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Discussion on Take your horses halter off!!

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Patricia Bell
Member
Username: Boomer

Post Number: 147
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just want to remind everyone to take your horses halter off when not using it. I recently moved a couple of my horses to a boarding facility nearer to my home for the winter. One of the boarders wanted to keep her little arab mares halter on in the stall and needless to say she got caught on the door latch and snapped her neck. The facility staff did everything they could it was just a freak accident. This little mare was 19 and just as sweet as they come. RIP Violet....
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 300
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 1:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is exactly why I "never" leave halter on my horses anywhere. Thanks for passing on the reminder.
DT
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DJ
Member
Username: Djws

Post Number: 226
Registered: 2-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 3:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My cousin (a trainer), recently acquired a yearling Standardbred. He was asked by the colt's owner to pick him up from a farm, where he had been turned out since his purchase (months ago). This poor baby had a halter on, and it had actually grown into his skin. His chin looked like raw hamburger. He had two sores on his nose, and one behind his left ear. Apparently, the farm manager had just turned him out in a pasture with his halter on. As he grew through the summer, the halter became tighter, and tighter. I was at the barn when he arrived. It took 4 of us several hours to get the halter cut off in sections. The vet arrived and we proceeded to remove what was embedded in his tissue. He obviously has not been handled, and hopefully will not hold the "removal experience" against us. We worked slowly, so as not to cause him any undue pain. I never, ever, leave a halter on any horse unless I am present. The farm manager stated that he keeps halters on the youngsters, because they are hard to catch. Obviously, even with a halter on, he didn't try to catch him, or even check on him. I don't know why the owner never checked on him. He was notified of the colt's condition immediately. With daily cleansing, topical and oral medications, he already looks better (6 days). Very sad.

I have a friend (in Virginia)that has asked me to inquire your opinions about breakaway halters. She feels that they are safe to be left on horses (in the pasture, or stalled). I've always been told not to leave any type halter on, period. Any comments?

Sorry to hear about the little mare, Patricia. My condolences to her owner (s). That had to be very difficult.

DJ
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 303
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 3:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DJ .. I have seen the exact same thing. Disgusting!
DT
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 1530
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 3:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

DJ,
I can not think of any reason to leave a halter on a horse when the horse isn't under watch. I don't understand how a horse can be "easier" to catch with a halter on. If a horse wants to be caught, he'll let himself be caught, with or without a halter. If the horse is undersupervision, and the halter gets caught on something, and the halter breaks away, then hopefully, it might keep the horse from flipping over or breaking his neck, but I really don't know why breakaway halters were invented unless it was for the people who insist on leaving them on all the time. ?
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 304
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 3:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have heard of the "breakaway" halters, and my only comment is "why"? I even quit using fly masks because they don't breakaway the way they are supposed to. I had one horse rubbed raw under the chin cause he got the fly mask caught and the velcro did not release. Just turn em out and let them enjoy their freedom for a while.
DT
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cp
Member
Username: Cpacer

Post Number: 249
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 3:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another reason not to like the breakaway is that it ruins the training that goes into teaching a horse to give to the pressure of a halter when attached to a lead. If the horse pulls and the halter breaks allowing them to run away, they just might think they can do it the next time they’re tied.

Holly, I think some people believe a horse associates the halter with being caught.
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Sharon
Member
Username: Shanson

Post Number: 45
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 4:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I've seen discussions on this before...one here and another recent one on COTH. There are a lot of people who argue that it can be done safely if the halter fits properly and is a breakaway. This is probably true, but I have seen what can happen when this practice goes wrong. An acquaintance of mine lost her gelding when he reached up with his hind leg to scratch his face and it got caught in the halter. He suffered a lot before they found him. Yes, maybe the halter didn't fit right and it obviously wasn't breakaway, but I'll never take the chance. These dang critters are accident-prone under the best of circumstances!
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Sherri L. Hueser
Member
Username: Tangoh

Post Number: 808
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 5:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sharon, I have heard of the same type of scenario where a hoof gets caught in the halter. We never leave halters on, for any reason. We have friends who leave their horses halters on 24/7, much to our distaste and even after we pass on horror stories like the ones in this thread. It falls on deaf ears. There's never been an accident yet, and maybe there won't be, but why take unnecessary chances? Their excuse is that their horses are hard to catch (a second strike against their ability to keep horses). It's tough...they are friends, but they shouldn't have horses.
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Dawson
Member
Username: Dawson

Post Number: 39
Registered: 3-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 5:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I also have know people who choose to leave halters on 24/7, and yes if they fit well, they will be less likely to get a foot or something else caught.

