Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brazillian tack

Welcome to the first guest blogger post of the year. This one comes from the always fascinating Global Horse Culture Blog (http://globalhorseculture.typepad.com/global_horse_culture/) and is reprinted with permission.

Do It Yourself Tack
by Ona "girasol" Kiser

This horse in rural Brazil, in a mountainous area inland from São Paulo, is wearing tack that is about ninety-percent handmade. Store-bought tack is not affordable to many rural folks, and many of them rely on horses or mules for getting around, so it is not uncommon for people to make their own tack from whatever parts and pieces they can find. Nino, the gentleman who owns this horse, made nearly everything you see himself. Like others in the area, he even does his own shoeing and doctoring (more on that later).
I thought the ornament on the saddle bags was a nice touch, and the front string girth - made from collected strands of green baling twine - was a creative solution (it has now been replaced by a US-made Western-style wool string girth, which I sent to him as thanks for showing us his horses and farm). The stirrups are also interesting. I didn't get a close-up photo, but they are originally English-style "safety stirrups" given to him by a visitor; he then used a decorative brass chain to fill in the gap where the rubber band had been.

The bridle, which you can see more closely below, combines hair-on cowhide, brass rings from old parade gear, braided rawhide and manufactured cotton rope.
Thank you so much to Ona for allowing me to reprint this post. If you enjoy learning about horses and horsemanship in all the corners of the world, be sure to check out Global Horse Culture!


  1. Whatever else you accomplish in 2010 - keep up the great blogging! I try to keep up with so many blogs but yours is always the very first one I look at every day. I never know what I'll find but it's always intersting! Thanks!

  2. Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I can't help but notice how tight the 2nd cinch is - obviously it serves a purpose and is not as loose as commonly seen on western saddles (which has always made me wonder WHY the rear cinch is needed if it is so loose that it can't help keep the saddle in place...)

  3. Brazillian tack is closely related to Chilean tack. I just finished up a set of Chilean tack for myself. Well...it still needs work...lol They also have the over cinch to keep the pads on top on the saddle.
    A western back cinch is there to keep the saddle from being jerked up during roping. It is loose to allow the saddle to move some and to keep it from annoying the horse too much. At least that is what I've been told.
    Very good photos! It took me forever to find what I needed for Chilean tack.

  4. You might find this post interesting, too: http://globalhorseculture.typepad.com/global_horse_culture/2009/01/brazilian-saddles.html

    It includes a video showing a guy saddling a horse, and you can see how the layers of the saddle are put on. -Ona

  5. I might add, the girths are usually not connected to any rigging - they are "wrap around" style, so need to be pulled tight or everything will fall right off! :D

  6. Oh Ona! I thought I'd scrolled all the way through your blog but somehow I missed the post with the video. That is AWESOME! As Vicky said, it can be so difficult to find good reference pictures for international tack. Thank you so much for posting these (and allowing me to repost here!).

    Kellye, your comment made me laugh. I often don't know what I'm going to post until a few minutes before I acutally sit down in front of my laptop. I'm glad the randomness is a good thing!!

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