Riding With A Rope Halter
I have recently purchased a rope halter and have begun to ride my mare with the halter as she seems most relaxed with this equipment. I have visited your site (www.naturalhorsesupply.com) and know that you are familiar with the halters. I have not found any information regarding actually riding in the halters. I have been using a mecate rope tied into the fiador not for my reins. Can you direct me to a site or give me any pointers as far as riding my horse with this equipment? Even though I have been riding for a couple of years, I still consider myself a relatively beginner. I am interested in doing trail riding only. Thanks your any help you can offer.
Hi Kim: Riding with a rope halter is an excellent way to start a youngster and also very acceptable way to ride. If you look at the history of vacquero tack and the hackamore (jaquima) you’ll find that the rope halter is very similar to some of the early.
Don’t think that just because you don’t have a bit in the horse’s mouth that you don’t have any control. Believe it or not, a horse that is properly started will be every bit as easy to stop or turn in a rope halter than with a bit. Before you ever head to the trail with your rope halter, you have to get the single rein stop working on both sides of the horse. Otherwise, you are asking for trouble.
Riding with a rope halter is similar to riding in a hackamore. You can use a rope halter with the lead rope tied into the fiador (the knot under the chin of the horse on the halter) as if it were a mecate. This way you don’t have to change equipment or buy anything special to ride with the rope halter. You want the horse to respond off your seat. So using the rope halter to reinforce this is nothing different than using a bridle and bit for the same exercise.
In the wrong hands, a rope halter can be even more severe than a bit. Be careful how you use the tools and be aware of the horse’s posture. You’ll find that you can ride with a loose rein with the rope halter and that the horse will seek the slack in the rein, just as he would with a bit and bridle.
Make sure that you try this equipment out in a controlled environment like an arena before you head for the trail. The time to fit the tack, get the horse used to it and for you to practice is at home.