How To Tie A Rope Halter
 By Winniefield Park   •   17th Nov 2016   •   1,299 views   •   0 comments

One of the most commonly used pieces of tack, and something that anyone that owns a horse will have whether or not they ride or drive it, is a halter. In some places itís illegal to sell your horse without one. One type of halter that is easy to make without any sewing or harness making skills is a rope halter. Making a rope halter means you can customize it to your liking. You can choose the colors, type and width of rope, and make the halter a perfect fit for your horse. Along with the halter, itís easy to make a matching lead rope.

There are several materials you can make a halter from. Cotton rope comes in many colors, but will stretch when when it gets wet, and shrink once it dries. The sun also tends to eat cotton quickly. The yellow nylon rope that you can pick up at the hardware store frays and becomes brittle over time. Polyester or polypropylene rope might have the best feel and durability. If you have enough tail and mane hair collected you could try making a halter from the twisted or round braided strands. The type of rope you use depends on how stiff or soft you want your halter to be. You donít want any stretch in the rope. The largest selection of rope that you can look at and feel will be at stores that sell boating supplies. Buying rope online means you wonít be able to feel itís texture and weight.

There are a few situations where you may want to use a normal flat leather or nylon halter instead of your rope halter. Donít use rope halters on foals. Their thinner skin means the rope can chaff and burn easier. Donít tie a horse in a rope halter. Donít use them in a trailer. A horse doesnít have to pull back very hard to get rope burn. If you make a leadrope to match, be sure to make the loop that attaches to the halter as small as possible. I have seen a horse panic after it put its foot through a long loop on a rope lead.

Donít use rope halters for turn out. Horses catch their halters on things, or even get tangled when scratching with a back hoof. A strong rope halter wonít break and could cause a lot of damage. A breakaway halter is best for turn out. And of course, when youíre working with your horse, youíre not going to reef on the halter until the horse throws its head back, because thatís going to cause more harm than good to your horseís behaviour and learning no matter what type of halter you use.

After youíve made your halter, try it on your horse. You may find that after a few uses, your knots have to be tightened because theyíve stretched a bit and the rope has loosened. Once youíve adjusted it if necessary, it shouldnít keep stretching or shrinking. If it does, youíve used the wrong kind of rope.

Rope halters are easy to make. Two particularly good resources for complete instructions are are the Victoria Pony Club and the Ohio State 4-H Club sites. The most difficult part of making a rope halter is tying the Fiador Knot. Youtube has lots of good videos such as this one, demonstrating how to tie this slightly complicated knot. If you get really stuck, someone who sails may be able to give you a hands-on demo.

While Iím not a great fan of rope halters, the effectiveness of any piece of equipment is in the hands of the handler. Have fun making your halter and use it safely.

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