The British Horse Society Highlights Tack Affordability and Safety

2 November 2023

The BHS partners with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) to deliver clear advice and guidance for equestrians to keep riding safely with correctly fitted tack 

To help riders cope with rising costs and keep both horses and riders safe, the BHS and SMS have produced a series of educational materials to allow equestrians to navigate the challenges of buying and maintaining tack and equipment when finances are tight. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of fitting tack correctly, as well as advising on ways in which horse riders can make appropriate, cost-cutting decisions but without compromising on their horses’ welfare.

A common way of saving money is to buy a second-hand saddle rather than new and, with this in mind, one of the key steps to cost-cutting while staying safe is to purchase via an SMS qualified saddle fitter or from a local saddlery shop. Both will have a stock of second-hand tack that will have undergone a series of safety checks.

Alongside this advice, the BHS and SMS have suggested equestrians always have any saddle they purchase, whether new or second-hand, fitted by a trained saddle fitter, who will be able to re-flock or adjust it in order to ensure the best possible fit. Even if the cost of the saddle is cheap, if it doesn’t fit your horse correctly, it can cause him pain and also be very expensive to sort out.

Welfare Campaigns Officer at the British Horse Society Gabby Madders said: “We are very conscious of the cost-of-living crisis and want to make sure that all equestrians can be confident they are purchasing equipment or tack that is safe and fit for purpose.

“Far too often, we see ill-fitted equipment being used. In fact, new research has found that one in four horses’ bits don’t fit properly. With a growing body of evidence revealing that poorly fitted tack can have a negative effect on the welfare and performance of ridden horses, this partnership will be critical to ensuring people are purchasing tack that is affordable but safe.”

You can read the guidance from the Society of Master Saddlers here

As part of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Summer of Safety campaign, you can also see BETA Chief Executive Claire Williams having a chat with Master Saddler Helen Reader here


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