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dark brown bridle
medium brown bridle
The picture below shows the color options. The dark brown straps (top) show the alteration of the bigger hole and longer slit. The medium brown straps (bottom) have the original small hole and shorter slit. You can order either color with the bigger hole or we can leave the smaller hole on either color.
Because leather is a natural product, it should be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. It is animal skin after all, and like any skin, it can get dry and cracked if not taken care of properly. The various tanning processes add oils and waxes which help protect the leather, but routine cleaning and oiling will be necessary to keep leather items in good condition.
It is also a good idea to check leather items often for wear and damage. Make sure leather ties are tied tightly - so any stress will be on the thicker strap and/or rope instead of the thinner lace ties.
When washing rope items with leather connectors, etc., it is best if you can remove the leather or at least keep it from coming in contact with soapy water. Detergents will strip the oil from the leather and it will need reconditioning. If the leather does get wet, please be aware that the dye may bleed (at least for the first few times it gets wet). Be careful of what the leather items drip onto or lay against while wet. This includes poppers on lead ropes if they get wet with regular use.
Leather has always been a staple of horse gear but the higher maintenance requirements of leather is why I offer rope tack with non-leather options as well as with the traditional leather goods.
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Leather poppers on the tail ends of lead ropes and strings will likely get a lot of abuse - dragged in the dirt, sand, mud, water or get stepped on or chewed on. That is why poppers need to be made of very durable leather. That is also one of the reasons why I attach my poppers on an eye splice - it will be easy to replace a popper that gets torn or chewed off. Poppers that are attached by punching through the end of the rope (the method used by most other businesses) are almost impossible to replace and the rope fibers are damaged in the process. The eye splice avoids damage to the rope and weights the end of the lead rope better.
Poppers for lead ropes (3/8", 1/2" & 5/8" rope) are 1/2" wide and about 8" long when attached. I cut the leather about 17 - 18" long, depending on the best use of the length of leather strip. For strings and feather weight lines (1/4" rope), the poppers are 3/8" wide and about 7" long when attached, about 15" total length. Slits are cut for the braid attachment and my business name is stamped on each end.
I make most of my poppers with 7-8 oz latigo leather. This weight is the right thickness to be durable and heavy-duty but pliable enough to make the double heart braid attachment. It also adds the right amount of weight to the end of the lead rope or string. Color options are black or burgundy. The burgundy will vary from a lighter to a darker reddish brown color.
For those who would rather have a brown popper, I can make it in the bridle leather. It is only available in the 9-10 oz weight. That is a little too thick and heavy for a popper and can be more difficult to attach with the double heart braid but it still works. Color options are dark brown or medium brown.
I offer plain and functional strap goods. The ends are rounded and the edges are beveled but there is no tooling. I stamp the leather with my business name but there is no other decoration. I have more detailed information for each kind of connector below.
These are used to attach mecate reins or loop reins to a bit - usually a snaffle bit with larger rings. I make them in 2 styles:
Since I am now a JT International dealer, I can offer the Tough 1 leather slobber straps they carry. I prefer to make my own products using American made/manufactured materials, but in this case I just can't compete with the overseas market. The tag says these are made in India. While you can tell they are a mass produced product, they are finished nicely and are of reasonably good quality. The leather is firm but flexible (not the stiff "cardboard" stuff like some cheap leather goods) and measures out to be about 8 oz weight. I do not know what kind of leather they are made of. They come with small holes and short slits so we have made the holes bigger and the slits longer to be easier to use with 1/2" or 5/8" diameter rope with buttons and tassels, etc. If you want to use them with smaller diameter reins (like 3/8"), let me know and we won't make those changes. I would say these are in the "utility" category - plain but functional.
I only offer these slobber straps so I can provide my customers with the convenience of getting reins and a choice of leather or rope slobber straps at the same place. I can also sell these leather straps at a lower price than the ones I make myself, thereby saving my customers some money.
Lace or latigo leather is used for trim on the ends of certain styles of reins and for the leather ties on my slobber straps, water straps and buckle straps. The leather is 1/4" wide for the decorative "fobs" and for the ties on my slobber straps. It is about 1/8" wide for the ties on water straps and buckle straps. I normally buy lace leather in 1/8" and 1/4" wide strips that are 5 - 6 oz weight. I sometimes pick up a bag of latigo leather lace from Hobby Lobby if I can find it in the right colors and widths.
Colors range from black, burgundy, brown, tan but may vary from strap leather colors. I try to make the best match between the strap and the lace ties.
