There's lots of halter choices, which one do you choose? Let's look at the most common halter types, and the benefits of each.
Timeless and traditional, the leather halter is functional and beautiful. This halter is a safe choice because if your horse gets caught in it, the leather will break and your horse will not be injured. This type of halter is also most often used for showing. Leather halters are the most expensive choice, and require regular cleaning and conditioning.
Nylon halters are a fun, colorful, durable choice. They are less expensive than leather, and come in many colors and patterns. They are easy to keep clean, just hose it down or use a bucket of soapy water. Some people even use a washing machine! Nylon halters should not be used for turnout, and use caution if tying your horse. They will not break if your horse gets caught or panics.
Breakaway halters combine the safety of leather and the durable, colorful nylon. These halters are primarily nylon with either a leather crownpiece (as pictured) or a small leather "fuse" that breaks if your horse panics. They are a great choice because you can replace just the crown or the fuse if it breaks, instead of needing a new halter.
Rope halters are ideal for multiple uses. They are highly adjustable, so one halter can fit many sizes of horses or a horse who is still growing. They use knots in strategic areas on the horse's face, helping to teach the horse to give to pressue and reply to small cues. They're lightweight and low profile, so can be used under a bridle. Rope halters are like nylon halters in that they do not breakaway. So you cannot turn a horse out in a rope halter. Rope halters also take some skill to learn how to tie the knot.
The rope halter pictured above is specially designed for miniature horses from Star Point Horsemanship, and can be found at www.starpointhorsemanship.com
Hybrid halters are the new kid on the block! These combine the training benefits of rope halter, and the ease of nylon or safety of leather. They use an easy buckle to attach, not a knot. They have rope and knots on the nose, and sometimes under the head, for training. Some have leather on the crown or sides, making it able to break away for safety. While a new invention, these halters offer the best of both worlds.
I hope this helps you choose a halter that is right for you and your horse. Many owners even have a combination of the above halters, depending on the situation or need. Give one of them, or all of them, a try!
The Info Pony