Sunday, July 17, 2011

Small Projects

When it comes to riding, particularly trail riding, I'm always looking for ways to improve my gear, while not spending a grunch of money.

One item that has continued to be a minor irritant is carrying water.  At first, I carried Nalgene bottles in the horn bags. This is okay, at least until one is removed for drinking.  The other gear in the bag settles to fill the void, requiring the availability of two free hands to clear a space and return the bottle.  This also draws your focus away from the reins and the horse, which is never a good idea.  Should you be a trailing a pack horse, it becomes downright impossible.

The next method I tried was one of these:

I hung it from the saddle horn, which soon presented two challenges.  First, when going downhill, it would end up on Smokey's neck.  No good.  And, on at least one occasion, it flew off the horn and into the bushes when Smokey felt the need to pull some antics.  Scratch that idea.

I asked myself "what did the Cavalry do?"  As it turns out, during and after the First World War, they used this.  "Great" thought I, I'll get via eBay or some other internet resource.  Except that the going price is about $75+, a bit much to pay for a water carrier.  A tad steep for a drink of water.

Imagine my luck at a recent gun show, whilst perusing a table of military surplus items, I spied this gem:

Yes, folks, that's a M1918 Cavalry Canteen cover.  For the low price of $15.  I already possess a M1944 canteen, and felt that the leather strap and hardware would be easy to replace, so I snapped it up.

Some saddle string leather and a few pieces of brass hardware were all that was needed.  Here's the finished product:

I'll report back on whether this proves to be a good solution to the water problem.

The next item on the agenda:  Lead Rope for the trail.  I prefer to carry a and lead rope, as one may find it necessary to stop and secure the horse to a tree to permit trail clearing, lunch, attending to various bodily functions, etc.  The easiest method is to leave the halter on under the headstall, with the lead rope attached and looped up over the saddle horn.  I use a rope halter, since is it as no metal hardware to break.  I decided it was time to switch to a lead rope which does not have a snap on it, similar to this product from Double Diamond.  Unfortunately, my local tack store does not carry them, and to purchase one via the interwebs, I was looking at close to $30 after shipping, which is a bit much for a lead rope.

Undaunted, I purchased 12 1/2 feet of lead rope material, which, combined with two pieces of electrical tape and a length of saddle string leather leftover from the previous project, resulted in this:

It may be not be pretty, but the total cost was under nine bucks.  And it gave me something to do on a dreary afternoon.


Mary said...

Very resourceful! You're a freakin' McGiver! I think I like your rope better than the one in the picture. Nice work

sweetpea said...

Love that you found cheap ways to get what you needed! My hubby and I try to do that as often as possible. Let us know how your rope and water holder work for you.

Bag Blog said...

My daddy had one of those cavalry canteens with the cover. I haven't thought about it for a long time.

Modern Day Redneck said...

I always just used the the common one you have pictured. I just tied it up a little higher and snug to the horn. Good luck with it.

Buck said...

I had a M1944 canteen and cover as a kid... and who'd a thunk they'd go for so much these days?

As for water... what about a CamelBak? I see lots o' GIs wearin' 'em in The Af and it seems like it'd be perfect for the trail.

Jessica said...

Water is a challenge, but nothing compared to the camera and phone! If I put those on my belt, they are in the way when I ride. Not to mention, trying to document the adventure without losing the expensive electronics in the bushes.

I know. I could put my journalistic nonsense aside, but then I wouldn't be me!

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Breathe said...

You need one of these :