I start with the bridles. I look for wear and tear at the joints and seams. Especially the nosebands as they get a lot of pressure put on them by the standing martingales.
Moving to the saddles, I check the girth tabs, girths, and I pay close attention to the stirrup leathers. Many stirrup leathers get old and dry and there is nothing more irritating that having to go off because a stirrup leather has snapped during a game. That is, if you haven’t had a quick dismount because of it.
Nowadays it is possible to get webbing-backed polo stirrup leathers. The webbing is laminated on and then stitched, making it a 2-ply stirrup. In addition to having a very safe 2,000 kg breaking weight, these stirrups never stretch out of shape.
The saddles themselves should be checked for spreading of the gullet. The panels of old saddles can get really hard as the sponginess of the foam deteriorates with sweat. When that happens, it is time to get yourself another saddle.
Fortunately Zack’s Tack has a super special offer for a Conqueror Polo Saddle and Bridle. The saddle comes complete with a girth, web-backed polo stirrup leathers, a polo breastplate and nice wide stirrup irons. The bridle is complete with a polo cavesson noseband and polo standing martingale. For a total of RM3,500 which is normally the price of a bare saddle, it is a great offer.