HOWEVER, have you ever watched these same people try to bridle or trim their horse... Heee Heeee Heeee

A little safety practice every day goes a long way.
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Sherri L. Hueser
Member
Username: Tangoh

Post Number: 810
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 18, 2006 - 6:26 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Our friends had to call us to come and help the farrier. They were too afraid to even hold their horses for the farrier; and the farrier eventually just walked away from 2 of their 4 because of their lack of manners. And bridle them??? They can't even lead them through a gate without the horses running over them. The saddest thing is that these horses all have potential and are for sale, but they're asking an absurd price for horses that are between 4 and 8 and have had little handling....but I'm off topic...the whole leaving the halter thing on just brought this situation to the top of my mind.
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Kthorse
Member
Username: Kthorse

Post Number: 677
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 7:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ditto to not leaving a halter on. Very dangerous.
I do however use a break away halter on my well trained arab. horses are unpredictable and I dont want a broken neck. He ties perfectly however one day something spooked him and thank god for the halter it saved his life. Its the first time ever that he spooked while tied. Hopefully it will never happen again. No it is not a good idea for a horse who has not learned to give to pressure, but for well behaved and trained horses it could save a life. I would never put a regular halter on unless it was leather as leather will break before the horse gets to hurt.
Katrina
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Alicia Kost
Member
Username: Aannk

Post Number: 650
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

In my experience, boarding barns don't want to take the time to take the halters off. I have only boarded at one place that takes them off in turn out. Lots of places will take them off in the stalls, as it is easier. Currently, my gelding is at the place that takes them off, but he is only there until he finishes training, then he will be going to a place that leaves them on. I have no say in the matter, and I haven't found any other places that leave them off, so I have to deal.
Alicia
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jojo
Member
Username: Jojo15

Post Number: 868
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 9:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I leave halters on 23/7... I usually take them off and switch them out. or when they are stalled. But I do NOT want a loose horse that can't be caught. I use breakaways for the big girl. Now the mini is growing so quickly that i need to remove it and readjust. An incident like above has idiot written alover it. And since they are out all the time. I keep the halters on all the time. I think it all boils down to fit, the disposition of the horse, and the persons ability to monitor. If mine were out in a pasture i couldn't monitor, that would be a different thing.

For my TB that was a bit spooky she was in a breakaway halter. I went thru 10 leathers with her. She would do stupid things and the breakaway did exactly what its supposed to. But a growing animal? i don't think it would breakaway even then.
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Dawn Anderson
Member
Username: Dr3ssag3

Post Number: 9
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 10:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm another firm believer that halters should never be left on, especially in stalls. I personally have only used leather halters, and my one experience of my mare spooking while tied up to the horse trailer at a show confirmed this. The halter broke away, and thankfully she wasn't hurt, but the exterior of the trailer was slightly damaged. I can only imagine what would have happened if she was wearing nylon.

As for halters left on in turnout, I tend to err on the side of caution and don't do it for any of the horses at the barn where I work. Since we all know horses get themselves into all kinds of trouble when left to their own devices, I figure, why chance it? Granted, we don't have huge, rolling pastures, but we check the fencing regularly to minimize the chance of a horse escaping, and keep a few spare halters/leads hanging around in various places to quickly grab in case of a loose horse. That said, we have, on occasion had a horse run loose (usually getting away from a less-than-savvy handler), and find that 99.9% of the time they head for the nearest spot of grass and can easily be approached for recapture. :-)

I hate to sound like a snot, but I think that hard-to-catch horses are allowed to do so by owners who haven't taken the time to properly train them.

Alicia~ I wonder if your experience with boarding stables is just a regional thing? I've boarded in IL and WA and have yet to see a stable refuse to take halters off while horses are in their stalls. Turnout is another story altogether. ;)

Just my 1 1/2 Cents. :-)
Dawn
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Alicia Kost
Member
Username: Aannk

Post Number: 651
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 11:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dawn,
Most places around here will take them off in the stall if you ask, and several take them off in stalls even if you don't ask. Turn out is where you have the issue. I am in the DC area and have boarded at about 7 different places over the years.
Alicia
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: Hwood

Post Number: 1532
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 11:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have never had to cut a halter off because of skin growing around it, but I have purchased horses that wore halters all the time and the halters were so tight that there was no hair growing underneath them, and when the hair was allowed to grow back, it didn't grow across the nose, and grew in white along the cheeks.
Alicia, you know how barns charge extra for things like turning out, cleaning stalls, worming, holding your horse for the farrier, etc? I wonder if for a few bucks a month, you could as them to remove your horses' halters after turn out and after bringing them in for the night? Maybe if the owners of your barn could read several anecdotes from folks who have lost their horses to accidents, they would be more willing to remove the halters. I wonder how insurance companies look at the issue in their "care, custody, and control" riders for boarding facilities? As an owner and manager of a facility, I wouldn't want to take the chance that my negligence caused injury to one of my boarder's horses.
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Ella
Member
Username: Ella

Post Number: 7
Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 11:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another perspective,

The farm where I rode growing up always took off halters for safety reasons. Then one night the barn caught on fire. They had to try to get 100 panicked horses out alive. None of them had halters on. They got out all but 3 and nearly lost their own lives with burning beams falling around them.

