All Things Horse

Forty-seven Years Of Horse Experience – At Your Service!

What to do With Miles and Miles of Baling Twine – installment #6

breast strap 2This is a breast strap I recently made for my niece. I used baling twine from the 4 foot round bales and handmade paper beads painted with nailpolish and lacquard  to a fine polish and thousands of seed beads. Her favourite colour is orange with brown trim. I neglected to take a photo of the final product before giving it away. But this is close enough to get a good idea.

Installment #5 What to do with Miles of Baling Twine

Installment #4 Horse Halter and Matching Lead Rope

Installment #3 Another Update to Baling Twine

Installment #2 An Update in the Post, “What Do You Do With Miles of Baling Twine”

Installment #1 What Do You Do With Miles of Baling Twine?


December 26, 2014 Posted by | tack | , , , , | Leave a comment

What to do With Miles of Baling Twine

Around the house slippers is the latest experiment.

These slippers are not the most comfortable pair of footwear I’ve ever had on my feet but they might just be the most durable. I find them expectedly a little stiff but no more than a new pair of slippers. They do surprisingly enough keep any drafts off my feet and keep my feet warm while roaming around outside in sub zero temperatures. That is better than my rubber boot do, I must say. But in all fairness, I don’t wander through muck and manure as I do with boots.

I wouldn’t wear them without socks but I wouldn’t think twice about running to the corner store with them on,either. All-in-all, I’d say they are a successful knitting project, one I intend to duplicate for my son.

This is the pattern I started off with but as you can see I modified it so completely that it doesn’t look like the same slipper. I followed the heel section pretty close to the original but when I reached the toe section, I changed to knit 1, purl 1, and reduced for the toe around 1 inch shorter than I needed. I reduced at the sole edges 3 times, every second row. Then I cut the string and pulled it through the remainder stitches and pulled it tight. I thought it would be stretchier around the toes this way.

These slippers are part of the ever growing list of baling twine products within my arsenal…. Added to the product of the halter and lead rope, the dog leash with a training martingale, the bitless bridle, the beaded bridle and the lead rope.


December 2, 2010 Posted by | tack, Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Homemade Winter Horse Blanket

Dogs have Masters, Cats have Staff but Horses…, Horses have Slaves!

With two more horses added to my small herd, 24 year old Bonanza and 26 year old Shaman, and no traditional stable, I needed more winter horse blankets.  I have blankets for Dream, Willow and Frilly but after so many years of use, they were worn and torn and had been repaired so many times that the repairs wore out and had been repaired.

I searched the web to find the cost of the type of blanket I wanted. I wanted something that was heavily layered for warmth, soft so that there would be no rubbings if I had to leave them on several days and light weight because I had to carry, wash and dry them.

The cheapest winter horse blankets that I considered a possibility was $250 US. But of course I wanted the S475 blankets. No way – no how could I pay that kind of money for blankets that were going on horses who ripped through forest branches like they were on a race track.

So I decided I’d wait and buy synthetic duvets when they came on sale in January. We always have good winter sales in January.  Harts, a discount store, had queen-sized comforters for sale for $16.69CDN last week, so I bought five of them. Here is the start to my homemade winter horse blankets.

First, I put the blanket up on Shaman, he was the first available horse around, to take measurements.  I strapped it down with macramed reins I have laying about. I put dots with a marker at strategic places to say where I needed straps, ties and buckles.  Also, I wanted to know where I had to cut out the area for the neck and raise the area for the tail. I may do the tail section, but it won’t be needed. I’m not going to cut out the neck section because I found that I could roll back the neck into a decent looking shawl collar and it could be rolled up the neck for warmth, if necessary.  Notice that they are large enough to close completely under the belly but still leave room for the males to relieve themselves.

I made a drawing to see where I would have to put the straps, hooks, rings and anything to make the blanket more durable. I also calculated ow many feet of strapping I would need for each blanket.

Then I got out all the different pieces of hardware I had to determine if I had enough to complete the blankets and what other things I would need to buy.

