Friday, February 14, 2014

Tack Problem Solving

You may recall that Stewie the puppy chewed his brand new halter off by breaking the plastic clasp, which was poorly placed on his side where he could easily reach it with his teeth.  The collar he had on when we found him was frayed and chewed to bits also, which was why we bought him a new harness.  Anyway, I wanted to let everyone know that we have had some success with a Martha Stewart harness.  This thing is so well built and well designed that Stewie cannot destroy it.  It's more expensive than the other dog harnesses, but I'd rather pay for one good quality harness than to have to keep buying a cheap one every few days to replace the other cheap ones he destroyed.

He does manage to get his jaw under this harness, but the straps are so tight and tough that his teeth cannot rip, fray or shred them.  The Martha Stewart harness does have that same old plastic clasp, but it was intelligently placed behind the dog's head and covered by two straps that stick out with rings to attach a leash to.  Not only would the dog have to be the Exorcist and spin his head all the way around to reach the clasp, but he'd have to be in Mensa to get past the straps.  So, that tack problem was solved.

Then there's the problem with the side pull bridle shifting and the cheek pieces and buckles poking Rock in the eye.  I've been researching various options, and they all have problems.  I don't like spending money to solve problems with problems.  It's a long story, but basically, I want a bitless bridle that doesn't have anything harsh over the nose or under the chin, and the cheek pieces can't be anywhere near the eyes.  I realize that these bridles operate off of pressure, but if they leave a mark, that is too much pressure in my book.  It also has to have straps that are long enough to wrap around Rock's big head.

I found one side pull bridle designed specifically to keep the cheek pieces and buckles out of the eyes, and I almost ordered it, but then I realized that every picture showed an Arab horse wearing the bridle.  I zoomed in, and sure enough, most of the straps were on the last hole with no room to expand.  There's no way it would have fit Rock's head.

Then there are these bitless bridles that can be redesigned multiple ways for how you want to use them, such as the Rambo Miklem Multi-Bridle.  However, the bridle was way out of the price range I was willing to pay.  I only pay that much for a sure thing.  If someone could guarantee that the bridle would solve my problems and not create new ones, I'd consider the price.

I found a side pull bridle in a feed store that had a thin nose band, but it was covered with very soft leather, and the leather straps were very flexible.  I asked about their return policy, and they said I could return it as long as I have the receipt.  So, I took a chance, but it ended up being a waste of my time.  I could still easily pull the buckles into Rock's eyes even when I had the straps as tight as they could go.

Anyway, I tried tying the cheek pieces on the old side pull to the chin strap with leather ties, but the ends of the leather were poking him in the eye, which kind of defeated the purpose.  Then I tried string, but the string wasn't strong enough.  Then my husband brought home some clothesline, and that seemed to do the trick.

Am I handsome or what?

The string doesn't really pull the cheek pieces down out of the way any significant amount, but it does help stabilize the entire bridle so that it is less likely to rock the buckle and straps into his eyes.

The only problem is that now the strap is going to be pulling on his throat latch, and I'm hoping that won't result in him throwing his head around to avoid the pressure.  I can get two fingers in there, but the strap really doesn't sit where it should.

I put it on Gabbrielle's tiny dishface and teacup muzzle just for comparison, and her head is small enough for the strap to sit in front of the jowl rather than in the crevice of the throat.  I would have to punch new holes to tighten the cheek pieces and the chin strap to get the noseband and chin strap to sit where they should, though.

I think it is silly that they made the cheek straps so ridiculously long and did not allow for enough strap to go around the jowl on Rock.  They also did not make the ropes over the nose long enough for Rock.  Anyway, I'll try this set up for a while and see if it works out.  But first Rock's hoof abscess has to heal.  Test riding him in his old, but redesigned, bridle was what I had planned to do today before I found him limping around.


BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Is there a tack repair place anywhere around you?

Frosty is so broad across the forehead that all of my browband headstalls were pinching him, which led to him getting funny about being bridled. But I finally picked up a headstall that I liked and took it into my leather repair guy and he added a couple of inches to the browband.

In this case, you could measure how long you need the straps to be and have a repair guy take off the old straps and sew on new, longer ones so the buckles would sit higher on the side of Rock's head like they are supposed too.

Oh yea, and my leather guy made a longer cheek strap for Frosty too. It really is ridiculous how tiny they are making most of these headstalls these days. It's not like Frosty has a big head...He's just big all over and none of these dinky, little headstalls fit him (nor did they fit any of my other foundation-bred horses very well).

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

BEC - I may have to do that. I'm just hesitant because anytime I have contacted a custom saddlery specialist in the past, I nearly passed out over the prices. The old bridle only has one buckle on one side, so if I can get that out of the way, that would really help. A longer chin strap and longer nose band would be icing on the cake.

Johara said...

I didn't like how the sidepull sits so close to the eyes either. I attached an english curb chain to the rings on the cheek. None of my leather straps were long enough! Since it's usually used on only one of my horses and he is ridden by beginners, I also added a training fork (running martingale) to keep the pulling on the sidepull more consistant.

Have you seen the bitless nosebands for sale on ebay? Most of them are between $15 and $30, so not too expensive. Haven't purchased one myself, I've been trying to get my crafty mom to make some lol.

Ms Martyr said...

I don't know that you would have to use a custom saddlery shop. I've had work done at a shoe repair store. They were just repairs, however; not anything that would have required specific knowledge about tack.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Yea, I dunno about the custom saddlery shops...We just have a saddle/tack repair guy in Colorado and Wickenburg has a few as well and they are seldom expensive. I suspect I could also take some items into my shoe repair guy and he could do a few repairs, but the saddle repair guys will be the ones who have the appropriate pieces of leather.

It cost me $15 to get Frosty's bridle redone in Colorado and I had a guy down here sew a flap down on one of my back cinches and it cost $10.

I suspect there are several repair places in your area or at least the tack/feed stores might know of people who do it. I'd say at most to get that one side lengthened, it shouldn't cost more than $20. At the most they would replace the whole length on the one side and they can reuse your buckle. At the least, all they would have to do is remove the buckle, add a couple of inches to the existing piece and resew the buckle on. Not a big deal either way.

achieve1dream said...

If I'm not mistaken a lot of longeing cavessons have the throatlatch attached at the cheek like that specifically to prevent them from pulling into the eye. It's a good design. My side pull is just a dressage bridle with the cheekstraps attached to the noseband, but it doesn't provide much leverage. I hope you can find something that works.