Jingle bells

Speak to me of jingle bells for horses. I don’t know a thing about them. Wanting to get some for my mare.

I think you should buy them! I always wanted bells for my Percheron when we drove him in cart --I wanted the kind that fit between the hames --across the top of the collar @2DogsFarm will know what they are called. However, be aware bells are expensive --even four on a strap that hung off the harness were (5 years ago) $60 and I’m sure more now. Even so I would have saved up to buy bells except that bells are not allowed in the show ring (the Percheron showed once a year at the County Fair). I would think they would be most fun in the winter, but we only drove in the summer --icy roads called for borium shoes --again too costly for an occasional drive. That’s the same reason we never had a sleigh --not really safe on the road in the winter, when if it is slick enough for the sleigh to pull nicely down a country road, cars are sliding all over --and the need for borium shoes.

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My mom got me a set for Christmas this year, from Lehman’s. (I’d have preferred a load of hay, to be honest…) I’ve been reading up on them. First thing is clearly to get the horse comfortable with hearing them in proximity while moving. That is to say, don’t just strap them on and see what happens :slight_smile: I am most likely to end up using them in their original purpose as warning people that horses are in the area, I tend to have my horses in the woods, so I want people to know they are there.
I have a preference for the bells in graduated sizes rather than the genuine jingle bells. I find the jingle bells to be a bit ‘jangly’ whereas the brass, graduated size bells have better tone.

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@Foxglove I blush, having only bits & pieces of Driving knowledge :roll_eyes:
But I know my Carriage Guy sells the brass bells, both as hip straps & a length that goes on the girth. Not overly pricy, as I’ve looked at them & considered a purchase & I am a Cheapskate :smirk:

Google shows me they are available from Stateline: 1’x15" 6-bell strap $16.69
These do look like the cheapo brass ones.
But Big Black Horse has a set of 5 Weaver Leather shaft bells that looks substantial for $74.99

So, they are out there & not all will break the bank.
Who knows, maybe Bugs will jingle some day :horse::bell:

Where do jingle bells usually go on the horse? I have seen some that go around the neck and some that go around the belly. I would think my mare would prefer the bells a little further from her ears. It looks like brass is the right metal for them. And I have heard it is nice to have different sized bells on the strap. Angel isn’t trained to drive (yet) but it would be fun to have them on her for riding around during the holidays.

@Mukluk You can get bells on a neckstrap for your mare.
I’ve heard them called Bear Bells by trailriders, the intended use being obvious :open_mouth:

Friends I rode with used these, but also would call out “Hellloooo, Deer!” to avoid deer leaping out onto the trail.
Which usually, but not always, seemed to work.

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I have “hip” bells that I actually put right behind my backpad vs right on the hip. I put them on her the first day and longlined her(open bridle). I did this for two days then longlined in a closed bridle 2x and then into the cart we went. This pony is the Honey Badger and doesn’t care what I do lol. I love them!
The reason I got them was twofold… a warning to the wildlife that thrives on the mountain I am coming and also a warning to the local hunters I’m in the area!! But I love the sound…
If I could figure how to add a video you could hear Brenda’s bells (Brenda is her name)

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The bells that stand up between the rein rings on the harness saddle are called terret bells. They tend to have a lighter, higher ring tone. You just unscrew the rein ring and put one leg of the terret bells over the hole, screw the rein ring back in. You might have to GENTLY move the other leg to fit a wider or narrow space under the other rein ring. Frame holding the bells is cast, so stretching or compressing the legs can break it.

With the longer strings of bell, you put them right behind the harness saddle, with a short loop of string to the water hook (check rein hook) of saddle. String holds bells forward where they belong, prevents bells turning in travel. The graduated bells have the biggest bells in the center of the strap, so gravity will pull bigger bells downward as you go along unless you secure the bells in place. Our bell string is 6ft long, not big enough to go around even the small horse, so we got a second strap to extend the length to buckle the ends together under her belly.

Run your girth bell string OUTSIDE the shafts for travel, to prevent crushing bells between the equine and shafts! Really sad to ruin a couple bells that way.

A neck string of bells resting at the base of neck should also be secured to the harness saddle with a string. String prevents bells rotating on the neck and bells falling forward if horse lowers their head going uphill or with a bit of hard pulling.

Take LOTS OF TIME getting horse used to any bells. Ring the bells in various locations before putting them on the horse, so he thinks they are “normal” anyplace he goes.

Most of our were pretty accepting of the bells at the Trainers, moving from a ringing handbell to wearing strings of bells during training. Alyss however was not accepting oF bells. We were not sure she would EVER get accepting as the third week wore on! Still at the hand bell in Trainers hand stage!! She did her lesson then the bell got rung at the end and her 1/4 TB part took off like it was the starting gate bell!! She ran a long time, very fast inside the indoor arena. And if she slowed, one ring would start her going again! She gained a lot of fitness with gallop work! And then one day she did not respond to the bell. Trainer rang it, then rang it several times, no break in gait. YAY!! Really got the bell clanging and she did not flick an ear. Trainer then worked Alyss thru her variety of bells, getting acceptance to all of them. Trainer finally put on a short string of throatlatch bells for Alyss’s continued lessons with no issues.

