reins weight?

mrsrekamepipMarch 21, 2011

I was told this was some sort of weight that was used when multiple horses were harnessed up to keep the reins from flapping back and forth. Anyone ever heard of this or know the proper name? Thanks for any help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of object

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Sorry....your link shows a Fire King bowl.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Sorry, here is another link for the photo

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 11:25PM
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I've never seen anything like them on draught horse teams, but that doesn't mean they aren't.....I haven't seen everything. LOL Is it Lazypup who sometimes comments on old farm equipment?

There are so many types of leathers and they all differ depending on what purpose you'd be using your team for. I've seed rein guides (metal loops) fitted on a saddle (not a riding saddle) on team horses to keep the multiple reins from fouling and can't wrap my mind around weighing a rein down because a good horse responds to a delicate touch and it seems to me a heavy weight on a rein would be confusing to them.

Hope someone else chimes horses were riding horses and the only team horses I've been around have been as a spectator.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:12AM
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You would - as calliope said, not want to weight the reins.

It might have been mounted to the carriage, or to a part of the harness, to support the reins.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 9:49PM
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You really didn't give us a frame of reference as to size of this item. Nor show us any other shots, so I could see exactly how it's shaped. You know, they used wheel chocks on wagons, so they wouldn't take off when parked on grades, and they were often made of wood and would have hung by a loop on a rope. How large/heavy is this block?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 6:49PM
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It is difficult to be certain without have an bit more information on the size and weight, but from what I can see, I think that may well be a "Reins Weight", although it is not used when driving the hitch. While some people call them a reigns weight it would be more precise to call it a "Buggy anchor".

They commercially made buggy anchors that had a cast iron weight about 6 to 8" in diameter and 2" thick with a slot in the center where a animal lead line could be attached. The lead line was a short piece of leather strap about the same size as the reigns and it had the weight on one end and a snap on the opposite end. It was carried in a buggy and when one had to stop and leave the buggy unattended for a few moments the weight could be dropped to the ground and the lead strap snapped on the horses bridle to serve as a hitching post.

The item in the photo appears to be a home made buggy anchor using a block of wood for the ground weight. To use is they would have to attach a longer line to that leather strap. The corners of the block are rounded to reduce the risk of the horse injuring a foot on a sharp corner if it stepped on the block.

An alternative to a buggy anchor would be to hobble the horses front legs. (sort of handcuff their ankles so they won't wander off).

Those were commonly used for buggy horses or sometimes coach horses but not for draft horses.

When hitched up draft horses do not move unless they are given either a verbal command or feel certain touches on the reigns. In fact, they are so gentle that when we could come in at the end of the day we could stop the team, completely uncouple them and walk away, and they would still stand in place until we gave them a verbal command to go, but you can be sure, when they heard that command you did not want to be standing between them and the watering trough. Beleive me, they may weigh over a ton each and they may look slow and lethargic but they can get up a full trot when heading to the watering trough where they will take on 25 to 30 gal of water each before going in the barn.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 4:37PM
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The item pictures is not a buggy anchor. Those are usually iron and flat and the driver who made frequent stops, tossed it out as he dropped the reins.

I swear I have seen a reins weight in use, hanging and swaying on the reins between a team of horses pulling a buggy. But, I can find no references on line.
But I really don't think I imagined it.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 6:21PM
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As I stated before, the item may or may not be a home made buggy anchor,
but there is one thing we can be absolutely sure of- it is not a weight on the reins because there is no such thing regardless of what you may think you have seen. But what do I know, I am only a former Amish who ran away to see the world when i was 19.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:05PM
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Do Amish drive 2 horses? I've not seen that, and I live very near several Amish communities in Iowa.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 8:57PM
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Linda........Amish do more than pull riding buggies with horses. They pull farm wagons and implements with them and they're not going to use one horse to do it, they'll use a team. I have Amish living up and down my road. They use TEAMS. The pull of the rein signals a horse what to do. If you had a weight flopping around giving it false signals, it wouldn't know what you were asking it to do. The only other long strap on a team horse is the trace, and it doesn't flop around.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2011 at 10:38PM
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I am familiar with teaching a riding horse to ground tie. You do use a weight off a lead rope when training them and it could be as simple as a chunk of wood. The idea is to make the horse believe he is tethered, although he could easily pull the weight. You do not use them after the horse is trained and he understands what you want of him. You do not hook it to his reins, because it can injure him.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:23AM
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Amish traditionally use one horse on the buggy, which serves the purpose of the family car, but back on the farm, if it moves horses move it. I learned to drive a team of draft horses pulling wagons when I was 5 yrs old. Two years later I learned how to plow with a 5 horse hitch. That is three draft horses side by side, with a team in front of them and I have operated a McCormack Deering Grain Binder (reaping machine) that was pulled with a 9 horse hitch.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:34AM
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In the early 1940s, my dad and two neighbors farmed with horses. We also used a pair of draft horses to pull the family buggy. Rein weights were never used as they would add a load to the horse's mouth.

A rein weight to park the horses for a short time makes sense. However, the local terrain affects the use thereof. In my location, there were enough fence rows, bushes, and trees that one could find a place to tie the reins. A parking weight is needed only when the terrain ia devoid of objects with which to tie the reins. Places such as treeless plains, deserts, towns not equipped to accomodate horses, or mile-long wheat fields of Kansas come comes to mind.

A rein-weight (for psrking) would be 10 lb or more to be effective.

When driving a pair of horses, the driver has 4 reins in his hands, 2 for each horse. Some drivers devised a light weight clip or holder to clip two lines together. This would be located near the driver's hands. It aids the driver to pick up the correct set of reins for each hand. In some instances, this was nothing more than a leather thong loosely wrapped a couple of times around a set of reins and tied with a knot that was easily undone. However, many horse handlers looked upon a rein holder with disdain because they were of the opinion that you should be able to tell by looking which reins you had in your hands, and if you could not do this quickly, you had no business driving horses.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 12:54AM
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When driving a team of horses you DO NOT have four lines as mentioned above. The only time you have four lines is when driving four horses and not always then. I know how to hitch five horses with two lines.

I have prepared the following illustration to show how a team of horses is coupled together:

In the illustration I have shown the top view of the two horses and for clarity I have omitted teh harness and only included the horse collar, hames and reins.
Notice the red & blue section of the reins. Those are called the "Harness Reins" and they are permanently attached to the harness. The two brown lines leading back from the harness reins are the hand reins which are held by the driver.
Now look at the top horse which would be the right hand side of the team. Note that the right hand rein is attached to the red harness rein and it goes through a loop on the collar/hames assembly and on to the horses head where it is snapped on the right hand end of the horses bit.
Midway on the back of the horse there is a second line that Y's off, passes through a loop on the left side of the horses collar/hame assembly then crosses over and is snapped on the right hand end of the left horses bit.
In this manner if you pull back on the right hand rein it pulls the right hand end of both horses bits evenly.
Now look at the blue lines on the left hand horse and you will see it is just the opposite.
However after giving this question additional thought I think I have figured out what Lindac was referring to when she said she had seen a reins weight between the horses.
When connecting a team it is customary to have a ring midway between the horses and the two inside reins pass through the ring when running from the collar on one horse to the bridle on the other.
Typically that ring is simply a brass ring, or if you have old harness like we have the rings are made of Walrus Tusk Ivory, but it is illegal to see Ivory now.
On show harness it is common practice to make a leather tab like a huge watch FOB that hangs off that ring and may have your inititials or other form of decoration. Due to its size and black color it may appear as a weight from a distance but I can assure you, it only weighs 2 or 3 ounces.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 7:43AM
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