Collegiate English Starter Pack: Part 2
As promised, here is part 2 of my Collegiate English Starter Pack Review. Just as a refresher, I was borrowing someone else’s English tack for my past reviews up until she left. After speaking with our Collegiate Rep (who handles all the Weatherbeeta brands), we came up with what we feel is the perfect starter pack for anyone who is beginning to ride English or whoever wants to just get some new stuff! Part 1 I reviewed the Collegiate Honour Close Contact Saddle and now I'll go over the following pieces of tack:  

Following the order of how I would prepare my horse for a ride, I’m going to begin with the Weatherbeeta Prime All Purpose Saddle Pad. This pad is made from durable cotton material that has a moisture wicking lining. The mesh spine allows for extra airflow and breathability. After riding Bentley for 45 minutes, she was completely dry under this pad. No sweat marks for me to clean up, SCORE! For extra added durability and longevity, the girth patch is PVC-covered so that it does not wear as easily. It is also designed to allow for extra space between the withers and pad. This is a great feature as some horses, Bentley is one of those, are pretty sensitive around their withers so its good to keep the saddle from rubbing and adding extra pressure. I like this pad because it looks classy yet sporty, it’s lightweight, and you can use it everyday for schooling or in the show ring. Up to you! This pad is offered in various colors and in size full.

Next the Collegiate Luxe Stirrup Leathers. Before I get into how nice these stirrup leathers are, let me just tell you as an English beginner over here, it took me a hot second to figure out how to get these on. I mean I understood WHERE they needed to go, that was not the issue. I didn’t know that the latch needed to go down, THEN go up once you put the leathers on etc etc. I know, I had a “brain fart moment.” Anyways, after my YouTube lesson, I got the leathers on. Crafted from high quality European leather, these 1” wide Luxe stirrup leathers are so soft and supple. They have a reinforced, core webbing along with outer stitching that prevents stretching and increases durability. When I first felt these leathers, I could not believe how soft and cushiony they were. You can tell just by touch that these will last a long time. The Luxe stirrup leathers conform to your leg for uninterrupted contact with exceptional comfort. These come in 43”, 48”, 54” and 63” and either black or brown. I went with the 54” ones and ended up at hole 19 for my perfect length. (I’m 5’7”) 

Don’t worry even amidst my “brain fart” moment, yes, I did put the irons on before getting the leathers on the saddle. I’m sure some of you were concerned! The Korsteel Stainless Steel Knife Edge Stirrup Irons are your basic, quality stirrups. Made from premium stainless steel, the irons are suitable for any kind of riding. They come complete with rubber treads that you can replace as needed. They start at size 4” and go through 5” by ¼” increments. I chose the 4.75” as it’s pretty standard size but the rule of thumb is that you want to fit a finger on both sides of your foot in the iron. I wear a size 7.5” boot and was able to fit a finger and what I would imagine to be a half of a finger on both sides, going off of the rule I probably could’ve gotten away with 4.5” irons.

After I got the stirrups and leathers situated, I put on the Collegiate Anatomic Girth. They designed this girth to allow maximum freedom and comfort for your horse. The contoured shape of it allows extra room for the horse’s elbow to move freely and added stability for your saddle. I’ve heard and read that these girths are great for round horses; Bentley is a Quarter Horse thus she is very barrel chested, so this girth was a good option to use with her. 

Collegiate Anatomic Girth

After using this girth and feeling how free her stride was, I will most definitely be getting a western version to use. It’s lightweight, easy to clean, and non-galling. Unlike some English girths, this one has elastic on both sides which really saved me because she likes to suck in air while I’m tacking her up. I got the 50” and after walking her around to release some air, she was at the 2nd hole on both sides. It is available in sizes 38”-56”, in 2” increments as well as colors black and brown. 

Moving onto the Collegiate Comfort Crown Fancy Stitched Raised Cavesson Bridle. The quality of this bridle is undeniable! The fancy stitching, soft European leather, and super polished stainless-steel fittings make this bridle a huge contender against some of the most expensive English brands. Not only is it stylish, but it offers the ultimate comfort for your horse with padded crown, browband, and nose piece by reducing the pressure exerted in those areas. The bridle comes with matching laced reins. This piece was the final touch to turning Bentley into an English horse bringing together the whole package! After I put it on her, she had a cleaner and much more elegant look to her. Whether you’re using this bridle to school or show, you’ll absolutely be impressed by its durability, functionality and classic style.

If you like the features of the Collegiate Comfort Crown Fancy Stitched Raised Cavesson Bridle but looking for something a little less expensive, check out the Collegiate Comfort Crown Fancy Stitched Raised Cavesson Bridle. It still offers the same comfort for your horse with the padded pieces, made from fine European leather and comes with matching reins. The difference is that it does not have the intricate stitching. Both bridles are offered in Black or Brown and in sizes pony, cob, full and warmblood. I used a cob size on my horse and it fit nicely.  

Jp Korsteel Stainless Steel Oval Link Loose Ring Snaffle Bit

Finally, we chose the JP Korsteel Stainless Steel Oval Link Loose Ring Snaffle Bit as it is a very mild yet versatile bit. This bit has a curved mouthpiece so that it does not bump the top of your horse’s mouth and allows room for their tongue. It is lightweight, but still thick enough to be soft in their mouth. You can use this for any horse, green or finished, as the loose ring and jointed mouthpiece make it a very gentle bit. Bentley responded very well to this snaffle; sometimes I can be strong with my hands (working on it) so I like that it can relieve some of that unintended pressure. She collected nicely, stopped firmly, and seemed much more relaxed. Since the bit is a little curved, I would recommend sizing up for your horse because it fits a little narrower. I got the 5”, as that’s what I just measured her for in my Myler review but would’ve been better off with the 5.5”. The available sizes are 4.5”, 5”, 5,5” and 6”.

As an English beginner I felt that this was the perfect assortment of products to jumpstart my switch from riding Western. Everything is great quality while not having to spend a ridiculous amount of money. But let’s be real…if you have horses all your money goes towards them either way.


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