent heat build-up, too, especially for long rides or summer work. Check your pad regularly for wear or compression, and replace it when needed.

4. Halter-bridle combo set

halter bridle combo

If you’re working or riding the trail, a halter-bridle combination will allow you to quickly convert from bridle to halter for grazing or feeding. That saves you time, and makes it easier to take breaks without changing out tack.

3. Trail reins

trail ride

Prevent unexpected bolts with the right reins. For consistent control, look for reins that allow your horse to drop her head to drink while you hold on upright in the saddle.

2. Feed bags


A good feed bag is worth its weight in gold on the trail or range. Make sure the size and fit is right for your horse. An adjustable bag of leather or leather and canvas is the best choice for durability and ventilation.

1.Foul weather gear

horse rain gear

If you’re going to be away from the stables during rain or snow, make sure you have a good set of foul weather gear designed for use in the saddle. You’ll want something that covers your back and legs without interfering with movement or risking tangling your stirrups or reins.

The right Western riding and saddle accessories can make all the difference between a miserable (or dangerous) ride and a safe, enjoyable one. Make sure you have the right tack and gear before you head out on the trail or the range.