"old fashioned practices"

Thought this could be a fun thread…

What is something you learned about horsemanship that isnt commonly seen nowadays?

Maybe its something you still practice yourself ?

For example : The use of witney rugs and rollers!

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Never heard of whitney rugs. What were they used for?

Those heavy green New Zealand rugs were all the rage back in the 70s and 80s. Weighed a ton.
Crochet pommel pads were a big thing for a while, before the advent of half pads.
Feeding Calf Manna
Pull on boots, everyone had a boot jack and pulls
Caliente helmets
You don’t see flat saddles much anymore, the ones without any knee blocks or rolls. My first saddle was a Beval Gladstone (bought used in Fla for the grand sum of $300) totally flat, no blocks but this was back in the mid-80s.
Longer hunt coats, when did they become so short and why?
Ratcatcher shirts with button collars - no velcro or magnetic.
Wool hunt coats only.
No starter or BN levels, Novice was the lowest level

I’m starting to digress to a more of a “trip down memory lane”

I really wish the fad of laying on the horse’s neck over jumps would go away. Looks so stupid.


I was wondering about these the other day…
What is the etymology behind this? Doesn’t it mean “hot”?

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I believe Caliente means fast. They were all the bomb for xc riding. You weren’t anyone unless you wore a Caliente.


I started riding back in the '60s, so I know lots of old fashioned practices. :laughing:

As I was reading @Spudsmyguy’s list, I was nodding and saying, “Yes, yes, yes, yes…” so I won’t repeat anything from that post. And I’ve still got one of those crochet pommel pads.

Something that I think is interesting is the evolution of bits. When I started riding, some horses went in a simple snaffle, others went in a pelham - with two reins. No matter how little you were, you were expected to learn how to hold and use both reins. I don’t recall ever seeing a bit converter used (although I’m sure they must have been).

When I was in college in the '70s, the rule was “every horse goes in a snaffle.” You might need a double twisted wire snaffle, but By Dog, you were using a snaffle.

Today, thankfully, pelhams have once again, sensibly, made a reappearance, although now we seem to have the notion that kids and other beginners aren’t capable of handling two reins and so must have bit converters.

A giant leap forward (my opinion) is the adoption of new technical fabrics for riding wear. During my early years, all my jodhpurs and breeches were of non-stretchy material and had the giant flared hips. Although I guess that’s not about horsemanship…



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I rode saddle seat as a kid and the jods were disgusting sweaty polyester. There was really no selection for any type of riding clothes. Maybe a color option, with 2 or 3 variations. There was a magical catalog that appeared with what I thought were AWESOME jods and britches. I was so happy b/c they weren’t that horrible fabric. I think it was Phelans?

Helmets were also hot as *$& and would probably just help snap your neck b/c of the stiff brim - unless you wore the aforementioned caliente :slight_smile:

Double reins - learned to use them when I was 7.

I actually liked the flat, flat saddles with no rolls. I also miss brown tack desperately.

Murphy’s oil soap gel.

Source vitamin supplement - had a seahorse on it. Did it include fish?

Wipe fly repellent in tin can.

In my mind all dressage saddles were cutbacks. Is this true? Dressage was magical mysterious discipline.


The name came from the old Caliente Race Track in Tijuana. James Alessio, the manager of that track back in the day, bankrolled the initial development of the helmet.

I had black velvet and red and white silk-like covers for mine. :slight_smile:


I have wondered this for years!!! I am so happy to finally know.

Check this out Vintage Caliente for sale

So apparently this still exists. I haven’t seen it for decades.

My friend at the barn who is part barn manager hasn’t really been in horses since the 90s. I’ve had to help explain the last 30 years of horsemanship, medical advances and care. There are some things you take for granted now and having to explain why can stump you sometimes so it’s been kind of funny


I meant tack too!

Early of Whitney rugs were made in England out of wool. They’re for adding an extra layer of warmth

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Maybe this is still done somewhere (England?) but people tend to give me a blank look when I bring it up.


Source is an easy way to supplement iodine, if needed.


Funny you should mention flat saddles, as my first saddle (bought in 2012) was a Smith Worthington that was flat as a pancake and had absolutely no knee rolls or blocks of any kind. Was it the best saddle to learn to event in? Probably not, but my leg was wickedly solid by the time I finally got a nice jump saddle.


Source is still around, and yes, it contained fish or fish oil. There’s a lot of different types of Source now, not just the green one.

I had a black silk and a green and blue covers for my caliente. I lucked out finding the covers in a used sporting goods store and for it to be in my colors, it was karma.
Full chaps
wool coolers, not fleece

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I still wear these on occasion, usually trail riding. They are great when you are bushwhacking, and they help you to stick on in case of emergency. A few yrs ago a pal gave me a jumping lesson (first time I’ve jumped in decades) & I wore them in hopes they would help me stay on. Success!

I also keep them in my car in case I suddenly face an urgent situation where I must whip them out and get on a horse somewhere?


I have a poster from the 1988 National Horse Show when it was still held at the Garden. The rider in the picture - not a photo but looks like a pastel - is riding in a flat saddle, her head it turned away but you can see her hair is blond. I always imagined it was Katie Monahan (she wasn’t married to Henri at the time).


Seaweed, not fish.


Ah. Thanks for the correction.