One winter horse blanket:

1 queen-sized synthetic duvet

12 – stainless steel rings, at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter

4 small hooks (it is possible to made due with 2 hooks of two solid brass buckles for the front)

48 feet of strapping (52 feet for Gimme A Dream) divided as follows:

2 – 8 foot straps (10 feet for Dream), around the barrel

2 – 2 foot straps, joining barrel straps one for each side

4 – 4 foot straps, for the front (these I a making long for tying because finding good solid buckles has always been difficult for me and I have none available nor are there any on the islands).

2 – 6 foot straps, for under the tail

What I have are the duvets, hooks of multiple sizes and the ability to buy more, rings of various sizes made of brass, stainless steel and galvanized, seat belts from cars (I went to the dump and asked for the seat belts off the vehicles they were going to crush for scrap metal), and miles and miles of baling twine.

Now I get to put it all together, before the next winter storm, which isn’t in the forecast yet. What I haven’t added here and there is a good possibility of my doing so are cross over straps between the hind legs to keep the blanket straight on the back of the horse. That will add 4 more hooks and 4 more rings plus waist band elastic long enough to keep it in place but yet still be comfortable. Also I might have to add heavier material in strategic places for make the blanket more durable.

I have already bought enough material that is normally used for heavy duty rain jackets and made it into a water proof nylon outer shell for the winter blankets.  These are chocolate brown with a dark sand layer on the bottom and dark sand colored binding.

When I finish the first blanket I will put up the finished product.

January 22, 2010 Posted by | tack | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beaded, Macrame Brow Strap

To ride or not to ride? What a stupid question!

My latest creation is a beaded fringe, macrame brow strap, made from baling twine.  Actually the bridle is finished and on Gimme A Dream, but he is not very unimpressed.

What a fight I had to get it on him!  Dream was bound and determined he wasn’t going to be ridden this evening, lol.  Taking his picture was almost as difficult since he wouldn’t keep still.







Note : This bridle and brow strap are part of the ever growing list of baling twine products within my arsenal…. Added to the product of the halter and lead rope, the dog leash with a training martingale, the bitless bridle, slippers and the lead rope.

I resized this bridle for little Willow Breeze (the beads are cute on her) and used it with her for a year because her old macrame bridle was a mish-mash of various colours of strings. This winter I made a new bridle/halter/bitless made of mint coloured baling twine and 6ft reins, with the saddle blanket and breast strap to match for Willow.

I’m going to resize this bridle again for Dream’s big head and remove the beads because they look stupid on him. Also I’ll add a forehead plate of some kind. I also have added a nose band and extra head strap to turn it into an English bridle. I also have a saddle blanket made out of the same coloured baling twine. Photos to come….

My reason for making these changes is because the reins on this are 7 1/2 ft long. Far too long for Willow but just right for 17hh Dream.

Have you ever wished for a long, thick, luxuriously beautiful mane and/or tail on your horse? Do you want your horse to look like he/she just stepped out of a fairy tale? It can happen – it takes work – but it can happen! Fairy Tale Horse

December 13, 2009 Posted by | tack | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Horse Halter and Matching Lead Rope

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  ~Winston Churchill

Tip # 12

This horse show halter and matching lead rope is another update on the Baling Twine saga.  The eight foot lead rope, of course, is the same as the previous up date. Today is the matching show halter.

Woodmere Frilifili Modeling Horse Show Rope and Mtching Lead Rope

Woodmere Frilifili Modeling Horse Show Rope and Matching Lead Rope

I had this halter planned out in my head very carefully.  And nothing went smoother in making it.  Except for the time it took.  The two-toned halter is coral red and aqua blue and it is reversible, so it is basically two halters stitched together.  Lovely blue craft foam is sandwiched between the two layers. The halter is very soft and spongy all around and I can only imagine comfortable for the horse.  There is double foam on the poll strap and the nose piece. Unlike most twines used in macrame, this particularly baling twine has a silken sheen to it, that almost glows.

