These are a Few of My Favorite Things
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These are a Few of My Favorite Things

For some reason, The Sound of Music plays often during Christmas.  I’m not sure why because it really isn’t a Christmas movie, is it?  Regardless, here are a few of my favorite carriage driving things and why I like them.

  • Bowman Ultimate Leather Reins – These reins didn’t come with that name, but after perusing a whole lot of potential names for them, the word Ultimate just fits. They have the ultimate in grip and comfort without being so sticky that they won’t slide through your hand when you need them to.  My first pair came with a used harness I purchased.  Once we touched these reins, we knew we had to carry them!
  • Flitz Metal Polish – Both our Flitz customers and we have won Turnout class after class with this polish. Of course, everyone who polishes harness will tell you their polish is the best.  However, many of those same people haven’t used a whole lot of polish.  We’ve tried a lot of different brands of metal polish over the years.  Flitz is easy, fast, and non-toxic.  Some people say it is more expensive than other polishes, but when the shine lasts longer, you don’t have to polish as much!  Don’t believe us?  Ask for a sample packet with your next order!
  • Bit Sizer – This tool has been a lifesaver in measuring a horse’s mouth to get a good fitting bit. It is SO easy even compared to using a string or a pencil.  I don’t even bother with putting a bit in a new horse’s mouth without measuring the horse first.  That saves a lot of time in running around trying to find the right size bit.
  • Bowman UTR Bit – If I have a difficult horse who just doesn’t seem to be able to deal with pressure on his tongue, out comes the UTR. I haven’t met too many horses who don’t like this bit, especially fat-mouthed horses.  We have helped a lot of people whose horses have bitting problems.
  • The Essential Guide to Carriage Driving – Oh, how I wish this book was available when we started driving! It would have saved a lot of questions and headaches trying to find beginner information from a lot of different sources.  It is what I consider Carriage Driving class number 101.
  • Carriage Driving with Heike Bean – If the above book is 101, this one is 102. Some people actually consider it a Carriage Driving bible of good information.
  • Gullet Clearance Pad – Technically, we don’t use any pad on our personal harnesses, as we have harnesses that fit in the first place. However, I have had to use these pads we designed on some of my student’s harnesses that don’t have any gullet clearance whatsoever.  These pads keep the saddle off the spine to allow the horse to move better without pain from saddle pressure. 
  • Heritage Carriage Driving Gloves – These elegant gloves are just the right combination of soft and strong with a longer cuff that covers your wrists when you are reaching forward. They allow you to feel the reins without being too thick or having that wet noodle feeling of gloves that are too thin.  We use these for judged classes.
  • Heritage Cross Country Gloves – These are our practice and obstacle gloves. The grip on the fingers and palms is unmatched, even in the rain, but the cloth back still allows my hands to stay cool and not sweaty and sticky.  A lot of our shows around here are scheduled so that we do directly from a judged class to our obstacle class.  I switch out my gloves from the above ones to the CC gloves before my go. 
  • Uvex perfexxion II Helmet – Made in Germany, these helmets actually fit my round head! I can get a custom fit on almost any head with this helmet, and I don’t look like a “mushroom” as I did with the old Troxel I wore in the past.  Chad loves the Tipperary, as he has an oval shaped head, and he has even tried the super expensive helmets!
  • Optimum Time Watch – They’re hefty with big, easy to see numbers, which is highly important if you are bouncing around on an obstacle course. When they first came out, you could get yellow.  Our personal watches are yellow.  Now you can actually get colors other than yellow!  We carry at least two on our carriage during a CDE, and even a Cross Country ideal time pace class, one to count up and the other to count down.
  • Nose Buckle Halters – When we bought this business, I wasn’t a fan of all these halters because I really didn't understand the point.  And then…one of my mares broke a nylon halter.  So I grabbed one of these nose buckle halters out of the store.  I finally got the point.  The nose buckle makes it easy to bridle the horse without the moment of “freedom” than can happen with a regular halter.  But my really favorite part is that they CLEAN UP so well!  Just wipe them off with a cloth and they are like new!  And they are fantastic for washing horses as they don’t get waterlogged.  Our nose buckle halters are well-made with double layers on the cheeks.
  • 22’ Rolled Cotton Long Lines – I’ll admit it, I am not a highly talented long liner. I seem to get the extra length wrapped around my legs, even if I try to put it up in my hands or over my shoulder.  So, I like the 22’ length.  They’re just the right length for both the ponies and the horses work which we work.  And the flat cotton ends are so nice on the hands, while the rolled fronts slide nicely in the terrets on the saddle. 
  • Patent Axle Style Number Holder – I actually made our first one of these with some scraps I had laying around. I wanted a fancier number holder for my turnout, but really like the ease of the holders that just Velcro onto the cart.  So the patent ones were born. 
  • Three-Tiered Harness Rack – Yes, you can fit a whole harness on this rack, and it supports it well. When our display harnesses are at home, they live on these racks in the store. 

Comment below on some of your favorite carriage driving things!

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