Types of Horse Halters and How to Use Them

It's important to choose horse halters based on function as well as looks

If you’ve spent much time at all around horses, you’ve probably noticed that there are quite a few different types of halters. Some are plain, some are elaborate, and others have special functions. Here, we’ll take a peek at different types of horse halters and spend a little time talking about how they are used.

Cheap Polypropylene (Poly) Halters

Poly halters are inexpensive, but they are weak, particularly when they’re made with cheap hardware. If you need a halter for your calm, well-trained horse to wear during grooming, bathing, and tacking up, a poly halter will save you some money while getting the job done. Because poly halters are weak, with a tensile strength of between 600 and 1000 pounds depending on the manufacturing process, they are absolutely not recommended for trailering.

Nylon Halters

Of all types of horse halters, nylon ones are among the most common. Available in a variety of colors and patterns, these halters have the ability to stand up to the weather, resist abrasion, and even resist mildew. Nylon halters are very strong, with an approximate strength of 4,200 pounds. They’re easy to wash, and they typically hold their color well. A simple nylon halter is ideal for trailering, grooming, or bathing your horse. If you plan to turn your horse out, a leather crown safety halter is better than a plain nylon halter. Of course, accidents can happen and if at all possible, you should leave your horse unhaltered whenever he is put out to pasture. Fleece-lined nylon horse halters have an extra layer of soft, protective fabric that prevents chafing. They’re ideal for trailering and make a fantastic all-around choice.

Leather Halters

Leather halters look fantastic, and they offer plenty of strength and durability as long as they’re well taken care of. Because leather horse halters break more easily than nylon ones, they are not well-suited to trailering. They are, however, ideal for grooming and tying, and some are specially designed for safety during turnout, with breakaway crowns.

Training Halters

What kind of training halter is best? It depends on whom you ask and what the situation is. Knotted training halters are popular, as they provide immediate correction. If you plan to use a training halter on your horse, be sure that it fits properly, and ensure that you know how to use it correctly! In the wrong hands, a training halter does more harm than good. Don’t ever use a training halter to trailer your horse. Not only will the motion of the road cause intense discomfort that will almost certainly lead to an aversion to trailering, these halters can be very difficult to remove in case of an accident. Play it safe and trailer with a simple nylon halter.

Western Show Halters

Specially designed to accentuate your horse’s facial features, western show halters are typically made of premium leather, plus they often offer extra adjustability for a fit that’s just right. Western show halters are normally embellished with engraved silver, copper, or gold details, and some are even fitted with gemstones.  

Arabian Show Halters

Typically custom-made to show off the refined features of an Arabian horse’s head, these show halters are often colorful, with spectacular tassels, gems, tiny bells, and other embellishments. If you are planning to show an Arabian, be sure to spend lots of time researching which colors and styles look best on your horse! There are many to choose from.