rktaylor

Headstall Buckle Placement

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I am working on a pattern for a new headstall and have seen some comments on here regarding buckle placement on the cheek. All my store bought headstalls have the buckle above the eye or maybe too close to it (image 02) and measure around 10-11" from the buckle center to the fold at the bit. I know I want to keep the buckle away from the horse's eye. Is it better to place it lower like image 01?

I have the Stohlman pattern pack that says the cheek piece should be 12" long. My guess is that the final dimension when folded through the bit and buckle is somewhere around 7-8" (buckle center to the fold at the bit). What's a good finished length for the cheek piece? I want to make a good generic pattern.

The first photo in this post is the style I am considering. http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=56673

Thanks,

Randy

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I would say the picture you have of the buckle behind the eye shows the buckle to low. It should be up a hole sitting in the hollow just above the eye. Type into Google horse bridle and you will see that buckles sit higher. I have never seen the buckle done the way it is on your first picture. It would worry me that it is on top of the cheek bone

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The higher the buckle, the smaller your range of adjustment. Many western training headstalls have the buckle placed as in your first picture to fit a wide range of horses. Twenty years ago I had my cheek piece die for my work headstalls made open ended so I can make it any length I want using the same die. While that means that I have to make one cut by hand for every piece I cut, I would not change it if I had it made over today. English bridles typically have the buckle set higher as described by gmace99. It depends on your market. If a large percentage of your clients ride colts or a wide range of horses, they will not be happy with the buckle placed high. Believe me. Also, swell the bit ends front and back to make it wider where you run the ties through. And don't use Chicago screws for attachment. Most people don't like them because they tend to work lose and fall out. Bleed ties with a rosette and slotted concho is what most of my clients prefer for working tack.

Edited by Big Sioux Saddlery

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Big Sioux makes some good points. In my opinion both the pictures are a little off. One to short one too long. I make mine 9 inches. Most of the horses around here QH. If there are some bigger horses in your country you might want to change it some. But 9 works pretty good for me.

CW

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This thread may help you even though your question relates to a Western bridle.

http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=39688&hl=%2Benglish+%2Bbridle

May I remind you the 'hand' size is just a name to label a size and set of measurements.

Get your 'overall measurement' and find the 'hand' size that suits it best, or use the formula.

The buckles will then be in a straight line in the right place against the horses head, all using the middle adjustment hole.

Regards.

Edited by Birdman

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I'm with Big Sioux and CWR. I also make mine to be 9" from center of fold to center of fold.

Good luck!

Josh

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All,

Thanks for all the advice and additional links. I thought I did a thorough search, but I missed that post. It will be a western headstall and Big Sioux was on the mark with my desired style. The photo was a practice piece, though I'll probably go with a smaller concho and add a rosette. That concho was just what I had on hand and I wanted to see what it looked liked.

This ended up a little short of 9 inches, but not much. It is 1 inch wide at the bit end, which might be a little wide. I am going to charge ahead with this design. It's an easy piece to remake if I don't like it.

Thanks again,

Randy

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My vote is for 9" finished length. Blank cut 13" for chigago screws, 14" for ties, could be ~1" longer depending on your style of finishing buckle end. This for most working outfits. Then the longer, 13" finished length for lighter show rigs. The final choice should depend on the buckle design. Some larger or with points could need to be custom fit to the horse and bit. Remember that the distance from the bridle loop to the bit axis can vary quite a bit and have a bearing on what suits best. Snaffles may operate even further.

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Here's the finished product. A lot of hand sewing, but it was a welcome distraction from my day job. Fold to fold is 9 inches.

Randy

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Here's the finished product. A lot of hand sewing, but it was a welcome distraction from my day job. Fold to fold is 9 inches.

Randy

Very nice work!

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