I used an old halter of Copper‘s for the hardware. What horse person doesn’t have a broken or unused halter in the stable box? I have several, infact from one horse. Now I have three horses, I expect to go through halters three times as fast.  I won’t though, I don’t really think since I haven’t been keeping halters on the beasties.  I had a new hook that I had bought to repair a broken one. So basically the halter and lead rope cost approximately $3.00CDN to make and time.  If I decide to add a fly screen, it will take only a few minutes to make one to fit this halter and add the screening.

The show halter and lead rope is UV resistant and totally weather proof.  It is fade resistant also and so strong that one strand of the twine holds an eight to nine hundred pound bale of hay together.  Clean up is a snap, wash it in the washer or use a scrub brush. Personally I like an old toothbrush when the beastie decided to roll in fresh manure. Any detergent will do.

The only problem I can find with the halter is that it took too long to make.  I would have to charge between $200 and $250, just to make a minimum wage off it.  Of course, it could be made cheeper by using only one layer instead of three.  It wouldn’t have the foam sandwich but it would still be reversible.  Of course it would be possible to line the halter with leather on the interior and foam under it.  Mind you I’ve had a baling twine halter one Frilly and on Willow for the better part of a year, without the foam.  It is still softer then leather and nylon.

Tiny Headed Willow Breeze Models Horse Show Halter and Matching Lead Rope

Tiny Headed Willow Breeze Models Horse Show Halter and Matching Lead Rope

In fact, the stings became frozen in ice under the bale this winter on one of the bales.  We attached a tow rope around it and hooked it to our four wheel drive Sierra pick-up truck.  In four wheel drive, the truck could not break the stings on the bale of hay and the bale stayed in place until spring thawed the ice.   In all fairness, the truck was also on ice, but it had four new studded tires on it. The strings would not break so we could jerk the bale free.  I didn’t cut the strings for obvious reasons, lol.

Gimme A Dream Modeling the Halter While Frilly Does the Inspection

Big-headed Gimme A Dream Modeling the Halter While Frilly Does the Inspection









I am so in love with baling twine tack.  It doesn’t stretch, yet it is flexible enough for any type of equipment.  It is re-using a material which normally goes to the dump and becomes land fill because no one has come up with a good use for it.

I’m going to make a pair of stirrup straps with it. My leathers are getting worn and even last year, I thought they would break.  I’ve made a beautiful bridle, reins and a breast strap in blue.  I don’t have the hardware to put it all together yet so I have put it up for show. It is coming.  Next winter my big progect is to make a baling twine harness for a horse and buggy.  I’ll probably be blue because I have so much of it, but it could also be mixed like this halter.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | tack | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Another UpDate to Baling Twine

horse-leadMy newest and best project yet is this lead made of coral and turquoise baling twine.  It has a brass hook that is used on sailing ships.  

I’ve used these hooks on lead ropes before and they don’t break very easily.  Gimme A Dream is the only horse to break one and he pulled four large spruce trees out by the roots that he was cross tied to, so I could trim his hooves. The hook broke on the last tree when he ran over it, and his hooves had to wait cause the 17hh, 1400lbs monster was loose and running down the road.

 These ropes don’t break with the pressure that he can put on them.  They are UV resistant and last in all types of weather.  If I leave it on the fence post, it gets kick to the ground and spends the winter months under snow and hooves, it is going to be the same come spring. Give it a wash and go.

April 11, 2009 Posted by | tack | , , , , | 4 Comments

An Update in the Post, “What Do You Do With Miles of Baling Twine?”

In an earlier entry, on February 22, 09, I asked the question, “What do you do with miles of baling twine?” Then I gave suggestions and examples of what I do to recycle all this needless wasted twine.  The twine is very strong and mostly a manufactured synthetic raffia.  It comes in a variety of colors on the large round, 800 lb bales of hay.

I have shown a halter that I made last year and a bitless bridle that I made this in the above link.   I’ve also made several horse lead ropes, winter blanket straps and a number of smaller useful straps and collars.


