Donna-Maria Flood, our DIY columnist, shows us an easy method for adding breakaway functionality to your conventional rope halter. She also includes instructions for tying quick-release rope halter knots.
Rope halters have become very popular for training. Many natural horsemanship trainers recommend them because they provide a more precise level of communication. However, many people won’t use a rope halter for trailering or other situations in case the horse gets caught on something. After all, we all know a rope halter is strong enough to pull a truck out of the mud!
With the addition of a simple bit of leather you can make a breakaway tab. Use old stirrup leathers, or a belt, or any extra leather you have lying around the tack room.
1. Cut the tab 6 1/2″ by 3/4″. Make a cut in each end, approximately 1 1/2″ long. The tab can be longer or shorter if necessary.
2. You can easily thread the tab into the “knot loop” of the halter. Pull the rope loop through one of the cuts, then feed the other end through the loop.
3. Now tie the halter knot as usual, but make the knot through the other cut in the breakaway tab.
Now your horse has a rope halter that can be safely worn anywhere! If the halter gets caught on something, the leather will rip and break, releasing the horse. The halter isn’t damaged in any way.
The tabs are replaceable. When tested with different thicknesses of leather, the tabs held between 30 and 150 pounds. If you have thin leather you can double it to add strength.
Quick-release rope halter knot:
Don’t have any scrap leather handy? Worried about your ability to get that halter off in an emergency? If you use a rope halter and need to untie it quickly, here’s the knot for you!
1. Tie the usual knot through the tie loop, or through the breakaway halter tab as shown above. The end of the rope should point to the horse’s hindquarters.
2. Next, loosen the knot slightly, and push the tail of the rope back through the knot.
3. Pull a bit of the end through the knot, at least a couple of inches, and push down on the knot to secure it. Now the tail will be pointing to the horse’s nose.
A simple tug on the end of the rope will release the knot fully. As long as you push down on the knot and create some friction/tension on it, it will hold firmly until you release it.
As always, we welcome photos of your Horse Nation DIY creations! Check back often to Horse Nation for more DIY tips, tricks and new ideas from DMventions and DMpowering Horsemanship.
About Donna-Maria: DMpowering Horsemanship and DMventions showcase my thirty years in the horse business. I found a need for new ideas and handy tips and hints – from one horseperson to another – and DMventions was created.
DMpowering Horsemanship is here to help riders with the four basic foundations of horsemanship: goals and dreams, confidence, knowledge and skills. Through clinics, private lessons and my website theuniversityofhorsemanship.com, I help riders understand what is holding them back and help them to finally have the horse of their dreams! DMpowering is a complimentary training to other disciplines — whether you do jumping, western pleasure, dressage, natural horsemanship or trail, DMpowering has the tools to help you be happy with your horsemanship and find success.