Tips for Safely Using Rope Halters
- Don't leave any halter on your horse while in the pasture unless it is made to break away if the horse becomes tangled.
- Don't tie your horse with a rope halter. The narrowness of the rope can cause severe rope burn if the horse pulls back.
- Don't use a rope halter on foals. Their skin is tender and the rope halter might be too severe if the foal pulls back.
- Make sure your knots are properly tied and the rope halter adjusted properly each time you use it.
- If you choose to use a lead line that loops through the rope halter, rather than one with a snap, make sure that the loop is small enough that the horse can not put a foot through. I saw an incident where a horse was being grazed with a rope halter and lead line and the horse stepped into the loop of the lead line. Thankfully, the horse after initially panicking, stood still for the halter to be removed.
- Don't yank harshly on the horse with any halter on. Anything that makes your horse throw its head up and back is probably counterproductive to good training.
Where to Find Instructions to Make Rope Halters
Natural Horse Supply has a good tutorial on making rope halters. You'll find size charts, measurements and good diagrams of the knots. The downloadable and printable PDF that is available should make it easier to take these instructions to your work area.
Another good tutorial can be found at Front Range Frenzy - Making Your Own Halter. You'll find a few more caveats about rope halters here, good illustrations and the estimated time for making your first halter--3 hours with help from a puppy.
Pony Club Victoria has instructions and nice illustrations of the knots required to make a rope halter.
Cowboy Halter Tying Instructions by David J. Dill suggests going to your local department store for an inexpensive source of rope. David mentions you can use any material that is braided or plaited. I've seen a bridle made of twisted horse hair--why not a halter? Or could this be a good way of using up old baler twine?
Probably the most confusing part of making the halter is tying the fiador knot that goes under the chin. Knotworkn has a page of instructions for tying fiador knots. Also check out the link to splicing. This is a good way to repair broken halters and lead ropes.
Horse Knotting has a series of diagrams that demonstrate how to tie a fiador knot. If you're still stumped after reading and looking at the pictures, and none of your horse owning friends can help, a reader on the About Sailing forum suggests going to a marina and getting a hands on demonstration.