My work on the NIGHTWATCH project has come to light, and is now in the final stages of certification and testing before launch this Fall. Because of this project, many people have asked me "Isn't it dangerous to leave a halter on a horse unsupervised? Is the halter ‘break away’? Don't you know that horses can get hung-up in their halter in a stall or on a fence?”
Well, here is your qualified and educated answer to all of these good questions. However, I wish to first ask you all a question. Is your horse wearing a leather or a nylon halter? Your response will give you two entirely different answers. They are set out below.
Q: Isn't it dangerous to leave a halter on a horse unsupervised? Q: Can't horses get hung-up in halters in the stall? Q: Isn't it very dangerous for a horse to wear a halter in the stall?
The answer is NO if your horse is wearing a leather halter. As you all know, leather is a natural material, normally cowhide, that will break under stress and tear under pressure. Leather also stretches and gives, and is form fitting. I might also add that not all parts of a leather halter have the same tensile strength, which is why we only use certain parts of the hide for our halters. Leather is unlike any other manmade material against a horse’s skin as it wears like skin against skin. Halters are prone to break at the crown or buckle pieces when under stress or pressure. They have been designed to do so for 1000's of years and continue to do it today. Most leather halters break between 500-650 pounds of force. It doesn't take much for your 1,200 pound steed to snap a leather halter. These facts actually qualify all leather halters as "break away". I am sure you have all taken your fair share of leather halters to the shop for repair to prove the above statement.
Now let's talk about nylon or other manmade material halters. The answer to all of the above questions are YES! Nylon, as a manmade material, is extremely strong and durable. It hardly ever wears out and can negatively work against a horse’s skin (like sandpaper) if dirty. Nylon is extremely difficult to break, although it is possible to shear hole-to-hole under great stress. Its tensile strength is consistent across all pieces as nylon is a manmade material. It does not change in strength as it wraps around buckles and rings. This makes nylon very strong and increases the tensile strength to more than 3x that of leather.
Horses are more comfortable in leather and always have been. Leaving a well maintained and conditioned leather halter on a horse 24/7 or overnight would never alarm me as a horse person and maker of horse equipment. Leaving a nylon halter on a horse always causes me concern as I am astutely aware of our great friends' care, welfare, and quality of life.
Have fun and be safe,