Five Tips to Choose a Halter

Breakaway halters will break with enough pressure, which makes them safer than nylon halters. They are also less expensive than full leather halters. Photo: Leslie Potter.

Choosing the right halter is more than a style statement—there are also safety implications to your selection. If your horse gets his halter caught on something or panics while tied, he can be seriously injured while struggling to get free. In a situation like this, it’s far better if the halter breaks and releases in order to avert disaster.

Here are the pros and cons for the various types of halters:

  • Leather halters are traditional and attractive. They tend to last a long time if well maintained. Leather is strong but will break in an emergency, which makes it the safest choice for turnout. Leather is also ideal for trailering, where a horse might get in a jam and need to be freed quickly.
  • Flat nylon halters are inexpensive and durable, and come in a great selection of colors and fun fashion looks. A nylon halter is great for everyday use. However, the synthetic material won’t break if a horse gets caught on something and is practically impossible to cut through, so it’s not recommended for turnout or trailering.
  • Breakaway halters are made of nylon with a leather crownpiece that will break in an emergency. These are also a good choice for turnout, as it’s inexpensive to replace either the crownpiece or the halter.
  • Rope halters are useful for training and groundwork, but aren’t safe for tying or turnout. The thin, cord-like material is extremely tough and has a high breaking point. Severe rope burn can also occur.
  • In addition to the basic strap material of the halter, evaluate the quality of the hardware. Cheap metal will rust and break more easily than sturdy, well-made fittings.

Further Reading
Online Tack and Horse Equipment Guide
How to Fit a Halter for Showmanship
Make Your Own Rope Halter


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