@2001 Jennie Williams
Paso Fino Tack
If you are now looking for Paso Fino tack, you have discovered the unfortunate fact that anything to do with outfitting the Paso Fino is ridiculously expensive. This, of course, is because much of the tack is breed specific, and is therefore, not carried in your normal tack store down the street, or in any of the synthetic markets or discount houses. You will find that you must buy your Paso tack from a Paso tack dealer. We, at Paradise Paso Finos, are NOT tack dealers. In other words we do not keep tack on hand for sale, however, we can advise and we can order for you from different vendors. We just occasionally have used tack or an item of particular value that we can offer at reasonable prices. However, we do know a lot of them who are available for you to order from. One of the best places to find tack is at a local Paso Fino show. As those are seasonal, you may be restricted to ordering from a catalog. If you have bought your horse from a Paso farm, they can usually help you find what you need and help you to learn how to use it. If you have bought from an unknowing individual, then you are kind of out there on your own, wondering what all of this stuff is. Don't fret, there still is some help available to you.
The most important item in the Paso Fino gear that truly is breed specific and is absolutely necessary to the proper gait and collection is headgear. You can scrimp and get by with a lot of different kinds of everything else except the headgear. The basis for all headgear comes down to the jaquima (pronounced hack-i-ma). It is like a glorified halter and can be made of many different materials from rawhide to the finest leather to poly nylon. But don't get me wrong, it is NOT a halter by any means. It does so much more for you and your horse. Without one, with varying degrees of nosebands and chinstraps, you are not going to get the best performance out of your horse. Jaquimas range in price from $100 to $300 complete with reins, and depending on how fancy you want to get. You may also have noticed that the bit used on a Paso is probably completely different than you have ever used or seen before. Again, each bit is used for a different purpose depending on the horse. You will need help determining what bit to use on your own individual horse. Reins are also different and are generally of poly nylon with clips or leather straps attached at each end like a roping rein. Bits can range in price from $75 to $250 just for the bit alone. So get help before jumping into this arena, or you could end up walking down the garden path, and not understanding why your Paso doesn't work like he used to . If at all possible, buy the headgear with the horse that you are purchasing. That way, the horse will work the same for you as for the Seller. Depending on your horse, you may ride with a single rein, or on a bosal only, or a bit only. The following is a rawhide jaquima with pisador, bit, and double reins to work off the bosal and the bit.
The good news here, now that you have had sticker shock on the headgear, is that you can ride any reasonable saddle that you are comfortable on. The biggest thing that you have to remember is that Paso Finos have shorter backs like Arabs, and can't ride the big huge, expensive Western saddles with the the big long box skirts. Those saddles just wear sores on the horse's shoulder blades and hip bones and don't fit into the curve of a Paso's back. Anything that will fit an Arab, will probably fit a Paso. Short, rounded skirts or no skirts at all. Plantation saddles, dressage saddles, any English (except perhaps hunt seat as it sits you on the withers instead of the back), endurance, Colombian, McClellans, Orthoflex, etc. will all work on a Paso.
The only big exception as a rule is the old Aussie saddle. It sits so high on the back, that you can't feel your horse's changes, and the side fenders are so long they have a tendency to rub your smaller horses sides raw. Some of the newer Aussie saddles are good to go, but those from several years ago really don't make the grade. If the saddle is really padded, then it is a problem. There are individual exceptions, of course, to all of the above. It all depends on the horse you buy. I would always recommend getting the horse before you buy a saddle. Fit your saddle to your horse and to yourself, rather than trying to fit the horse to the saddle that you have. Remember, you have to fit your shoes to your feet, not the other way around. It is the same with a saddle for a horse. Buying a saddle is strictly personal preference and you have a big variety here and can go as cheap or as expensive as you like or can afford. Don't worry, you don't need to impress anyone except your horse with your concern for his or her comfort. So ride what FITS!!
Between the boarders and myself in the tack room, we had 15 different types of saddles. But no old Aussies, they all got sold along with the hunt seats. The only other piece of equipment, strictly for comfort that I recommend is a sheepskin or suede seat saver. it saves both seats that it comes into contact with. It is sheepskin or suede on the top, foam in the middle, and suede on the bottom to stick to the seat of the saddle. It really makes for a cushy ride. Here is a photo of one to let you know what I am talking about.
All of the rest of the gear that you would need for Pasos is the same as for any other horse. Have a good time at your local tack store outfitting and spoiling your horse.
Where to Go
OK, now you have a little idea about what you need so you want to know where to go. The best place is the Paso show because you can touch it, feel it, and make a decision based on what you see and feel with some help from the dealer. You can also go to the National Paso Fino Horse Association site to try and locate a dealer in your area. You are on your own when you select. Try all, and price shop, and be smart shoppers. Good luck in your search. Hope this helped clear away the uncertainty. I will sometimes have used saddles or new saddles, trailers, and other miscellaneous Paso related items on my Miscellaneous page below.
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