When it comes to horse tack, and every day equestrian gear, we as horse people all have our preferences. A horse's halter or head collar is one piece of equipment that gets used on the daily. This is why it's important to make the best choice when halter shopping.
Growing up in my early years of horsemanship, the horses always only had nylon halters. There were no cheek clips, no leather crown piece to break away in the event of an emergency. At the time I didn't realize how dangerous this small piece of equipment could be in the wrong situation.
Over time, as I got older, and was exposed to more barns, trainers and horses, leather halters became the standard.
But why is leather the best option?
Here are some reasons that we think a leather halter is the best choice for your tack room and for your horse.
Leather halters are the safest
This is the most important reason. Because it is a natural material, unlike nylon, leather will snap under pressure. This is especially important if you turn your horses out with their halters kept on. Leather will snap where there is the most pressure. So if a horse gets stuck or caught by the halter, the halter will break before the horse gets severely injured. On the opposite hand, a nylon halter is extremely strong, and will not break. The hardware snaps before the actual nylon piece. There have been some horrible injuries seen in horses, due to nylon halters. At the very least, you need a leather crown piece on your nylon halter so that in the case that a horse does get stuck, that leather piece will snap before a more severe issue occurs.
Leather halters don't rub the way Nylon Halters do
Again, due to the natural material of leather, often times leather halters don't leave rub marks on a horses face. If you've seen a horse turned out in a field that wears a nylon halter, day in and out, a lot of times they will develop rubs on the nose, poll or cheek pieces due to the way the nylon halter sits. Leather will stretch and bend around a horses face better, which prevents those unsightly rubs. Not to mention your horse is more comfortable and happy. As horse owners we want to do everything we can to keep our horses most comfortable.
Leather Halters Are Actually More Environmentally Friendly
Believe it or not, leather halters are more eco friendly than their nylon counterparts. Nylon is a partially derived from coal and petroleum and is completely synthetic. Because of these properties it can take many years to even begin to degrade in the earth. That can mean many of the discarded nylon halters end up in the land fill. Leather will break down over time, meaning a smaller carbon foot print.
There can be some cons with leather halters as well. They usually have a higher price tag than nylon halters. But investing in a high quality halter will keep your horse safe and comfortable, and will last for years. Leather can be expensive to repair if it does get damaged. Depending on your area, taking your halter to a leather repair shop can be costly. They require some maintenance to be kept in top shape. It's important to regularly clean and condition your leather halter to prevent cracks. Periodically going over your halter with a high quality saddle soap and leather conditioner will ensure your halter stays in tip top shape for years go come. You must, however, keep your halter out of damp spots to prevent mould. I had a beautiful black leather and rose gold halter left outside in a plastic tote bin over the winter. When I finally opened the bin, the mould had taken over. I did manage to salvage the halter and restore it back to almost perfect condition. (I'll do a blog post on how I saved my beautiful show halter!)
Leather halters are a beautiful addition to your tack collection. For every day use, or for keeping that special halter just for horse shows.
Check out our Halter Collection for some beautiful and affordable halters for your horse.