Horse Breeds at

Know Your Tack Shop

By Leslie Potter


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English saddles on consignmentNow that Black Friday is here and Christmas shopping season is officially open, you’re probably making your list and checking it twice, unless you’re one of those overachievers who gets it done by the end of October. For the rest of us, it’s time to decide on a shopping plan of attack.

Many cities have some variation on the “buy local” movement, where shoppers are encouraged to purchase from locally-owned, independent businesses instead of big box chain stores or buying from some far-off shop via the Internet. There are plenty of good reasons to go that route, mainly that it helps your local economy instead of just lining the pockets of the CEO of Buy-n-Large.

This got me thinking about how I shop for my horse and riding needs, and I started to wonder if I should be doing more for the local equestrian economy. I buy my grain at a local shop, of course, and it’s conveniently located near both Horse Illustrated HQ and my boarding barn. I go there if I just need something quickly, like a bottle of fly spray. But other than that, I tend to shop online for stuff like riding clothes or tack. I just want the best price.

But you can’t put a price on having a great, local resource, and that’s where the independent tack shops can’t be beat. When I lived in Maine, I used to visit a tiny little consignment shop called Springdale Farm. It’s literally run out of a converted garage, and as a consignment shop, the in-stock merchandise was always sort of random. But I could walk in there, describe an issue I was having with a horse, and the shop’s owner would tell me which bit to try. She was usually right. You don’t get that from Google shopping. While it isn’t the kind of place you’d go to get this year’s show-ring trend, you could find great treasures there. I even bought my cutback saddle from Springdale Farm.

Now I live in the Horse Capital of the World, and I still miss that little shop in Maine. However, we have a few good ones around here. There are even a couple right near the center of the city, meaning you don’t have to schedule a field trip to go shopping. I think my favorite for browsing is Fennell’s, a little shop at the Red Mile harness track which specializes in the odd combination of Standardbred equipment and Saddlebred tack. I don’t often need the harness parts and leather goods that they’re known for, but they’re worth a visit just for their wall of bits and the selection of odds and ends that you can’t always find at the big farm supply stores.

I probably won’t stop looking online for the best prices for certain items, but I think it’s worth browsing and buying from the local places when possible. It would be a sad day if we lost those resources.

Do you have a great local tack shop in your area, or do you depend on catalogs and online shopping to get your horse gear? Click “Submit a Comment” below and tell us about it.

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Donna    Weymouth, MA

11/26/2011 5:46:56 AM

Briggs Tack Shop in Hanover, MA is a great shop to find what you need or get a answer to a question.

Bailey    Stalkerville, TN

11/25/2011 5:31:50 PM

Hey, I do have a nice place to go shopping. I love my local Tractor Supply Co. I always love to pop in there and browes around the horse section. From the magz, to the bits, I look at everything. This is my favorite store for my nessesities!! :)

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