Saddle-String Stirrup Hobble

In the July print issue, Tom and Tad Knowles of Colorado's Wildflower Saddles & Tack in Elizabeth explained how to replace broken saddle strings or add strings to decorative conchas. Strings are great for tying gear onto your saddle, but also can be used to make equipment repairs, if necessary, when you're on the trail or working cattle and can't get back to the barn immediately.



Tom pointed out in the print feature that old-time cowboys carried what they called a "whang"strap, basically a saddle string used to repair, for example, the connector strap between front and back cinches or a broken curb strap. The important thing: The saddle-string repair got the cowboy safely back to camp or the ranch headquarters.

"Use a saddle string to make a stirrup hobble if you need to,"Tad says. "This will keep your stirrup from turning when you mount or dismount - the two times you're most vulnerable and might get into a wreck. This isn't the traditional stirrup hobble, but it'll get you through the day.

"If necessary, you can cut a string off your saddle to make repairs; just make sure it's long enough to go around the stirrup leather. Some people always carry an extra string on the saddle just for making repairs when away from the barn,"Tad continues. "You can make a lot of repairs with just one saddle string."

Step 1: Using your pocketknife, cut a lengthwise slit into one end of the string. A 1/2-inch to 5/8-inch slit works well in most cases.

Step 2: Next, wrap the saddle string around the stirrup leather, just above stirrup top, and lace the saddle-string tail through the slit.

Step 3: Pull the string snugly around stirrup leather before you tie the saddle-string tail on the back side of the stirrup leather.

Step 4: To hobble your stirrup, simply make a half-hitch with the leather string around the stirrup leather. There's no hardware to worry about reattaching.

Step 5: Tighten the half-hitch to complete the stirrup hobble. You can make this repair easily on the trail in just minutes, and the string hobble will get you safely home.

Wildflower Saddles & Tack, Box 493, Elizabeth, CO 80107; 303-646-3363.