He will no longer allow any horses in his new barn to spend the night without a halter.

Unlikely - yes, but boy if it happens it is bad.

I personally do take halters off but think of this every time I do!

Ella :-(
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cp
Member
Username: Cpacer

Post Number: 251
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 1:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

All the halters at my barn slip on and off very easily. For leading in and out it should be enough to just have a grooming type halter with no buckles to fasten that can slip over their ears, or in case of emergency, just throw a rope around their necks or let them run free, anything but let them burn!
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Patricia Bell
Member
Username: Boomer

Post Number: 148
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 1:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The barn I board at only uses halters to transfer the horses from their stalls to their turn out and vise versa. They are never left on at anytime. This was an owners decision.
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Fran C
Member
Username: Canter

Post Number: 699
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 7:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The three barns I've boarded at also take halters off both during turnout and in the stall. I too use leather and am very glad I do as my normally unflappable horse spooked in cross ties last summer in the outdoor wash rack. The clips that were "supposed" to give, didn't and I had a panicked horse staining against the cross ties on slippery wet cement (the barn has since tied a piece of twine between the cross ties and the wall mount for an easier break away factor). Fortunately the halter broke, she stepped back off the cement and I was able to grab her and settle her down. It was a very scary moment so I can only imagine a horse's devastating panic if they got a foot caught in a halter or if the halter gets caught on something else... What a shame to lose a horse this way.
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Shelley
Member
Username: Sswiley

Post Number: 272
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 9:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

my old mare coliced because someone left a tight halter on for several days while I was gone.
I think she could not properly chew her food and impacted. The day I came home she had already started to colic and under her chin was worn bloody by her trying to chew. Poor thing, make it through but we had to go the full oil, IV fluids etc,
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Dove2
Member
Username: Dove2

Post Number: 88
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Thursday, Oct 19, 2006 - 9:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Alicia,
You're absolutely right about the D.C. area. Folks here do what's most convenient for the people. I, too, have been in several boarding barns where the regimen was pretty one-sided (the barn manager's side). I have since found a self-care barn where each individual can take care of their horse the way they prefer. I'd never leave a halter on a horse. Although there are two (and only two) horses who have their halters left on. It's too funny to watch them pull each other by the halter in their teeth. What a great leash.

As for the burning barn, unfortunately my daughter lost her horse in one. Some horses had halters and some didn't. It didn't matter; they all (10) perished. There was no one there to get them out in the middle of the night. Trying to halter a horse in a blaze might be a bit tough, though. I think I'd prefer a rope around the neck. As a matter of fact, I'll probably make one soon for our barn with a slipping knot that you can loosen or tighten easily. There would be no time for much else.
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Patricia Bell
Member
Username: Boomer

Post Number: 149
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2006 - 1:50 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This guy tonight showed me how to make a make-shift halter out of a lead rope. very cool and useful in an emergency situation. It is easy too! It was a great thing to learn
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Dove2
Member
Username: Dove2

Post Number: 89
Registered: 4-2005
Posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2006 - 6:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Cool, Patricia. Is there any way you can describe how to make the leadrope halter? It would be a good thing for all of us to learn.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 16903
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2006 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patricia, in you have time, why not take photos while it is being made and post them?
DrO
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Dennis Taylor
Member
Username: Dtranch

Post Number: 310
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2006 - 8:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

If it is like the one I use, it is pretty simple to do, but not sure if simple to explain, but I will try. I simply make a loop to go around the neck, If using lead rope, I just run the end through the clip to make the loop. Once the loop is over the neck, I just twist it to make a second loop to go over the nose. I then adjust for a reasonable fit, then run the end around where the twist is (under the chin) to create a lead line. I use this all the time when I'm moving multiple horses around, or just too lazy to go get the halters.
DT
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Patricia Bell
Member
Username: Boomer

Post Number: 150
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Friday, Oct 20, 2006 - 1:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bingo Dennis! I will try and get a picture and post it. I will do it after work.
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