Total cost for today's project was $7 for the rope from WalMart, $4 for the clips at Walmart, and $3 for the towel. I found that buying the rope in bulk at WalMart (or even Home Depot) was cheaper than buying it by the foot.
I tried to take a photo of each step but if anyone needs clarification, let me know.
|All of the supplies, minus the towel|
Step 1: measure about 40' of rope and cut off any excess. This particular package of rope was 50' long so I cut 10' off. Then I used a lighter to melt the end of the rope where I had cut it. The heat melted the nylon material and that will prevent unraveling in the future.
Find the middle of the rope and slide the spring clip on there.
Step 2: Tie a simple knot behind the spring clip to prevent it from moving in either direction.
Step 3: lay a blanket out on the floor and arrange the rope out on the blanket so you can get a good idea of proportions and sizing. The spring clip that you just tied a knot behind will go on the top of the surcingle just behind the horse's withers. Then the rope should go straight back to just above the horse's hocks, and then straight up to the horse's head. It should look like a backwards "C".
Step 3: Make the padded sleeve to go behind the horse's hocks. Now, there are a million ways you could do this. I found out that just a simple sleeve made from fleece will bunch up. For round 2, I used a towel with rolled-up fleece inside to give it a bit more rigidness. Make sure to leave an opening that you can thread the rope through.
Step 4: thread the rope through the padded sleeve that you just made. Each end of the rope should pass through in opposite directions from the other end, if that makes sense. You should essentially make a figure 8 with the rope.
Here, one side of the rope has been threaded through, but the other side has not:
Step 5: After you get both ends threaded through the pad, lay everything out neatly so you can see where it's all at. The padded sleeve goes at the back of the horse.
Step 6: Thread the two swivel clips through the front ends, like this:
Step 7: Tie a sliding knot so that the length of the front pieces can be shortened or lengthened.
Close-up of sliding knots:
And that is it!
Now, go get your horse. Put a saddle pad and the surcingle on the horse like so:
That spring clip gets attached to the top of the surcingle:
The rope coming off of the spring clip goes around the horse's hips and then the padded sleeve rests on the tops of the hocks:
Lucy is endlessly patient with me.
You're almost done! Now the front end of the ropes come up the sides of the horse, and you thread the clips through the horse's halter or bit, and then clip them to the sides of the surcingle like this:
If your clips are too big to fit through the halter or bit, you can get two double-ended snaps and do this:
Top spring clip and the other end of the device, the swivel clip, attached to the side of the surcingle:
Again, showing how it all looks in the end
The shorter you make the front part of the device, the more "contact" it will have with your horse's face. You can also rig it in different ways to encourage the horse to stretch/collect/lower or raise the head carriage.
So due to Lauren and Maddy's interest in this gizmo, I am going to leave this one at the barn for them to use, but maybe in the future we will do another giveaway.