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Help with halter bridle

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  • Help with halter bridle

    I am hoping to get some help selecting a leather halter for my horse to wear under a bridle.

    Husband and I are trail riders and my sensitive skinned arab has decided he does not like the custom made biothane halter with bridle overlay. It makes him itchy. Also, the biothane halter is not as strong as I would like.

    The halter needs to be strong enough to trailer, tie, and ride, strong enough not to break if he pulls back. He does not pull back but I want a halter to hold if he does. So I have decided on leather due to its strength and also my horse has worn leather bridles and they do not seem to cause him any itching.

    So what I'm looking for is either a leather halter bridle with a heavy duty halter, OR a leather halter to wear under a leather bridle. Lightweight and soft is a plus because we do ride for several hours at a time.

    Don't like the rope halters because of the knots rubbing on his face.

    There are so many different brands of leather halters online it is very difficult to distinguish which are actually superior.

    Anyone try the thinline halters?

    What do you trail riders use on the trail for halters and bridles? How is your halter and/or bridle rigged; that is, do you use the bit hangers, the overlay bridle, just lay the bridle over the halter, don't use a halter, etc. Also do you ride with a lead line and if yes do you attach it or carry it?

    Brand names and your level of satisfaction with the product would be really helpful. Are there halter/bridles you have tried that have been just awful?

    Any and all assistance is very much appreciated.

  • #2
    I don't like halter/bridle combos. Too much stuff on their faces, itchy, awkward.

    I use stiff-bodied rope halters with integrated lead ropes. No snaps. I hang them either from the horn or tied over the cantle with saddle strings, shown below. If it's cool weather I've been known to leave them on under bridles, but still- horses sweat and get itchy. 99% of the time I stow them on the saddle. The lack of leadrope snaps cuts down on the PITA factor of swinging, heavy, hardware

    Mr Kat on Lucky at Cherry Creek, MT
    http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7...D550/ry%3D400/

    Me on Taco, black Arabian, CBM on Drifter, QH
    http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7...D720/ry%3D480/

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by katarine View Post
      I don't like halter/bridle combos. Too much stuff on their faces, itchy, awkward.

      I use stiff-bodied rope halters with integrated lead ropes. No snaps. I hang them either from the horn or tied over the cantle with saddle strings, shown below. If it's cool weather I've been known to leave them on under bridles, but still- horses sweat and get itchy. 99% of the time I stow them on the saddle. The lack of leadrope snaps cuts down on the PITA factor of swinging, heavy, hardware

      Mr Kat on Lucky at Cherry Creek, MT
      http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7...D550/ry%3D400/

      Me on Taco, black Arabian, CBM on Drifter, QH
      http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7...D720/ry%3D480/
      Having a rope halter on hand is a great idea, IMO. Good for getting off and giving horse a break, good for if bridle breaks and you need something on the horse's face, good for if you need to tie the horse, good for if you need to catch a loose horse on trail (rope halters will fit just about anything!), they're just great for trail.
      Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

      Comment


      • #4
        My thought on halter/bridle combos was what if I tie my horse up using the halter portion and my horse does something looney and ends up breaking the halter? Then what I am I supposed to ride back in? I have a rope halter with attached lead that is coiled up similar to those in pictures on other post and then either tied to saddle or in saddle bags. If worse came to worse, I could probaly ride my horse in the rope halter as I ride her in a hackamore anyways.

        Comment


        • #5
          I've tried a few different halter/bridle combinations and never found one that was really to my liking. The compromises in design seem to make for complexity of use, not simplicity of use, and just don't fit right.

          The leather halters that you seen in your local tack shop are not nearly stout enough for general use. That's why nylon predominates in the market (in addition to nylon's all weather capability and long term durability).

          The only leather halters I've seen that will do what the OP wants are sold in the cavalry reenactor market. Some good quality makers are Tom Smith http://www.cavalryequipment.com/ , American Military Saddle http://americanmilitarysaddle.com/index.html , or Border States Leatherworks http://www.borderstates.com/ There are other good quality makers; I am personally aquainted with the quality of these makers.

          DO NOT buy the "discount" stuff from South Asia. It is often poorly tanned and of low quality (meaning it will not withstand even a light "set back").

