G'Day. Colin Dangaard here with a news flash.
He found the gold, folks!
It is the VERY OLD tackaberry buckle. At the Australian Stock Saddle Company I have re-designed this buckle,
first cast in iron by an American around 1896. He called himself Professor Bates, and he sold it on the gold
fields of California. It was pretty successful, but then the" Professor" went to Australia, and sold it on the
gold fields there -- where it was a GREAT success. As the popularity of this buckle rose in Australia, it declined
in America, probably because nobody here was promoting it. Also at that time in American cowboy culture, knots
were everything. There was probably a thousand different knots for tying anything to anything --
including girths to horses, so into the 1920's the standard "bow tie" knot became, well, standard on every
Western saddle. This is the knot that is a challenge to tie, and an ever greater challenge to untie.
You will NEVER release it in an emergency.
The tackaberry, meanwhile, found great
favor in the Australian bush,
where "ringers" ( American for cowboy) were riding feral horses chasing feral cattle on the roughest country on
earth. Crashing a couple of times a day was standard -- and still is -- so being able to un-cinch the horse in
seconds, while it is on the ground is a great way to save a $5 horse running 30 miles God-knows-where with a
$1500 saddle. In Australia, it has always been known as a Bates Buckle, after the professor, who was, in fact,
part of the founding family of the current Bates saddle empire in Australia. This humble buckle was their
For the last ten years, I have been re-introducing this buckle to Americans, and they LOVE it.
Young riders are fascinated. They cannot believe there is a system where a horse can be cinched with no trauma,
and no effort . As we all know, the most challenging part of a ride for the horse is being saddled. This is when
you are anxious, want to get going, and you are struggling with the last hole on an English billet, or reefing
on a Western billet, and all of this projects angst to the horse. Not good. The tackaberry allows you to GENTLY
use the four-to-one purchase of the pulley system, with the right hand, while scratching the neck of the horse
with the left hand. Horse now thinks, this is a good idea; I LIKE being saddled. The tackaberry is an amazing
"fix" for cinchy horses.
Our re-design of the old buckle is in of stainless steel. We have also widened the
slots, so it can easily receive a red leather latigo, or a 2" nylon lacing -- which is actually better, because
nylon slips more easily thru the pulley system. The standard tackaberry is about 5' in length. This goes over
the top girth ring, attached to the saddle, down the back side, then comes out thru the TOP slot of the buckle.
The lacing then goes back over and thru the main girth ring, comes down the back side again, and then out thru
the BOTTOM slot of the buckle. Then it is pulled gently, and the more pressure that is applied, the more easily
the nylon moves thru the buckle. It slips against itself. When the girth is sufficiently tight, the end of the
latigo is tucked down into the loops that are sewn into the girth. The very tip of the latigo is fed back up
through the loops so, for an easy un-cinching, just grab the tip and pull, and the whole buckles comes loose instantly.
Another version of the tackaberry is for "center fire" rigging . Center fire
tackaberry lacings are sold in pairs,
and they are 7' in length. The lacing is first passed thru the BACK cinch ring, then thru the top slot of the
tackaberry buckle, and then passed up and over the main girth ring of the saddle, passed down and back through
the BOTTOM SLOT of the buckle, and then it is pulled, adjusting each of the straps, so the back is pulled down
evenly with the front. This places the girth back about 4" from the elbow, very necessary on mules, and a good
idea on some horses prone to galling.
Standard length nylon tackaberry lacings are $29 each. A pair of
"center fire" lacings is $55.
Leather for the standard length is $49, and a pair of leather "center fire" lacings is $99.
Check our U-tube video for a visual on this.
The tackaberry buckle is certainly not new, but like many things in the horse business, it just got "lost".
Horses and people are happy we have re-discovered what has to be the very best way to cinch a horse!!
|Step One. Hold the tackaberry buckle with the
lip and tongue facing out. Then pass the pointed end of the nylon strap up
over the girth ring, and pull it down the inside, then pass the pointed end
of the nylon billet back out through the TOP slot of the buckle, so the
pointed end comes out facing you.
|| Step Two. Take the pointed end of the nylon billet, pass it back in and over
the girth ring for a second time, pull it down the back side, and then pass
the pointed end of the strap through the BOTTOM slot, and pull it out with
the tongue coming at you.
Step Three. Now place the ring of the girth over the lip of the
tackaberry buckle, and pull until the girth is at the desired tightness.
The off-side is secured with the traditional Western off-billet, and
remains fixed in place once the girth has been "leveled". The nylon
tackaberry lacing moves smoothly once it takes tension. When the desired
tightness has been attained, slip the pointed end of the strap down
through the loops on the girth, and then double it back up so the pointed
end is right there -- for a quick and easy release. Uncinch by pulling
on the nylon, releasing the tongue from the hole, loosening the nylon
until it drops so the cinch ring can be easily lifted off the lip of
the buckle .THEN LEAVE THE TACKABERRY AND LACING ASSEMBLED ON THE
Colin's tip: Tighten the girth in three stages. This system requires so
little strength, you can cause anxiety to the horse by
immediately. Three easy steps, a couple of holes at a time, will be less
dramatic for the horse. This system has been known to CURE "cinchy"
horses, because it so passive if done correctly. And remember, ALWAYS
ride out with a tight cinch. A loose cinch is a dangerous cinch.
tackaberry lacing is also great on Western saddles, for people who do
not like tying the "cowboy" knots, that always seem to loosen, and
always leave a bulk to catch your leg or the fender