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Rope halters

Rope halters are popular with horse people, because they're super strong with no hardware to break and no stitching or eyelet's to tear. They're economical can be made quickly and there's a wide range of rope colours and rope types to choose from.

Figure 1

The halter in Figure 1 (above) is made by tying overhand knots, which are shown in more detail in Figure 2. An overhand knot is the same knot you tie in a shoelace. Tie the knots at the correct intervals on the length of rope, then go back and tie intertwining overhand knots on the original knots. The resulting double overhand or blood knot, delineates the parts of the halter.

Figure 2:-

Figure 2:-

A simple overhand knot, the foundation of the rope halter..

Select rope for your halter that's strong, as well as stiff enough to help the halter hold its shape. With a tensile strength of 2000 pounds per square inch. 1/4-inch-diameter Perlan Accessory Cord. shown in Figure 1. works well. This rope has a nylon core with a woven nylon sheath. It comes in many colours and holds its shape well you can find it at sporting goods stores.

Another good rope is the economical 3/8-inch-diameter twisted poly rope. The rope is rated from 1.700 to - 3.000 pounds, and can usually be found at a hardware store.

To make a rope halter follow these steps:
  1. Start with a 21-foot length of rope. Melt the ends over a flame, or tape them to prevent unravelling, no other tools or equipment are needed. Construction begins at the long end that goes over the horse's head, proceeds through the parts of the halter, then returns to end at the same place, resulting in the double length of rope over the poll that is used to fasten the halter.

Figure 3:-  Begin the halter by tying overhand knots using the spacings below. All measurements are from the middle of each knot.

  1. Using the spacing shown in Figure 3 (above) tie the offside cheek piece overhand knot (Knot 1) and the one that goes under the jaw (Knot 2). Tie all knots tight enough to stay in place and keep the spacing correct, leave knots a little loose so they can be moved if necessary.
  2. Now make the loop where the lead rope attaches, and tie that overhand knot (Knot 3) using two strands together.
Figure 4:-

Knot 5
2nd noseband knot, 10 inches from 1st noseband knot. 9 inches from lead rope knot.

 

 

Knot 6
Knot making loop to fasten halter, 8 1/2 inches from knot 2.

Figure 4:-  After making the noseband knots, the lead rope loop overhand knot must be retied, using four strands of rope. The loop will now be smaller (approximately 3 to 3 1/2 inches), as additional rope was allowed in the initial measurements to compensate for tying the larger knot using four strands.
  1. Tie the nose band knots (4 and 5) using the spacing in Figure 4.
  2. Return to the loop where the lead rope attaches and untie the knot (Knot 3) tied earlier. Make the loop and tie again, using four strands this time. The loop will now be only 3 to 31/2 inches long, because of the additional rope used to tie the larger knot. Check the spacing between knots frequently, adjusting as necessary to retain the correct proportions and measurements for the halter.
  3. Now return to the overhand knot under the jaw (Knot 2) and tie a double overhand knot. The second knot is made inside the first and the rope passes out the middle of the first knot on the same side as the rope leaving the original knot. The second knot is opposite from the first, while it's upside down (see Figure 8) but if it's turned in the same position as the first one. you'll find them identical. Tighten both knots for the resulting double overhand knot (Figure 9). You may need to move the strands around to overlap more squarely before the knot lies flat.

Figure 5:-

Figure 5:- Begin the double overhand knot by loosening the first overhand knot and running the rope through the middle of it, ensuring that it passes on the same side of the loop as the rope leaving the original knot.

Here's how:

  • Loosen the original overhand knot and run the end of the rope containing no knots through the middle of it, passing on the same side of the loop as the rope used to tie the original knot (see Figure 5).
  • Tie another overhand knot intertwining the first, as shown in Figures 6 and 7.
  • Pay close attention to how the second overhand knot is tied upside down with the loop formed by the second knot passing over the top of the first knot.

Figure 6:- 

Figure 6:- The end of the rope is taken over the top of the existing overhand knot and down behind the other two strands. If your rope enters from the other end of the overhand knot, just remember to pass it through the same way as the rope entering the original knot, then loop the rope over the top of the existing knot.
Figure 7:- 
Figure 7. The end of the rope is then looped over the rope that was fed through the first overhand knot to make the second overhand knot. Feed the end of the rope out through the centre of the first knot, passing on the same side of the loop as the rope leaving the original knot.
Figure 8:-

Figure 8. Align the two overhand knots under each other and tighten. Make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure the correct spacing for the halter.
Figure 9:-

Figure 9. The final knot should look like this. Even though the overhand knots might be properly tied, you might need to rearrange the strands slightly for the knot to for- properly when tightened.
  1. Next make Knot 6 using the spacing in Figure 4, and return the end of the rope back through Knot 6 to make the loop for fastening the halter (Figure 10). Make the double overhand knot as explained above to complete the loop (Figure 11).
  2. Return to the noseband and complete those double overhand knots (knots 4 & 5) using the spacing in figure 12. Make sure that the rope doesn't get twisted or tangled up in other parts of the halter.
  3. Finish the offside cheek piece double overhand knot (knot 1)
  4. Even the remaining ends of rope by cutting only the longest end. Then melt the ends together, or tie a small overhand knot to keep these together.
Figure 10:-

Loop for fastening halter loop is 3 1/2 inches long

Figure 10. Make an overhand knot, then run the end of the rope back through it, forming a loop. Now make another overhand knot inside the first to form the final knot, and the loop for fastening the halter.
Figure 11:-

Knot 6     Loop for fastening halter 

Figure 11. The finished loop, for fastening the halter on the near side, should look like this.
Figure 12:-
Figure 12. The rope halter takes shape after tying the double overhand knots.
Using your NEW rope halter:
When using your new rope halter, fasten it as shown below by tying a half-hitch to the loop end. If the half-hitch is made on the rope going over the poll, it can come untied when pressure is exerted on the halter. Attach the lead rope to the halter by a non-slip knot and you will eliminate any chance of breakage.
For little investment and a minimum amount of time you have made a sturdy and serviceable piece of equipment.

 

© 2004 Ponyclub Victoria