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Discussion on Halter or no halter while in pasture

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S. T. Bruce
Posted on Sunday, Jun 18, 2000 - 10:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've always removed the halter from my horses while they were free in the pasture. Yet I see many horses with halters on in the pasture both around here as well as in horse publications. A few years ago I seem to recall a break away halter for pasture horses, however they seem to have disappeared in the catalogs I receive. Anyone have strong feelings one way or the other?
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claire sidebottom
Posted on Monday, Jun 19, 2000 - 6:25 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

having seen a horse attatch its self by a headcollar to a bath used for water and then panic i would say turnout in a standard nylon headcollar is a 100% dangerous. we turn out in aerborn field safe headcollars which have rubber rings instead of metal ones and break if needed. we put normal headcollars over the top to lead them with.
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Christine C. Mills
Posted on Monday, Jun 19, 2000 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I still see the nylon halters with the leather crown piece in US catalogs.

I think there is also a model that has a "velcro" fastener or two on the halter allowing breakaway safety.

An all leather halter is viewed as "safe" by most people.

My personal preference is no halter for turn out.
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Lois Berenyi
Posted on Monday, Jun 19, 2000 - 11:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

We use cheapy leather halters made in India, cost around $20-25. They are single-ply leather with no reinforcements. What I try to look for in a halter I would leave on a horse would be a noseband that is not adjustable, hence no loose ring floating around under the chin (and no chin strap for another horse to grab) and no clip at the throat latch to get caught on fence or wire. I would like to leave halters off but if you've ever had a horse escape a confined area without one you'd wish the halter was on. So there are safety concerns either way. If horses are in group turnout and clustered at the gate to come in then not having a halter on can be hazardous to the handler's safety. Ideally nice, well-behaved, non-competitive horses would not need one on but I think the rowdy types do need to be haltered.
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Nada J. Woodworth
Posted on Monday, Jun 19, 2000 - 4:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello to all: I am a firm advocate of NO halters left on when turned out in the pasture. I have seen the disasters that can occur when a horse gets their head caught and panics!! It is even worse when people turn them out in pastures where they use barbed wire fencing. I have always said that I will not own a horse that I can not catch easily and to this day that is true. I have 10 head now and the newest foal is learning the program. I leave no halters on my horses and can catch them all very easily! These are just my thoughts on the subject. Dr. Woodworth
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Pete Rindal
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 20, 2000 - 12:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. Woodworth,

I will second that!!!


Julie
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Lanna Speir
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 20, 2000 - 4:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. Woodworth, I too am a firm believer of NO halters left on while a horse is in turnout or even in a stall! What is the purpose of that anyways??? If your horse is hard to catch, you need to improve that with your horse. All of my horses come when I call them & some of them didn't start out that way! I think it is rediculous that people can't catch their horse without a halter on, it doesn't really give you that much more of an advantage. I have seen some people leave a halter and long rope attached for turnout, how rediculous and dangerous!

Just my opinion, catching your horse should be the first thing you work on in his training program... just a thought
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wclower
Posted on Tuesday, Jun 20, 2000 - 9:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree. No halter is best. But, I had to learn this the hard way: one of my horses got caught in a barbwire fence in the "lower forty" and stayed with her head below her chest for at least a full day before I heard "cries". Thankfully, she knew to not hurt herself further and wait for help. She was tired, dehydrated, and sore. It could have been much worse. Personally, I would prefer a horse that I couldn't catch easily (and work on that aspect of training)without a halter because of the inherent safety concerns.
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claire sidebottom
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 21, 2000 - 3:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I agree with no headcollar at all being best - we don't use our fieldsafe ones in winter, only in summer when they have fly fringes on. they break much more easily than a leather one - we tested it out to check!!
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Helen Weedon
Posted on Thursday, Jun 22, 2000 - 11:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I completely agree. OK I'm lucky, my mare comes straight to me or waits by the gate so I've never needed to leave a headcollar on but I always use leather anyway (yes, cheapo imported!). She has a fly fringe which is like a mini-headcollar and is designed to snap if required. I'd far rather spend an hour trying to catch any horse than lose it in an instant because of a freak accident - we all know how prone horses are to these disasters at the best of times. I heard of someone who turned out her two horses which started playing about with each other. A strange noise made her turn around and one horse was dead with a broken neck and the other was on top of it, its broken leg trapped in the others headcollar. Can you imagine that?
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Bonnie Donelan-Dunlap
Posted on Thursday, Jun 22, 2000 - 12:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I beleive that when you are with your horse-- riding, grooming, whatever-- you are in charge and presence of the halter in just one of the signs to indicate you are. And we both know it.
I think that when the horse is out in the pasture he/she is free to be a plain ole horse,and do horsey things.
There is something about seeing a haltered horse loose that bothers me. I'm not sure why, but it has to do with dominance of the animal, 24 hrs a day that doesn't seem right to me.
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Cheryl Anderson
Posted on Friday, Jun 23, 2000 - 7:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am a no-halter believer. First for safety reasons, but also because horses with no halters are supposed to be more difficult to steal.
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Lois Berenyi
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 28, 2000 - 1:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, sticking my neck out here as the only one to believe in halters on turned-out horses I'll relate an incident that happened in my neighborhood today.