          If you go through the catalogs of the above makers you'll find that you have to choose a "historical period" as that's how they make their products. You'll also find that quality is not cheap. The combo I've got from Tom Smith is now four years old and in excellent condition. I use it all the time. Again, quality does not cost, it pays.

          Good luck in your search.

          G.
          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

          Comment


          • #6
            Halter Bridle

            I have and use the Tucker Halter Bridle and love it. It fits my horse well, seems well made and a quality leather. I trail ride all the time and it is so easy when you stop to just attach a lead rope a tie up. You can take the bit out if you really want to, but I usually just unhook the reins and leave the bit in. I attach my lead rope to my saddle - I roll it up like the way they come when you buy them.

            For trailering and tying overnight I use a standard halter instead of leaving the halter from the halter bridle on my horse - it just keeps the halter bridle nicer.

            Toni

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            • #7
              I have a Tory leather halter/bridle combo, and I'm pretty happy with it. The leather is excellent quality, and the price was right (just under $100).

              It *is* pretty bulky, so it looks a little funny on my Arab (I originally got it for my warmblood, and it looks much better on him). We're going to start doing endurance this year, and I haven't decided whether I'm going to use it or go the rope halter method.
              RIP Victor... I'll miss you, you big galumph.

              Comment


              • #8
                For a while I rode in a biothane halter-bridle, and I still have it in my tack box. It's not bad, but it was the type where each cheekpiece hooked on seperately and they just looked really bulky. I've seen some halter-bridles where the bit is attached to a single piece of leather/biothane that goes behind the ears and snaps onto the crownpiece of the halter. They look nice, I just don't have the money to purchase one at the moment.

                Most of the time when I ride I do not have a halter on my horse. My bridle is plain black leather, I have one of those nylon horse-collars, which rolls up easily to store in my cantle bag while I ride, and my lead rope is coiled and tied up to the rings on my saddle. It keeps everything nicely out of the way, but easily accessible when I stop and need to tie-up somewhere. It makes it possible to remove the whole bridle during a long break and hang it over the saddle horn so my horse has a little more freedom with his head while he grazes -- it keeps any slack in the lead line from getting close enough to the ground for him to step on, which is a nice bonus as well.
                Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  katarine: I use stiff-bodied rope halters with integrated lead ropes. No snaps. I hang them either from the horn or tied over the cantle with saddle strings

                  So when you stop do you take the bridle off and put the halter on????

                  Jolly Badger: I've seen some halter-bridles where the bit is attached to a single piece of leather/biothane that goes behind the ears and snaps onto the crownpiece of the halter. They look nice, I just don't have the money to purchase one at the moment.

                  That is what I currently use. Looks beautiful but very pricey. Mine was made by a lady in CA. But the biothane itches him - maybe I should just get a piece of sheepskin to wrap it with or something. I always thought the bit hanger-type bridle looked like there wouldn't be a good connection to the horse's mouth but many people use them and like them.

                  Toni L - thanks for the input I have considered that bridle as well as the one made by the gaits of gold lady.

                  Guilherme - The leather halters that you seen in your local tack shop are not nearly stout enough for general use. That's why nylon predominates in the market (in addition to nylon's all weather capability and long term durability).

                  I did not know that. So ride with a nylon halter under or have a halter for trailering/tying and one for riding? Thank you for the links I will check them out. I believe in buying good quality and subsequent maintenance. Are these leather halters too big/thick to use under a bridle?

                  What combo do you have?

                  It sounds like most trail riders want a halter available when riding. So do you use different halters, one for trailering/tying and one for riding?

                  And if you ride with a leather or nylon halter under your bridle, how do you keep the headpiece of the halter from slipping backwards. That is what started my search for a halter/bridle combo. Of course it doesn't help that my arab has a looong neck and a naturally high head carriage.

                  It sounds like a lot of blah blah for such a simple thing as a halter, but the more horse camping we do the more I try to simplify.

                  Thanks everyone.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What do you trail riders use on the trail for halters and bridles? How is your halter and/or bridle rigged; that is, do you use the bit hangers, the overlay bridle, just lay the bridle over the halter, don't use a halter, etc. Also do you ride with a lead line and if yes do you attach it or carry it?
                    I don't like halter-bridle combos. There's just too much hardware for me to try and manage, and I almost feel like I need multiple hands to put the bit attachments on.

