Halters: Which are the Best?


The leather halter.

There is a lot of pro and con about halters.  Is it the heavy leather with metal parts, or the lighter nylon some of which has metal parts too, or is it the rope halter with knots and lead rope attached?   I think what it may come down to is which halter a person has used the most, is most comfortable with, and which one they believe is putting forth what it was meant to do.

Check out your next halter at http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/halandlead.html

Halter Use:

To keep things simple a halter is used on the horse to lead him around, for training purposes, or tie up; either in a horse trailer, barn, or fence.  So what kind of halter can do all this?   All three fit into these categories, it just depends on what your needs and preference are.  This article will explore the possibilities.


Leather vs. Nylon vs. Rope



The leather halter is the one I first knew about.  In pictures of horses, I saw as I was growing up they all had the wide leather halter with metal hooking the various pieces of leather together that went over the horses head, around his nose, and under his chin.  A lead rope was separate and attached to the halter with a metal clasp.  The leather halter is sturdy but can crack after a lot of usages and when it gets wet it shrinks.

Leather halters are used mostly for show horses and racehorses. They are more stylish but require more care.  As mentioned they can crack and break if not kept clean and oiled.  If they are at a point of drying out and worn it is best to replace them.



Here's Dandy looking pretty dandy in his green nylon halter.
Here’s Dandy looking pretty dandy in his green nylon halter.


A nylon halter is more lightweight.  Some of them have the metal pieces too.  I believe the nylon rope is pretty durable in all kinds of weather.  If it gets wet it can dry and still be usable, just watch out for mold.  A nylon rope will fade after a time, but other than looking old it is still in good shape and would be fine for catching your horse out in the field and bringing him in.

A nylon halter is available in most any size and color.  One can be color coordinated with halter and lead and then saddle and pad too.  It’s recommended that these halters have good quality brass pieces that hold the halter together then there is less chance of rust occurring.


Poppy falling asleep in her rope halter.
Poppy falling asleep in her rope halter.


The rope halter is probably the newest one on the market.  It seems to be the one that today’s horse clinician’s use and they have promoted the most for training purposes and everyday use.  The knots on the halter are what make a horse pay attention to the handler during a training session.  They put pressure on certain areas of the face and top of his head to let the horse know what he is supposed to be doing or not doing.

The thickness of a rope halter performs differently.  When it’s thin it is more severe to the horse possibly cutting into the top of his head or on the face.   I don’t like the thought of that one so I’ll stick with the softer ones.  There are stiffer ones, but not the thinner choices that are liked by some handlers because they believe they get a better response from the horse.

Opinion and Preference:

There are horse owners and trainers that say the knots on these rope halters don’t do anything because they are moving around too much when the horse moves and the pressure if any wouldn’t be on any one spot.  I kind of tend to see this point of view.  I use a rope halter with attached lead and I notice the noseband slips down on my mare’s nose and I have to tighten the halter to keep it up where it should be.  I still like this type of halter because when she decides not to pay attention to me I can give the rope a yank and she perks right up and looks at me to see what I want her to do.  The pressure of the halter on the top of her head is enough to make her stop what she is not doing right and “listen” to what I want her to do.

There are those who want to use only nylon halters because of their durability and color choices.  The rope halter comes in a variety of colors too and some have wrapped nosebands that highlight the color scheme of your preference.

I think back to when I had my first pony, Blackie and later my mare Sandy, they had the nylon style halters and rope leads.  These pieces of equipment came with the horse when they were bought.  I never thought much about it.  I bought another horse, Dandy, before the mare I have now and the pictures I have of him he is sporting a nylon halter.  Again it was what came with him so it’s what I used.

Nowadays there is so much information out there that there should be no problem getting the right halter for your horse.  When buying a halter there is usually a guide to go by so that you are getting the right size.  So whatever your choice there is a halter for every need and a color that will fit you and your horse whether you need a halter for training or for leading your horse from one place to another.  The halter will be a much-needed piece of tact to add to your collection of horse gear.

If you need to know how to halter a horse see this post and video.


Check out all the choices at http://www.horsesaddleshop.com/halandlead.html


Thank you for stopping by my hitching rail.  Please leave a comment or ask a question.  I’ll do my best to answer.

Top image courtesy of Pixabay

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