So be safe, careful, introducing bells to your horses. Do not tie them on until horse is unresponsive to them ringing in your hand. Choose ONE set of bells for your outing, neck bells, girth bells, hip strap bells, terret or shaft bells. The noise created by putting several types of bells at once will give you a headache! Makes horses crabby! If they sound jangly, try adjusting the horse speed. One speed of trot was awful, while a slower trot made music on our old mare.

Locally a lot of trail riders use 1-2 small bells on their horses to warn other riders, hunters, pedestrians, that they are coming on the trail. They get better sound travel with the heavier cast bells.

Always fun when the neighbors say “I heard you out jingling the other day!” They could hear us almost a mile if the wind was right.


Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Jingle all they way!!!

Reading all these posts makes me feel even more excited about getting some
Jingle bells
for Miss Angel!!!

Willow wood stables, Thanks for lovely jingle bell video what a cute pony!!! Lovely countryside!!! Where are you located?

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Angel is a Chestnut OTTB mare but she is very good about most everything… buffalo, cattle, trail trials, heavy machinery, bicycles, trains, motorcycles, tumbleweeds. She does not care much for flags but then I never really put her through flag boot camp.

Lots of our trail riders wear bear bells. We have black bears all over the suburban parks. Also coyotes, bobcats, and apparently the occasional cougar.

I have heard them also referred to jokingly as “dinner bells” for the bears :slight_smile:

I find them a bit annoying to hear but maybe I’d get used to them on my own horse if I was in grizzly country.

& now I’ve got to thinking… :thinking:
What if I velcro’d a shortish - ~1’ - strap of bells to my dash?
Velcro so they could be removed & stowed in my cupholder, or a fannypack type bag if they annoyed me.
Bugs is so Meh about most everything we encounter.
*Driving club friend with noisy, squeaky buckboard hitched to her pair of minis?
Follow so close his nose is nearly onboard the thing.
*Another club friend driving a cart covered in blinking lights, bells & various floppy decorations?
Not worth an earflick.
*Passing the covered arena holding a Mounted Shooting competition when I made him turn back from a group drive (cause I was getting tired).
Multiple LOUD gunshots about 50’ from the road we were on?
Being turned away from his friends & having to be the Only Pony on the road?
Cause for much annoyed calling “Come Back! She’s going the Wrong Way!!”

Of course I’d roadtest the jingling on the longe & ground driving before hitching :wink:

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@Mukluk I’m in South Western Virginia near Christiansburg! Beautiful country… I’m a Canadian working down here and we never rest get snow so this is as close as me and the wee pony can get to snow lol

I made my own bell collars. One for my mule, Ollie, and another one for my foxtrotter, Robin. As soon as my Standardbred, Colton, finishes growing i’ll be making a bell array for his harness.

This is Ollie’s set:


Well those are certainly attractive!!

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Get a “Gremlin Bell.” They are small bells meant to tie onto your axle or someplace underneath the cart to scare off “gremlins” that might appear and make your driving horse spook :-). I have one but it’s too pretty to use. They are not loud like jingle bells though, they have a lighter softer sound.

Here’s my cheap, quick, and easy solution: I got some bells at a craft store, their largest, and put 3 of them on a 4" strap that has a clip on the end. (I think the strap was a broken blanket leg strap, so cheap.) I clip them on the harness and we jingle. As for familiarizing the horse to the bells, I clipped one on my belt loop whenever I was around the horse, for about a week. He’s good about such things, and I did have a head start since we have a strap of bells near the oat bin that get jostled when we feed. Maybe someday we’ll get the “real thing” but we’re having fun now, too. (Those are beautiful, eightpondfarm!)

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@eightpondfarm Gorgeous!
Where on the harness do you put them?


I made this one for my riding mule. Also made another (less baroque) one for a riding horse. My driving horse is only 2 1/2 and still in beginner horse training. Once he’s fully grown and i have a harness on his wonky Standardbred body, i’ll make a bell cover along the lines of a bucking strap, except i envision it over the middle of his back. (I want it far enough away from his ears so he can still hear other things). It will be a completely independent attachment…to use or not depending on whim.


Wow! all about bells!

There is a family legend that consists only of the lesson learned: Don’t introduce a horse to the sleigh and the bells on the same day :laughing:

My mother has a strap of antique bells, which I think are graduated bells that you mention - big bells at one end then they get smaller, with buckles at both ends. The strap is shorter - there is no way it would wrap around neck or body of a horse or pony, but it is longer than the ones that just go across the back. I always assumed that it buckled onto a part of the harness.

Mon also has a full set that she purchased at a holiday barn decades ago, with gorgeous tooling on the leather. That set I can see is clearly made to go around the barrel near the saddle.

Both remain hanging by the fireplace. If I ever get my hands on them, they will probably do the same in my house.

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