The headcollar/halter

An invaluable piece of tack

The headcollar/halter is a vital piece of equipment/tack when it comes to horses. It is useful for working with horses in the stable, and provided he is reasonably well behaved, for leading him when out and about. Headcollars/halters come in all shapes and sizes. They may be made of leather, nylon, rope or webbing.

Generally speaking a leather headcollar/halter is considered to be safest because if a horse were to get the headcollar/halter caught and panic, the headcollar/halter is much more likely to break. Headcollars/halters made of other materials are unfortunately unlikely to do the same and there have been horrific accidents and even deaths caused by horses getting stuck with their headcollars/halters on.

Horses should never be left with their headcollars/halters on in the paddock as they can easily get caught on something and cause themselves serious injury.

Many people cannot afford the leather headcollars/halters, and have to opt for one of the cheaper alternatives. In these cases it is just important that horses are not left unattended in these headcollars/halters. If you are leaving your horse in the stable for five minutes, as laborious as it may seem, you do have to take the headcollar/halter off, and even though it may be easier to catch your horse in the paddock if the headcollar/halter remains on – you must still remove it. It simply isn’t worth the risk – we all know what horses can get up to when left to their own devices!!

It is especially dangerous to leave headcollars/halters on in a situation like this where multiple horses are out together, as they can easily get caught on each other when playing

The best headcollars/halters are adjustable with adjustable headpieces, nosebands and throatlashes. This is because no horse’s head is an identical size to another, so simply buying pony, cob or full size is often not specific enough. If the headcollar/halter is adjustable it ensures that the headcollar/halter has the best fit for your horse’s particular anatomy.

To lead a horse you will need a sturdy lead rope fitted with either a trigger clip or a spring clip, which fastens to the metal ring on the underside of the noseband. For safety the clip must always be fastened with the opening part facing away from the horse’s chin.