Sometimes people like to use snaps for their hold back straps to make hitching and unhitching faster and easier. The type of snap you use and the placement of the snap is very important to keeping you and your horse/pony/donkey safe!
I use this style of snap, The Stainless Steel Snap:
I like this size for my small pony as the quick release shackles are just too big for this part of my harness. And they clang around on the shafts and drag down on the hip straps. The scissor snaps don’t feel strong enough to act as my brakes, especially for the type of driving I do. And they open too easily!
That brings me to the next part of this tip – Placement.
How you place your snaps is as important as the type of snap you use. Be sure the trigger can’t catch on anything while you are driving. I put the opening towards my pony so the trigger can’t get snagged by them and the opening can’t open and get caught on anything.
If you are using a quick release shackle be sure you have checked the screw that attaches it to the strap (if your shackle has a screw!) for tightness. I suggest putting some Thread locker on your quick release shackles to ensure they don’t come loose.
Here is a comparison of the smallest quick release shackle I could find online next to my stainless steel snap above. This shackle was labeled a hold back shackle, but it would be too large for my ponies. I don’t like things that will rattle against my cart shafts and there just isn’t room between him and the shaft for a shackle of this size. But it is super safe and heavy duty!
Don’t be in too much of a hurry when harnessing. Take your time to be sure each snap is fully snapped into a ring and all your buckles are neatly tucked into their keepers. Taking this time at the beginning of your drive can be the difference between a great, safe drive and having something go terribly wrong.