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Knot List: Halter Hitch ‐ Step-by-Step

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Halter Hitch Tying

Start with a safety Baling-String loop. Pass the rope through the string loop, across in front, and then behind both strands to form a Rope-Loop. Pass a Bight through the Rope-Loop to make the Knot. For security pass the tailend through the Bight.

Halter Hitch Details

Origin: This hitch is very widely used and Ashley describes the Halter Hitch three times (ABOK #243 p 44, #1804 p 305 and #1826, p 308). He writes: "Horses are hitched with this knot the world over. The end is stuck loosely through the loop, which is not tightened. The knot is easily slipped after removing the end from the loop."

Pictures of Noose Knot
Noose Knot

Noose Knot

Comparison: Although this may not be obvious, the knot is actually a Noose Knot tied with a bight for quick-release, i.e., it is "slipped".

Safety: The Halter Hitch should be used with the appropriate precautions. Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne wrote the following article (quoted by permission of the Publisher):

It's fast and easy to tie, but the true value of the quick release knot lies in its ability to be quickly and easily untied in the event of an emergency. If a tied horse panics and pulls back on the rope, a single tug on the end of the lead will free him.

The quick release knot's ability to provide an emergency exit is the reason it is valued as the knot of choice for safely tying horses.

Horses should be secured at withers-level or slightly higher to a sturdy, fixed object, such as a fence post (never a fence rail), tree, hitching rail, or tie-ring screwed into the wall. The lead rope should be tied to allow just enough slack that the horse can hold his head normally, but not so loose that he is able to lower his head to the point that he could potentially get his leg over the rope. Two to three feet of lead rope is about right for most horses, and ponies should be tied shorter.

Safety String

As an added safety precaution to ensure a foolproof breakaway for your horse in an emergency, secure your horse to a safety string created by tying a loop of baling twine around the post or through the ring.

Other Quick Release Hitches: We describe many other Quick-Release Hitches several of which share the same property of releasing completely when the end is pulled.

Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.

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