Trip to Bartville Harness

There is a fabled place in Amish country, Pennsylvania that all eventers must travel to at least once in their lives. It is the mecca of the three day rider. A right of passage and test of determination and thriftiness.

That place is Bartville Harness.

95%* of eventers use Nunn Finer tack. Maybe you bought it online. Maybe you went to the Bit o' Britain store in Pennsylvania. Or perhaps you saw the truck loaded with goodies at one of the various horseshows in Area II. My first Nunn Finer purchase was a pair of ostentatious purple reins which, besides owning a horse, was my number one dream.

*heavy breathing*

But Nunn Finer has a dark secret.

Actually, it's not really a secret at all. Nunn Finer tack that's made in America is made in Amish country, at Bartville Harness.

Since I had a new horse, and needed All New Shiny Things, I decided to make a trek out one beautiful morning to buy Runkle all the gear he would need to make us look like REAL eventers.

5 Tips about Bartville Harness
1. It is run by the Amish for the Amish, and thusly will keep Amish-type hours. It is open from 7am to 4pm most days, and closed on Sunday. I kind of liked getting there at 7:30am on a Saturday, I had ample time to browse the store, spend way too much money, and still get to the barn to ride at 10am! When I pulled up there was a horse and buggy tied up outside. Next to my car. And when I went in they were speaking Pennsylvania Dutch! (Can you tell I don't get out much? I was fascinated.)
2. You'll save money... but you'll also spend a lot. I spent a lot. I'll admit it. But I needed a lot of things, okay?? Besides, according to my calculations I saved almost $200. That's a lot when you've got to basically outfit a horse from nothing. Well, I didn't exactly have nothing I had a tack trunk full of shit but I needed different things. Anyway, Bartville doesn't just have tack. They have everything from brushing boots to basic first aid to ulcer guard and then some.
3. I paid for my tack bounty with a check. They don't take debit or credit cards because, y'know, Amish.
4.  They are super helpful and will do custom anything if you need it. Do you have an abomination of a horse whose head only a mother could love? They have the bridle parts to fit it.  You can also mix and match pieces really affordably. Runkle has cob everything but could really use a horse noseband. Done. Horse breastplate with cob running attachment? No problem. And you can literally see where they make it; the shop is attached to the leather working area. The guy let me dig through a pile of leather lead ropes which made me happier than it should have.
5. If you are going to Bartville Harness, tell everyone in the world you are going. Because no one wants to drive out there. But everyone needs a breastplate, a new set of reins, etc etc. And if you come back with shiny new tack and didn't tell them you were going you will hear about it, because your shiny new tack is rubbing it in their face. You're welcome, I'm making the mistakes so you don't have to.


This place was heaven. It smelled great. It was well organized. Even the handwritten tags were really cute. If I could change one thing I would move it closer. But it's probably better it's farther away, because until I get that money tree I can't afford it to be any closer. I already want to buy three more nosebands and another bridle. What could I possibly do with all that. What is with riders and bridles? WHY DO WE NEED SO MANY.

Runkle modeling our first of many bridles. 

I feel like it's worth mentioning that I accidentally bought the wrong color bridle (well, the bridle was the right color, but the buckles weren't. Trust me it's important). So I had to drive back after getting a half hour away and I saw a guy mowing his lawn but the lawn mower was being pulled by a horse and I really wanted to take a picture of it because it amazed me. However, I almost got in an accident trying to take a picture of a man plowing his field with five mules and I was too shy to pull over so I missed it. Guess I have to go back!

*This is a rough estimate. It's probably closer to 98.67%


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