Choosing a Halter

Posted by John Brand on

Horse owners are required to make many choices as they care for their treasured equine friends.  One of the most commonly purchased horse care items is also one of the most used and essential items we own, the halter.  Choices available are nylon flat halters, rope halters (also known as string halters), and leather halters.  Halters are typically paired with a horse to match the training development stage of the horse. Another consideration in determining which type of halter is best is choosing one that suits the experience of the handler and of the horse. Of utmost importance is the safety of both handler and horse.

Rope halters are usually an economical choice, very strong and offer a degree of greater control for horses with behavioral issues that may need to be worked out. A flat web nylon halter is a classic choice.  However, the durability of a nylon halter also happens to be one of their main disadvantages. A horse that is tied with a nylon halter can injure itself if the halter gets tangled or caught on an obstacle, which makes for a potentially dangerous situation. So, while nylon halters may be used for moving a horse from barn to pasture and back, the possible danger of injury prohibits leaving a nylon halter on for an extended period, especially overnight when a horse is unsupervised. 

Leather halters can come at a higher price, but are categorically much safer than nylon halters. Natural leather halters can be considered breakaway halters and are designed to break if a horse gets their halter tangled or caught on any obstacle.  Leather halters are an excellent choice while trailering, again because of the breakaway ability. Unlike leather that breaks, nylon tears. This often means that it will take multiple, very forceful events for a horse to free themselves of their nylon halter once tangled or caught on an obstacle.  It's not by accident that horse tack is made of leather.  

It is not uncommon to hear stories of horses who have been severely injured trying to break loose from a caught halter.  Stories abound of horses found with any variety of items trailing behind them from which they have torn loose. Many a horse has been inured running through a fence, getting caught in a gate opening, etc., being afraid of something “chasing” behind them.

While we can’t always have every item of tack that we may desire, when it comes to the health and safety of our equine friends, the choice is no longer a desire but a need.  Having both types of halters in our barns is a must.  Check out the selection of fine leather and nylon halters at Buckaroo Leather.

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