A Few Safety Tips for Rope Halters

Please keep in mind that rope halters of any kind are usually not breakable, and therefore certain precautions must be taken.  For example, NEVER turn a horse out in a rope halter.  The halter can get caught on something, or worse, the horse can get his foot in it and really hurt himself or worse.  Never leave a horse in a rope halter unattended for the same reasons. If your horse is not 100% okay with being tied, just loop your lead loosely around the post, or tie it to a piece of bailing twine that will break in an emergency.  I also do not  ever clip cross ties to a rope halter.  Instead, I clip the two ends of the cross ties together to make a long “fenceline,” then I just loosely wrap (not tie) the lead rope around that.  Horses seem happier to have the freedom to move their heads, and are less likely to panic.  I also do not tie my horses when in the trailer.  I usually just let the leadrope drop into the front of the trailer, or loosely tie it to a piece of bailing string, or just take it off all together. 

One of the safety training things I do is teach all my horses what to do in an emergency.  They are all used to walking around (starting in a small area or small roundpen) with the leadrope dragging on the ground, so that this doesn’t spook them.  Also I do excercises wrapping the rope around their legs to teach them to yield to pressure instead of panic and fight it.  A very good example of the benefits of this was demonstrated in one of John Lyons’ videos, where he has his stallion Zip walk over a metal folding chair lying on it’s side…. it is incredible to watch the stallion stepping in between the legs of the chair, and slowly and carefully step out of it.   Amazing!  In general, anything that sets off that little “I wonder if this is safe?” voice in your head should alert you to a potential safety problem.  For more info on riding in a halter, there is a short tutorial on How To Start Using A Riding Halter on the links to the right.  Happy riding!

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