To halter, or not to halter?
If you have your horse out a lot, should you keep his halter on if he's hard to catch, or should you take it off? I've heard bad stories of horses hurting themselves, but he's just about impossible to catch without it. Should I take that risk, or let him halter less?
I would never leave one on mine. I have seen themm get it caught and when that happens it is not a good thing
That has always been a back and forth question and everyone will have different opinions on the matter. You can always get him a breakaway halter which will come right off if he gets it caught on something, instead of hanging him up.
Secondly, I would work with him on being caught instead of running away from you. Carry the halter around with you whenever you are around him so that it becomes a natural thing for him to see. Than, if you go out to catch him (give yourself some time, don't rush it), advance and retreat. See how close he lets you get, even if it is just a couple of feet. Talk to him, hum, sing, whistle, whatever to keep his focus on you, but avoid eye contact as he is a prey animal and only predators make eye contact. If his body language tells you he is going to flee, than stop and take a step back. Do that one step at a time, back and forth, until he lets you near him. When he does, pet him and than walk away, don't even try to halter him at that point. This is just showing him that he doesn't have to run away from you.
A few minutes later, go back out and start it all over again. It might go faster, it might go slower, it might go the same, but either way, take your time and be patient. This time, slip his halter on, but put the rope around his neck first so that he doesn't bolt. You might have to do this several times, but it will be worth it in the end when you have a horse who comes to you instead of running away. Good luck!
I do not keep halters on my horses, but they are easy to catch because I have taught them to be.
A year ago I got an un-handled mustang mare who did not have a halter on her, we drove her up into the trailer brought her home and it took two weeks for me to get a halter on her. Once it was on I left it on and kept a 6ft lead rope attached to it until I could confidently catch her. During that time I kept her in my round pen minimizing her chances of getting caught up in something.
I suggest keep the halter on and teach your horse to be caught, while you have it on him minimize the risk of him getting caught on something and maybe use one of those break away crown pieces that will break if he does get caught.
Personally I refuse to allow a horse to avoid being caught. I have the opposite problem they all meet me at their gates and I feel bad if I don't stop and pet them all on my way by. There are lots of threads on here with information on how to teach your horse to be caught and come to you.
I never leave a halter on mine when pastured, they're too easy to catch. Most of the time they meet me at the gate. When they see me with a halter they know they're going to the fields that they keep looking at on the other side of their fence. I always walk them there and let them graze for about 30 minutes before I groom and saddle them up.
But when riding at my friends house, I leave a halter on them while they run around with the other horses for about an hour before we go for our ride.
I've been to barns where they keep the halters on and barns where they always take them off.
Personally, I would always take the halter off unless it was a day where I knew there would be a lot of back and forth. The mare that I was leasing used to have her halter on all day unless it was raining since it was a leather halter, and it rubbed and opened sores behind her ear where it was resting. I just don't see a point.
Sure, I guess it makes life easier if your horse is hard to catch, but that's just a bandaid solution to me to be totally honest. There's no real reason to have a halter on 24/7.
This is why you don't leave a halter on. The horse got caught up on the fence while turned out.
I have seen a horse try to take the fence with them when they got stuck. My bf had to cut the halter off the filly before she broke something (or herself)
They can get legs stuck in them as well and then you have a leg injury on top of it. IF you really need to, buy a turnout halter, and replace the crown strap with leather (i would say thinn crap leather so in an emergency it will brake better).
The first barn that I started riding at always left the halters on the horses but they have had many accidents which involved said halters to become caught on posts and therefore, injuring the horses.
When I changed barns the horses are (usually), put out without their halters on.
However, everyone has a different opinion on this matter.
Its easy for me to say never turn out in a halter because all my horses are good to catch. If I buy a new horse and don't know what its going to be like it does go on a small paddock to start with in a leather halter or a breakaway halter with a short length of bailer twine hanging from it. I would never turn a horse out in a rope halter and any horse turned out in a halter - even a breakaway one should have supervision 'just in case'
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