Saturday, July 5, 2014

Saddle/Tack Tip - Saving your Blevins Buckle Keeper

Have you ever seen a Blevins Buckle come undone when someone is riding? It's usually caused by the blevins buckle keeper coming off or riding up allowing the blevins buckle to pop out of the holes in the stirrup leather. When this happens, it's possible for the rider to have enough weight in the that stirrup to cause him or her to lose their balance and come off, particular when riding to the inside.

Sometimes it can even be funny. Years ago I was working with my daughter and her friend running barrels and my daughter's friend's father, who was one of those guys who thought he could bend a horse (not to mention people) to his will, butted in because he didn't like his daughter uses both hands (direct reining) when riding - he was calling it "plough reining".    Anyway, he took over his daughter's horse to demonstrate what he wanted and as karma would have it, he went around a barrel, and lacking a stirrup hobble, the Blevins Buckle came undone, his stirrup fell off and so did he. He got mad and went away,.....I'm just glad he went away...the horse was glad too.

Most people ride with Stirrup hobbles on their saddles, not only to keep the stirrup leathers together, but to keep the Blevins Buckle keeper from sliding off the stirrup leather. On a couple of saddle's I not only use a stirrups bobble but I use a slotted concho and length of saddle string to create a button on the bottom of the stirrup leather to catch a loose Blevins Buckle keeper as a backup to the stirrup hobble. You can run the piece of saddle string through two of the holes intended for the blevins buckle, or you can punch a new hole new to an existing hole for the saddle string to be run through the slotted concho. The photo at right shows the blevins buckle keeper and the slotted concho I rigged at the bottom of the stirrup leather.

The photo below shows how this appears when the stirrup is turned when your foot is in it.  It does not interfere with my boot going in or coming out of the stirrup

I was in a Jackpot the other weekend when one of my partners lost her Blevins Buckle keeper. She did not have any stirrup hobbles, so when she eventually found it and got her saddle all sorted out, we ran a short piece of saddle string through a couple of the holes below the Blevins Buckle to catch the Keeper if it came loose again.  Always handy to keep an extra piece or two of leather strings around. 

Some of us short legged riders will also have the issue of too long of stirrup leathers producing a length of leather hanging down. Not necessarily a good idea to cut these off as it restricts lengthening the stirrups for longer legged riders.

Usually the excess length is wrapped around and kept in place with the stirrup hobble, but sometimes it's not long enough do that. On one of my saddles the excess stirrup leather was too short to wrap around so I punched three holes in the bottom of the excess stirrup leather and tied it into the stirrup hobble. The photo below shows how that is rigged and how that looks. Hope this helps someone out there that may have this similar problem.

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