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Breakaway halters for trailering?

From: Katy

Thank you so much for your wonderful and thoughtful answers to all our "horsy" problems. You are the GREATEST! I just have one question that I have not seen answered or maybe I missed it (that is possible--I am a newbie on computers)! What is your opinion on "breakaway halters"? I have looked at the BMB ones with the leather fuse on it. I do not turn out my horse with a halter on, but I was wondering about using it on him when I am trailering him. Spec wears a "hard hat" and shipping boots when I trailer and I also tie him with a quick release knot. I can see the rope/knot in my driver side mirror to kind of monitor what is going on. Also took some advice from my husband and made my lead rope short enough that IF it came undone, it would not catch in the wheels of the trailer. Like you make your bow rope shorter than your boat so it does get caught in the motor if you leave it out! I do not use the trailer ties, they are kind of hard for me to undo with my fingers. Anyway, would that breakaway halter be good it the horse were to fall or something and the halter break so he does not get in a wreck before I could stop the truck and trailer to run out and quick release him? Thanks for your help! Katy


Hi Katy! Breakaway halters are wonderful for times when you WANT a halter to break -- those would be those horrible moments when your pastured horse gets his halter caught on a fencepost or a branch or the gate latch or some other horse's tooth. Trailering is something else again. You do NOT want your horse's halter to break when he's getting into, coming out of, or standing in the trailer. Use the best, most solid, strong halter you own for trailering, and save the breakaway one for turnout.

Instead of using a quick-release knot, go ahead and use a trailer tie. Get the kind with a panic snap on one end`(some people like to put panic snaps on BOTH ends of the trailer tie). Panic snaps are easy for humans to undo even when the horse is putting all his weight on the tie rope, and that's not always true of quick-release knots. If the rope gets wet or you accidentally put the end of the rope through the loop, a quick-release knot can become a NO-release knot very quickly. And you undo a panic snap just by sliding a piece of metal -- it's easy, takes two fingers, and doesn't allow you to catch a finger in a loop of rope... something else you really don't want to do, especially if there's a horse having a fit at the other end of the rope. You need to keep all your fingers; they're really very useful. ;-)

If you use a trailer tie, you also don't have to worry about the rope getting into the wheels -- although I'm having a hard time imagining just how that would happen anyway. It seems to me that the only time the rope COULD get near the wheels would be when the horse is getting on or off the trailer, and at those times, the wheels shouldn't be moving.

If you're using a slant load and letting the horses hang their heads out the windows as you go down the road, DON'T. It's an invitation to eye injuries.

BTW, it's always a good idea to carry a sharp knife, whether you're pulling a trailer or riding down the trail. In an emergency, you can open the knife and use it to cut the trailer tie, the leadrope, or even the halter.

Stay safe, and keep all those fingers...

Jessica

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