Get a Grip on Chicago Screws


There isn’t a more disconcerting feeling than realizing that your reins have become disengaged from your western bit because the Chicago screws have come undone. Even if you thought you’d twisted them into infinity, the things can slowly untwist. Here’s how to make sure you’ve secured them. First, make sure the screw end–or male part–is appropriately long enough to fit through the leather of your reins. Next, dab a bit of household white glue or a drop of clear fingernail polish onto the screw. Finally, before the substance has a chance to dry, align and secure both ends of the screw together. Press the leather together so that it is compressed with each turn of your screwdriver. The little bit of glue or nail polish will aid in adding grip to the threads of the screw and will help ensure that your reins stay attached to your bit.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


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