We’ve mentioned in several earlier posts that we don’t keep halters on our horses while they’re out in the pasture, and promised to explain why. Well, now we finally will.
We often see horses in pastures wearing a halter, and many of our friends keep their horses haltered all the time. In the movies, certainly, the horses are always wearing something or another. We loved the fancy halters in “Racing Stripes,” for instance – they were dark leather with a brass nameplate on the side. And it makes sense, don’t you think, to have a halter on your horse? That way, if you need to catch a horse in a hurry, all you do is grab it and snap on a lead rope. So why don’t we leave halters on our horses?
Well, we leave them bare for safety reasons. There’s our paranoia about theft, of course – why make it easier for a horse thief to nab your horse? But that’s a very minor consideration, really. The biggest thing is that the halter is so easy to catch on things. Our pasture is very woodsy, and the horses love to wander through the trails between the trees. It would only be a matter of time before one of them snagged a branch with the halter, panicked and injured him- or herself.
Another scenario we’ve read about is horses getting a hoof caught in the halter when scratching themselves. I’ve seen my horse rubbing his chin with a rear hoof, believe it or not, and halters are pretty loose in that area. It seems like a remote possibility that he could get his hoof caught, but a possibility nonetheless.
And, last but not least, there’s the fact that our horses cannot leave anything on themselves or each other alone. When we got their fancy new personalized halters and went out into the pasture to try them on the horses, Moonshine did her best to pull Valentine’s off. (Yet another reason why blankets wouldn’t work out for our horses.)
So they’ll just go around in the buff. Better safe than sorry – which pretty much sums up our horsekeeping doctrine.