Last weekend I shared a post where Zorro got his halter cheek caught on a teeny tiny random hook, on a hinkey little gate I have, that opens the back yard so we can mow in there. People lost their minds about the fact that Zorro had a halter on.
I DO NOT leave halters on my ponies 24/7 and don’t agree with doing this. I do leave a halter on my ponies when they are out grazing on the 20 acres in which there are NO FENCES because they don’t always want to come back in (and can end up on the quiet country road that runs in front of my house). They are pretty good 99% of the time but that 1% can take me all day to convince them to come in if they don’t have a halter on. (If you have a horse that can be tricky to catch once in a great while, you will understand how having a halter on can be a mind changer.)
My ponies are out for an hour, maybe two at the latest and then their halters are removed.
Now I will add a disclaimer here: ** Leaving halters on horses and ponies while they are not being watched is a great way to cause their death. I have seen horses that got their halters caught on random things (including their own hind or front leg) and broke their necks. Nylon halters and beta halters WILL NOT BREAK when the horse or pony gets them caught, but the animal WILL absolutely break. NEVER NEVER NEVER leave a rope halter on a loose horse or pony.
So why do I feel safe leaving a halter on my two for the short time they are loose in the world? Because both of their halters are break away halters. Actually all of their halters, except the leather one and the rope one, are break away halters. I don’t take risks that way. The leather halters will break if they get caught on something. I know this because Zorro has broken 3 of them. I rarely use the rope halters, only during training sessions. I don’t tie Zorro up with those anymore. Then, all my nylon and beta halters are break away.
I made all of my halters break aways with these nifty little attachments:
They are thin leather Breakaway attachments that you can put on yourself. And they DO break if under any extreme amount of pressure. Zorro has broken a few. BUT only that piece breaks! The rest of the halter is just fine. The pony is just fine, though can be shook up, and you can patch the halter up with another breakaway attachment. Cheap and easy.
It doesn’t alter the look of the halter all that much since the tail of the crown piece covers it up!
Another place I insist my ponies are either wearing a breakaway halter or a leather halter that will break under pressure, is in the trailer. I have seen too many horrible trailer incidents where the horse was killed because their rope halter didn’t break. Horses that had halters that did give when things went south, survived. So I NEVER haul a horse or pony in the trailer with a rope halter or with a halter that will not break in an emergency.
When I go camping I high line Zorro. This is another time I would like the halter to break – if he gets himself into a predicament. He has been very good so far but things can happen and happen fast, so being sure my halter will break, gives me peace of mind.
If you have reason to leave a halter on a horse, I highly suggest making your halter into a break away halter. Also, I highly suggest you do NOT leave halters on 24/7.
It seems that horses and ponies always find a way to get themselves into situations. It’s up to us to mitigate the outcome of those situations in any way we can!
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