From Endurance to Dressage
If I had to choose one word to describe myself, it would be tenacious. In most ways, being determined is considered a positive trait. The thing is though, when you combine tenacity with a touch of obsessive compulsive behavior, that stick-to-itness borders on pathological. I am worse than a dog with a bone. When I start a project, I simply can't let it go until it is resolved. Occasionally, I will just throw something in the trash - resolved, but if it looks like something that I can fix or repair, I will often keep working the problem until I have spent more time and money than the project was worth.
This halter thing has got my brain working overtime. I "fixed" Izzy's latest leather halter by adding a fuse between the halter ring and the buckle bar, but I didn't like how it turned out. It was really hard to thread the end of the crown piece through the buckle to secure it, and once threaded through, the strap went behind the fuse which looked unsightly.
While the fuse "worked," it didn't work well, and I was not at all happy with how it looked. I Googled images of halter hardware, and I discovered a few things. First of all, every single piece of hardware for a halter, including the halter square, can be purchased and replaced (if you have the right tools). Who knew? With that piece of information securely tucked away for future use, I decided to look at all of my halters to see which kind of hardware they used. Among other things, I discovered that there are two kinds of crown piece buckles.
Single Bar Buckles
Double Bar Buckles
Side by Side Comparison
Maybe everyone already knows there are two kinds of buckles, not me. I had never looked closely at a halter buckle before. I now see why the fuse didn't work so well on the single bar buckle; with the fuse attaching to the bottom bar of the "O" of the buckle, there wasn't a "keeper" for the tail end of the crown piece. Am I the last person to know this?
With a somewhat better idea of how halter buckles work, I dug through the tack room, gathering every loose buckle I could find. Speedy's fly sheet was torn to shreds and no longer usable, so I cut off the two front buckles. I did the same to an old winter blanket, and then I found another buckle discarded in a drawer. Along with my hole punch, I brought all of the buckles, fuses, and Chicago screws home.
I undid the first fuse I had attached and discarded the single bar buckle in favor of a rescued double bar buckle. I threaded the fuse through the bottom bar of the buckle and then pushed the receiving end of the Chicago screw through each of the two holes at the ends of the fuse. (See the photo below.)
Once those ends were affixed, I pushed down on the other side of the leather where a third hole had been punched. The receiving end of the Chicago screw was now ready for the other half of the screw.
Chicago screws are a marvelous invention, but over time, they tend to unscrew themselves. I keep a tube of Loctite just for securing Chicago screws. I like to dip the male end of the screw into the Loctite just before screwing the two pieces together. Once the Loctite dries, the screw stays put. You can generally get the Chicago screw undone if you ever need to replace something by gripping the receiving end of the screw with a pair of pliers and using a little force.
Once I had the glue on the screw, I used the screwdriver to screw the two pieces together, wiping off the excess Loctite.
Is the halter good as new? Well, not exactly, but it functions a heck of a lot better than it did. Because this buckle was designed for a thin, nylon strap, sliding the tail end of the crown piece through the buckle is a little difficult, but I have a strategy to overcome that. This particular halter has a buckle on each side of the crown piece, so when I do use this halter, I'll just unbuckle and re-buckle from the right side. A second option is to undo the clip at the throat and slide the halter on and off over the ears.
While it's not perfect, it was an inexpensive fix that taught me a few things, so the few bucks were money well spent.
And then I tackled another DIY project. Stay tuned ...
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: