A few months ago Stella's leather turnout halter finally kicked the bucket during a trailer loading moment. The leather simply fell apart with one good tug on the leadrope and I was left with a loose horse, luckily at home! An important reminder to check your tack on a regular basis for signs of wear and tear. Also, always care a spare halter on your trailer! I can't say I was super surprised, she has worn it daily for turnout in all sorts of weather for at least two years, and Annie wore it before that (sniff).
While I'm fine with Nylon halters I like the look of a leather halter more, and there are literally hundreds of options such as this stunning twisted leather Premiera Vienna halter from 20X60 tack for a quick $119.95. A stunning show halter no doubt, but not something I ever want to see rolling around in the mud or the rain or pretty much anywhere near my filthy beast.
I finally settled on the Padded Leather Horse Halter and Lead from Big Dee's. On sale for just $39. It looked decent in the videos, and satisfied my need for a padded leather halter that was nice enough it could go to lessons but not so nice I'd feel queasy letting her get turned out in it. I chose padding because sometimes she gets rubs in the summer when she sheds, and I also wanted a throat snap and double buckle crown for ease of removal and adjustment.
Big Dee's even has a handy little Youtube video demonstrating its qualities. I looked at a few more halters in the same range that came with name plates, but I've never had good luck with nameplates surviving regular wear. As a bonus this came with a free matching show shank, something I had vaguely considered buying at some point just in case I felt Stella had a chance at being a halter horse. Snicker.
Overall I was pleased with the quality of the halter. It isn't something I'd parade around at an A show in, but it has good quality leather, is highly adjustable, and there were enough measurements to determine size. The padding is nice and soft and seems to be protecting Stella's face during the break in period. The leather is sturdy enough you don't feel like it's going to snap when you have to knock some sense into a frisky horse, but soft enough it isn't causing sores.
Here's the halter after a solid week out in the rain and mud. I think the cob size is average, I'm picky about my halters and I like them to sit on the first or second hole on either side of the crown. If it's done all the way up it's too big.
Please excuse the mare face.
close up of the workmanship and some mud!
The lead shank is OK for local open shows. It's a nice color, and has a 24 inch long chain, but the leather is covered in a thin plasticy type layer, and where it sat wrapped up in the store you can feel bubbles where the surface has started to separate. I'll keep it around for when I decide Stella has a career as a halter horse.
What do you like for a turnout halter and how much do you like to spend?