How to Make Rhythm Beads

By Kimberley Elliot

Rhythm beads, also known as horse necklaces, are quickly becoming a favorite of horse trainers nationwide. Whether your specialty 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.

Measure Your Horse's Neck

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 color 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 coloring 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 center of your necklace. Start threading your beads onto the leather cord in a pre-determined 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 jeweler'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.