Anything for the pony!!!  photo by Carrie

Abbey Good sent us this great article about living with the condition known as Tack-a-Maniac.


When I talk to my mother about horses, our conversations usually include,“You spent HOW MUCH on a saddle?!” or, “You know you have to pay for college, right?”

Although I am well aware that I will have to start paying for college this fall to achieve my career goal of becoming a counselor, I just cannot stop myself from purchasing the things I think my horse needs.  Like that sparkly browband that has been sitting in my tack trunk, completely unused, for three months.  “Sari needs this browband! Her other one is getting old!” was the excuse for that one.

If you have horses, you know that tack is an addiction.  And, unfortunately, there is no cure for needing that extra bridle or saddle pad. You need what you need, and there is no other option.  Once you get the piece of necessary gear, what’s done is done.  There is no going back, even if the supplier you purchase it from has a fabulous return policy.

But do not fear, dear horse person, this condition has been recently diagnosed by leading physicians!  It is called Tack-A-Maniac.  Here is the physician’s definition of the disease:

“This highly contagious condition is an epidemic that affects humans that own or ride Equus caballus. (Horses) Symptoms include, but are not limited to: the excessive buying of saddles, bridles, bits, blankets, and other horse items; the looking at, and drooling over, of horse items on horse supply websites; putting items into virtual “baskets” on horse supply websites that the putter of these items has no intention, nor the funds, to purchase; dreaming about pieces of tack; the excessive overflow of tack magazines; and one’s jealousy when they see nice tack at places like horse shows, expos, or other equine related facilities.  If you are displaying one, or all, of the symptoms of this condition, it is likely that you are in too infected with Tack-A-Maniac to be cured.”

I can honestly say that if you have Tack-A-Maniac, it’s not your fault. Instead, you can blame SmartPak for offering free shipping on the items of your desire; they are well aware that horse lovers will spend $75 to get that free shipping.  They also know people with Tack-A-Maniac will take comfort in their no-questions-asked return policy, because the buyer will tell themselves if they don’t like the item(s) purchased, they can just simply return them for a full refund.  Which, as a matter of fact, they will not do.  The buyer will take one look at the piece of tack and instantly bond with it; they can’t help themselves, they have Tack-A-Maniac.

If you have Tack-A-Maniac and happen to run out of money, I can offer you a few bits of advice, seeing as I am in the same boat you are:

  • Shop the sales.  Great prices can be found on the tack of your dreams!
  • Pick up another part-time job in which the funds from said job will be solely and completely devoted to buying tack.
  • Put every item of tack you own in your bedroom so you can see how much you do not need a duplicate (or a triplet) of everything.
  • Burn the catalogs and equestrian magazines.
  • Cancel your internet subscription; you know the only thing you do on it is look at saddles!
  • Do not go to any equestrian shows or events.  You might see a piece of tack you absolutely need.
  • As a last resort, sell the horse, and use the funds to buy more tack!

If you are somebody living with a person that has been diagnosed with Tack-A-Maniac, there is no hope for your bank account.  All of your funds will be depleted.  Because the horse needs it! My advice to you: Get used to long “What I want for (insert holiday here)” lists! Also, study up on Tack terminology!  You never know when you may need to decode a list!  The best thing to do is see if your job offers time-and-a-half, it may come in handy.

Tack-A-Maniac is a condition that horse lovers may just need to learn to deal with.  I think just one new piece of tack per month might be enough to suppress the urge. It takes a lot of self control not to buy something you really love, and if you relapse it is not your fault! After all, there’s no hope for you if you’re a Tack-A-Maniac!