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How to Fit a Horse Halter

Buy the Right Fitting Horse Halter


fitting a horse halter

Horse halter's shouldn't be too tight, nor too loose. Inexpensive halters like this don't offer customizable fit, but aren't expensive to replace if lost or broken.

Photo: 2010 K. Blocksdorf
It's an unwritten rule of the horse world that when you sell a horse, it must have a halter on. But just because your horse is wearing a halter when it comes home, doesn't mean it's wearing a halter that fits, or is even safe. You can easily get a halter that is too big, too small, or is broken or worn in some way. And most of us like to make sure our horses are 'well dressed' so we want a halter that fits well and looks nice while being safe. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure your halter fits well so it doesn't bind or rub your horse's face.

Common Sizes

Generally, horse halters Compare Pricescome in standard sizes and you may see sizes such as these:

  • Mini - made to fit Miniature Horses or tiny foals
  • Foal - may also fit a pony
  • Weanling or Pony
  • Yearling - may also fit a pony
  • Small - may also fit an Arabian
  • Arab - Will have a smaller nose band.
  • Cob or Small Horse - may also fit an Arabian, but the nose band may be too large.
  • Horse/Average/Medium
  • Large Horse
  • Warmblood
  • Draft/Large/Extra Large

Measure to Be Sure

These horse halter sizes are only a guideline, and halters made by different manufacturers will fit differently. So before buying a halter, you'll want to do a little measuring. Estimate where the nose band should sit, about 2/3 of the way down between the horse's nostrils and eyes. Using a cloth tape measure Compare Pricesor a piece of string measure around the horse's face. Write this measurement down. Starting at the side of the horse's face where the nose band would lay, measure from one side to the other, laying the tape along the horse's cheek, over the poll and to the other side. You can now take these measurements to the tack shop as a guideline for choosing a halter. Measure from the cheek ring to the cheek ring, keeping in mind you can easily adjust the crown with the buckle.

Check the Halter's Fit

Once you get your horse halter home, don't take the tags off until you've found out if it actually fits. (Check the store's return policy while shopping.) When you put the halter on, the nose band should not be too snug. You want your horse to be able to eat, drink and yawn without restriction. The throatlatch should not droop down too far, but you should be able to fit two or three fingers between it and the horse's jaw. Ask the horse to bend at the poll as if it were nodding 'yes', and make sure the halter isn't binding. It's important it isn't too loose, or the horse may put a foot through when it scratches with a hind foot, or the halter dangles and catches on gate latches or twigs.

Some horse halters come with an adjustable nose band and throatlatches Compare Prices making a custom fit easy. All have a buckle that allows you to adjust it up or down, so the nose band can hang higher or lower. Once you've found a halter that fits, you can use it as a guide to buy future halters. It is handy to have an extra one around, just in case the one your horse is wearing gets lost or broken. And, here's how to choose the right type of halter for your horse.

You may also want to read How to Choose a Horse Halter which discusses what type of halter you should buy and what to do if your horse's face is being rubbed by the halter.

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