                    Plus, like others, I'd be worried if my halter-bridle broke, and I was out on the trail.

                    I love my trail bridle. It is made of biothane (but I imagine it could be done in leather since it's not too difficult -- it just would depend on how supple the leather was to be able to bend back towards itself) It's just a browband and the cheekpieces, and the browband snaps around the rope halter (or even a regular halter, although I like the rope)

                    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...t07/trail9.jpg

                    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...itch_pony1.jpg
                    "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had a similar problem of the halter crownpiece sliding way back on my horse (TWH) while I ride. That's one of the reasons why I don't like having a halter on under the bridle while I ride.

                      My horse has quite a few different halters. . .a couple of leather ones, a couple of nylon. . .that I've acquired over the years. It's something I'm teased about often by other people at the barn ("which halter is he going to wear today?"),

                      The single-strap horse collar works well for short-term tying. . .like if we stop for a break on trail, or at the barn's hitching post just before we go out on a ride. . .but I wouldn't use it for overnight tying while we camp. For that, I have a regular nylon halter that I leave at the campsite while we ride.

                      Some horse catalogs have nylon "breakaway" halters, if you want something that will "give" in an emergency. The crownpiece is either all-leather, or it has leather tabs on it that will break if the horse panics and pulls. You can purchase replacement pieces. I might be cautious about using it in a trail or camping situation, though, because you may end up with a frightened loose horse running in an unfamiliar area.
                      Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dreamswept View Post
                        I don't like halter-bridle combos. There's just too much hardware for me to try and manage, and I almost feel like I need multiple hands to put the bit attachments on.
                        That's one of the reasons why my current halter-bridle hasn't been used in a while. I LOVE the concept itself, because it's very well-made and sturdy. However, the cheek pieces attach to the headstall with trigger snaps. While my horse has never given me a problem about accepting the bit, I still don't like having to use both hands just to open the snap on each side. They also look rather bulky, and if I want to change bits it requires completely undoing each cheekpiece, removing all the hardware/snaps, etc.
                        Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          katarine: I use stiff-bodied rope halters with integrated lead ropes. No snaps. I hang them either from the horn or tied over the cantle with saddle strings

                          So when you stop do you take the bridle off and put the halter on????

                          yes

                          I use -almost exclusively -rope halters. I haul horses in them, I don't tie to haul but if I need to tie them for any reason, I just tie them with them. Any horses I own are taught to tie, period. They may be highlined overnight, they may be tied to a tie rail overnight, they may need to stand tied while we eat lunch or whatever- that may be to a tree/a trailer/a stall wall, etc they tie. They don't sit back, they don't break halters or leads. They just tie, period.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dreamswept View Post

                            Plus, like others, I'd be worried if my halter-bridle broke, and I was out on the trail./mitch_pony1.jpg
                            There are many different styles of combos. The one I have is two separate pieces for headstall and halter. You can see that in the pics I posted. If something breaks, you're not going to be dealing with a loose horse unless he just tears the whole thing to pieces.

                            Somebody mentioned the crown of the halter slipping back. I posted a pick showing how they sit on top of each other and they are connected together with the browband. But again there's lots of different styles, and some of them don't connect together.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Simbalism View Post
                              My thought on halter/bridle combos was what if I tie my horse up using the halter portion and my horse does something looney and ends up breaking the halter? Then what I am I supposed to ride back in? I have a rope halter with attached lead that is coiled up similar to those in pictures on other post and then either tied to saddle or in saddle bags. If worse came to worse, I could probaly ride my horse in the rope halter as I ride her in a hackamore anyways.
                              Leather halters could break, but if you use beta or biothane, the hardware on the leadrope the horse is tied with would likely break first. Biothane and Beta are extremely strong. To the point they say don't trailer in them, or if you do, tie to something breakable so the horse isn't hung there and unable to break free.

                              But if you even have to question whether your horse would set back or not, I wouldn't tie him but do a lot more work until you know he's trustworthy.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I really, really like my halter bridles. If you are looking for leather- I would go with Tucker, they actually used to make one that was called something like Halter Bridle Light that was for more refined heads.
                                Also, I know you said he didn't do well with the biothane, but how about Beta? Its definitely softer than biothane.
                                Also, there are several companies now that make rope halter bridles.
                                "Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  It sounds like most trail riders want a halter available when riding. So do you use different halters, one for trailering/tying and one for riding? ...

