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I can't have a sleigh, but I can have bells!

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  • I can't have a sleigh, but I can have bells!

    My dream of having a one-horse-open-sleigh goes back to my preschool days. If we ever relocate back to OH, it might just become a reality.

    But for now, I plan to be racking up a bunch of miles this fall and winter and I CAN have bells! I don't know if anyone would be out to hear them, but I would get tons of enjoyment from them.

    I believe I'm going to ask Santa for sleigh bells or saddle chimes for Christmas. Please give me all the info you have!

    Is it trite or totally nerdy to use sleigh bells on your driving horses esp. if there's practically no chance of snow in the picture? I hope not, but please tell me the truth. I might choose to look nerdy anyway, but I don't like suprises.

    If any of you use bells, please tell me what type you use or what you like best.

    One the horse or on the harness?

    One big Reindeer bell around the horse's neck?

    Bells on straps? On harness or shafts? Placed where? Attached how?

    Saddle chimes?

    I found one site with more bells than you can shake a crop at, but if you have other favorites, please post them.

    Thanks!

    Yip
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

  • #2
    OOh fun!

    A guy with a collection of old bells and chimes said back in the day you would know who was going by just by the unique sound of each neighbor's bells.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      LOL!

      Just like my dog can single out the UPS and FedEX trucks to bark at! Those trucks have a unique sound. All other vehicles have his permission to pass without the fuss.

      Yip
      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a set of bells that are the graduated kind on a long strap that go around the horse's girth. They are way too LOUD and very annoying after a short while. I have 2 short straps with 4 bells each that hang on the saddle and are much better. I would think that maybe the kind that go over the horse's back from terret to terret off of a rounded bar would be nice and soothing. Good luck and enjoy your music. Dona

        Comment


        • #5
          My one horse open sleigh has the bells attached to the shaves. I have a portland cutter, and its not for sale, even though I am moving south where there is no snow!
          save lives...spay/neuter/geld

          Comment


          • #6
            I have bells I put on the harness, between my hames, in the fall months. I even went so far as to use them when I transported the bride and her 3 brides maids in her wedding, they said it added that special touch to their big day. The bells I use are on a 4 bell strap. I think they sound pretty.

            Comment


            • #7
              As to just bells, there are typically 3 type. Rump, neck, and body bells. Rump bells are often a Swedish bell type and have a chimmy sound and are a large size often 3" diameter and up. Neck bells go around the neck and are often graduated in size to give a more rich and full sound. Body bells go around the entire body of the horse and the shafts as well when single. Generally you do not put all 3 types of bells on a horse at the same time.

              Some horses really like the bells. The kids little paint mare starts throwing a little hitch in her trot if the bells are not ringing enough. I think it is time to get the bells polished as winter is coming.

              Read the history as to why horses wore sleigh bells for an interesting history lesson. LF
              Lostfarming in Idaho
              http://i512.photobucket.com/albums/t...etPleasure.jpg

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                I am SO glad to hear you guys and gals use bells! I'm conservative and never want to be dorky, but I've been waiting for this opportunity all my life and have to try it.

                I guess I need to research the 3 types of bells to decide what I want.

                I thought a long strand of graduated sizes would be nice, but since it was mentioned, I will assume I would also find it too loud and annoying.

                I have 2 unmatching straps with 6 bells apiece that I bought at Christmas stores many years ago. I'll begin acclimating both mares to them for starters. I might begin driving with one of those on each side and try the different placements. I can see where a few different sizes on a strap would give a "surround sound* effect. I have to admit that the saddle chimes are calling my name very persistently and loudly, and I am thinking they would be more delicate and not annoying. I hope someone replies that has used them and can give a report.

                Now I see that these jingle reindeer bells come in 15 sizes! Too many choices!! I need to find a site with audio.

                Yip
                "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Read the history as to why horses wore sleigh bells for an interesting history lesson.
                  LF, I have read the explanation of *getting there with bells on*, or not! Very interesting. Are there other explanations?

                  Yip
                  "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We got a set last year--so much fun! We used them November through January when we went out driving on the roads. People loved it!

                    Ours came from Smuckers--the full set of graduated bells (cast bronze) that attach to the saddle. Here's the link to a video of our first drive--the sound is much richer in real life (it came out really tinny sounding in the video):

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJzpQ3q6JkY

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I love bells. Unfortunately, I don't have a cart so my horse has to wear them around his neck. I have the graduated bells on a strap. I use baling twine to attach the buckled strap to my saddle dees so that they don't slip when he puts his head down to graze.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Kelly, went to your web site, you have a most gorgeous farm. Your photos are lovely. Actually very beautiful. I am sure you could sell them if you wanted to. the winter scenes, well actually all the farm pics are just beautiful.
                        I just sold my massey 203! I cracked up when I saw your mf202! They are pretty rare.
                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I got a set of Hungarian saddle chimes last year for Christmas...very pretty noise (Andy Marcoux suggested removing most of the clappers or I'd go nuts very quickly...a great suggestion).

