Tag Archives: beginning horseback riding

Horse Halters and Leads

My goal is to have horse halters and leads on every stall in my barn. I own an active horse farm with over 40 horses and we do about 60 lessons a week.

The main reason is safety. If you have to get the horse out of the barn in a hurry for an emergency, halters and leads are very important.

Not to mention the fact that the first thing you need when you want to deal with the horse in its’ stall is a halter. Keeping horse halters and leads on the stalls is a constant battle.

When I finally come up with the perfect plan for accomplishing this I will let you know. Until then I’ll just shake my head in constant disbelief….it’s like they grow legs and walk away!

One of the first things I see a new student purchase for the horse they are in love with, and it doesn’t have to be a horse that they own, is a halter.

Make sure to get a halter that fits your horse well. They generally come in sizes like foal, yearling, pony, cob, horse,etc.

At our farm the halter is one of the first ways that you learn how to control your horse. Taking them out of the stall, leading them down the aisle, and putting them on cross ties in order to begin grooming.

We make sure that all the horse halters at our barn are “breakaways.” This means that they have a breakaway strap made of leather that goes over their head behind the ears or a leather fuse just under the buckle.

The Perris horse halter shown here is pretty and very durable. We have several Perris halters at our farm, they are my wifes’ favorite brand.

If the leather crown piece of your halter ever breaks (which it is designed to do if your horse gets caught on something) it is easily replaced.

It is best to get halters that snap at the cheek. This is MUCH easier than fastening the halter by the strap that goes over the horses’ head!

I also recommend buying a halter with an adjustable nose band. It helps make a better fit.

Horse leads are used to guide and control your horse, much as a dog leash, but these dogs can weigh over 1000 pounds!

Leads are made in a wide variety of materials. For every day use we prefer soft woven horse leads with a big brass snap.

Most of the horse lovers I know buy a lead to match the horses’ halter!

We also have a couple of leads that are nylon and have a 24 inch chain and a snap on the end that attaches to the halter. These leads are used for horses that can be more difficult to handle and should only be used by an experienced horse person, as they can cause damage to the horse if not used properly.

Leather horse leads are used in halter and showmanship classes and are often used at shows because of their nice appearance.

When you’re leading or grazing your horse, don’t ever let the lead shank drag on the ground because if the horse steps on it he could freak out. You and/or your horse can be injured this way.

Once again, this is my opinion and experience on horse leads. Your barn may have its own standards, so it’s important for you to ask and take their opinion.

Hopefully you will have a fun time accessorizing and choosing the color(s) of your horse halters and leads! 🙂

 

Beginning Horseback Riding: Wear A Helmet!

Well, we’re just beginning horseback riding, and we need to figure out what place we should ride at, what riding discipline we should participate in, what clothes to wear and numerous other things.

Full disclosure: I’ve owned a horse farm for 26 years, where we do English riding, including hunters, jumpers, dressage and eventing . We use an English saddle and wear an ASTM certified helmet.

By law anyone under 16 is required to wear a certified equestrian helmet. Due to insurance reasons most barns also require those over 16 to wear one as well.

When my wife was first beginning horseback riding, her mother asked her trainer what type of lessons she should start with, English or Western? At the time the trainer was an old cowboy at a trail riding barn.

What he said was “If you don’t already know which type of riding you want to learn then take English lessons because it is easier to switch from English to Western than from Western to English.”

Now I know this is where all the Western riders come out and say that I am nuts. When you

learn to drive a car and you start with an automatic it’s harder to switch to a standard. That doesn’t mean that one is better than the other…they are just different.

Please understand I am not disparaging any discipline.

When you’re in an English saddle, you are in a closer contact saddle, you are more in touch with the horse.

You should make sure that you wear a riding helmet that is ASTM/SEI certified.

I live in New York State, and by law you have to wear a bike helmet if you are under 14 years of age and ride a bike.

The insurance company for my farm requires that all riders need to wear a certified equestrian helmet…SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

When you get on a horse, generally you are further from the ground than when you are on a bike. There are times that you will go faster.

Wear a helmet!

In the wild wolves and lions used to jump on the horses backs and eat them. The fact that they let us humans get on their backs is amazing to me.

Wear the helmet!

This is a very large animal you are getting up on. There is no seat belt, steering wheel or airbag.

Wear an approved horse riding helmet.

Okay, having said that, hopefully the barn that you are choosing has them available for you to start off with. Make sure the helmets are well-maintained.

If you are just beginning horseback riding then you won’t have to spend the money on a helmet until you are sure that it is something you want to stick with.

After a month and a few lessons you should probably get your own.

My wife has an article on her blog about Charles Owen helmets. They are a bit more expensive than some of the helmets here but having researched them thoroughly she says that the Charles Owen helmet is the next helmet she is getting for herself and definitely the horse riding helmet that she would choose for her child.

Once again, my number one safety tip to you is wear an ASTM/SEI certified horse riding helmet right from when you are beginning horseback riding!