Saturday, June 6, 2009
How To Tie a Rope Halter
This has nothing to do with hooves, but I was outside today, dinking around with Peaches and as I was tying her rope halter, I thought of all the times I see people incorrectly tying their halters. So since I had my camera in my pocket, I decided to take pictures of how I tie a rope halter, just for fun!
On my visits to trim horses, I've noticed that many horse owners are switching over to rope halters, which is great! But the halter has to be tied correctly because an incorrectly tied halter can cause big problems in a pull-back situation.
If a horse that is wearing an incorrectly tied rope halter, should step on its lead rope and pull back hard, or go into panic mode and pull back, the knot you just tied will tighten and about the only way get the halter off will be to cut it off.
If a rope halter is tied correctly, it should never tighten to the point that you can't untie it.
So here is how I teach people to tie a rope halter:
First, I refer to the loop on the side of the halter as the "post" and the piece that comes over the top of the horse's head, as the "wire." If you were to tie a horse to a fence, you would tie his rope to the post, not the wire. Right!
This is a correctly tied halter. The rope is tied to the post, not the wire above it.
First, bring the wire down behind the post and bring it through the loop then pull the wire toward the horse's eye. (At this point, you can use your other hand to adjust the rest of the halter so that it is fitted under the chin and not hanging down the horse's nose. You can see I was concentrating on the knot here and didn't adjust the halter very well.)
Bring the tail of the wire back (in front of the post) toward the tail of the horse, leaving a loop in the wire on the head side of the post. Then run the wire behind the post and back out through "your" loop on the the head side and leaving another loop on the tail side of the. (That's all in this one picture.)
Next, I've grabbed the tail of the wire and brought it back through my loop that I made on the tail side of the post. And pull tight.
The end of the wire should end up pointing in the direction of the horse's tail. If not, you made a mistake. If your knot is above the post up on the wire, start over.
After a bit of practice, you can tie a rope faster than buckling a nylon halter.
If anyone would like more (better) pictures of this, let me know. I'll take and upload a few more.
Some rope halters are better than others though. The stiff ones, just don't have a real good feel in my opinion and I don't like more than 2 knots on the nose. Their are only 2 main pressure points on the nose and the extra knots serve no purpose really than to rub the hair off the horse's nose.
Of course my preference is the more flexible, lighter weight, Parelli halther and lead ropes. And speaking of lead ropes. there should be a snap between your halter and your lead rope. It's an extremely dangerous situation for your horse if you have the lead rope tied directly to the rope halter. If you're okay with the possiility of your horse breaking its neck, forget about the snap.
Our lovely model is 6 year old Santana Peaches. Peaches was originally rescued from a feed lot in Eastern Washingon as a weanling, along with a bunch of other weanling similar in color to her. A large group of babies going to their death because a breeder, possibly PMU breeder, had no use for them. Thankfully this group was saved, but I can't imagine how many others don't make it.
She was brought to Rainier by a neighbor who wasn't able to keep her so she came here as basically an unhandled yearling. Peaches is wonderful mare!