“The Halter knots work on pressure points”
After years of research, we have not found any evidence to support this statement. Therefore it is possible that the entire knot/pressure point story is a marketing scam, or at best, a self-perpetuating mistake. What makes it worse is that some reputable well known trainers & manufacturers know it’s not true but still advertise and take your hard earned cash for products that are based on lies or mistakes.
Please consider the following points:
The stimulation of pressure points is an exact science. Pressure points, their meridians and the organs they affect, are well documented and individually named. Therefore it is revealing that no one has been able to name a single pressure point manipulated by the halters knots. Of greater concern are the halters with the extra knots on the noseband.
Correspondence with a leading US equine therapist confirmed there are no pressure points located in the area of the extra knots on a rope halter noseband. Furthermore, these knots do not work on pressure points but sandwich delicate facial tissue between the knots and the nasal bone causing pain. This opinion was repeated by therapists in Australia and internationally. These extra knots do not work on pressure points but create points of pressure, also called pain!
It should be obvious to anyone, who looks at a well-fitted rope halter; the knots are designed to sit flat and are placed to correspond with hollows or depressions on the horses’ head. This indicates that the halter was originally designed so that the knots cause minimal contact pressure and not placed, as claimed, to cause pressure on pressure points.
“One size fits all, easily adjusted”
Not much to say really, it is just that ludicrous. No one would expect a 16.2hh Warmbloods bridle to also fit a 10hh Shetland pony. Even within a standard sizing there is a wide range of variation in head size and shape. For example, a PONY sized halter may be too large for a Shetland Pony but too small for an Australian Pony.
“Rope halters are kinder than webbing halters”
A rope halter is a severe training tool, but it quickly teaches a horse to give to pressure and follow a cue. A horse may lean into or fight against a webbing halter all day and all it learnt was to lean and fight. If a horse chooses to ignore the initial feel of a cue from a rope halter and leans into it, the rope becomes uncomfortable. If the horse chooses to push through the halter, it can become VERY uncomfortable and the horse quickly learns to give to the rope halter resulting in the complete release of all pressure.
“Rope halters are unbreakable and ideal to restrain a horse that wont float or tie up”
This one does worry us greatly. A 6mm marine double braid rope halter will injure or kill a horse before it breaks. Floating and tying problems are addressed with training not physical restraints.
Rope halters are training or riding tools, not to be left on an unattended horse EVER!!!!!
Over the years we have been using and making rope halters, the following points have become important to us and may help you make an informed choice for your next halter.
~The halter should be made from 100% polyester marine double braid. Polyester has the high strength, low stretch, shock absorbency, soft feel and high UV resistance needed for equine activities.
~The rope halter should be tied in proportion. This is easily checked, as the distance between the knots on the noseband should be no shorter than the length of the cheek straps and throat pieces. There are some exceptions to this, but the cheek strap and throat pieces should always be the same length or the halter will be out of shape and not fit well.
~The halter should sit on the horses face so that the noseband knots sit directly beneath the lower points of the facial crests on each side of the horses face. The poll strap knots should end up behind the cheek line and below and, although not as important, slightly behind the ear. The fiador knot should have at least a 2-inch gap to the chin.
~The knots used to construct the halter should be double overhand knots (also called rose knots, true lovers knots, blood knots, halter knots) and the traditional fiador knot at the chin. These knots evenly distribute tension and can be easily moved to allow fine adjustments to a halter if needed.
~Results depend on communication and a badly fitting halter prevents clear communication. A tight halter prevents the total release of pressure and a sloppy halter gives sloppy cues. A loose halter can trap or cast a horse.
~The noseband knots do not work on pressure points and all halter knots should sit flat and in hollows or depressions on the horses face so contact is minimal.
~Never leave a horse unattended in a rope halter.
~Training is a continuous learning experience; it should always be safe as possible for you and your horse, so if you are unsure of anything seek advice.
~Always attach leads or reins to both chin loops below the fiador knot or knot can come apart and need retying.
~To clean a marine double braid rope halter, hand wash in warm soapy water, rinse well.
~Put halter in an old pillowcase if machine washing. Secure elastic bands above & below fiador knot to prevent it unraveling. Set machine to warm or cold settings only.
This article was prepared by LodgeRopes, Australia, Comments, suggestions, advice or arguments are always welcome, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.lodgeropes.com .
Illustrations made available with the kind permission of Diane Longanecker, horsewoman and author USA, www.hosbooks.net. We thank Diane for her friendship, support and helpful information.