Juliane Dykiel's Horsemanship Blog

Rope Halters – how to choose the right one

By Hadrien Dykiel

The good news about choosing the best rope halter is that it is difficult to go wrong. I have several different rope halters, and they all get the job done. The most important factor is its size. If it does not fit your horse, you can’t use it… everything else is just details.

Rope Halter Size
I use size “regular” on almost all horses: Thoroughbreds, Haflingers, Morgans, and even Arabs sometimes. I would recommend this size to anyone buying a halter who wants to use it on several horses.

Rope Halter

Regular Rope Halter on Firefly, a Haflinger

The other sizes are pretty self-explanatory. If you have a pony or miniature, go with the smaller sizes. If your warmblood has a large head, or if you have a big draft, get the next size up from regular.

The advantage to rope halters is that they are uncomfortable to lean on. So, when your horse is pulling against it, it discourages them from doing so. The thinner the rope, the harsher it is. Think of thicker rope as a butter knife and the thinner rope as a steak knife. The smaller it is, the stronger it gets.

There are also different types of ropes: stiff vs. soft. The stiff rope is harsher than the soft. I’ve also noticed that stiff rope halters do not get tangled as easily, the stiff rope holds its shape better.

Rope Halter Features

Rope Halter

Rope Halter with a Twisted Top & 4 Knots

Rope halters often come with 2 extra knots on the noseband. These knots are placed on pressure points to make it more uncomfortable for horses to lean on. AllHorseStuff also carries rope halters with twisted rope, which has the same effect. To keep things simple, just remember that the more extra features on a rope halter, like knots and twisted rope, the stronger it will be.

Which Halter Should You Get?
There are a lot of options, but just remember that a rope halter is as strong as how you use it. Keeping that in mind, here are two extreme examples of which halter you should choose:

If you are a tiny person with a huge horse that is really pushy, I would get a rope halter with stiff/thin rope, 4 knots, and a twisted crown piece.

If you are a strong person with an easy-going horse, I would go with a soft rope halter with 2 knots only.

Check out our rope halters at our store and please feel free to ask us any questions at


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6 thoughts on “Rope Halters – how to choose the right one

  1. Pingback: Rope Halters - preference on regular rope or thin rope?

  2. I think the information on the thickness of the rope and the number and placement of knots is very useful. It provides important guidance for people who may not want to be placing pressure or ‘disciplining’ their horses unwittingly. Sometimes people buy the wrong thing by mistake. Thanks for a very good blog!

  3. Thanks Tanya! Do you have a preference between thin rope or standard rope? I’ve been trying to figure out if we should make the thin 5mm rope available on the store. I like the way the halters come out with the thin rope, it gives them a nice low profile look. It does make them harsher though…

    • I always work on the basis that there are more inexperienced riders than not and that the well being of the horse should come first. I would go with standard rope. If people want to handle their horses better they should learn how to use their rope halter more effectively first, as well as put into place basic training, before moving onto a thinner rope. You may want to consider a link to your blog with some basic instructions on how to use the halter – how to lead a horse properly; how to make sure it doesn’t walk into your space etc. That way you will get the best use out of your halter and happy horses and horse handlers.

  4. can you leave rope halters on in the paddock?

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