A Preliminary investigation into the effectiveness of different halter types used on horses

Belinda J McDonald, Amanda Warren-Smith

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


A preliminary investigation into the effectiveness of different halter types used on horsesBelinda J. McDonald and Amanda K. Warren-Smith* Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW, Australia*Corresponding author: PO Box 883, Orange 2800, NSW, Australia. E-mail: awarrensmith@csu.edu.auAbstract The success of interactions between humans and horses is determined by the effectiveness of the communication from handler to horse. Many pieces of equipment are used to manually communicate with horses. One example is the halter which may also be referred to as a headstall or headcollar, of which there are two main types, the web halter and the rope halter. Anecdotally, there is debate as to which halter type is the most effective for both communicating to, and controlling horses. Given that halters are the main form of horse control in unridden activities, it is important to establish the effectiveness of each type when used for training purposes. In the current study, horses (n=10) were paired for breed, age and sex and one from each pair placed into Group 1 (web halter) and the other from each pair placed into Group 2 (rope halter). Each horse was led a 10 m distance on 5 consecutive occasions with a 30 s rest between each occasion. The behavioural responses (resist, anticipate, head up, slow to respond, look away) exhibited by each horse as well as the times taken for each horse to respond to the leading stimulus and to complete the 10 m distance were recorded and analysed using one-way ANOVA. The same handler was used for all leading. There was no difference between the groups for the time taken to lead forward, although there was a trend for the horses wearing the rope halter to complete the distance in less time than those wearing the web halter (P=0.079). There were insufficient behavioural responses exhibited for reliable analysis. While the results show that there was no difference between the two halter types, the low number of horses usthis trial may have confounded the results. Likewise, the use of experienced horses may not have allowed the effectiveness of each halter to be fully evaluated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISES
EditorsJack Murphy
Place of PublicationWexford
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventInternational Equitation Science Conference - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 01 Aug 200804 Aug 2008


ConferenceInternational Equitation Science Conference


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