Trail riding with a halter on? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Question Trail riding with a halter on?

Ok,
I've read that a lot of people don't like it when others ride with a halter on. Personally I prefer to hard trail ride with a non-knotted rope halter.
I feel safer, I don't like to switch out when tying up, and I make sure it's not rubbing or getting under the bridle causing sore spots.
I especially like it when I'm training a green horse and have one on with a light weight lead rope. Times have come when a situation has gotten out of control. I like having the option of turning their heads with the lead instead of using the reins/bit, I've had horses freak out more when using their mouth when trying to control them. FOR ME it works better to use the halter and get a good strong pull without worrying about their mouths. I'm talking about in severe situations like bolting/bucking/spooking/pulling through the bit heated instances.

This weekend I went out to my VERY dear friends ranch to help put miles on her green horses. Two weeks ago she had some supposedly intermediate/advanced cowboy friends and potential buyers out to ride her horses. It all went crazy and these people had no clue what they were doing, green horses who had never bucked and coming along great were acting like broncs, there where people flying everywhere!
We rode a 5 mile loop three times, each of us taking turns on a different green horse the other on a horse just needing a tune up. Well, I was pretty shocked when she wouldn't let me ride with my rope halter. I know, each to their own but a couple really needed them at different times.
We stopped in the middle of each ride and made them stand quiet while we sat on a log. One mare flipped out and actually tried to jump over the log we were sitting on to escape when she got buggered up trying to go backwards pulling on the bridle. Halter and lead on her would have been much better instead of her running head first into the bit.
On a couple occasions I had to walk a greenie through a situation and pulling on a bridle isn't the best in a hairy situation.
I can go without, and these horses are really coming along great! I just like the added security.

IDK, just wanted to hear your thoughts! Each to their own.

Good lookin young mares!! We had a GREAT day!


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post #2 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:06 PM
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I'm not sure what hard trail riding is?

If we are going to be out for hours, stopping for lunch, etc, I use a halter bridle combo. A habit I picked up all of my years distance riding. Less is better on the horses head.
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post #3 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:12 PM
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I do it all the time, Rarely if ever take the halter off.
It's purely a persons personal preference

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post #4 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:15 PM
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Personally, I agree with you, ESPECIALLY when riding green horses. It is definitely important to have a halter that isn't going to rub or cause discomfort or interfere with the headstall and/or bit of course. I often will have a halter on under my headstall on long trail rides, it makes it a lot easier and safer when you dismount and take a breather. At least IMO
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post #5 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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I agree less is better. I'm not talking about a thick nylon or leather halter with snaps but a slim rope halter is not heavy.

I said hard trail riding meaning not your average easy hack through the local woods. These trails were NOT for beginners and had lots of spooky/baulky areas. I'm talking climbing steep rocky hills, encountering thousands of buggery things like flags, dogs, wildlife, lots of different surfaces, cars, atv's, dumped trash piles (sad), lots of other horses in different pastures. One ridge we climbed had a 150 ft. sheer drop off and we had to ride within 10 ft of it for over a quarter of a mile. The wind was gusting 35 mph. and it was a great day to train.
I would have just felt a little better with a halter on these green horses, especially since it was the first time I was on some of them. Just going on an easy trail ride or around the house on any horse, no halter.

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post #6 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:20 PM
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I leave halters on my horses when we trail ride. We may need to lead them or we may need to tie them while we take a break. If the halter rubs the horse, it didn't fit in the first place.

They look prettier without them, but I look prettier in a dress and high heels.............
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post #7 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Wow Painted!!! That shot is AMAZING.
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You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
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post #8 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:33 PM
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I have been trail riding ever since I started renting horses to ride 1 hour/week (on my allowance) when I was 11yo. The reins and your bit (or mechanical hackamore) are the worst things to use to tie up your horse. If tied that way and your horse spooks you WILL have damage to his mouth, even if it's only sore for awhile, and it can be worse than that. Thanks, John Wayne movies and other Westerns that show a split rein wrapped around a tie pole. I'm not trying to scare you, just give you the facts.
Vis a vis your friend, well...you can tell a horseman, but you can't tell 'em much.
Only people who trail ride off and on and close to their barn don't realize HOW OFTEN you may need to dismount and tie up your horses.
This is what a halter and lead were made for. We ride that way pretty much all of the time. I only school with just a bridle in my back yard acreage. I don't know about where you buy your tack, but bridle and rein leather (or synthetic equivalents) are a lot more expensive to replace than a halter and lead. If you tie up and horse breaks one rein, how do you get back (to the stable) or (to your camp)? Just FYI.
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post #9 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:37 PM
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I personally don't like the looks of riding halter under bridle, but if everything fits I don't see any real problems with it. Even I, with a very strong preference of no halter, have ridden horses with a halter just in case. You never know when you'll need it on a horse that's been know to buck or fight. Otherwise, I ride halterless. There's just something about that face without anything but a little leather and a bit that creates a fuzzy feeling in me - old western style; trail air here I come kind of thing. Weird to say, but I'm sure everyone can relate somewhere in the horse world.

Edit; Long rides, I'd very much suggest at least packing a halter. Why tie a horse with your reins? You'd have to kinda be an utter moron, no offense to anyone who does this (Cause I agree with Corporal).

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Last edited by Stoddard; 03-05-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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post #10 of 35 Old 03-05-2012, 12:42 PM
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Granted I don't do any hard trail riding but I've always put a halter on underneath when trail riding. If it fits well and doesn't interfere I see no problem with it.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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