Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fix a Broken Halter Chin Strap

One of the most frequently-broken halter parts is the chin strap, especially on those halters that have adjustable ones. Ideally you will have either a spare halter or a spare chin strap close at hand, but your spare could be a less-than-ideal fit or material. In such cases, it's possible to fashion your own replacement chin strap, or even create one in advance to keep on hand.

I like to keep old stirrup leathers around because they can be very useful as spare stirrup leathers or as neck straps. At the right width and thickness, they are also handy for halter repairs.

Step one is to remove the old chin strap. If it is in otherwise good shape, you could keep it to be repaired professionally. Fasten the throatlatch to keep everything neat and easy to visualize.

Step two is to find an appropriate stirrup leather. Something single-ply and at most 1" wide is most likely to fit through the slots.

Step three is to thread the stirrup leather through the slots and ring. Ensure that the side facing towards the horse is the same side that you would like to show on the outside of the finished chin strap (thread it wrongly and your buckle won't be able to close). You can trim off a section of stirrup leather before threading it, but err on the side of caution so that you don't end up with too short of a chin strap at the end. The stirrup leather in these photos is "rough side out", so it is threaded with the rough side facing towards the horse's chin.

Before inserting the leather into the second slot, slide two sturdy braiding elastics onto the leather. These will serve as keepers later on to help the leather keep the desired shape.

After coming out of the second slot, loop the leather back onto itself and through the nearest elastic.

Take the buckle end and fold it back onto itself and through the other elastic, and then feed the longest end through the ring to meet the other end.

Slide a third braiding elastic over the non-buckle end. Put the halter on your horse carefully (you can trim off any obvious excess in advance to avoid spooking your horse) and shorten the chin strap until it's the desired length. Use the braiding elastic to mark the spot where you would like to make a hole.

Use a leather punch to make a hole in the marked location. If you plan on using the replacement chin strap for multiple horses, punch one or two holes on either side of the target hole to allow for adjustment.

Move the marker elastic onto the buckle end of the leather, and then buckle the chin strap, using the elastic as a keeper. You can trim off any excess leather an inch or so beyond the furthest hole. If you are using a stirrup leather with roller buckles such as this one, you might consider wrapping the roller in Vetrap to dampen any jingling.

1 comment:

  1. The part that always breaks is the eye on the connector between the chin and throat. Chin straps are replaceable. The connector is not.