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Questions about "gear" at cow sortings/events

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  • Questions about "gear" at cow sortings/events

    I've spectated at 2 cow sortings and think theyre really interesting. My boyfriend competed in one and we're both kinda getting into it.

    I noticed two things about the tack that I was curious about.

    First, why does everyone have a curb chain/strap? Every person at the last sorting was using a simple snaffle, but 95% had the curb strap also.

    Second, and more interesting...a couple of the horses had a strap with strings on the end hanging from their horses belly. It looked like they were attached to the bucking strap (or the thing that connects the bucking strap to the girth).
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

  • #2
    I too was surprised when I first saw a curb strap on snaffles when I came to the western USA, still have to keep from laughing about it.

    You would have to be very, very rough to pull on one rein so much you need one to keep the bit from going thru the mouth, as they told me it is there for.

    Many training race and western horses do it, tradition is my guess, someone saw someone else do it and thought that is what you have to use.
    I have never used one or found a need for one either.

    Those things hanging from the bridle at different spots and the cinches/cinch hobbles were originally there to keep flies away, now have become a decorative item.
    Some are braided rawhide with real horse hair.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bucking strap? Maybe you meant the back cinch?

      Comment


      • #4
        The curb strap on the snaffles is too make sure the bit isn't pulled through the mouth in the case of a hard pull.

        Also, it fits the "look".

        I've pulled snaffles through twice, both in OH SHi-!! situations riding greenies on the trail. Yes, idea is not to have to pull that hard, but when all hell breaks loose we usually aren't at our prettiest and most refined in the saddle. I have curb straps on all my snaffle bits just in case.

        There shouldn't be any bucking straps at a sorting. Do you mean the back cinches? Hanging a shoo-fly from the cinch or cinch connecter is also a "look" thing, although in theory the shoo-fly should do as the name suggests. I have horsehair shoo-flies on my cinches but I have seen them made from other materials.

        Comment


        • #5
          The curb strap on a snaffle is, as previously stated, supposed to keep from pulling the bit through the mouth. I use one on my western snaffles because it looks neat...especially the one with the horsehair tassle

          As far as the strap on the cinch, it's probably the connector strap that keeps the rear cinch from slipping back and becoming a bucking strap. If it is a dangly tuft of horsehair, then it is a shoo-fly.

          Out of curiosity, where are the sortings held and are they open to the public. I am in Bremo Bluff, and would love to go watch if it's close enough.
          "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people angry and has widely been considered as a bad move." -Douglas Adams

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            GypsyQ--this one was in Louisa, VA right off of I-64 (exit 143 if you're familiar with the area). It's an "all are welcome" kinda place. In fact, we didnt know anyone and we just showed up. Everyone was very friendly. They said they probably wont do another one until March, but I can let you know if they do.

            The other one we went to was in northern va, and was held in an indoor, so they may have more.

            Thanks for the info, everyone! And for the correction on the "bucking strap" term. Although my SO has decided he'll still call it that.
            Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
            White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

            Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AliCat518 View Post
              GypsyQ--this one was in Louisa, VA right off of I-64 (exit 143 if you're familiar with the area). It's an "all are welcome" kinda place. In fact, we didnt know anyone and we just showed up. Everyone was very friendly. They said they probably wont do another one until March, but I can let you know if they do.

              The other one we went to was in northern va, and was held in an indoor, so they may have more.

              Thanks for the info, everyone! And for the correction on the "bucking strap" term. Although my SO has decided he'll still call it that.
              Here, the local saddlemakers call that strap a cinch hobble.
              There are also stirrup hobbles, that is the piece that ties the fenders together right above the stirrups.

              In a way, if you forget or break the cinch hobble, your back cinch can become a "flank strap", that then acts as a bucking strap.

              We had a very good calf roping horse that once, after the roper caught the calf and started down the rope, the jerk must have broken the front cinch and cinch hobble, the back cinch got on the horse's flank and the horse would take one little bucking jump forward, then realize the rope was getting slack and run backwards, the cinch tightened again, he again jumped forward and so on until the clueless roper had the calf tied and the flagman rode over and held him.

              For many years, everyone always told that story every time they saw the horse, that was a very good horse, not to have taken off bucking and causing a real wreck.

              Comment


              • #8
                I use a leather curbstrap on any ring snaffle bit to keep the bit rings from flipping out and forward when leading horse with the reins. Bit gets twisted a little in the mouth, when the rings flap out to the side because reins didn't always slide to the bottom of ring for smooth forward pull.

                Curbstrap has helped a few times with that bit pulling thru the mouth if horse just "didn't get it" while learning to follow the leading rein in circles and bends. Some horses really gape their mouth, which can make it easier for ring side to go thru, seen that happen too.

