How To Halter a Horse | What is a Horse Halter? Learn the Difference Between a Halter vs. Bridle, Common Types of Halters and More in this Guide from NRS.
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How To Halter a Horse & Other Horse Halter Basics

How To Halter a Horse & Other Horse Halter Basics

A horse halter is one of the most common pieces of tack in your collection. And while you might think that it doesn't require much thought, halters are an essential piece of equipment for horse owners.

The halter is the most frequently used piece of equipment in your stable, so you want one that is comfortable, safe and durable. This article will go over the basics of horse halters, including some of the most common types of horse halters and how to choose the best horse halter for your needs.

What Is a Horse Halter?

A halter is a type of headgear for a horse that fits behind the ears and around the muzzle that is used when handling the animal. Halters are used for leading and tying up horses, similar to a dog collar.

What Is a Horse Halter Used For?

Halters are essential tack because, without a halter, you cannot sufficiently control your horse. They offer many benefits, including:

  • Identification of your horse, especially in an emergency
  • Use as a valuable training tool
  • Prevent dangerous situations such as a loose horse
  • Create a fashion statement
  • Help the horse show successfully

How To Tell the Difference Between a Bridle and a Halter

When you think about a halter vs. a bridle, they may seem to be the same thing at first glance. So what is the difference between a bridle and a halter? They both are worn on the horse's head and can be used to lead the horse; however, a bridle has a bit and is used for riding.

So which option is the best: horse halters or bridles? It totally depends on what you are doing with your horse. You absolutely need a bridle if you are riding the horse because the bit offers greater control. If you are tying the horse, a halter is safer than a bridle because the bit can injure the horse's mouth if they get tangled.

Types of Horse Halters

Halters are broken down into three categories: flat, padded and rolled and are constructed of leather, nylon or rope.

There are many types of halters:

  • Breakaway Horse Halters - Certain flat nylon halters are constructed with leather crownpieces that are intentionally designed to break when enough force is applied. These breakaway halters for horses are built for safety, so the horse isn't injured when tied or left unsupervised during turnout.
  • Training Halters have strategically placed straps for reinforcement of desirable behavior. Pressure is released when the horse complies.
  • Shipping Halters are made to restrain the horse while in the trailer but will release during emergency conditions. Many have fleece linings for extra comfort and to protect the horse's face from rubbing.
  • Grooming Halters do not have a throatlatch and easily slip on and off.
  • Show Halters are the most decorative halters and have ornamentation such as beading, silver or crystals.

Rope Halter vs. Nylon Halter

Rope halters are generally made from one piece of rope. Instead of buckling, rope halters are tied together and do not include any hardware. Strategically placed knots can offer more control. Knowing how to tie a rope halter is a valuable skill to have, especially when on the range. It allows you to create a makeshift halter in an emergency.

On the other hand, nylon halters are constructed from webbed nylon with buckles or brass fittings. They are extremely durable and come in a multitude of colors. Because they are so durable, they are practically impossible to cut through in an emergency and can injure your horse if the horse gets tangled or spooked. Breakaway horse halters are the best horse halter choice to protect your horse, especially for turnout and trailering.

If you are trying to choose between a rope halter vs. a nylon halter, keep in mind that the lack of hardware on a rope halter makes cross-tying more difficult.

SHOP Horse Halters and Leads

Do's and Don'ts of How To Put on a Rope Halter

Knowing how to put on a rope halter is an essential horseman skill. Here are some tips for success:

  • Be gentle with your horse.
  • Always approach from the head or side.
  • Make sure you have a lead rope attached to the halter.
  • Place the free end of the lead over the horse's neck and form a loop so they can't escape.
  • When adjusting for size, make sure rope doesn't go into the mouth and the nose band is high on the muzzle.
  • Use a sheet bend knot to secure the halter.
  • The trailing poll strap should go away from the horse's face and eye.
  • The halter should be snug but not tight.
  • Remove the halter before pasturing.

Find All Types of Horse Halters at NRS

Now that you have learned the basics of how to halter a horse, it's time to decide what types of halters you need. Find the best horse halters and leads for all your needs — shop now!

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