Introducing a brand-new DIY column by Donna-Maria Flood! Today, DM shows us how to make a “Happy Hooker,” or a budget-friendly horse-safe barn hook with multiple applications.
Horse people know you need to hang all your horse stuff to have it close, convenient and ready to go. The problem is, horses and hooks don’t mix. Here’s an easy, inexpensive solution to hanging and storing your equipment safely.
The Happy Hooker is simple to make, easy to install, very inexpensive and useful in so many different ways.
Under $6.00 for three Happy Hookers:
- tennis balls
- 1 1/4″ wood screws
- 1 1/4″ washers (also called fender washers)
- 2 drill bits size 3/32″ and 1/4″ screwdriver razor knife/box cutter
- black marker
1. Start by drawing the happy face on the tennis ball with a marker. Make the mouth long and wide with a slight arc. The smile should be approximately 1/3 the circumference of the ball or about 2 1/2″.
2. Use the small drill bit to drill in the center of the smile. The balls are under pressure so when the drill pierces the inner covering, it may make a slight “pop” and expel a puff of powder.
3. Spin the ball 180 degrees around and drill a small hole in the back of the ball directly in line with the center of the mouth.
4. Next use the larger drill bit to drill out the back hole to make it large enough for the screw to be inserted.
5. Back to the “smile” – insert the point of the razor knife into the small hole drilled in the center of the smile.
**CAUTION** Use extreme care when cutting the smile. The inner material of the ball is tough — the knife needs quite a bit of pressure and can slip. Wearing a thick leather glove can help protect your hand.
With a slight sawing motion, cut from the center to each end of the smile. Hold the knife perpendicular to the ball to get the best cut. Squeeze the ball a few times to see if the mouth opens enough to hold your items. Adjust by cutting more if necessary.
6. Now you can place the washer inside the ball through the mouth. Slide it around until it aligns with the big hole in back. Hold the screw with a pair of pliers (pointy-nosed pliers work best) and insert the screw into the hole from the inside. The point will stick out the back of the ball. Wrap a piece of tape over the screw end until it’s mounted so the screw does not slip out.
7. That’s it! Find a wooden post or a convenient spot on a wooden wall to hang your Happy Hooker. Wood screws are self tapping; no need for a pilot hole. Screw down tight.
And you’re done! A safe, convenient, effective holder for even your heaviest bridles, halters, multiple items, gloves, crops and more!
Here the Happy Hooker is holding up two full bridles with 22′ rope reins – total weight over eight pounds!
Don’t forget to use the “mouth” to hold things too!
Multiple Happy Hookers will hold all your tack – whether out in the arena, near a grooming stall, or in the barn.
Check out the Dog Toy section of any big box store – you can find other colors and designs of tennis balls. Here’s a nice cheetah pattern that really blends in with the woodwork.
But I like the bright yellow Happy Hooker smile – that will always be MY favorite!
I hope you enjoy making your Happy Hookers! Send us a photo of the Happy Hookers working hard at your barn.
Check back often to Horse Nation for more DIY (do it yourself) tips, tricks and new ideas from DMventions and DMpowering Horsemanship!
About Donna-Maria: DMpowering Horsemanship and DMventions showcase my thirty years in the horse business. I found a need for new ideas and handy tips and hints – from one horseperson to another – and DMventions was created.
DMpowering Horsemanship is here to help riders with the four basic foundations of horsemanship: goals and dreams, confidence, knowledge and skills. Through clinics, private lessons and my website theuniversityofhorsemanship.com, I help riders understand what is holding them back and help them to finally have the horse of their dreams! DMpowering is a complimentary training to other disciplines — whether you do jumping, western pleasure, dressage, natural horsemanship or trail, DMpowering has the tools to help you be happy with your horsemanship and find success.