Often we receive telephone calls from show ring and carriage drivers complaining that their lines are different lengths. Comments range from show ring drivers, that their finger holds are in different positions on each line to carriage drivers driving multiple horses and have discovered their adjustments have gone catawampus and their cross lines are all out of whack.
One thing we must never forget is that driving lines are connected to the control devices of our horses, the bit. This in turn means there is a lot of pressure connected to your lines. It doesn't take very long to figure out that you have two different length lines all of a sudden due to all of this pressure. Easy signs are your finger holds are not even, your cross and draft reins are not the same lengths. Lines should be checked regularly for unevenness and safety checked for wear and tear, after all if a line breaks when in use it can be extremely dangerous. Line billets can also stretch easily as they can become saturated easily with saliva. The acids in the saliva can also cause thread rot. Always check your billets for strength and soundness.
Here is an easy way to make sure everything stays even and you get the best reliable performance out of your driving lines:
Attach your line billets around a stationary bar, something strong. The upright metal bars on your horses stall work great for this. Start with holding the lines side by side as close to the front or billets as possible. Slowly work your way back keeping pressure on both lines until you reach the first splice in the leather. At the first splice if your lines are not even pull on the shorter one to allow it to stretch out to meet the same length as the longer one, you may have to use quite a bit of backward pressure. Once this has been achieved continue along the line until the first finger hold on show ring driving lines or first adjustment hole on pair lines. Repeat the same stretching technique over and over until your lines all match up in length.
Have fun and be safe,