About Icelandic Tack

Here in Iceland we usually ride on sandy riding paths or mud paths so the saddles can get really dirty after only one use. The best way to take care of your saddles and bridles is to wipe them clean after every use. But any leather has to be taken care of properly on regular basis to preserve the saddles strength and long lasting.⁣

First, it is good to wash the saddle with a saddle soap. It is also good to use regular soap that is good for your skin if you don´t have saddle soap. Use a wet scrub or a wet sponge and dip it into a bucket with water and soap or use a spray mix and spray it on the saddle and scrub really well. ⁣

It is important to clean the saddle well before you put a wax or an oil on the saddle. ⁣

Use a dry rag to wipe the saddle as dry as possible before applying the oil on. You can use any kind of vegetable oil on the saddle and we find it good to use the regular isio 4 oil. Apply some on your a clean rag or your sponge and rub your whole saddle with it. Let it dry over a night before putting on saddle wax on.⁣
Do the same thing with your bridles and no worries if the oil get on the bits, it is only good for the horse and tastes good as well.

The tack used for Icelandic horses is slightly different then the tack ordinarily used for other breeds. The saddle is built close to a dressage saddle and has a relatively flat seat. Saddles come with plain or quilted seats. On longer rides a crupper helps keeping the saddle in place. Riding style used on Icelandic horses is close to English riding style, but stirrups are worn longer.⁣

If you are riding the Icelandic horse it is recommended to use an Icelandic saddle, made especially for the Icelandic horse. The main reason is, that they put the weight of the rider too much forward. The rider is thus resting it´s weight on top of the withers of the horse, or very close to it. Sometimes even interfering with the movement of the shoulder blades. When the horse lifts it´s leg and takes a step in tolt, there is a huge rotation happening in the shoulder blade, and the horse should not have to squeeze the shoulder blades under the saddle in every step. To get the Icelandic horse to free it´s withers, riders have to be resting their weight a bit more behind on the horse than on many other breeds, endurance, dressage, western and other such saddles.⁣

The tree, and consequently the panels of the Icelandic saddle are generally more flexible than traditional English and endurance models. That helps the horse free the shoulder, it improves saddle fitting and makes it less likely that the horse gets sore from the saddle. Not all saddles made for Icelandic horses are great, and some saddles made for other breeds work superbly for the horses and their gaits, but this should be given a thought before selecting a saddle for the horse. Few questions riders also need to take into consideration: How is the saddle fitting the horse? Does it poke it somewhere? Does it give the shoulder blades enough space to rotate? Is it helping centering your center of weight over the center of weight of the horse?⁣

It seems as though the position of the stirrup leather on an Icelandic saddle is further back and straighter down than more typical English or endurance models. This keeps the leg more towards the middle of the horse and also away from the sides of the horse.⁣

Bits used are mostly simple snaffles or Icelandic curb bits. Bridles have a detachable nose band and clip on reins.

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