Expert: Ajax Sugier, Maestro Equidador (Master Rider) from Argentina

Ajax competes internationally in jumping, eventing and dressage. He has been riding and training for over 35 years. When determining tack to use, Ajax says to never buy the tack before you buy the horse. Each piece of tack is part of the whole and they work together to accomplish a goal. When choosing tack, it is not a matter of preference, but a matter of need between the individual horse and rider. Expensive tack does not necessarily mean that it is better quality or functions better. When choosing a saddle pad, make sure it is made of natural fibers and has a shape that fits the horse’s back not a flat restricting shape. Ajax prefers more simple classical things. Use what works best for the horse and don’t choose an item because someone is winning with that piece of tack. He uses polo wraps instead of boots because they offer more support. However, one can harm the horse if the wraps aren’t properly put on. So, with lesson students, Ajax uses boots until he feels like the student can properly wrap the leg. Ajax says if you are experiencing an issue with your horse, don’t automatically blame tack. Have your vet check the horse, consult with your farrier and equine dentist, then look to an established trainer for advice.

Ashley Best, Newton County Extension Coordinator and Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent