I learned four new things with this bridle: the half round six braid, three strand twisted cord, how to make cheek attachments that tie instead of buckle, and the hackamore knot. I learned the first three fairly quickly, but the hackamore knot had me stumped for a while.
I had trouble just finding instructions for the thing, I found photos of the knot, videos that showed how to tie it (no good to me, I need high resolution illustrations to stare at) and instructions on how to tie the mecate rein (which I already know), but nothing on hackamore knots. Finally I found a site that said "oh, yeah, it's also known as a jug knot". Great! So it was off to Google instructions for "jug knots".
Two sites came up with good, clear images, two similar but slightly different methods that seemed like something I could grasp. So I picked one tutorial, and so began my sometimes plodding learning process where I basically stare at instructions for some time, fiddling with my practice cord, repeating each step until I feel like I had it right. Well, there was one step I just couldn't get right because of vague wording. (OK I "turn down" these loops, fine, but what the heck does "turn down" mean??) So I turned to the other tutorial.
This one was trickier, but I got the hang of it, right up until the next-to-last-step. Stumped again, but this time because I couldn't get it to work for me on such a small scale. The loops were simply too small to make the passes this tutorial was showing. This tutorial mentioned another term, "jar knot", so, in exasperation, I Googled this term.
Ah, much, much better. A good, clear tutorial popped up with instructions that I could get to work with small scale loops! Yay! I got my practice string to do it! Yay again! Now I had to do it with my braided length of linen thread bent double to create the loop I needed to tie the latch knot for the throatlatch. It took quite a bit of patience, since the doubled strands wanted to part every time I touched it, then once I got the knot I had to loosen and adjust to move it down and leave the braids long enough to pass over the crown and tie on the other side, but compared to the learning process, that was a piece of cake!
And voilà. It matches the Western set I did last year, dark brown and sandy tones are my favorite. You do have to untie the latch knot and the cheek knot in order to take it off, which is a PITA, but in my opinion the look is worth it.
I do get a kick out of the fact that there is no metal on this bridle. (well, except for the aluminum wire core in the bosal, but it doesn't count ;p )
Until next time!