How to make rhythm beads

horse 8 image by Harvey Hudson from

Rhythm beads, also known as horse necklaces, are quickly becoming a favourite of horse trainers nationwide. Whether your speciality is dressage, jumping or barrel racing, rhythm beads help the horse keep his cadence, and the rider keep in tempo with the horse's gait. Rhythm beads are also useful for trail riders, since they warn wildlife that the horse is in the area, and serve as white noise for the horse, keeping him from being startled by unexpected sounds.

Make a rough measurement for the length of your rhythm beads by using a piece of string. Drape it around your horse's neck until you have the proper size. Cut the string to the appropriate length. Measure the string. Add 1 foot to that measurement, then cut your leather cord accordingly.

Choose your beads. Since rhythm beads date back to Native American tribes, many riders use the ancient beliefs about colour to decide the hues of their rhythm beads. Red, for example, means power, passion and courage. Yellow translates to intelligence and concentration, while blue represents truth, serenity and healing. Other riders choose beads that will flatter the colouring of their horses.

Put together the two ends of your cord, then slide a bell down the cord so that it is exactly equidistant between the two. This is the centre of your necklace. Start threading your beads onto the leather cord in a predetermined pattern, depending on your taste. Thread 6 inches on one side of the cord, then 6 inches on the other.

Add another bell every 6 to 8 inches on each side so that they are at even intervals. This will ensure a balance to both the weight of your horse necklace and a symmetry to the sound.

Stop your beading on each side 6 inches before the end of the cord. Tie a double knot to keep the beading in place on each end of the necklace, then cover the knots in jeweller's glue to ensure they stay in place. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Attach an alligator clip to the end.

Fasten the necklace around the horse's neck and tie the two ends of the cord together to fasten it. Clip the alligator clip to the horse's mane, and your rhythm beads are done.

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