                                  It sounds like a lot of blah blah for such a simple thing as a halter, but the more horse camping we do the more I try to simplify.


                                  I only take a halter along on a trail ride if I intend to tie the horse up somewhere along the way. As for diff halters for diff uses, I use rope halters, period. (I have a few regular Valhoma halters too but rarely use them). I just like neutral colored rope halters in general- It's not simpler to horse camp with halters for different situations If the horse needs to be tied (maybe he spins if hauled loose, alone in a stock trailer) while we haul, I'd tie him to a loop of hay string. BUt- again- my horses are 100% broke to tie. I haul them loose in my slant load, simpler to unload and load that way.

                                  we horse camp a lot, and trail ride alot. I hope my answers are useful to you one way or another.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Oh yes, all the answers are helpful. Thanks everyone.

                                    Dreamswept I LOVE your halter bridle and your horse is a love. Where did you get your bridle?

                                    I don't know if my horse is actually allergic to synthetic, but he is allergic to fly spray, he gets hives, scratches and is allergic to fly bites (central midline dermititis). His various skin maladies are controllable but I can't help but think the synthetic material is irritating because he does not itch at all when wearing his leather bridle.

                                    Beta or zilco may indeed be a better alternative and I love the colors!

                                    With the exception of a rope halter or heavy duty calvary halter, it appears that one halter for riding and one for tying in camp is common.

                                    BTW, my horse hasn't pulled back in the three years I've owned him (probably jinxed now), but in the 30 years I've been around horses I've seen dead broke horses pull back in unusual situations.

                                    I was taught to tie your horse everytime so that IF he pulled back the tie would hold. That is a habit practiced my entire horsey life and I've never had or created a puller.

                                    Others tie so if their horse pulls back then the halter DOES break but that is an entirely different subject.

                                    So thanks again everyone who has posted so far. Happy trails spring is coming!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Dreamswept I LOVE your halter bridle and your horse is a love. Where did you get your bridle?
                                      It's the Turbo Bridle from Hilltop Tack.

                                      http://hilltoptack.com/bridleturbo.html

                                      It IS biothane though, so I'm not sure how your horse would like it, since you said he's possibly sensitive to it. Although you can get it in beta. I like the smooth biothane though. Feels really good on my hands. The beta made my hands feel itchy when I had a beta Dr. Cooks bridle.

                                      My halter was from Sunset Tack, but I've since switched to a black rope halter with a flat braided turquoise noseband from Julie Goodnight.

                                      I love it though. Easy to put on and take off, I can take it off when we stop for lunch, and I have a lead rope that has a velcro thing at the end so I can tie the pony, and if he does pull back hard enough, it will break.

                                      Mitch looks super cute in it though.

                                      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_vvcqMrhkyZ...anch-mitch.jpg
                                      "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I carry a rope halter with me and a lead rope. If necessary, I can put the rope halter on OVER the bridle - or remove the bridle and fasten the rope halter.

                                        My horse's usual halter is a finely made and lined, leather halter. COst me nearly $90 and well worth it. It's 11 years old and still very worthy. I use that for tying in the trailer and to the high line. The rope halter stays in my trail bag.

                                        To get a halter to fit correctly, buy one that adjusts on BOTH sides of the crown and adjusts at the chin. Hard to find. However, I am seeing more and more nylon halters with the leather crown piece with buckles on both sides. Some are stitched leather crown pieces, so I suspect they would not break as quickly as a un-stitched leather crown piece.

                                        Big D I think makes a nice nylon halter with GOOD hardware with the unstitched leather crown piece. I can't remember if the nose band is adjustable.

                                        I'm not a big fan of Brenda Imus/Gaits of Gold equipment but she has 2 items that I would be tempted to buy. 1 is her saddle pad and the other is her convertible bridle. It looks to be a very good investment for those who want a halter-bridle without all the dangling straps and snaps.

                                        I wouldn't hesitate to buy Tory, Weaver, or Tucker equipment. But there's lots of good leather folks out there. Colorado saddlery is one. I bought a marvelous mule bridle for a horse that is very senstive about his ears. It has a clip at the browband and at the poll.

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