I made a martingale dog leash for special dog training methods. The martingale is used in place of the chain collar for control and to make training to heel easier, more fun and less abusive for the dog, then using a training chain.

The leash began with baling twine. I cut it into 4 – 64 foot lengths and doubled each length.  I knotted the leash eight feet long.  I “sewed” a one foot handle on the end and a one foot martingale at the hook end. The hook is a regular stainless steel bolt snap with a round eye.  The overall finished length of the leash is approximately six feet.

Note: most baling twines ARE NOT biodegradable and many tons of it end up in landfill sites, each year. It will stay there many hundreds or even thousands of years.  This is one green method of recycling and re-using that which we already have.

This leash has been sold!

March 11, 2009 Posted by | tack | , , , | 4 Comments

What Do You Do With Miles Of Baling Twine?

Murphy’s Horse Law  – Your barn will fall down without baling twine.”

Horse tip #4

Anyone who has one or more horses in the northern section of North America unwraps bales for their horses nutritional needs. EATING! And a horse goes through a lot of hay.  For example, I bought 30 – 800 lb bales for my three horses for winter plus I have 1000 – 40 lbs bales for storm days.  That is a lot of hay!  If youbaling-twine are like me, you don’t like to waste anything.  So what do you do with all the baling twine that comes off that hay?

I clean the hay out of it, ball it and keep it for when I want something to do. Then I plan and wait to see what it is that I need the most, for the horses.  Lately I’ve been changing the macrame bitted bridles to bitless bridles.  I make all my own bridles, by the way…, and lately all the halters too.  The reason I do this is because I seriously dislike buckles and metal next to my horse’s face.

Frilly came with a new and bhalter-2eautiful halter with her name engraved on a metal side piece.  However, when I removed the halter, where the metal hooks and connectors were, there was no fur.  The metal connectors had rubbed the fur right off her face. That alone turned me away from metal on their halters.  So I started to make halters for my beasties and I think they appreciated them the first year.  This year, I keep them bare faced 100% of the time because the pressure of the halter, whether it is a rope halter or macrame or leather or nylon, will leave pressure marks into their fur and skin.  This year, Gimme A Dream, Willow Breeze and Woodmere Frilifili object to anything on their heads, LOL!dream-1

This year, I decided to make bitless bridles for all my horses.  I completed the task early last fall but found that the bridle I had made for Dream was too small. The chin straps weren’t long enough and I had cut the strings.  I could have spliced on a length of strap but Dream can be head strong sometimes withdream-21 a bit, so I’m thinking that I might need a strong bridle for him.  I didn’t have enough expensive twine that they use for fishing around the bridle-detailislands, and I had a lot of baling twine, hence came my baling twine bitless bridle.

Can you imagine sitting in the saddle on a trail ride?  After a few hours, I get stiff and sore and like getting down to stretch out.  With a bitless bridle, I will be able to allow the horse to graze while I’m relaxing for a few minutes without removing the bridle . I’m not sure about anyone else but usually my horses don’t like to be re-bridled and they raise their heads too high for me to reach them comfortably.  That is a thing of the past for me! Of course, with Dream here, I’ll have to stand on his back to stretch out because I’ll be darned if I’m getting back up after getting off him.  As it is, at almost 17 hands, I use a step ladder to mount the big boy!

Patterns for brballidles and halters are $2.50CDN each.

Next week I want to start a sky blue bitted bridle and a breast strap from some very colorful twine I received on the large 800 lbs bales this year.  It should be rather stunning, to say the least.

I also want to complete at least three lead reins, one lunging rein and a collar with a leash for one of the dogs.

So don’t throw out all that good twine…, use it for something valuable, something useful, something necessary.

