From My Saddle

Gear Up!

Gear Up!
Karen Pickering

The Care and Keeping of Your Horse’s Tack

by Karen Pickering


Photo credit

It’s time to break out the saddles, bridles and equipment so we can ride! This issue focuses on tack and equipment and in a lean economy it’s wise to focus on taking better care of the tack we have. If we want longevity out of our gear we need to clean it, repair it and be sure it fits our horses properly. One of my friends, Shelly DeBoer, carries a bottle of leather cleaner in her horse trailer and wipes down her saddle before every use. Wow, that’s a commitment. Many years ago, in horsemanship college, we cleaned our gear after every use, preserving it for a lifetime. When I went to sell my English saddle after 20 years of storage it was still in pristine condition. It’s sad to say, but I’m no longer as good about keeping my leather clean and conditioned. Time to get back on track!

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s most convenient. For instance, I use leg boots to protect my mare when working cattle; they’re easy to put on and take off. But…. neoprene sweats. Another friend has gone back to polo wraps because they seem to be much cooler on the horse. I’m wondering what you use on your horse? Even if you trail ride it helps protect their legs when climbing over rocks and logs. Send me an email and let me know what type of leg protection you use on your horse—do you choose what’s more convenient or would you consider polo wraps?

June 22nd I head “north to the horse” and the Great Alaska Horse Expo. I can’t wait to see the majestic scenery on the trip up. The expo will be held in the small town of Ninilchik at the Kenai Peninsula State Fairgounds. If you’re ready for a fantastic northern adventure visit* and come visit our region’s newest expo! Read the cover story on page 6 for details. Summer is a busy time, bustling with activities and outdoor adventures, so enjoy the summer season and remember to ride!

Quote of the month: “Your greatness is measured by your horizons” ~Michelangelo


*This website was no longer active at the time this article was added to the website in 2018.


Published June 2012 Issue

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From My Saddle
Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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