The “portable peace of mind.”
At the end of May in a state park in Maryland, a Paso Fino trail horse named Play Doh slipped on a steep trail; his rider managed to dismount but Play Doh slipped off the trail and bolted in fear. The horse was missing for almost two weeks before he was discovered by a trio of hikers, still wearing all of his tack and only suffering minor injuries — the first sighting of Play Doh throughout the entire ordeal.
Play Doh’s story is certainly the exception rather than the rule — but it does go to show that even the most reliable horses can act unpredictably, and it’s easier than we might like to think for a horse and rider to get separated, whether you’re riding on public trail land or schooling cross-country at your local horse park. While we don’t like to imagine such a situation, picturing your horse wandering loose with no identification is frightening!
Fortunately, Sierra View Ranch has developed a line of “In Case of Emergency” or I.C.E. products for this very incident: the I.C.E. Halter and I.C.E. Clip-on tag help identify your horse with your contact information in the event you’ve parted company.
The I.C.E. products come in two varieties: a trail halter and a clip-on tag. Both products feature the same white visible “I.C.E. INFO INSIDE” label which contrasts for visibility against the bright solid nylon.
The label is actually a Velcro tag, which opens to reveal the information about the horse. The label is totally waterproof as long as ballpoint pen or ultra-fine-tip Sharpie is used to write the information.
The halter is designed for trail use — without a throatlatch, the trail halter is not recommended for use as the primary tool for leading or tying a horse without a bridle over top. However, the thin yet durable nylon means that this halter fits nicely under a regular bridle with the identifying label clearly visible; as long as the horse is wearing a bridle, I’d be confident to lead or tie just fine without fear of the halter slipping over the horse’s ears.
I also appreciate the padded noseband, which should prevent rubs on long rides or weekend trips. A full halter with throatlatch is available via special custom order from Sierra View Ranch.
What if you ride with an English bridle, noseband or hackamore and don’t want anything else over your horse’s nose? Sierra View Ranch has a solution for such riders as well with the clip-on tag. This simple tool contains the same information tag as the I.C.E. halter, but in a convenient and easily-moved clip that the rider can add anywhere to their tack — the dee ring of a saddle, breastcollar ring, the halter ring of a trail bridle, the halter already under the bridle, etc. The applications for the I.C.E. clip-on are basically unlimited!
Overall, I’m impressed with the simple and clean design of the I.C.E. products — this is an ingenious idea and I can’t think of a good reason not to invest in one of these products if you regularly trail ride or hack off-property. You can even order an I.C.E. halter in orange to double as high-visibility gear during hunting season!
The only improvement I would suggest would be to add reflective tape to the noseband and cheekpieces of the halter and perhaps to the back of the clip-on to help with visibility in the dark.
Available in eye-catching colors (as well as more conservative brown and black) the I.C.E. Halter and Clip-on are available for direct purchase from Sierra View Ranch; the clip-on is also available at a number of distributors listed online. The I.C.E. Halter is $32 and the Clip-on is $15.