A rope halter can easily be one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that a cowboy owns, but only if used and tied correctly. Tying your rope halter incorrectly could result in a Houdini horse incident; one moment they’re quietly standing tied, the next, you turn your back for a short period of time and by the time you’ve turned back around they’ve disappeared, leaving the halter swinging from where the horse once stood.
The first step is to put the horse’s nose through the nose piece with the noseband about halfway between the horse’s nose and eyes, the throat latch should rest comfortably behind the horse’s jaw. Bring the headpiece behind the horse’s ears with your right hand, holding the loop on the throatlatch with your left hand.
Next, pull the headpiece through the back of the loop in your left hand so the headpiece comes out of the loop toward your body. Slip your finger under the headpiece against the loop, keeping it in place, with your free hand hold the headpiece, and softly pull the slack out of the headpiece through the loop. The halter should fit securely and comfortably around the horse’s head, you should be able to slide about two or three between the horse’s head and the throatlatch.
When you have a comfortable fit on the halter, you’re ready to tie the knot. Now, point the loose end of the headpiece toward the horse’s shoulder, bring it around between the halter and the horse and slide the end back through the between the loop on the throatlatch and feed it through the circle formed by the headpiece. Pull the headpiece and throatlatch tight to secure your knot.
All of the ground control exercises that Dan Steers and I teach are done in a halter, we feel that achieving softness and suppleness in a halter will aid in transitioning either into a bridle for long reining or taking the halter off for liberty.
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