How To Repair a Harness

A harness can refer to electrical straps or those used for stunts, but usually it is used to refer to that which is used as accessory on a horse. A harness of this kind is used to drape securely around a horse to allow it to pull appendages such as horse-drawn vehicles (sleigh, wagon, and carriage) and tools like a plow.

If you have horse harness that needs repair, keep in mind that it is important that you get the job done right. It is fairly easy and doable, but the importance is stressed because of the nature of the harness’ function. Imagine what would happen to a poorly done repair. A horse harness functions as a lifeline between a horse and its owner or rider, so you have to make sure that you follow the steps and not skip anything or take shortcuts when repairing a harness.

Also consider that a harness is somehow a horse’s clothing. If the horse’s harness is broken or malfunctioning, do not solve the problem by simply getting harness materials designed for other animals that might prove to be unusable and unfriendly to horses. This will just make the horse uncomfortable and would impede on the horse’s efficiency. Since a harness is like a horse’s clothing, you must also make considerations that the harness fits on the horse’s body. Not all horses are alike, so as much as possible do not just put another horse’s harness on another. The sizing or set up of the harness components might not fit. As a general rule of thumb, a horse harness should fit the horse’s body comfortably. There should be enough allowance of space to let the horse move without the harness chaffing at him. It goes without saying that a broken or damaged harness should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid cases of horses breaking free.

Follow these simple steps to repair a harness:

To repair a broken harness, prepare the following items: quality leather, hole punch or awl, rivets, and screws.

  • Check the reins. If you need to replace the reins, high quality and excellent grade leather is the way to go. Make sure that the reins’ guide loops are attached securely.
  • Proceed to check the other components of the harness. Check the condition of the belly strap, breeching strap, tug strap, breeching and traces. You can easily put new ones juts that you have to prime the leather first to make it more pliable.
  • Check the condition of the collar. Usually the collar suffers from wear and tear. If you have to replace the collar, make sure that you work on the leather to make it soft and comfortable.
  • Check the winkers. Usually this calls for replacement. Winkers are useful to keep the horse in place.

When fashioning harness components, make sure you use the best materials available. You can go to a leather shop to get quality leather and rawhide, and ask what thread you can use to support and work with the thickness of the leather. If you do not have a leather punch, you can use an awl to make the holes for the thread.


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