Which neck strap do I need?
I am asked this question regularly! Take a look at the video's on the website and on our Facebook page and you will see both styles of neck strap in action. Here are the major differences and how the two styles are designed to work:
Original soft hands neck strap:
This style is made from 8mm rope and as you can see in the photo, is tethered to the saddle via the "tether strap" that is attached to the D rings on your saddle. The strap length can be adjusted from the saddle and as it is tethered will not slip forward as well as keeping your hands in a more stable position. The strap discourages "wild hands" and pulling back during rein aids and helps keep your contact more consistent, particularly if your horse leans on the bit. It can be used for confidence building as something to hang on to if you are feeling a bit nervous or unsteady (rather than handing on to your horse's mouth) but also to help train a better stop response, reduce the pressure on the horses mouth and to help lift your horse's shoulders and avoid him falling on the forehand.
Free Ride Strap:
The free ride strap was originally designed for free-riding but has become more popular as an alternative to the original neck strap. The major difference is that this style of strap does not tether to the saddle and is adjusted via a unique sliding mechanism that locks into place. The strap can be made in 8mm or 10mm rope and has all the features and benefits of the original strap. It does allow for more movement of your hands so if your are trying to target a better hand position, this may not be the style for you.
Soft Hands neck straps are designed to be used in the upright seat - maintaining your position is important for your balance, confidence and effectiveness as a rider. Many traditional neck straps or more closely fitted to the horses neck and require the rider to lean forward to use the strap, are generally made from leather or recycled from other items such as old stirrup leathers which can be bulky and uncomfortable to hold.
We have designed these straps to be light and comfortable to hold for the rider, comfortable to wear for the horse and to be used in conjunction with your reins without compromising your position.
Feel free to message me if you have any questions,