What is your definition of halter broke?

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What is your definition of halter broke?

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  • 2 Post By MHFoundation Quarters
  • 1 Post By maura
  • 1 Post By Golden Horse

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    11-13-2011, 11:36 AM
What is your definition of halter broke?

I'm in the process of selling some youngsters, and yesterday I had someone come along to see an 18 month old colt, to me he is halter broke.

I can catch him in the field, slip a halter on him, lead him up to the gate without any issue, get him through the gate, with him moving and standing wherever I need him to get him out and close the gate without letting anyone else out.

He stands tied, I can groom him and do his feet without issue.

I can lead him through strange obstacles, he will load on a trailer, just generally what I call halter broke.

Today I have someone coming to see an 8 month old colt, she asked if he was halter broke, and my answer was "kind of" I can usually catch him, but today I've put a halter on him just to make sure I get him when they turn up. He will lead, but still baulks sometimes, so I have to put pressure on him, or even pull him to one side to 'unstick' him. He does tie for short periods, but will pull back.

I explained this and the prospective purchaser still thinks he is halter broke....I still go for 'kind of'

Anyway long introduction to the question, what do you expect from a halter broke baby?
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    11-13-2011, 11:42 AM
That's a bit of a grey area, I think most folks have different ideas on what that means in the context of a baby.

For me, when I say a youngster of mine is halter broke they handle like I'd expect my adult horses to. Lead well without pressure, stop when I stop, back with very little pressure (generally a wiggle of the rope), set up, and turn away from me pivoting on a hind.

If I were to ask my grandfather, his definition of halter broke with a baby means you can get a halter on it and tug it around.
maura and littrella like this.
    11-13-2011, 11:43 AM
To be caught and to lead quietly at my side. Some people think if they wear a halter they are halter broke. So go figure.
    11-13-2011, 11:51 AM
Great question!

Too many people think "halter broke" means you can get the halter on them and more or less guide them where you want them to go.

To me, "halter broke" means you've established basic obedience and a foundation for future training. The most basic concept of "halter broke" is that the horse reponds to poll pressure by moving forward. The scariest thing in the world is a horse that's had a halter on, and lead its handler around where the horse wants to go, feeling poll pressure for the first time and laying back. Yikes! The most important part of halter breaking is making sure they understand pressure/release. A halter broke horse accepts handling all over its body, stands quietly while held or tied, leads at walk and trot without barging ahead or lagging behind and maintains an appropriate distance from the handler, respecting personal space. A bonus if they also know how to move away when you move into their space.

So your 18 month old meets my definition, your 8 month old, not so much. I'd have to see how he responds to pressure when you try to unstick him. (Not many 8 month olds are truly halter broke, and I think your guy is in a decent place for his age.) However, since you've explained this to your prospective buyer, and they've accepted it, I think you're fine. It justs means your prospective buyer isn't as precise in their terminology as I am (and I suspect you are, since you asked the question.)
DejaVu likes this.
    11-13-2011, 11:52 AM
I'm probably pickier than most about this, and that's why I wanted to comment on it. To me, a horse should be halter-broke enough to go anywhere you lead him even if he's terrified of where you're taking him. While leading them, you should be able to take off running and they should come with you without tightening up the lead rope and follow at a safe distance behind you. And even at a fast speed, if you stop, they should stop immediately without crowding you. If a kid was leading them (running) and fell down, the horse should stop and not step on them.

Not being halter-broke is the cause of lots of handling problems. If your animal is halter-broke well, he'll load in a scary trailer even if he doesn't want to. If you're riding on trails and your horse balks at water or whatever, you should always be able to get off and lead them across it no matter if they want to or not.
    11-13-2011, 04:14 PM
Originally Posted by maura    
Great question!
So your 18 month old meets my definition, your 8 month old, not so much. I'd have to see how he responds to pressure when you try to unstick him. (Not many 8 month olds are truly halter broke, and I think your guy is in a decent place for his age.) However, since you've explained this to your prospective buyer, and they've accepted it, I think you're fine. It justs means your prospective buyer isn't as precise in their terminology as I am (and I suspect you are, since you asked the question.)

The 18 month old yup, and the buyer was really happy with him and his level of training, so that's all good.

The 8 month old, usually if you keep a gentle pressure on he will step up into the release, he's getting a lot better, but I feel this young man will always be a tester.

Some, like the 18 month boy, are a dream to work with the whole way through, he has just tried all his life, and will take the easy option when you offer it every time. The young man will try every possible way to get around things, but once he works out that my way is the easiest way he's fine.
    11-13-2011, 09:14 PM
Being able to be caught, tie, cross-tie, lead, yield to pressure, w/t on rope when asked, ho, back up, turn without crowding, handle the lead rope being on the body, and fine with stepping on the rope, having it touch legs, stand without running off.

Basically the basics of handling.. I've seen horses that were "halter broke" as in they have worn a halter before and would follow you but wouldn't do much else. Including being caught.. :P

That's just what I expect when I hear halter broke, though not always how it pans out.
    11-13-2011, 10:15 PM
Hmmmm, interesting topic. I always list what my horses will do, for instance, Leads, loads, bathes, ties, clips, trailers. Stands for vet & farrier. If they don't do any of that I always put that too. Leads, loads, hasn't bathed yet still too cold, ties, clips, trailers, stands for vet but still testy with farrier but will eventually allow all 4 feet to be done if farrier is patient. I pretty much spell everything out. At 8 months I pretty much expect my horses to do everything an adult would do minus being saddle broke but I will have already started their ground work. By 18 months I expect them to carry a saddle and be in driving lines, even though I won't back them til their late 3 year old year.
    11-13-2011, 10:34 PM
The person who came to see the 8 month old was happy with his level of training, so all is good

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