A Horse Training Halter for Communication

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A horse training halter is the most important and frequently used piece of horse training equipment available.

Think about it for a moment.

If you have spent any time at all around horses you know halters or headcollars get used almost every time we interact with a horse. Catching, leading, tying, trailering, grooming, clipping, bathing, saddling, training, groundwork, and trail riding are some of the places we use horse halters.

That makes choosing the right one for the job that much more important.

horse training halter

A Tool For Communication

A horse training halter should be a piece of horse riding gear that is used for communication. Training the horse is teaching him.

What are you teaching your horse when you put his halter on?

Many people use it to drag their horse from point A to point B. Meanwhile, the horse lags behind dull to the pressure on his head. It shouldn’t be that way.

Wouldn’t it be much better if the horse was light off the feel of the halter? Don’t you want your horse to move with you whether you go slow or fast with just a light suggestion? Whether you are using leather halters or rope halters try to think of horse training halters as a way to communicate with your horse, not simply a way to make him do what you want him to. Become aware of how your horse responds to the halter and your training.

Two Types of Horse Training Halters

Wide Nylon and Leather Halters still seem to be the norm in the horse world. They are traditional in style. Rope halters are catching up in popularity.

Nylon and Leather Halters

horse halter

Nylon and Leather Halters are wide and tend to be heavy. They are designed for show, cross tying and the comfort of the horse. The comfort of this style comes from the width of the materials and the padding people add to them. The wide straps increase the area over which the pressure is applied.

When the horse pulls he doesn’t feel much discomfort.

This encourages him to lean on it more, making him feel heavy on the end of the lead line. The other downfall to this type of halter for training is that they don’t break under pressure and can be hard to get off in an emergency. An exception to this is the breakaway models.

Rope Training Halter

natural horsemanship halters

Rope halters for horses are superior in almost every application but especially for training. This kind of horse training halter has many advantages over leather halters.

Halters made of rope have more feel to them. That means as you make subtle communication with your horse he can feel it and have a chance to respond with lightness! These types of halters are commonly called natural horsemanship halters.

They are very thin and lightweight. This makes them comfortable for the horse to wear when he is doing the right thing.

When the horse is leaning on the pressure of a rope halter it encourages him to seek a release. Being thin it concentrates the pressure on the sensitive nose and poll. But when he gives to the pressure, there is an instant reward.

The uncomfortable feeling goes away.

Because of their design, you should not cross tie your horse in a rope halter unless there are rings on the nose knots. The cross tie snaps can slide up the halter and hurt the horse's eyes.

The other benefit to rope halters is that if something did go very wrong you can use a pocket knife to cut the halter and your horse free.

No halter or headcollar should EVER be kept on an unattended horse in a stall or pasture. Doing this is asking for severe injury or death. It does not make the horse easier to catch

One more good thing about a rope horse training halter is that you can you can learn how to make one yourself if you want to! If you are interested in making rope halters you’ll have to get the proper rope first, which is a marine quality yachting braid typically 1/4” to 5/16” diameter. Ropes vary in stiffness and quality so choose yachting rope over a cheaper poly rope that won’t have much feel. There are many resources online for learning to tie your own horse training halter with many variations of knot placement according to your preferences.

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