"Afrer watching Richard's video I finally managed to put together a rope halter. Have you ever tried to follow a written description? It never worked for me, so the step-by-step visual instruction Richard offers helped me figuring out the knots. It is quite easy! Thank you for putting the CD together and supporting FRDI at the same time!"
Gisela Rhodes, Executive Director FRDI
A Conversation with Zane Ward, Master Farrier
Zane is New Zealand’s oldest Master Farrier, still doing every day what he loves working with horses.
Richard: Well Zane, with your age and experience, you must have seen a lot of changes with horses and their gear over the years. What is your view about rope halters, from your experience?
Zane: You’re right, Richard, a lot of things have come and gone over the years, but the rope halter must be one of the oldest pieces of tack around for horses, and they are still going strong, so that must count for something.
Richard: Yes, from the moment man domesticated horses up until today, rope halters have been, and still are, in use. Why do you think that rope halters have remained so popular over thousands of years?
Zane: Well, they are cheap and easy to make, regardless of whether you use it for your horse, goat or camel! But there is more to it than that, a properly tied rope halter gives you better contact with and control over, your horse, and that’s the trick to it. The knots in the halter have to be placed exactly right to achieve this, then you are able to use them as specific pressure points on the horse to help you control him. You see a lot about natural horsemanship these days and this is the preferred method and halter to use for this, and also best for training young horses.
Richard: So you say the placement of the knots is critical to get the benefits out of a rope halter?
Zane: Exactly. I see many people using a rope halter that they have bought, and it’s either too large or too small for their horse and therefore they don’t get the benefits out of it. If I tell them that they should adjust the knots then they usually don’t know how, and that is a shame. It’s like driving your car in first gear and not knowing how to use any of the others; if you use a rope halter then you should really learn how to tie or alter the knots yourself, and you should know that regardless of whether you buy one off the shelf or make it yourself.
Richard: Well, Zane, that sums it up quite nicely: cheap, easy and great control over your horse. Any downsides that you can think of?
Zane: Bad points, yeah. Always use your common sense. Rope halters are extremely strong, so don’t let your horse loose with one on; it won’t snap or break off if he gets stuck and starts pulling it. So...always remove the halter before you set your horse free. The same counts for tying your horse up: be aware that he can‘t break free from the halter!
Zane: Oh, and just a hint...if you tie your halter from new rope it will shrink and won’t fit any more. Better to soak your rope first..and let it shrink before you start. And then, be prepared to spend lots of time showing other people how to tie one...there are not many people who know how nowadays, and it seems they all want you to teach them how!
Richard: Yeah, I found that out myself, but I enjoyed showing it to the younger people! Thanks for your time, Zane.
Zane: My pleasure, Richard. Glad to be involved...it’s a skill worth learning and the best way to do that is to have someone show you how...and this DVD is doing exactly that. A job well done!
Richard: Thanks, Zane, that means a lot to me, coming from you.