Weight: The thickness of leather is indicated as a weight range. Since leather is a natural product, the thickness may vary slightly across the length of a strip or section. Thus the use of a weight range: 7 – 8 oz or 10 – 12 oz. Each "ounce" is 1/64 of an inch thick so leather that is 16 oz is about 1/4" thick, 8 oz is about 1/8" thick, 4 oz leather is about 1/16" thick. Sometimes the strips I order will come in at a slightly different weight so leather items may be a bit thicker or thinner than specified.
Tannage: The process of converting hides into usable leather is called tanning. Different combinations of natural substances, chemicals and processes produce various types of leather that are best suited for particular uses—upholstery, garments, tooling, strap goods, harness, etc. The types of leather I use are described below:
These are a combination of the water strap described above and the buckle strap described below. They will connect to almost any bit or ring and can be used with or without snaps. They are attached to reins that have back spliced ends. Two separate pieces of leather are permanently attached to each side of the rope with braiding cord. Open and close the strap to attach to the bit or add a snap with a nickel plate or solid brass conway buckle.
I am in the process of phasing out my leather slobber straps. My cost for just the leather alone is more than the retail price for a reasonably nice set of slobber straps one can find on the market today. And then it takes time to make them - measure and cut strips into pieces, bevel the edges, round the ends, punch the holes, cut the slits.... My time will be better spent making rope products. My leather slobber straps will only be available until my supply of wide leather strips is gone.
Replacement poppers are $3.00 for 1/2"; $2.00 for 3/8".
If you do not know how to attach a popper with the double heart braid, I can send directions
OR I can send a popper with a Chicago screw fastener (1/2" popper only).
I use latigo or bridle leather for my strap goods - slobber straps, buckle straps and water straps. Latigo is only available in black or burgundy so for other colors, I order bridle leather. I buy strips in various widths for the different types of connectors. The weight is 9 -10 oz which is a heavy weight but still flexible enough to fold and bend into the necessary shapes. As stated earlier, leather is a natural product and therefore the thickness of the strips can vary somewhat - sometimes the connectors will be a little thicker or thinner than the stated 9 -10 oz weight. I measure the thickness and if the leather is too thin to make a sturdy strap, I will set it aside or use it for something else.
Color options are shown below:
To ask questions or to place an order....
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Unique Trim ~ Leather Accessories
Rope Halters, Lead Ropes, Long Lines,
Reins, Sticks & Strings, Hackamores,
Headstalls, Mecates & More
These act somewhat like mini slobber straps and can connect to almost any bit, ring, etc. They can be used with or without snaps. They are attached to reins that have eye spliced ends and I make them in 3 different styles: double heart braid, lace ties, Chicago screws. Open and close the strap to attach to the bit or add a snap with a nickel plate or solid brass conway buckle.
Top to bottom:
dark brown bridle
medium brown bridle (1/2" popper only)
All the leather accessories I offer with my rope products are made of premium leather. Zack White Leather in North Carolina has been my supplier for many years but I realize most of the leather sold in the US today is actually tanned and processed in Mexico or other countries. I do the best I can to use "made in the USA" materials but sometimes there are not many options available.
I buy leather strips in varying widths, then cut them as needed to make the various rein connectors and lead rope poppers. We round the ends and bevel the edges of the rein straps, but there is nothing fancy about the leather items I use with my rope products - no tooling or sewing - just practical and functional leather goods. While I have done some leather tooling in the past, I am in the rope tack business - not the leather business - and I don't have the time, leather sewing machine, etc. to do the really nice leather work.
Most leather items can be purchased separately and are priced on the Reins pages. Replacement poppers are priced on this page.
Connect reins to almost any bit, bitless bridle rings, halter loops, etc. with these simple connectors - use with or without snaps. They are attached to reins that have back spliced ends. Leather laces go through the holes on one side of the strap, then through the rope and then through the holes on the other side. The laces are tied to secure the water strap to the rope. Attach to bits, etc. by untying the laces, putting one side of the strap through the bit, snap, etc. then retying the laces. Be careful not to pull the lace ties out of the rope.
Y Knot Rope Tack
Thank you to my many customers for your support and loyalty!
I will once again
have a booth at the Midwest Horse Fair
in Madison, WI
April 21, 22, 23
Booth # OM45
in the Outdoor Mall
same place I've been for several years
Deadline to place an order for pick-up at the fair is March 22
New rope colors coming soon!
NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP PRODUCTS