Knowing how to tie a horse halter properly will help your horse be more comfortable. It will also give you the confidence you need to properly train the horse in specific tasks. Many horse halters come ready to slip-on over the head of the horse, but they can cost thousands of dollars – which is cash you might not have at all.
This guide will help you be able to tie your own. A knotted horse halter should generally be used with a lead rope only. Here are some notes of caution to consider before you get started.
- Hand-tied halters should not be left on a loose horse.
- Halters that are tied by hand can break loose if the horse is tied up with it.
- Horses that fight with tied halters can experience cuts.
Use with your own personal discretion. If you have any concerns, then use a standard halter instead of a rope halter and speak with your veterinarian about what the best practices for your horse should be.
You’ll need about 20-25 feet of polyester rope that is at least 0.25 inches thick. You will also need to make sure that the ends of the rope have been properly sealed.
How to Tie Knots for a Horse Halter
#1. Take your rope and fold it in half. At the center point, you’ll want to tie a simple overhand knot. Make sure the knot is snug. To the left of this knot, tie another simple overhand knot. You should end up with two knots that are about 11 inches from each other. Adjust if necessary until they are, then tighten them up. Then take the rope and fold it with the two overhand knots together.
#2. Now you tie your fiador knot or a large overhand knot. Take the right side of the rope and loop it over both strands. Then take the same strand and cross it up and over. This will create a second loop that is opposite of the first. Anchor the rope with a finger, then take the same strand of rope and make another loop over and then under the first loop. Pull the rope all the way through and straighten everything out.
#3. Go to the other overhand knot you haven’t addressed yet. Take the strand of rope and put it over the loop and then pull it all the way through. Straight out the loop once again. Then take the end and put it under the first and second loop you made previously, pulling it over the fourth strand of the loop. Now loop it around, taking the end and going over, under, and under the two sections that cross. Then split the bottom two: over the first and under the second. Hold the knot to anchor it while you pull the rope through. Take the end of the strand and go through the center, under the two piece of rope at the top of the loop. Pull to modestly tighten.
#4. Now take the top strands of rope and put them together. The outside bottom loops need to be folded together. Pull upward on the top strands and down on the bottom loops. It’s okay if the bottom loops are not even. Keep pulling up on the strands to tighten. You will want about 7 inches from the middle of one upper loop to the other (the distance between the fiador knot and the overhand knot), so adjust as necessary to get the correct measurement. Each loop should be about 2.5 inches in length.
#5. Now you add a double overhand knot. Take the piece of rope that is furthest away from you and create this knot. Then take the other piece of rope and put the end through the center of the overhead knot.
#6. You will now go up, over, and back under the piece of rope you were just working with. Pull the rope out of the end and then send it through the loop, right through the center of the knot. Pull the strands to tighten everything up. You should have about 7 inches from your double overhand knot and the fiador knot at this point. Loosen up the knots to adjust them if you need to do so in order to get the correct distances.
#7. Now you’re ready to create the tie loop. Take the piece of rope closest to you and tie an overhand knot, followed by a loop knot. Put it through the center of the overhand knot, leaving a loop on the end. Pull the rope until you get a loop that is about two inches in measurement. Then go up and over the overhand knot, bringing it under the knot, then taking the end of the rope and putting it through the center of the loop. It must also go through the knot. Then tighten by pulling on the end and the loop.
#8. You will then need to do your cheek pieces. The cheek pieces should measure about 11 inches from the loop knot to the nose-band knot you previously created. Loosen the knot and take the piece of rope you have so that it can slide through the middle of the knot. You’ll be making another double overhand knot. Cross the rope over and go under the cheek piece. Then take the end and you’ll need to go through the middle of the knot. Pull it to tighten, sliding it up or down to maintain your measurements. Then to straight the halter, pull up on the noseband section and down on the fiador knot. You want them to be even.
#9. Next work on the nose band. Pull the end through the center of your simple overhand knot, creating a double overhand knot. Pull the rope through the center and then go over the top. Take the rope and go under and then pull it through all of the access. Then you must take the end, go through the loop you created, and through the center of your first overhand knot. Tighten it. Then pull on the fiador knot and up on the nose band piece to make sure it is even.
#10. Follow the left cheek instructions to create the right cheek piece.
It takes about 2 weeks to learn how to tie a horse halter on your own using just a rope. Once you get this process down, it will save you a lot of time and money when it comes to being able to train your horse. Give it a try today, start practicing, and you’ll find that this can be a very rewarding skill to develop.