When I was just starting out with my horses, I went into my local tack shop and the first thing that popped into my head was…. holy horse, what’s with all these different horse halters and lead ropes. There was a huge wall of all these different colors and sizes. Some were leather, some were nylon, some made from rope. Some were huge and some were small. There were so many choices, I turned around and went home. I didn’t even buy a thing. A few days later, I went back with a little more of an idea of what I needed and was looking for..
In this post, I’m going to talk a little about the different halters and lead ropes and their uses so that you know what you are looking for. And to be honest, after so many years of owning horses, you can never have enough halters and lead ropes.
First lets talk about the rope halter. It’s made from a long piece of nylon rope that is knotted in such a way that it becomes a halter. I use this type of halter for training mostly. The knots are so well-placed on the halter that it provides adequate pressure to the horse’s sensitive spots on his face and head, which in turn gives you a little more control. The tricky part with a rope halter is putting it on. I can tell you, the first time I tried, it was a mess and I got tangled quite a few times. But, like they say, practice makes perfect and after a while, it was just like riding a bike. One thing I like about the rope halter is, they have no metal pieces to break. Check out my review on Braided Rope Halters for more information.
Nylon halters are a must have at your barn. I have tons of them and this is why. They are flat nylon webbing, which has a noseband that passes around the muzzle with one ring underneath the jaw and two rings on each side of the head. What I like about the nylon halter is, it’s as easy as putting on your belt in the morning to put on your horse. They also don’t get tangled as easy as the rope halter. I use them mostly for catching my horses, to lead them or to tie them for grooming. The downfall with these are, the metal ring can break quite easy when your horse decide to sit back. They are not a very good training tool because they allow the horse to pull on the handler more because of the larger surface area of the halter.
Leather halters are mostly the same as the nylon halter but made from leather. In my opinion, they are mostly for the look. They are easily personalized with metal plates. They have the same use as the nylon halter. To lead, to tie, to catch etc… One thing about the leather halter that some of you may not be aware of is, it is the safest halter to use. If your horse must have a halter in the pasture/paddock or his stall, I recommend the leather halter. They are safer in emergency situations as they will break is a horse gets in trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t suggest putting a halter and leaving it on while in the pasture/paddock or his stall, but I have seen situations that it is a must, and the leather halter is the safest in this situation.
It is also very important to fit the halter to your horse. When shopping for a halter, be aware of the size of your horse. Trying to fit a halter for a draft horse on a small pony will not work out so good, and vice versa.
Lead ropes or lead lines as some may call it, are just like halters. You need them and can’t have to many of them. They have multiple use such as leading, tying, and even training. I think choosing a lead rope goes mostly to preference of the handler. They are made from a variety of materials, including cotton, horsehair (woven or braided hair, usually from a horse’s tail), leather, nylon or other synthetic materials. They are usually .75 to 1 inch in diameter and from 9 to 12 feet long. Although I’ve seen them shorter and longer. It very much depends on what you will use it for and what you prefer. Myself I prefer a 9 ft for leading as it’s a great size for getting space from your horse if you need it but not long enough for your horse to get away from you. For training, I use the 12 ft lead.
You need it
As I’ve said before, halters and lead ropes are a must with horses. And I’m sure if you go for a walk at your local stable, you will see many sizes and colors. One thing I would like to emphasize is safety. Safety for yourself and for your horse. Learning to lead your horse properly and teaching your horse to lead properly is #1. You can have the prettiest most expensive halter and lead rope, but if you or your horse don’t know how to use them properly, you could be in a world of trouble.
Thanks for reading,
Happy horsin’ around!!