I was asked to post some pics of “a” braided harness I’ve made on a forum I participate in. I thought I’d share some thoughts here as well. Actually I now have 3 of these – 1 is still not complete, but it might get there eventually!
Then I decided I just had to try some of the other projects in the book that I got (directions for some of the horse type projects). Got the paracord and did a headstall out of it – DID NOT like it – especially for the ponies. So Hay string became what I used and I perfected designs I liked. Then… Hmmm, can’t afford “proper” harness – why not just make my own while i put the $$ together for what I want/need?
Here is a rather good shot of the 1st complete “harness”. I made the headstall (w/ throat latch and browband) – flat braid; the driving lines – MCR (Mountain Climbing Rope) purchased from a local rock climbing shop; the breast collar with rings and the traces are a flat braid; the breeching, hip straps, back strap are all a flat braid and the crupper is a flat to round to flat braid. I didn’t make the surcingle – it is a purchased “Tough-1” Mini Surcingle.
Here’s a close up of some of the parts – I also used recycled hardware – so some isn’t “pretty” anymore but it does work! These two harnesses were made between Christmas 2009 and March 2010…
One of the headstalls – probably 3rd type of design (?). This one was completed in July 2010 and yes that is recycled haystring from some of Vicki’s (Pampered Pets Pharm) round bales. Have no idea where her hay supplier was getting that red/white string – when she and I went looking for some – we couldn’t find it in the Ag stores or on line… We are probably calling it by the wrong name.
Here’s a pic showing the girth and wrap strap I made. It doesn’t show very well, sorry. The canvas one with the surcingle had died 2 days previous to this. I figured out how to “split” the ends – it has 2 buckles on each side to work with the mini sized surcingle.
Yes, the breast collar in this pic is sitting too high. Had the wrong one on the wrong pony. Don’t know if we ever fixed it during this driving/picture session at “A Starting Point Stables”… Think we “just made it work”…
Here is a pic of the girls learning to drive as a pair – with two separate pleasure harnesses. Bell and Bit before I purchased a double tree. We are going to be pulling a chain link drag w/ the pair w/ 2 different sized single trees. The girls were pretty good sports considering the “night mare” this was. Also, I’d just finished the pair driving lines. Woof – I think there has to be an algebraic expression for how to get the measurements right for that!!
Much fewer headaches to BUY them already set up correctly, let me be the first to tell you! Though, I do/can still use them, LOL.
Better set up to pull the draft horse stone boat at a draft horse event. This is Oct 2010. In March 2011, I was able to get a “proper” bio-thane work harness with painted (now know – YECK – prefer completely stainless steel but woof $$) hames and work collars.
So back to using the harness in parts on various ponies for training!
I could probably get pretty creative with the “short” strings from small hay bales. Splicing doesn’t work so well – bulky and weak at the splice for harness type “stuff”. I braid the short ones now in mostly 4 strand round braids and use them as “ties” or straps for lots of different things! To include tie downs in my truck bed, ties at each feed bucket for each pony, Cross ties if can use them short, trailer ties (I keep about 10 hanging in my trailer at a time), bucket ties (doesn’t break like snaps do, but usually have to cut them to get them untied), collars when i didn’t have time to make the flat strand collars I prefer, the ropes that tie the top and bottom of the 16′ panels around a hay bale.
This shows the feed tie with a different style hay string collar. The blue & white is recycled in that a friend found a bucket of the stuff behind her shed when she cleared that area to make a paddock. Who knows how long it was out there. The snap below will break before the braided ends will.
Another type of collar and tie. Star wore that collar for years. No hardware on it! The first few years, that wonky conglomeration up by her ear could be untied and collar removed while she was ridden, driven or pics taken. When I sold her, I didn’t even try to untie it – I popped my knife out and just cut it when I delivered her to her new owner.
When I first started braiding, I didn’t have this many ponies and I often cleaned and rolled the string (from the round bales) up into “tamales” while I waited for the ponies to finish eating after I fed them.
I had what I call a cowboy gate before I could afford the $300 for the 2 separate gates that eventually went up in that spot. It lasted several years before ponies realized it wasn’t “HOT”, then I got creative with “blocks” and that worked for a while, too. Finally got the gates purchased – but the “cowboy gate” worked a treat for quite some time!
It was 5 strands of braided “rope” strung from a solid post to a pvc pipe (tied thru holes in the pipe to be a set distances and not slide up/down). The end of the pvc pipe got put down into a ring of wire that held it in position, the top was tilted forward to tighten the gate and then a wire loop was dropped over the top of the pvc pipe and the post to hold the gate shut. This was done with short haystring in a double 3 strand braid (flat) and the strings were spliced in different areas to maintain strength.
I can’t find any pics of the cowboy gate…
But here is a pseudo close up of a fence line with braided string as the “wire”. The white down in the right hand bottom corner is hot.
This photo looks pretty “trashy”…but it did work for quite a long time. Until we started having problems with the “ground” and then not having that white wire/rope hot. That was when this became a panel fence line with a gate.
If I was still actually riding, I’d like to make my own western girths from Alpaca hair (have several suppliers w/i 50 miles of us).
The book/patterns I started out with are on this website… not sure if I can post? though? U braid it dot com. If you go to their gallery of pics – they have different projects displayed by themselves and customers – in paracord, leather and mohair… BEAUTIFUL but I will always love my haystring braiding!!
I don’t have pics of the buckle cruppers but here are two pics of the first slightly adjustable crupper I made – it’s looped to prevent the long end from flapping. It was sized from a hackney pony back strap/crupper and it’s too long for most of our ponies.
and the balancing side reins, too long for this girl but work great on our larger shetlands. These went from flat where the snap attaches to the girth or surcingle, to round to go through bit, back to flat to buckle them to top of surcingle or saddle.