Editor's Postcard

Treasure in the Tack Room

Treasure in the Tack Room
Catherine Madera

My Best Training Tool

by Catherine Madera


Last month a halter worn by equine superstar Zenyatta sold at auction for over $6,000. Dubbed “The Queen of Racing,” Zenyatta soared to popularity after breaking numerous records on the track. She failed to win the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Classic (placing second), but nothing could remove the lovely black mare from the top spot in the hearts of horse people everywhere.

Zenyatta’s halter, if it was leather, probably cost around $100 new. A halter is the most basic, humble piece of horse tack used daily for routine care. This was no race winning headstall—the equine equivalent of Michael Jackson’s white glove (which, if you’re interested, sold at auction for $350,000 in 2009). Its inflated value was based on the celebrity—the name—of the owner. Not only am I lacking a $6,000 piece of equipment in my tack room, I don’t have a horse on my property worth that much! 

Photo credit Catherine Madera

I’ve been tempted at times to focus on tack and tools thinking that if only I had such and such bit, saddle, or training DVDs then I’d be able to accomplish more with my horse. It’s a perspective that shifts the responsibility for growth and learning away from myself and places it on a name or brand. John Lyons once said the strongest lead rope exists in your horse’s mind. I’ve found this to be true. It matters little whether you are communicating to him through a curb or snaffle bit, hackamore, or the lead rope attached to his halter. 

This month our focus is on tack and equipment—“tools of the trade” for all horse owners. On page 6 we spotlight Alaskan horsemen for The Great Alaska Horse Expo coming up at the end of the month. Also, trainer Jim Winney reminds us that while quality tack is a worthwhile investment, the most valuable training tool is our own hands. Send your thoughts and ideas to editor@nwhorsesource.com.

Ride on!


Published June 2012 Issue

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Editor's Postcard
Catherine Madera

Catherine Madera attended Walla Walla University in Eastern Washington where she majored in communications/journalism. After winning a national competition for Guideposts Magazine in 2004, Catherine concentrated on non-fiction inspirational stories. Since then, she has published numerous personal and ghosted stories for Guideposts and their affiliate publications. Catherine has published in many regional and national magazines/newspapers and her work is included in several anthologies. She specializes in equine-related topics and profiles and serves as editor of The Northwest Horse Source. In 2010 Catherine’s non-fiction story, A Hero’s Work, received the Merial Human-Animal Bond award given by American Horse Publications. She has also authored three works of fiction and provides editing/writing assistance through Word Horse Writing Services.

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