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Chicago screw or latigo tie?

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  • Chicago screw or latigo tie?

    I was wondering if folks had any thoughts on which is safer for attaching a bit to a headstall, Chicago screws or a latigo tie, those little leather laces.

    I put many miles on my laced leather bridle as a kid and when I revived it a few years ago I replaced the leather ties. I also have a couple of fancier bridles with Chicago screws but they were show bridles and never got much mileage.

    My English bridles and reins attach with either real buckles or those hook buckle things, very solid.

    I check the ties on the Western bridle every time I use it. I was wondering about switching out to the other bridles but I feel like screws tend to work loose unexpectedly, at least around the house

  • #2
    Screws can work loose, so many put a drop of plain glue, Elmers works well on them before they screw them on.
    When you want to unscrew them, that glue will not be hard to break loose, but they should not do that on their own.

    If you want to use leather, is best if you have two holes to lace it thru.
    One hole only is for Chicago screws.


    • #3
      I only use latigo ties or buckles on my everyday equipment. I'll resort to Chicago screws on show headstalls, but obsessively check the tightness - have seen too many come undone.


      • #4
        a small drop of Loctite (Blue 242) would work ... but I always have that around for the equipment I work on ..the Blue 242 is designed to be used with items that are commonly dissembled with standard hand tools (do not use Red, it requires heat to break the seal)


        • #5
          Personally do not like screws unless on a show bridle. They can end up coming undone or get corroded making it even more difficult to take off.


          • #6
            I hate Chicago screws. They inevitably come loose at the worst possible moment and once you've dropped one of those little screws on the ground, forget about finding it again.

            Last time I needed to buy a new bridle and set of reins, I bought this bridle, with buckles, which I have been very happy with:


            And these reins with buckles, which I have been somewhat less happy with, because of the weight and feel of the extra leather and buckles:


            I don't think it is a negative thing, really, it just has a different rein feel than the reins with ties I'm more accustomed to.
            "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
            that's even remotely true."

            Homer Simpson


            • #7
              I'd say my daily bridles are about half screws and half laces.

              I just make it a habit to check the screws from time to time, and also to replace the laces from time to time. Screws eventually comes loose, and old leather ties eventually break.
              Last edited by beau159; May. 22, 2018, 06:33 PM.
              It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


              • #8
                I use Chicago screws on bridles that I don't plan to change the bit on, since I was taught from a young age to Loctite them (or use nail polish). When it comes time to change the bit, I'll cut the screws with wire cutters. I've seen people lose Chicago screws out on the trail countless times, but I've never seen it happen if the screws were "glued".


                • #9
                  Ties, every time if possible. I hate the screws.


                  • #10
                    I’ve had both fail on me while riding. For my show bridle though I use the Chicago screws. At home I have been switching work bridles to those with a snap on them or buckle. Much safer and quicker to change bridles out on


                    • #11
                      Screws for show but not because they fell out, checked every ride. But used the buckle for everything else, kept clean they aren’t that difficult to operate. Hated the snaps as my horses, at least, could get fussy in them if they got them rattling, like shaking the head trying to get rid of a fly or something.

                      Western work headstalls are pretty inexpensive and I just acquired several with different type bit attachment options. Never changed bits, just had a headstall for each bit and swapped them. Think I had 4, silver trimmed show, snaffle and two types of curb, one simple split ear and one fancier with a browband dropping into a vee ( that one wasn’t cheap). Personally not a fan of the latigo ties, when they get wet they can get impossible to untie and never liked the look of the wider cheekpiece to accommodate the two holes or loose ends on mine that tended to be finer headed horses . YMMV.

                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks for all the feedback! This confirms my mild distrust of both screws and ties compared to the buckle or hook on English bridles

                        My trail bridle is a mechanical hackamore on a Western headstall with ties that I check every ride, and extra long English reins with hook style buckles. If I get an urge to trail ride in the old show bridles I ll put a dab of something on the screws, good tip! Wouldn't want to have to use bolt cutters on a fancy headed concho styke screw though!


                        • #13
                          I lost a Chicago screw at the top of a mountain. Fortunately I had a halter under the bridle and was on my best horse so it wasn’t that bit of a deal. I switched all of my bridles after that. I did put nail polish on my parade bridle. But when I sold it the bit was included. I couldn’t get the screw loose.


                          • #14
                            I will not buy tack with screws. Latigo ties are so easy to replace if they wear or break. I carry them in my saddle bags when trail riding. I actually purchased latigo from Tandy Leather a couple years ago, so I can replace them in different lengths, thickness, etc.
                            "You can't fix stupid"- Ron White