Thursday, May 02, 2013

My Preference of Halter.

I know that there are several types of halters for a person to choose from.  There are nylon web halters, leather halters, store bought rope halters, "cowboy" or shipping halters, the clinicians' rope halters, and home-made rope halters.  The last one is my absolute must have type of halter.

I tie my own halters, and braid the lead ropes to go with them.  I could buy cheap rope to make the halters, but instead I buy a military grade 550 cord or para cord.  It is thin, but strong, and soft and flexible to the touch.  I have found that it will get a horse's attention with a lighter touch than even some of the big name clinician's halters will, and they won't knock the hide off the horse like some of the stiffer rope halters will.  I understand that a lighter touch is required with them,  While I would not recommend my halters for a hard handed person, they work just fine for me.

Everyone has their preferences where halters are concerned, and while I absolutely love the look of a well made leather halter on a horse, I prefer the functionality of a rope halter to any other.

I guess that I should explain why I prefer my home-made halter over the other types of halters and explain what it is I do not like about each type; even though some types have the same issues as others.  Those that have similar issues, I will group togther.

  • Nylon-web/leather halters - My first draw-back to these halters, is the hardware on them.  The hardware is usually the first thing to break, on the nylon halter and the leather version, if the leather is not taken care of.  Plain and simple, the hardware is the weakest part of these halters.  My second drawback is the width of the halter.  For training purposes, it is too wide and disperses the pressure too much.  They are ok for horses that are well trained, but in my opinion training is never finished.  So, these halters are just not for me.
  • "Cowboy" or Shipping Halters - While these halters have no hardware to break, they are often made of cheap material, and not worth spending my hard earned money on.
  • Store-bought Rope Halters - While it is not uncommon to find these for $10.00 or less, they are cheaply made and it is quite obvious.  Again, no hardware to break, but the lead rope is simply tied on and usually cheap as well.  They are usually easily broken.  For training purposes they are too weak to hold up to a horse pulling on them very much at all, especially if teaching a horse to stand tied.
  • Clinician Rope Halters - While the material used to tie these are considerably higher quality than the general store bought rope halter, the difference in material does not justify the price difference!  Most of what you are paying for is the actual clinician's name, not the material quality.  Most of these do not come with a lead rope of any kind, and you can easily expect to spend anywhere between $40.00 to $60.00 for the halter and lead together.  To me that is just too much.
  • Home-made Rope Halters - The biggest downfall of these lies in the person's ability to tie a knot and follow directions.  If you are not someone who can read directions and follow them, you can probably find a video on that will show you how.  The advantage is you can choose the quality of material that you want, based on how you use it and your preferences, and of course, your budget.  That's nothing to be ashamed of, we all have them.  You also get to choose whether the lead is permanently attached or has a clip, and the lead rope can be braided out of the same rope type/style/color as the halter to produce a truly matched set.  Also, if you choose to put a clip on it, you get to choose the kind of clip that you like to use.
** Just a side note - I personally am not what you would consider a creative or artsy type person.  But, I find tying halters and braiding lead ropes very relaxing and fun.  I may, in the future consider offering my halter/lead set for sale, just because I enjoy making them so much.  I wouldn't make much profit from them, because it takes so long to do the lead ropes (5-6 hours, of non-stop work), and no one would pay for that. But, I have considered having the lead ropes tested for breaking strength, just to see what it was.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.  Everyone that deals with horses has to figure out what works for them.  While my rope halters work for me, you might find that you prefer a nylon web halter works best for you.  Just like training horses, different things work for different people and horses.  Find what works best for you and your horse.  At the end of the day, it's not so much how you got it done, as it is the fact that you did get it done!

Good luck, happy trails, stay safe, and God bless you and yours.

Until next time,