Haltering Made Easy
Haltering a horse is often taken for granted.
by Michael Hockemeyer Kicking Bear Mustangs
With a rough horse, fumbling with a halter can be dangerous. When around other horse people, fumbling
with a halter can be embarrassing. But there are a lot of ways to halter a horse. I use a very simple method that uses a single piece of rope with a loop in one end. I
have found it to be a very easy way to halter any horse, and it is easy to for anyone to do.
You’ll need a fairly long piece of rope. I recommend
something fifteen to twenty feet long and at least one quarter inch thick. You will want to tie a loop in one end of the rope. If you happen to see one in the local
tack store, a children’s saddle rope works very well. They are usually softer and smaller than a regular saddle rope, and that makes them just about perfect.
1.With the rope coiled in one hand, walk up and give the horse a hug. As you hug the horse, place
the looped end of the rope over the back of the horse’s neck, and take the loop in your other hand.
2.On the side with the coiled rope, fold the rope to make a new loop. Pass the new loop through the original loop that was at the end of the rope, and then over the horse’s nose.
3.Now pull the slack out of the rope and you have yourself a halter with lead line.
This is not a “pretty” halter, and there is no place to personalize it with your horse’s name. But for
a rough horse, I haven’t found anything better. I never have to worry about rusted buckles or clips
that don’t want to work. I don’t have to worry about big clumps of mud that can cause almost the
same problem. And as the temperature drops with winter, I am daily reminded how nice it is not to have to take my winter gloves off to fumble with a buckle.
So as far as convenience goes, this has been the best choice halter for me. However tack isn’t just
about convenience. All horse equipment should have to meet certain standards of practicality.
This halter isn’t going to win you points in the show ring, but you can carry it almost anywhere.
Fifteen to twenty feet of rope can easy loop trough your belt for easy carrying. In fact, if you get a
good looking rope it can double as a belt. A rope that is that size can coil nicely over the saddle
horn or into a saddle bag. I keep one in my glove compartment in case I see someone’s horse that
came through the fence. This halter can also make a difference with a difficult horse.
If the horse wants to rear, bolt, backup, stand like a statue, or carry out any other behavior that
most horse owners find offensive; this halter can put a great deal of pressure on the horse’s face.
In other words, if you have to get your horse’s attention, this halter will help. Most importantly this
type of halter is not scary to the horse. It isn’t heavy, there are no metal parts that clank together,
and because it is one-size-fits-all it is comfortable for the horse. This halter will not hang all over their head like some halters do.
With all equipment safety is the biggest issue. Not just for the horse, but you too. The good part
about this halter is that it comes off easy. All you have to do is slide the loop off of the nose and
the whole thing should come apart with one tug. If for some reason it doesn’t, it’s really
inexpensive and easy to cut of the horse. (I’ve seen people cry when they needed to cut a leather
halter off.) If a horse that is wearing this halter gets lose, typically the halter falls right off. That
isn’t always great, but when you are putting a horse back into pasture, sometimes they can get
excited or scared and want to leave before you would like them to. If you are working with a hard
to catch horse, that half way through haltering decides they have other plans, you don’t need to
worry about this hater being only half on or falling to the ground and tangling the horse’s feet. This halter can do a lot to keep both you and your horse safe.
As a trainer, I also have to offer a few words of caution about this halter. In the wrong hands, it
can hurt a horse. This is true of almost any piece of horse equipment, but I would feel bad writing
this article and not pointing that out. You can apply a lot of pressure to the horse’s face with this
halter. Sometimes that can be necessary, but that can be a very fine line that people too often cross. Because it can apply a lot of pressure to the horse’s face, this is not a halter that you
want to use to tie the horse up.
Personally I think that is a good thing since I strongly recommend never tying up a horse to my
students. But again, it’s something that should be pointed out.
This is really a great way to halter a horse. It is very simple and very effective. And I can not
express enough how convenient and practical this way of haltering is. As a person who trains
mustangs, I am constantly looking for equipment that is durable, safe, and effective. This halter has far exceeded my expectations and I hope you will have the same luck with it.
Good luck, and keep riding!
Kicking Bear Mustangs
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