Stiff Rope Halters
I am happy to announce that the stiff halter rope is ordered and Stiff Rope Halters will soon be added to the store.
If you'd like to pre-order your stiff halter/s (with our without 12ft training rope), send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why a rope halter?
With the proper use, they can be more effective than regular halters (web or leather) in aiding lightness and ultimately, softness. And that is, or should be, the goal of horse training; having a soft horse.
I have a really good trainer (who seems to be training ME, not my horse!), so I will try to repeat her words here (hopefully correctly, haha) when explaining what a "soft horse" is.
There is a difference between soft and light. A light horse reacts well, but can be dangerous, whereas a soft horse is a much safer horse.
How so? A light horse reacts before the cue is carried out: you point your arm and your horse moves. You lift your arm and your horse stops. What is missing with a light horse is contact and relaxation. The horse is unsure and tries to react before any pressure is applied... to "outrun" the contact. And that's where the danger lies. Because if a light horse suddenly feels pressure, it won't know what to do with it. It might panic and do all the wrong things.
A soft horse, on the other hand, is trained to respond to pressure. The arm points AND the lead rope pulls on the horse (creates contact)... then the horse moves with the rope without hesitation or pull back. You lift your arm AND create pull on the rope, then the horse stop. The contact is there, the horse doesn't overreact; he knows your intentions and isn't worried. There is trust. The horse knows exactly what to do to make the pressure go away. He is relaxed and works with you.
When done right you have a horse you can lead anywhere and it will move without resistance. Contact is the keyword here. A horse used to contact won't normally panic if something were to go wrong, like, for example, if he steps on his lead rope and the head is held down. Instead of pulling against the pressure and panicking, a soft horse would give to the pressure and remain calm.
A rope halter facilitates this training of softness. It allows for precise cues and greater reactions from the horse with the least amount of pressure from the handler. The halter being stiff is a personal preference, used by many top clinicians in the country and overseas. It holds its shape better on the horse's head, which is meant to increase control. It can have 2 or 4 knots on the noseband. 4 knots are meant to give the best control with a green or unhandled horse, causing the horse pain if it pulls or leans on the halter. Personally, I think the equipment doesn't have to be harsh, but the training method has to be right. And harsh equipment doesn't have to be harsh in the right hands. So focus on HOW you use it, not WHAT you use.
So, whichever halter you prefer, make sure you train your horse with a sense of forgiveness and a lot of patience! Take things slowly and enjoy your journey... there isn't much in this world more precious than a strong bond between a horse and a rider/handler. So take time in building this bond, and the rest will follow.
Note: I am not a trainer and don't claim to know the ins and outs of horse training. I simply state my opinion in these posts that not everyone will share. Please don't take any of my advice as professional advice and ask your trainer instead (except the part where you should build a bond with your horse. Do that! It can never be wrong!). Ultimately, I'm just a crazy horse lover who tries her hardest to do what's right and best for her horses. And I am sure you guys are the same <3