Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tack Tip: Para-Cord Rein Connectors

I had a question from a reader on connecting conventional reins with trigger or other snaps to slobber straps, which of course you could do, you would just need a connector. No doubt someone has tied a loop with a piece of hay twine to a snaffle bit or to the shank of a leverage bit so they could snap reins into. Some likely did this to make it easy to change reins out, and others probably did it to eliminate the trigger or bolt snap's metal to metal contact with the bit.
See picture at right showing a para-cord rein connector between the trigger snap of the reins and the shank of the leverage bit.   In fact, somewhere I have seen riders using some sort of connector, other than just attaching reins to a bit using the water loops on the reins.

One aspect of slobber straps are to keep from having to connect rawhide or horse hair reins directly to the bit, saving the wear and tear of the reins moving against the bit and the horse's slobber from degrading or discoloring the reins.
Another benefit of slobber straps are that they add weight to the bit when the reins are loose so when the rider begins to pickup the reins the lightening of the weight of the connection between the reins, slobber strap/chains and bit were noticeable to the horse - sort of like a pre-signal. So, while not commonly done, attaching conventional reins with trigger snaps to the slobber straps can be done with a connector.

While I am not using connectors, I can see where they might be needed and can have additional uses as rein extenders for instance. If the reins were just a little short, 3-4 inch connectors of each sides of the bit can give the rider alittle more rein to work with.

I took some para-cord, also called 550 suspension line for parachutes, and went about making some quick detachable/re-attachable and re-useable connectors.  What I came up with is illustrated in the series of pictures below.  
I cut one 20 inch piece, and two 4 inch pieces of para-cord for each connector. I doubled up the 20 inch piece and tied an overhand knot combining the two running ends. I dressed down (tightened up) the knot then trimmed it. I melted the ends with a lighter.  See picture at left.
I took the smaller 4 inch pieces of para-cord and made girth hitches over the doubled up longer section.  I dressed up the knots, trimmed them and melted the ends together so the knot stays intact, but it will slide up and down the long piece of para-cord.  I'm calling these the girth knot keepers.  See picture above.
In the picture at right, you can see the over hand knot placed through the two pieces of the long section of para-cord.  Then you would slide the girth knot keepers up towards the overhand knot to tighten up against it and make a loop.  
You may be able to find beads that could replace the girth knot keepers and slide with enough friction to tighten up and make the overall loop.  It would probably look better too.     
In the picture below you can see how these para-cord connectors could connect trigger snaps reins to slobber straps if you were so inclined to used them.   

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