Haltering your horse properly

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Halters are headgear used to tie up or lead a horse. Movies and other popular media showing cowboys tying their horses up with the bridle are incorrect. Tying a horse by the bridle poses a risk to the horse: if the horse panics or tries to get away for any reason, it can cut its mouth on the bit. That's why it's important to carry a halter and lead rope if you are planning to stop riding and lead or tie your horse, even for a short while.

Nylon or Leather Halters

Nylon or leather halters are durable and stylish. Nylon halters are more affordable than leather and are available in a large number of colors, so they're a popular choice for average use. Fancier leather halters are usually used as horse show halters because of their traditional and polished appearance. They are also often stylized with designs or imprints on the leather.

Leather and nylon halters typically have rings and buckles where rope halters would have knots.

Rope Halters

Rope halters are good for horse training. These horse halters are soft enough that the horse is not being hurt as the pressure of the rope and the strategically placed knots teach it not to lean.

Rope halters are typically lower in price than leather or nylon halters, and it's possible to make your own custom rope halters.

Tying a Halter

When you're putting on horse halters, be careful not to scrape any part of the halter against the horse's eyes, ears or nose. It's also best to already have a lead rope around the horse's neck so you have some control.

To properly tie a horse halter:

  1. Stand on one side of your horse, facing the same way it is.
  2. If you've got a nylon or leather halter, unbuckle the crown piece. Otherwise, start by reaching under the horse's neck with that crown piece.
  3. Put the noseband on top of the horse's nose and the chin strap below the horse's nose and then push the crown piece above its ears.
  4. If you're using a nylon or leather halter, just fasten the buckle. If it's a rope halter, form a loop on one side of the crown piece and then bring the other half over the horse's head and into that loop. Most people use a sheet bend knot or a weaver's knot to fasten the two pieces together.