Equipment for Riding in Mongolia
Stone Horse Saddles and Tack – High Quality Equipment for Riding in Mongolia
Equipment for Riding in Mongolia – there are many good reasons to use safe and high quality equipment for riding in Mongolia and for camping in scenic wilderness locations, despite the higher initial investment costs. They include safety, comfort and functionality but also beauty, and pride in good service and craftsmanship.
Our years of expedition riding have convinced us of the benefits of a comfortable saddle, with a good seat and well placed stirrup straps of the right length. Our saddles include features that allow easy fixing of saddle and cantle bags and a canteen. For the trail, it’s all fixed snug, yet easy to take off at the end of the day.
Safety and Comfort of Horse and Rider for Horse trekking in Mongolia
The rider of course is just one part in the equation. Safe and high quality equipment for riding in Mongolia is important for horse and rider. While safety and comfort of our guests is our primary concern, the saddle’s comfort and function for the horse is also a high priority. Happy and healthy horses are a safety issue; and we owe it to our horses anyway that they carry the rider in a good comfortable saddle. There is no a real problem with good saddle fit. Good padding will make up for individual differences between horses and changes in padding may be necessary as the weight of a horse changes over the year. However, this is rarely an issue in our herd. “Stone Horse” horses are well-fed throughout the winter. When fresh grass starts growing in May, they put on weight fast, and by the time “Stone Horse” expeditions start in June, they are in good condition. Still, you will see differences in the way the herd members put on weight and in their natural composition. “Blackie” for instance, has a tendency to get really round and only need one pad. Others, like “Brownie” or our Roan horse, the veteran of many trips, are naturally slim built and always need two thick pads.
Saddle construction to create high quality equipment for riding in Mongolia
The saddles we use are “Western” style, yet a fairly lightweight trail riding saddle, thus combining features to make a long day’s ride a good experience for all – whether sitting in the saddle or carrying it. These saddles have bars longer than that of a contemporary Mongolian saddle. Longer bars distribute the weight better on the horses back. Still these saddles are built a little shorter than most western saddles, and with round skirts, reducing weight and allowing the shorter Mongolian horses to move and turn freely without the back end of the saddle exerting pressure on the hind legs. The bars of the saddles are shaped ergonomically and called “Arizona” bars in the Western saddle.
These bars are shaped so that the front fits into the hollow below the withers and settles comfortably on the horses back. The bars are also supported by a saddle skirting that is shaped accordingly, a process called “blocking” in saddle making. This means the saddle maker has shaped the leather sitting under the bars to the exact shape of the bars. With these form fitted features and additional sheepskin shearling, the saddle rests well adjusted on the horses back. A saddle built with attention to this will make a good piece of equipment for riding in Mongolia. The saddles are designed to be positioned on the very vertebrae of the horse that are naturally fused and thus make the horse so capable of carrying a rider.
Safe and High Quality Equipment for Riding in Mongolia – safety stirrups, crupper and breast plate
Other features of our saddles are the crupper and breastplate, a must- have on the trails that lead up and down across steep mountain passes.
The breast plate strap runs from the front of the saddle around the horses chest; the crupper is fixed to the back center of the saddle and is like a sling under the horses tail. Together these features provide much comfort to the horses by preventing the saddles and rider from moving forward on descents and backward on ascents. Needless to say, that’s also a matter of safety and comfort for rider and horse.
One of the most important safety features of our saddles are the stirrups with safety cages. These prevent the foot of the rider from slipping through the stirr-up and getting caught in a mishap.
Stone Horse Saddles are part of safe and high quality equipment for riding in Mongolia
Most of the saddles used on our horse riding expeditions in Mongolia, are from our own saddlery, hand crafted for our horses in our own workshop- “Stone Horse Saddles”. Having learned the craft of traditional western saddle making from the ground up, has given me the skills to improvise – to make saddles lightweight, yet solid and functional. The design we use for our expeditions is unique and purpose built for the smaller Mongolian horse and perfect for our travels.
What I find so enjoyable about saddle making is that it is both technical and artistic. The saddle has to be perfectly balanced, the rigging has to be right, everything has to be safe and solid for the back country and for wear and tear on long remote trips. But much time is spent beyond that required for good craftsmanship though, – finding the right style for each saddle, drafting and realizing each special design. It is very satisfying to look at the finished saddle, designed and built by one’s self. Let alone, to put it on your horse and ride away. Or, perhaps the best of all – seeing a saddle you made being used on a good horse and enjoyed by someone else.