We were visited by a very upset and concerned couple who have a small boarding operation. They were missing a TB mare who jumped the fence when some loose cattle ran through the yard. I don't know if she had a halter on or not but I can relate from past experiences with loose horses in my suburban area that in most cases those horses are panicked and the people trying to catch them and save them from traffic accidents are usually the police, who in our area don't have a clue about what to do with a horse and even our animal control people who are lost beyond cats and dogs. A horse without a halter in a situation like this is going to get hit by a car or injured simply because even if one can get close enough there is no possible means of restraint to the inexperienced. If horses get loose in rural areas there is a lot less hazard. More likely than not it will wind up on another farm where more likely than not someone will know what to do about it.

And regarding horses getting hung up with halters...lots of times the hazard is not the halter but the junk the horse is turned out in...barbed wire, metal fence posts, ricketty enclosures. I know, I've seen it and shuddered. Add old tires, farm junkyards and the least of it is the halter. Our horses are in wood-fenced pastures without trees or anything to get hung up on. In case they get a foot caught or each other the halters are designed to breakaway. I have never had a halter-caused accident in 30 years in boarding and raising over 50 horses. Common sense, small groups of congenial horses in safe pastures and good property management will prevent most accidents.

To the no-halter people...do you turnout with blankets? Now there is a hazard. Upside-down blankets, tangled leg straps, dangling surcingles. One of the few injuries I had was with a TB who had to go out in a blanket as per the owner. The surcingle came undone, the mare spooked and got herself into a frenzy, did not come into contact with anything or anyone but managed to cut herself up with her own feet.

Like most things with horses too it's knowing your horse. The calm, unflappable, basic barnrat doesn't want to be anywhere else. Don't need a halter, or a rope. But the skitsy guys and gals who lose it for the slightest reason need a handle on their head. One large stable in the area has to turn out horses in halters as per their insurance company.
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claire sidebottom
Posted on Wednesday, Jun 28, 2000 - 4:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lois - good point on rugs!! - and on debris in fields - but as Helen pointed out earlier on in the discussion it is not just 'things' that horses get cught on it is each other and their own legs. Breakabl headcollars and strong standard nylon ones are two different things entirely. Does the insurance company insist on leather or breakable headcollars? my headcollars ( and riding tack) do carry 'dog tags' on them with name address, phone and mobile number on them (mobile on the pricnciple that if your horse is lost you will probably be out searching and not at home by the phone)but i would doubt if 2/3 of them would let anyone else near them anyway.
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Lois Berenyi
Posted on Thursday, Jun 29, 2000 - 1:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Claire....I'm not sure of insurance requirement but most knowledgeable horsepeople I know use leather or halters with velcro or breakaway thin leather connections. In fact my leather halters are so flimsy that half the time my horses roll out of them and I have lots of walking to do to find them. I too have put ID on halters with my name and phone #. Some years ago we seemed to have a rash of loose horses in the area. Because my farm was known and was in the phone directory I would get calls at work from the local police. They would tell me they had a loose horse and was it mine (they were very hopeful it was). I would ask for a description and they would say "brown". Forget trying to find out what gender. Since all my horses were a version of "brown" I would have to leave work to make sure. Mine were all accounted for. Another time with an escaped horse the police came to the farm and recruited one of the boarders (good-hearted soul) to help them round up a terrified mare that had just been moved into the area so didn't know where home was. My gal took a rope with her (horse had no halter or ID) and managed to get the rope around the horse's neck out in the middle of a field. Twilight, rush hour on main road. And then the police left her there telling her they would be back. She managed to walk the horse with great difficulty to the nearest likely place where they told her the horse belonged there but she was trespassing! Since then when we've had to round up loose horses for their own protection we confine them in one of our paddocks and wait for them to be retrieved. In one instance we had to charge board because the owner, a vet of all things, didn't show up for almost a week.

But I digress. It's just handier in an emergency if there is something to hang on to and an ID on the halter is even better. Similar to finding a lost dog with collar and ID versus one without.
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Nada J. Woodworth
Posted on Friday, Jun 30, 2000 - 12:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello all: Just a postscript to the discussion. None of my horses wear blankets on turnout either. It is just an accident waiting to happen. The breakaway halters might be a thought to ponder. I have never used one, so can not speak from personal experience. Thank God I can catch all of my horses. Later, Dr. W.
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W H
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 5, 2000 - 2:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey all I can say is no halter, no halter, no halter...
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Lanna Speir
Posted on Thursday, Jul 6, 2000 - 12:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't turn my horses out with anything on either, it is definately a hazard & we have safe fence & pastures, no junk! It is'nt worth the risk! I have to question the fencing on your horses that seem to get out so often and on the roads??? Rural vs. urban? I live in the country & it would be far worse for an animal to get loose as there are highways vs. roadways! We all need to take responsibility for our animals and make darn sure that we have taken every measure possible to prevent any tragidy from happening. It would be impossible to predict everything, but an "accident" after all, is called that because it can be or could have been "prevented".
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Eleanor Leo
Member
Username: Skye

Post Number: 25
Registered: 5-2000
Posted on Saturday, Mar 15, 2003 - 3:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well, this is a very late comment.! My stable asks for breakaway halters for this reason: in our state, if a horse happens to escape, one with a halter or bridle on has the right of way; thus, the owner cannot be held liable if the horse gets hit and does damage to a car or the occupants in it.
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