How to unassemble a tricky bridle? - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Chevaux
  • 1 Post By ejones993
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post #1 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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How to unassemble a tricky bridle?

I am having sooo much difficulty trying to get this bit off of my bridle. It attaches with chicago screws. I got one side undone, but this side must have been attached way too tightly! When I try to get it off, both sides just spin around together. I tried to put a tiny bit of wd-40 on it, but that didn't do anything. How in the world do I get this bit off?!
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 07:02 PM
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Can you hold the non-screw head side with a pair of vice-grips or the like? That is what I have had to do. Hopefully you didn't spend a ton of money on it, and the non-screw side is to the inside, as more than likely you will mar the leather a bit. But that is all I have. :) Good luck.
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post #3 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 07:06 PM
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Yes, you have to secure the other side of the screw then turn it, with pliers, vice grips, bench vice, whatever works, even another person holding the screw on the other side, lol.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 07:07 PM
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Sometimes a rubber jar opener will give you enough grip to hold the one side while you use the screwdriver on the other......but not always. That is what I try first though because it won't damage anything.
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 07:29 PM
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Chicago screws are my least favourite piece of equine equipment - they come apart when they're not supposed to and refuse to budge when they should. Needless to say I don't use them.

If you are skilled with power tools (or know someone who is), you can cut the screw off by sliding a cutting blade in between the long side and short (folded over) side of the cheek piece. Alternatively, you could use bolt cutters the same way if they have fine enough jaws to fit between the leather without wrecking it.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-29-2014, 07:44 PM
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I use small needle nose pliers on one side and regular pliers on the other, as I don't have two of each. The needle nose are broadside to the leather while the regular are perpendicular. But first put painter's tape on the leather to protect it. Pinch hard with one and turn with the other, it's your choice. This is how I've removed many stubborn ones and that is how I tighten them on as well.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-30-2014, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone :)
I FINALLY got it unscrewed after about an hour of trying to get a grip on one side with pliers. There might be a few scrapes in the leather, but at least I got it off! haha
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-30-2014, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ejones993 View Post
Thanks everyone :)
I FINALLY got it unscrewed after about an hour of trying to get a grip on one side with pliers. There might be a few scrapes in the leather, but at least I got it off! haha
Now punch or drill a hole next to that one and use leather ties. (That's what I do with those)
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-30-2014, 06:38 PM
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I use chicago screws a lot, but they are like any other fastener, they must be used properly. If your bridle was ever used by someone else, the screw may have been glued to keep it tight. I have never had a screw come apart when it's not supposed to, and since I use biothane I just glue any screw that does get loose. I have heard that clear nail polish will keep them tight, but you can easily remove them when needed.

That being said, anything you fasten your bridle with needs to be checked regularly. If you use screws, keep a screwdriver in your tack trunk or trailer. If you use the leather ties, take your bridle apart regularly to check the condition of the ties. Always carry a few pieces of leather on trail rides.

I love chicago screws and think that they are great.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-30-2014, 10:06 PM
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I hate chicago screws with a passion. I've had them fall out in the middle of a class at a show before and the whole bit fell out of Angel's mouth. I've also had problems getting them off as well. They always seem to just spin and not want to come unscrewed. If you don't want to/can't add another hole there is a way to use leather lacing to tie it. Here is an example.

Gal on the move (aka Angel), American paint mare, 1991 - current
Wc jae bar drifter (aka Jinxx), American quarter horse gelding, 2011 - current
Rockin the rocker (aka Twig), American quarter horse gelding, 1994 - 2011
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