                Anyone who wants to use the leather curbstrap on a ring or D snaffle, should know that reins are ABOVE the curbstrap on the ring. You don't want reins lifting the curbstrap when you pull on them. Curbstrap is just hanging there, passive almost all the time.

                As for the other gear, there is some blending of the various styles in different parts of the nation. You like the item, so you get one, whether or not you are from Montana or Texas. Buckaroo style seems to have a fair amount of hand-made items that are neat, so you are seeing more of them. If you are "western educated" you can tell where the various hat styles, spurs, boots, bits and tack came from. Regional choices come from working in such varied weather and terrains, so they have advantages to the Cowboy using them.

                Some items are a silent announcement that "THIS is a cowboy", so folks will watch to see if he/she can live up to their boots and hat! Kind of like seeing brown-top boots away from the Hunt field, you watch to see if that rider can ride like their boots proclaim they can.

                Shoo-fly devices have spread a lot over the last 10 years, can be real handy in areas with the big biting insects. I am looking at some fancy ones myself, for adding to the girth and throatlatch.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                  I use a leather curbstrap on any ring snaffle bit to keep the bit rings from flipping out and forward when leading horse with the reins. Bit gets twisted a little in the mouth, when the rings flap out to the side because reins didn't always slide to the bottom of ring for smooth forward pull.

                  Curbstrap has helped a few times with that bit pulling thru the mouth if horse just "didn't get it" while learning to follow the leading rein in circles and bends. Some horses really gape their mouth, which can make it easier for ring side to go thru, seen that happen too.

                  Anyone who wants to use the leather curbstrap on a ring or D snaffle, should know that reins are ABOVE the curbstrap on the ring. You don't want reins lifting the curbstrap when you pull on them. Curbstrap is just hanging there, passive almost all the time.
                  yep, yep and yep. Heavy slobber straps can encourage bit rings to want to flip out to the sides too. Curb strap is quite handy just to keep everything in place.

                  They can also be quite decorative. A lot of my western tack is made by Sarah Hagel, and she has a really nice signature design curbstrap with a rolled button I really like. http://mecates.com/

                  I'm addicted to shoo-flies, I find them attractive and functional. Though I haven't ridden western in several years, I used to hang them from my dressage girth, and now I have them hanging from my driving harness.
                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    I didnt really understand the use of the shoo-flies at this event. It was chilly outside, no bugs, and riders were in an arena...no tall grass for bugs.

                    I guess it was purely decorative. Although one of the shoo-flies was HUGE and LONG!
                    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
                    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

                    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, stable flies still manage to land on my driving horse's legs even though its mid November, but more than likely it was decorative. I leave mine on in winter too, I like the look.

                      I don't know much about cowboy culture (though I do know its extensive) but a huge long shoo fly can be very expensive, so perhaps it was a status symbol.

                      I'll say too, it might be sentimental. When my older mustang finally passes on, I will be having his mane hair woven into a mecate, so I can always feel his mane in my hands as I ride. I've developed a strong interest in dressage in recent years, so likely I'll be figuring a way to put buckle billets on my custom mecate and use them as dressage reins. I'll be a sight, for sure, but.... who cares.

                      A huge long shoo fly made from his tail is an idea I hadn't thought of.
                      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My friend was at the Louisa sorting this past weekend. She said she had fun. I have never done a sorting, but have done a couple of team penning clinics. I went to one about a month ago, and even though it was fairly cool and overcast that day there were still flies around the cattle. My mare has a shoo-fly that she wears on her throat latch of her bridle. I think this Friday is the last date for the team pennings until next season, so I'm sure the sortings end too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Western trainers rarely use a cavesson. You can't show with one, so no point in depending on a cavesson to keep your horse's mouth shut, unless you're really have a problem horse.

                          The chin strap does help the snaffle from being pulled through the mouth. It goes to the type of riding done in the western world...turns have to be quicker, you have to chase things, stop, spin, run off in another direction. A horse that doesn't react gets a quick snap to the inside rein. It is easy to pull the bit through the mouth, particularly on a green horse.

                          I've used everything to keep a back cinch connected to the front cinch, including blanket closures, baling twine and wire, rubber bands, chin straps and in a real pinch, duct tape.

                          I'm old enough to remember a period of time in the show pen when we removed the back cinch from the saddle and stuck an entirely useless set of silver encrusted hobbles in the slot where the back cinch attached to the saddle.
                          Surgeon General warns: "drinking every time Trump lies during the debate could result in acute alcohol poisoning."

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