Horseriding is an activity that has roots deep within human history. Our relationship with horses has been strong ever since our ancestors domesticated the first horses around 8 thousand years ago, setting a precedent that will lead to a blooming relationship through the years, and a mutually beneficial one at that.
Horses are some of the most gentle creatures in the world, even though they’re very powerful and full of personality. Horseback riding has developed from a necessity that allowed people to get from point A to point B faster to a fun activity that many people practice nowadays. It has even become a sport!
If you enjoy horseback riding and caring for horses, you should know that having the right halter is very important when it comes to their control and safety. The two most commonly used horse halters are nylon and leather – both have their distinct features and advantages.
For good control and an overall pleasant experience, the halter needs to endure both the horse and its power. Furthermore, it needs to be weatherproof and long-lasting.
Leather-made halters are one of the oldest halters around. In the past, materials like nylon didn’t really exist, so everything was made from things that could be found in nature. This means that leather halters have a rich history and have greatly developed over the years. On the other hand, nylon halters may be newer, but technology has greatly evolved, and today these units are also hard-wearing and very durable.
Even though leather halters are easier to break, they’re also much easier to fix, allowing you to basically recycle the halter and avoid spending money on a new one. Nylon halters are harder to break, but once they do, they can not be easily repaired, which means you’d have to buy a new one. Still, as they are tougher than leather halters, I feel like nylon halters are the winner in the endurance category.
This category is an important one, and for reasons that don’t really need explaining, but we’re going to go over them anyway. The primary reason for having a horse halter is the ability to keep your horse in check, whether while riding them, walking them, or doing any other activity.
We spoke of endurance and how easy it is to break both a leather and a nylon horse halter, so you may feel like this category is basically done with, but that isn’t quite true. Even though leather halters are far easier to break that might actually be a good thing, especially if you have a horse in training or a young horse that has a bit more temperament and likes to explore and experiment.
We know that horses have great power within them and they’re also able to run fairly fast, so having a halter that is easy to break might be useful in certain situations. Imagine your horse got stuck in something because of their halter. Having a halter that’s easy to break and set them free will actually prove to be much safer than having one that won’t break no matter how hard they pull.
A hard-to-break halter may expose them to body injuries, as horses do spook a bit easier and panic, so you can see how a softer halter may be a smarter choice. It will allow them to free themselves and avoid getting injured. However, the risk of them getting lost is still present if you’re outside of the safety of a ranch.
That’s why, even though I’d deem leather horse halters safer, I’d still recommend them being used only by experienced equestrians and hostlers. Everybody else should either be extremely cautious or work with well-trained horses only.
This one is a no-brainer, really. Nylon wins this category and I can say it comfortably from the get-go. Nylon halters can come in various designs, colours, braid patterns, and so on, making them extremely diverse. On the other hand, leather halters are usually very plain, following a similar pattern of manufacturing and colour. Even though they have been around for much longer, leather halters are still virtually the same as they were years ago, as there really is so much you can do with leather items, especially a leather horse halter.
Because of their diversity, nylon halters make the horse way easier to spot if it gets lost or is on a ranch with many other horses. Leather halters are harder to differentiate as they usually get mixed with the horse’s natural colour, making them difficult to spot. Still, for more professional equestrians, a leather halter is recommended, as they maintain that serious and sleek look, so it really depends on the situation.
The halter you will choose will depend on your experience and the specific situation you’re in. This comparison we just went through is more of a pointer and serves to aid you in evaluating yourself and your skills and deciding which halter you think is best based on those suggestions.
Both leather and nylon halters are great choices but only if you know what you’re doing. So, make sure to think things through thoroughly and make an informed and smart decision based on that.
It’s important to note that no matter which option you choose to go for, the halter you buy must be quality-made, as only then is this comparison actually applicable. It’s always best for all your horse items and products to be quality-made, not just the halters, so find a retailer you can trust and always buy from them.