In an attempt to upgrade my ground work with Stu, I bought a rope halter. I’ve seen friends use them for years, and finally, after hearing that my farrier always keeps one in his truck, I decided it was time.
Stu has had a habit of ignoring my requests to move over, or he’ll want to go back to the barn when we are walking away from the other horses. I’ve used a rope with a chain before, but I’m really not a fan. The chain goes from zero to 100 when disciplining, and I wanted something a bit more subtle.
Rope halters put pressure on a smaller area than a normal halter. The knots also create pressure points on the horse’s head. This things in combination allow for better communication with the horse.
Of course, the downside is that if someone is rough with the halter, they are basically “screaming” at the horse, and the halter may be creating pain for the horse. Pressure and release, in the appropriate amounts, is very important when using a rope halter.
I purchased the Weaver Leather Silvertip #95 Halter with 12-foot lead. What does that mean? No idea. I understood the part that said “Weaver,” “Leather,” “Halter,” and “lead.” As if I understand why it’s a silvertip, where the #95 comes in, or the length of 12-feet!
(I know some people don’t get internet humor, no names mentioned MOM, so I’m going to mention that yes, I do know what a 12 foot lead is.)
I specifically choose this lovely gold and black because it’s gorgeous and it was literally the cheapest one on the website. That’s basically how I choose everything.
I was kind of expecting something crappy, but this is actually really nice! The lead is absurdly soft (I need to feel the gentle caress of cotton as I yank my horse around), and the halter seems really high quality.
It did take me a few minutes to figure out how to tie it the first time, and to be honest, my first thought was, “This is incredibly annoying, I don’t want to tie this every time.” But now I’m over that, and tying is fine. It seems like the halter “broke in” a bit, and it’s very easy to tie.
Sidenote, if you have one, please tie the rope so it points away from the horse’s eye! Nothing gives me the heeby jeebies more than watching a rope mere inches from a horse’s eye, slowly sliding around, trying to slither it’s way over for a poking.
I like this halter because I can use it both for general handling, and for training. I was previously using a cavassan, but due to a bad/loose fit, it wasn’t very effective. I had been considering buying a nice fitting leather one, but it’s such a specific piece of tack. I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment yet. Maybe in the future.
The point is though, I can use the rope halter for my ground training purposes. Stu listens to it. If I made enough progress with the halter, the cavassan may end up not being needed at all.
I’ve been using the rope halter for a couple of weeks so far, and I LOVE it. It’s been one of those moments of, why did I wait so long to get one? It’s a game changer. I’m considering getting a bitty one for Pony, not because he’s bad, but because it’ll help with my ground training ambitions.
If you are on the fence, I highly recommend. I know they are traditionally a “western” thing, but a good thing is a good thing. Do it!