Your horse's bridle is an essential piece of equipment that allows you to send commands through the reins to the bit in your horse's mouth. The design of your horse's bridle can make a difference in how well your horse understands and responds to your cues. Though their name is less than glamorous, slobber straps can come in handy if you need to customize your bridle in order to better suit your needs.
Slobber straps are actually small pieces of leather designed to attach to your horse's bit in the location where the reins normally go. Most slobber straps fasten to the bit using either leather latigo ties or snaps. The reins are then attached to the opposite end of the slobber strap. If you use slobber straps, you will use them as a pair with one on either side of the bit. Slobber straps are normally a few inches long, and they can range from fairly plain in appearance to extremely decorative.
Slobber Strap Uses
Slobber straps are an optional bridle accessory and can be used to serve a couple of different purposes. Slobber straps add weight to the reins and help protect the reins from the abuse that naturally comes with being fastened next to a horse's mouth. For example, if your horse takes a drink of water with his bridle on, the slobber straps will get wet instead of the reins. Slobber straps can also be used to connect reins that aren't traditionally used with a bit, such as traditional horse-hair mecate reins, to a bit.
Fastening Your Reins
If you are using normal reins with your slobber straps, you can fasten them simply by snapping or clipping them onto the slobber straps using the holes that are already located at the end of the slobber strap. Some types of reins, like mecate reins, are tied onto the bridle rather than held on with snaps or buckles. Slobber straps can be used to adapt these reins for use on a bridle with a bit rather than the hackamore, or bitless bridle, that they have traditionally been used with.
Tying On Your Reins
You can tie your reins onto your slobber straps by running the mecate reins or other tie-on reins through the holes in the slobber strap on the right side of your horse. Pull the end of the reins all the way through so that the end of the reins is snug against the side of the slobber strap. Make a loop around the slobber strap with the loose end of the reins. Pull the loose end of the rein through your loop to create a functional knot. Run the loose end of the reins through the inside of your left slobber strap and then tie exactly the same type of knot on the left side of your reins that you tied on your right side. This will tie reins onto your bridle using slobber straps.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.