Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tack Tips--Rolled Throatlatches

I am a tack snob, and as such, I have always put rolled throatlatches on my leather halters.

Twenty years ago, I did this by buying pre-rolled lace from the hobby store and gluing it onto the halter rings via a short snippet of flat lace.  That worked reasonably well, but there were definite color matching issues.  I tried to ignore them, but I'm a tack snob--I wanted my halters to be all one color.   Eventually I scrapped the short-cut and learned how to roll my own lace.

Here's a look at a full sized rolled throatlatch.  The leather strap is folded in half lengthwise and sewn shut.  Depending on the type and quality of halter, there will be either a cord or a wire hidden inside the rolled section.

To make a model sized rolled throatlatch, place a nearly completed halter on the model's head.  Measure the distance from one halter ring to another, following the line of the horse's cheek.
Cut a piece of 1/8 inch lace, point the ends...
and prepare it with a combination of skiving and sanding.   It's important to work slowly and carefully--the finished product will look much better if the lace is of a consistent thickness throughout its length.
It's also important not to over-prepare the leather.  Paper thin lace will result in a throatlatch that's flat rather than rounded.  You should be able to pinch the leather together just enough to leave a crease down the middle.
Once the leather is ready, flatten it out and apply glue to the flesh (back) side. 
Pinch the sides together again and hold until they stick. 
Hold the throatlatch between your  thumb and index finger and roll the throatlatch back and forth until the glue is completely set.
You should now have a nicely rounded throatlatch! 
Attach the throatlatch to the halter by threading one end of the lace through the appropriate halter ring. 
Add a little dab of glue...
and secure in place.   The point should fit nicely into the the beginning of the rolled section.
A this point, it's wise to put the halter back on the model and double check the length before proceeding.  If your throatlatch is a bit too long (and mine often are!), it may be necessary to shorten the rolled section.  Fortunately, this can be done fairly easily using the tip of an awl.
The finished project. 
Questions, comments or suggestions for future Tack Tip tutorials--please post them to the comments section!


  1. Very helpful!

    For a future one, how about making bridle headstalls ? Splitting the lace, etc?

  2. Thank you very much for recording your steps to make such neat rolled throatlatches! I wouldn`t have thought that it holds without wire inside.
    I really would like to hear about measuring for saddles...!

    Best wishes

    Doreen from Germany

  3. Thanks so much for this tip! It helped a LOT. I agree with the first Anonymous about a headstall tutorial, but can we also get one on boots? I am stumped on what they are made of. Thanks again!

  4. Aha!!! I was wondering how to make rolled leather. Thank you!

  5. Oh wow, this is SO much simpler than I'd imagined! XD Thanks!
    I second the boots idea too! :D

  6. Well, you took the mystery out of these rolled throatlatches! Thank you for that!

    I've been wondering what you put on your leather laces to make them look so shiny. When I buy them, they're just flat with no sheen to them. Would love to know how to give my tack that "well oiled" look. :)

  7. Thanks for sharing this. It's a lot more simple than how I used to do it. And I completely agree with the boot tutorial. I don't even know how to begin with them...

  8. Are we talking about leather boots? If so, my best advice would be to buy the Rio Rondo accessory kits that include boot patterns and instructions. That's how I learned, and although my boots are a bit more detailed now, there's not a world of difference. In most instances, my boots are made from skiver and 3/32" kangaroo lace.

    Kelli--I don't usually put anything on my lace except gum tragacanth. I do handle the lace *a lot* before I use it. My preparation method is fairly labor intensive, and I do think the lace always looks much prettier after I've spent some time on it. I use Satin Sheen on all dyed leather whether it's kangaroo lace, tooling calf or skiver.

    Hope this helps!

  9. Ah, the skiver answers my question. I bought the English Accessories kit, and it gave me cowhide to use. It didn't strike me as correct, but I wasn't sure. Sorry for another question, but what would you line the boots with? More skiver, pliver, or chamios? Thanks!

  10. future tack idea.. Hmmm. Top ten stamping tools for tackmaking perhaps? What those ten basic really useful punches are - atleast from your perspective!

    Home made metalware - what does it take to make a really nice buckle and such? Any ideas re. "homemade" bits for bridles?

    Just throwing some basic ideas. :-) Considering how many fabulous "how to..." you so kindly share it is only fair to give something in return.

  11. Deanna--I usually line boots with skiver but I will use chamois if I'm going for a sheepskin look. I have made boots out of tooling calf and other thicker leathers. It's definitely do-able just time consuming as far as prep time goes.

    Annakarin--those are really good ideas, but considering how little stamping I do... I might not be the best person for the job!

  12. Did I mention that you're my favourite blogger ever?

    I will have to go try this! :D

  13. cool! i need some lace in order to do this though! lol

  14. SQUEEE! It works! I have tried a bunch of things to roll a throatlatch and harness cruppers. They worked, but sometimes the color isn't right or it ends up not really "rolled". This is *perfect*. Finished a stock halter last nite I'm donating to a show this weekend. Oh so happy that the throat is rolled and it matches! SQEEE!

  15. Wow this is a lot easier than I thought it would be! I made my first-ever Traditional leather halter today and I followed all your Tack Tips (lace preparation, buckle prep, this lovely rolled throatlaches piece) like the Bible the whole time. LOL! Thanks for being such an easy and inspiring resource- the halter turned out WAY better than I thought it would. The throatlatch wanted to kink a bit and not be completely the same width, but that's probably just my uneven skiving job. More Tack Tips in the future, please!!

  16. Could you do some EXACT step by step tutorials for me please? My mom won't let me make anything unless i show her how the EXACT process is going to be.

  17. Carrie Sloan MeyerJuly 25, 2014 at 8:20 AM

    I do the same thing but add a wire inside the roll- adds strength and can mold around the jaw of the horse better.

  18. This is so simple, yet so elegant! I must try it!
    My mom has an old rolled english bridle. The whole thing is rolled except where there are buckles, and I have never seen anything quite like it anywhere. It would be so cool in miniature. I would be happy to share photos of it and I'm sure I could find a horse to model it.

    1. I've seen rolled bridles. They were popular at some point, but were considered passe by the time I started riding (very late '70's and early 80's). Every now and then I'll still see one for sale, but they don't seem poised to make a comebackC!