Does anyone know the breakaway force for a safe halter?
I repair and make my own halters for our two quarter horses and I repair halters for others at our barn. Now I have made breakawy fuses (using chicago screws) and leather crowns that can break away. Also I have altered lots of nylon webbing halters to break away. But I have one concern. Different weight leathers (and quality) and manufacturating techniques can result in break away halters that separate at a wide variety of forces. Also the same fuse that would be safe for a large horse would not be safe for a pony.
So at what force should a halter break away for each bred?
If I can get a idea ... lets say 100 lbs or so for a quater horse (the average lanyard that people wear breaks away at 20 lbs) then I can calibrate the breakaway bits for a halter accordingly and be confident that I have made a safe and useful bit of tack.
In my experience -- the leather never breaks, it's always the hardware that gives. The fastest one to breakaway had the fuse at the cheek snap fastened with chicago screws. I actually liked that one b/c I can buy a cheap pack of screws at Southern States and replace them easily without having to track down a new piece of leather.
I have seen the hardware give out (usually due to the screw backing out) as well as the leather giving out. Though I have intentionally selected leather by grade to give out under what I consider "reasonable" strain. Usually when that happens the halter, caked in mud and whatnot (sometimes after weeks of exposure) gets back to me for repairs, the fuse leather is no where to be found and even if it could be found the leather is usually beyond remediation. So that forces me to make new fuses ... and thus my original question. I am also thinking of replacing the standard Chicago screw fuses with a new design using a breakable calibrated safety link.
I've had a bunch of the leather pieces break....heck, just a couple weeks ago, one of my big mares grabbed the halter on another smaller mare while they were eating hay - smaller mare yanked backwards to get away and the leather breakaway broke in half.
Lots of good comments here but not really answering my question. Well thats not true I think the answer is a resounding "no". I am looking for a measure of the force in units such as foot pounds so I can make a device that has a consitant and measurable break away force that I can match to the size of the animal wearing the halter. I would like to design this breakaway device to be resetable in a similar fashion to safety clasps used for lanyards that humans wear (force is about 20lbs). Personaly I do not feel comfortable making a break away fuse for someone and not being able to assure them that it is strong enough for normal use, but weak enough to be safe for the horse.
Last edited by kgwhite; Apr. 30, 2013 at 03:40 PM.