P.S. I use all the short pieces of baling twine for making temporary paddocks and field repairs to weakened fencing.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | tack, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Migraines – I think I’m Insane

Chronic migraines to be exact – Tip#1

I was 42 years and 22 days old when I got my first migraine.  I had never had even a headache before that day.  I remember thinking about Lizzy and the head aches she got before she died and I thought as I laid in bed, “My God, I must have a brain tumor…, like Lizzy!”
Lizzy (Elizabeth) and I were born the same date, less then an hour apart.  When Lizzy turned 17 years, she was having severe headaches.  She was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and underwent surgery and treatment that must have included radiation and Chemo-therapy, because she lost her hair.  Her beautiful blond locks – gone.   That is a small price to pay for a cure…, except she wasn’t cured.  On our twenty-fourth birthday, Lizzy fell to the disease and was buried a few days later.
What do migraines have to do with horses!
Back track twenty-nine days.  On January 29th, I send my favorite and only horse, Copper, to PEI, only he never arrived.  My gentle pinto stayed in the barn of the man who was taking him, in Amherst.  After Copper left home in the horse box of a three-ton truck, a winter storm arose and the ferry, Lucy Maud Montgomery, failed to sail on time.  It had one round trip to sail, before being laid up for the winter but the weather was such that it couldn’t make a round trip and then return to the mainland for winter repairs for the next season.

So I spent the winter without a horse. No big deal or so I thought….

Fast forward to the year 2002, I finally sent Copper to PEI to the Giddy Up Pony Camp, to teach youngsters how to ride.  He was getting older and I was afraid the veterinarian bills would break me.  He was healthy but getting up there in years.  I think he was about twenty-two at the time.  The migraines got worse and I was under doctors care almost on a weekly basis.  I was taking every migraine medication available and a few that weren’t.  The migraine would last 72 hours or longer, but I was diagnosed with six different types of migraines and one would trigger the other.  So I ended up with migraines 24-7 for months…. I was a basket case and I really can understand why they call them suicide headaches.

Finally there was nothing to do but go through my past with a fine-toothed comb and see what triggered them.  What the doctor and I found was that I never seemed to have migraines when I’m around horses.

Gimme A Dream (The Real Deal)

Gimme A Dream (The Real Deal)

Some time after that I bought the horse, Gimme A Dream.  He arrived in December and since that month, whenever I feel a migraine coming on, instead of taking drugs, I go out and wrapped my arms around the big moose.  You know…, it worked!  So I bought the other horses and I don’t suffer from migraines too severely anymore.

Why am I insane?  I don’t think there is a medical or scientific theory to explain why being around horses helps me, but it does.  I still get migraines for sure….  We didn’t find the cause…, yet.  But when I get one I spend a lot more time with the horse and I feel a lot better for it.

The internet is great and the social networks have helped me to realize that I’m not the only one who uses horses to control certain maladies – arthritis, heart problems, emphysema, etc.  I heard a lot stories of other people keeping the big pets for a whole slew of reasons now.

Maybe I am insane but then again, maybe I’m not….

December 3, 2008 Posted by | health, tack | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

To Bit Or Not To Bit…

The eternal question for all riders.

I remember when I was eight, my sister, Audrey and I would ride on two large farmers horses. We would take two pieces of rope each and head for the field. Old Murk and Big George were our destinations and the pieces of rope were tied on to their halters and used for reins. What a time we’d have…. Old Murk was a black work horse, a Percheron maybe…, hey I was only eight! She had feet larger then my head, but Lordy she was beautiful in my eyes. Big George was a big red (Chestnut) Standardbred gelding who tended to be a bit spirited, near as I can remember and he was on the thin side.  No bridle or saddle for us and no helmet either.  I don’t imagine anyone knew we were there and if they did, they would have smiled and thought that the horses were keeping us out of trouble…, babysitting us, so to speak.

Since then I have had the pleasure of owning or working with 20 or so horses and until Copper, I never used a saddle.  But I always used a bridle with a bit.  Sometimes I used a curb bit, depending on the horse, mostly I used a round ringed snaffle, thinking it was the softest on my horses mouth. I never thought too much about the bits…, never even thought about the pieces of rope attached to the halter.

