Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Tri-State (IA, WI, IL) area
I don't leave halters -- breakaway or otherwise -- on any of my horses in the main pasture, primarily because it is 98% woodlands, a little because all of my horses, with the occasional exception of Ruby, walk right up to me when they see me and then follow me back down to the house without a lead rope anyway; so I don't need to catch them in the pasture anyway. There have been times, however, when I've left a halter on them in the pasture. The most recent was when a big storm tore down most of our fences, and we were working three days straight to fix them all. Dante insisted on finding every hole in the fences, walking through it, and then forgetting how to get back into the pasture and panicking because the other horses had left. Most of my neighbors aren't very horse savvy and likely would've tied a piece of baling twine around his neck and dragged him back to the pasture, and most of them are men -- Dante has this fear of men (I have no idea where it's from, though I do have my suspicions) and usually gets pretty wild if a guy tries to lead him... I left a halter on him because I would rather someone catch him and tie that baling twine to a halter than around his neck. Also, the halter wasn't breakaway -- the only breakaways we can find that would fit him properly cost nearly three times his usual halters, and we wouldn't be able to get them for almost two weeks. So I took some elastic and tied one end on the chin snap and the other on the ring that the snap clipped to. If he got caught, either the elastic would slip, snap, or stretch. When we'd gotten the fences back up again, he hadn't lost his halter even once.
I've also left a halter on when I leave a horse or two in the paddock or round pen -- but in that case, the horse is usually only there for a few hours while I'm waiting for the vet or farrier, or overnight when we're heading to a show at six in the morning and I don't want to spend three hours looking for horses in the pasture. I've checked the paddock and round pen over for things they could get caught on, and only once have I had a horse get caught -- someone parked a tractor by the fence and 2-Pak decided to reach across the fence while I was standing there and scratch his face on the bucket. He caught the crownpiece of his halter on a hook welded onto the bucket, stopped to stare at me, and then just slipped the halter right over his ears and off his head. That halter wasn't even loose on him. DX