Horses, Halters and Turn-out

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Frosty, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

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    Hi all, I have been seeing a lot of pictures of horses in a pasture setting that have halters on. I would just like to say that if you leave a halter on a horse that is turned out, please, please use a break-away halter!

    When I brought my first horse home, I turned her out with a halter on and she got loose. Fortunately, she just went down to the neighbors (he has horses) and the neighbor told me that the halter was a bad idea.

    Fast forward about ten years, I had a pony filly that was pretty wild (her mom did not allow us near her for the first few months). I was working with her, but she was hard to catch so when I put her out in a pen made of corral panels I left her halter on to make her easier to catch. She stuck her head through to graze and caught the halter on one of the pins holding the panels together. She panicked and threw herself while trying to get free, and ended with her neck twisted at an angle where she couldn't breath. Fortunately we were outside and heard the commotion, otherwise it would have ended very badly. I have heard of other accidents before and since.

    Many people will say that they always leave the halters on and never had a problem. While this is true, it only takes one time and the horse can panic and kill itself trying to get free.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  2. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

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    A good warning. I can't tell you how many times I have seen horses turned out with nylon halters. It is SOOOOOOO dangerous. The folks down the road have nylon halter on their two horses. One halter is half broken and hanging. I want to go over there and put a proper halter on him. I just cringe every time I go by their pasture.

    I grew up working with TB horses and all the farms here turn horses out with halters. It's standard. But, they are full leather halters. A bit more expensive? Yes. But cheaper than a vet bill. My horses have leather halters as well.
     
  3. magistradomina

    magistradomina Songster

    Mar 6, 2010
    Where I live.
    Thanks for the info! Hopefully I will use that information later! (I don't have horses. [​IMG] )
     
  4. petchickenlover

    petchickenlover Songster

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    [​IMG]


    I've seen people leave LEAD ROPES on the horse, along with the halter! I just shake my head and hope the poor horse doesn't get stuck on something [​IMG]
     
  5. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I'd also like to mention that there is a LOT of stuff that won't break when you want it to - including breakaway halters, rope halters, and the twist of baling twine my friend put round her mare's neck to make her easier to catch.

    I've seen some ugly stuff - a horse caught a back foot in a halter when he was scratching his face (you know how they do) and ruptured every single tendon and ligament in his hind leg trying to get loose. A horse that put his foot through another horse's halter when that horse's head was down - feeling that, the other horse jerked his head up and that was the start of the biggest meltdown you ever saw. Did not end well. And of course halters get hung up on fence, debris in the pasture, trees, saplings - in ways you couldn't even imagine.

    The solution for most horse people for many years, has been - turnout - halters off. It's really good to just take them off.

    I would also make a comment about small horses, ponies and minis- stuff is even less likely to break when you want it to with them.

    I caused a horrible mess once, tying a blanket strap with a little baling twine when the blanket strap hook got bent.

    Horse spent all night fighting it, he got a foot caught in the surcingle but since I had tied it it did not come loose when he got caught in it. YES, just a little piece of baling twine. It just does not always break when you want it to! Horse was laid up for three weeks, waterer was kicked loose and flooded the barn, it was horrible. Barn staff came in in the morning and heard him bellowing and struggling - he had the blanket over his head, hind legs caught in it, he fought it all night.

    I was dam* lucky he did not die fighting it like that. A couple more minutes and he probably would have.

    So please do be careful. Don't assume anything is going to let go when you need it to.

    Keep those halters off, blankets in good repair, nothing hanging down.
     
  6. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

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    I guess That's why i don't blanket. I am so paranoid about something getting hung or caught or broken. My girls are out 24/7. Of course, our winters aren't as severe as up north and I don't body clip so It's easier down here.
     
  7. welsummerchicks

    welsummerchicks Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    I blanket and clip everything because I have a respiratory disease. It means far less dandruff in the coat, blanket, and in my shnozz. But everybody is in at least some sort of 'program', too, so we have to not have a sopping wet long coat of heavy hair on the horse after work - and here with our changeable weather (50-10 degrees in a 12 hr period), blanketing/clipping actually helps us a lot.

    We've never found any hair dryer that will dry off a shaggy horse, it can dry out the tips of the hair but not get it dry down to the skin.

    What we do is make very sure the blankets fit well. They mustn't be too long off the hind quarter, hang too low, or shift around. Having them slip back on the wither isn't a safety matter but it can make their withers or back very sore, so we watch for that too. Those belly band style blankets are completely out(ever see a horse get a foot in one?), and we prefer buckle fronts to closed fronts - they break easier. All our blankets have sturdy but elastic leg straps which we 'cross over and back' so they never hang down.

    We try to go between having sturdy blankets vs having ones that will rip and give way when they should. If they are TOO hefty, they aren't going to break - that's a real liability.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  8. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Songster

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    Everytime I see break-away halter it brings me back to Pony Club days when horses were required to wear them. There would be so many loose horses because the horses were like "well hey, this thing just breaks off!" Reminds me of a Gary Larson joke...[​IMG] But me, I prefer leather halters myself.
     
  9. Baymule

    Baymule Crowing

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    Northeast Texas
    I never turn my horses out with a halter on. I have a jack that was abused and once he was turned out, it was heck to catch him again, but still no halter left on him. My horses run in the woods and have too many opportunities to get caught up in something, plus those things itch. It would be like never taking your bra off.
     
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Songster

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    I only asked people to use break away halters if they insist on turning out with a halter. My halters are nylon but they are only on if I am working with the horse (except for the few days when I was stupid and left the pony filly with one on... never again!). I am also a fan of panic snaps when they are tied. I never had to use one, but I would rather have it and not need it than the other way around.

    I don't work them in the winter, so I don't clip and don't blanket them but that was a really good tip too.

    As the vet told me, give a horse a rope and it will look for someplace to hang itself. I have an accident prone gelding that wrapped a back foot in the top strand of a three wire fence, then later shoved something up right behind his front leg. The vet had his arm up in there up to his elbow. I never did find what he did that on, but it sure left a hole! Both cases he couldn't be stitched so I spent a few summers cleaning him up every day. Amazingly enough, the scars are pretty small. But horses find enough ways to hurt themselves without us helping.
     

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