                          I also have a full set of body bells (29 bells I believe...a big bell in the center and matching ever shrinking bells on both sides). It's cute for a short while, then you get twitchy and the noise is just that, noise. Makes it hard for the horse to hear you also, that's a drag.

                          I once but a bunch of bells on my Trakehner's bridle and went for a drive. He liked the noise and was soon nodding up & down to make em' jingle more. Jeeze! after 20 minutes I was yanking the bells off...it's a pretty noise...but after a while, it's just noise not novelty.
                          "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Trakehner View Post
                            I got a set of Hungarian saddle chimes last year for Christmas...very pretty noise (Andy Marcoux suggested removing most of the clappers or I'd go nuts very quickly...a great suggestion).

                            I also have a full set of body bells (29 bells I believe...a big bell in the center and matching ever shrinking bells on both sides). It's cute for a short while, then you get twitchy and the noise is just that, noise. Makes it hard for the horse to hear you also, that's a drag.

                            I once but a bunch of bells on my Trakehner's bridle and went for a drive. He liked the noise and was soon nodding up & down to make em' jingle more. Jeeze! after 20 minutes I was yanking the bells off...it's a pretty noise...but after a while, it's just noise not novelty.

                            Roger that. Bells are a really nice novelty for awhile but then I start missing the quiet solitude that is what I love best about driving. Our lives are made of noise and escaping it while being out in the woods with only the crunch of pine needles beneath hooves and me occasionally talking or singing to the ponies, well, those are my most treasured moments in life.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A group that we trail ride with always has a rider or two with bells to scare off the deer. They seem to work great, but initially my mare was more scared of the bells than the deer we used to encounter!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                                Kelly, went to your web site, you have a most gorgeous farm. Your photos are lovely. Actually very beautiful. I am sure you could sell them if you wanted to. the winter scenes, well actually all the farm pics are just beautiful.
                                I just sold my massey 203! I cracked up when I saw your mf202! They are pretty rare.
                                Aw, thanks so much! Amazing what you can do with an inexpensive digital camera. I've been joking that I'm going to publish a coffee table book of farm pictures.

                                And, uh yeah, my husband needs an intervention to deal with his addiction to antique/old tractors. We love our Massey! And it's from the 50s! Our "newest" tractor!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I don't have a cart so my horse has to wear them around his neck. I have the graduated bells on a strap. I use baling twine to attach the buckled strap to my saddle dees so that they don't slip when he puts his head down to graze.
                                  I had wondered about a short strap anchored to the false martingale - or in your case, Wayne, the breast collar from center ring to girth. if the bells weren't too big, they wouldn't interfere, and there's plenty of movement there.

                                  So *noise* is a factor. I had wondered. Now I'm thinking fewer bells would be better than *more* bells. And maybe the hanging type, or chimes would be a mellower sound.

                                  I appreciate your comments. If left to my own devices, I would have gone for the saddle strap with like 28 bells, LOL!

                                  Yip
                                  "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I love my bells! I attached one each to the rein loops on my donkey's saddle and one to his breast collar. I purchased them here: http://www.goestores.com/storename/a...pt-245745.aspx
                                    They have all kinds of neat bell stuff. The ones I purchased are the real heavy brass bells. They have such a nice tone to them. I had some rump bells made but donkey didn't like them much and I had trouble keeping him going a straight line with them on so I sold them. I purchased them from this guy: http://www.santassleighbells.com/sleigh.html. He does beautiful work.
                                    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I found Buggy Stuff, they have a bunch of stuff on ebay. They say if you call customer service, they'll ring the bells so you'll know how they sound, hehe! What nice people. I like them already!

                                      So, dod you buy the Polar bells? Do you remember which sizes, or all the same?

                                      I like that option for the short run, at least, because it would be so much cheaper.

                                      Did he put the single bells on a strap or some kind of leather string?

                                      Yip
                                      "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The bells I bought came on a leather string they were the Polar Bells. They were not expensive at all. I purchased 2 of the #4 Polar Bells and 1 #3 bell. The Mini Rump Bells I purchased from the other company had the same type of bells on it. They were on a real nice thick leather strap. That guy will make anything you want in any size you want and he is very reasonable, I thought.
                                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                                        Comment

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