Rope halter vs. Flat halter for training.
I am new to the horse world. I've had my 5yr old QH for 6 months we are doing good together. We had our first lesson with the trainer and she was just crazy about getting the flat halter off and using her (name brand) rope halter. Dixie is young but very compliant under saddle and walks and is easliy managed in the stall. She will move when ask and for the exemption of getting to close sometimes (my fault I keep forgetting she isn't a dog) is a very good horse and will get off me if I just put my hand up and tell her to get back. I am still working on MY ground work but do not see where the type of halter really matters with a broke, pretty settled horse. Any thoughts. D
If you are paying a trainer, why would you second guess them on something like this? They are the one there who know you and your horse.
IMO-almost every horse can benefit from a rope halter, since so many of them will "test" at times.
You need to be able to put them in their place quickly and effectively so that a small issue does not become a larger one.
I'll take a rope halter for training any day (although I'll never tie in one) - as franknbeans suggests, if a horse tests you in a flat halter there's very little you can do and the horse quickly learns to become ignorant of it and rude when being lead which can lead to all sorts of problems. It's very helpful to have the extra "bite" of a rope halter to quickly put paid to testing behaviour before it gets worse and leads to general disrespect. But if you don't like the trainer pushing their name brand halter (assuming they're asking you to buy it) why not buy a good quality one (the sort made from yachting cord) from a tack store?
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Love my rope halters...
Rope halters are certainly much better for training purposes. If you're hiring someone to help train your horse, most of them will want to use a rope halter. A flat halter spreads pressure over a wider area, which can dull any correction you give.
I own both a rope and flat halter - At competitions I'll always tie in a flat halter, a horse pulling back in a rope halter can be problematic in an uncontrolled environment - if they really flip out and can't break free, you find horses with broken necks as a result of the rope halter not breaking under extreme pressure.
Rope halters are just safer hands down in my opinion for both horse and handler. If you knot it correctly they are also easy to use if you knot it incorrectly your gonna have a hard time undoing the knot. But anyways rope halter place pressure behind the ears and on the nose. They teach a horse to move off pressure. So if for example your teaching one to stand tied and it starts back up and pull, it learns to get a release of pressure by stopping pulling. A flat halter puts pressure in different spots and it breaks easier so they learn release incorrectly by breaking the halter. So then the horse says if I pull long enough I can escape but in a rope halter they learn pressure hurts, better quit pulling and they get their release correctly. Or if you have one that is flighty or scared you can grab their attention quicker or it can be a quicker behavior correction device. There are tons of uses for rope halters, I'm not even scratching the surface of uses and I love them. I use rope halters on my broke horses as well as my unbroken ones. I own flat halters and occasionally I use one to grab one of my broke horses out of the pasture but 99% of the time I have a rope halter in my hands.
I only use my flat halter when he is on a "break day" -- meaning, no training, no schooling, no real work expected of him. He gets a couple of hours of grooming, handwalking, and maybe gets turned loose in the arena to run around a bit (at his own pace and direction).
When I ride, I always use a rope halter. I ride on the trails a LOT and prefer to keep a rope halter on under the bridle, so it's more convenient for me to just start with a rope halter.
Many people do not do a lot of groundwork with their horses, so don't get very concerned about the correction and control that a rope halter gives.
Rope halters are a really good training tool if the person using it knows what they are doing with it, but they can be used as just a general halter for every day use, depending on their construction and the type of rope they are made with. Personally, I like them because I can whip one up with about 6 meters of rope in about 15 minutes and don’t need to spend a bunch of money on it. As for the brand name ones, I think it's all bulls@*%, Parelli didn’t invent them, neither did Clinton Anderson, people have been using them for who knows how long.
I am not a fan of rope halters. I have a horse that is really pissy/angry in a rope halter. Her first trainer used one and whatever the did was really inappropriate because this mare pins her ears and gets hostile in a rope halter. She is fine in a flat halter. I think in the end a rope halter is only as good as the person putting it on. A lot of people seem to think it will fix all the behavior problems a horse has. I don't think thats true. I see a lot of folks putting them on wrong (they tie the knot so it pokes the horse in the eye). They are a harder halter then a flat halter and in my opinion less likely to break in an emergency. I also find them harder to fit to horses. A lot of people have these poorly fitted rope halters on horses and then it does not do much except annoy me. You can't put a chain over the nose or lip with them which is the main form of restraint I need to do in a day. I also think its easy as heck to make and people get scammed into spending 30 bucks on something they could make at home for about 5.
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