vanwoll asked:

Hey, I love your pictures very much, they are amazing! :-) nevertheless I have a question: as seen on much of your pictures there are many people who use knot/rope (?) halters for their horses. As I heard they however should be very dangerous because they can injure the horse very much!? I hope you know what I mean, is it just common to use them or is it really not that bad to use them? (Excuse mistakes, I'm from Germany :D ) Thanks for an answer :)

starkimages answered:

thank you! and yes, lots of people who ride western use rope halters. the halter itself isn’t inherently dangerous, most of them are made of very soft, flexible rope. sometimes knots are added across the bridge of the nose as a training aid similar to a stud chain, but usually not. because it’s thinner, it puts more pressure on the horse’s pressure points, which can be a good thing, as you can use a very light touch. in my experience all horses trained with a rope halter are very gentle and easy to lead, because the rope halter helps teach them to give to pressure. 

of course, all horses are different. if you have a very sensitive horse a rope halter might not be for you, but if, like me, you have a horse that you have a hard time with on occasion you might want to try one. a good test is the ‘grass test’. can you get your horse’s head up off the ground with one hand? try it with a flat halter, then a rope halter. if your horse gives to the pressure in a flat halter, great. if not a rope halter might be the training aid you need. 

if you’re worried about the danger of them being tied with a halter that doesn’t break there are a few opinions about that. one is that you can tie a piece of twine between the lead rope and whatever you’re tying the horse to so that if they pull back it will break. some people say that a horse who learns it can get away if it pulls back is just as dangerous as tying a horse with a hater that doesn’t break. I’m not sure I subscribe to that opinion though, I think the horse should be taught to give to pressure before it’s tied to anything,

what it really comes down to is the horse. it’s up to the owner to know their horse and do what works for them. of course, a rope halter can be used incorrectly like any tool, and it’s up to the handler to learn how to use it correctly or, like you heard, it could hurt the horse. a rope halter is a training aid, not a bandaid for a behavior problem. it can be used to teach horses to give to pressure, not pull against it.

someone was asking me about rope halters recently but tumblr ate it so here is a pervious ask