This summer I was brought hard to attention on the value of bitless. I had a rude awakening. Early in the summer, while scouring the internet, I came across the idea of a bitless bridle. So I did some more searching and found a good picture of a horse wearing the bridle and a description and a name…, $250.00 US. Now I put a lot of money into my horses making sure they are well fed and looked after but I can’t justify that kind of money going out for a bridle. Particularly since I have made all my horse bridles since Copper and prefer them to the expensive English leather and before you ask, I do have the expensive leather bridles but I don’t use them longer then it takes to make a new horse a bridle. I macrame all my bridles.

After seeing this bitless bridle, I decided to make one for my young filly, Frilly. I adore her and anything I can do to make life easier for her I do.  Of course, I do that for all my “beasties” but I feel it is special for her. Anyway, I finished the bridle about mid August but not the reins and I wanted to try it out.  Where Frilly is green, I decided to try it on Willow with the western saddle, in case she caused trouble and two lead ropes with hooks on them.  Willow went forward like I expected, like a tank…. Willow Breeze is not an easy mare to ride at the worst timesWillow Breeze (Minority).  She is stubborn, balks, rears and is an all together pain in the butt.  She didn’t like the way it tightened on and around her head, that much was certain.  I’ve tried several different bits on her, to little success.  For almost a year, she has had a copper roller, stainless steel Tom Thumb bit.  Not my preferred mouth piece for any horse, but she wouldn’t work with a snaffle.  After about fifteen minutes, I guess, she decided she wasn’t getting away with anything, so she started to walk, trot, canter, to the left, to the right, change leads and was all out impressive.

A friend came to the field and asked if her daughter could get on Willow to get her picture taken.  I said sure, but explained that I had no bit in her mouth and I didn’t know the mare’s reaction to being ridden.  However, just sitting there would be fine.  So after a hundred or so pictures were taken, Amy asked if she could ride. “Try her,” I said and explained once again about the new bridle.  Well Willow was perfect.  Amy went forward, left, right, in a circle and returned after a bit.  I removed the tack and brushed Willow down, praising her to the hilt.

A couple days late, a group of young people wanted to ride all the horses in the field which was ok except not Frilly. I’m possessive of my Frilly, I afraid.  Each and every person who got on Willow expressed the same thing, “She won’t turn right!” After an afternoon of listening to frustrations, I got up on the mare…, and sure enough, I’d pull her head around until her mouth chewed my toes but she would not move. I got scared! Her teeth must be bad! I called the vet andWoodmere Frilifili (Frilly) down he came. He was a new vet, just temporary, but he knew his horses. He checked her teeth, her legs, her feet, her heart, lungs, ears eyes, nose, stools, urine and everything else.  He didn’t find anything wrong. We got to talking about Willow’s work habits when she started to act up. That was when the new bitless bridle came out. We tried it on her and lo and behold, she work like a charm. I would never have expected it. If there is going to be a horse that makes a fool out of me, it will be Willow.

By the first week in September, I had a bitless bridle made for Willow Breeze, to her specifications, trying her in between each new adjustment.  Willow’s was made of brown twisted nylon fishing twine. It is much easier to work with. The poll strap was wider then Frilly’s black bitless and longer, bringing the forelock strap lower on the head away from the ears. I think it is a bit low on her face so I will eventually make another slightly shorter poll strap, and incorporate a chin-strap. The brow band is also wider. The nose band was higher and softer and the under-cross straps slip loose a lot easier.  All in all, I have a happier, nicer Willow. She isn’t perfect and although she hasn’t had any stubborn spells while being ridden, I figure it is only a matter of time before she finds something else to disrupt the fun.

In the meantime, Frilly started using her bitless bridle.  This picture was taken the day Willow refused to turn right, in August. Since then, I’ve made a few adjustments to the bridle. The main adjustment is that I raised the nose band on this bridle. When she first used it while actually being ridden in September, her initial reaction was that of confusion but she tried very hard to understand what I tried to communicate to her. She is good with leg signals so teaching her the bitless bridle wasn’t all that difficult. The strange thing though is that she neck reins with it, and she does it very well. But I have never taught her to western neck rein. I wanted her to be my English pleasure riding horse.

December 3, 2008 Posted by | tack | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment