Horse Breeds at

Make A Breakaway Halter

A must-have safety measure.

By Sue Weaver | 11/25/2002

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During turnouts, it's best to remove your horse's halter—halters can get hung up on fencing, trees, et cetera, leading to potential injury.  However, if your horse is hard to catch when turned out, you may need to leave a breakaway halter on him. Commercial models incorporating leather crownpieces, hook and loop fasteners, and thin leather "fuses" are readily available, but you can also make breakaway inserts for halters yourself.

Remove the crownpiece buckle from a junk halter the same width as the one you're using to craft a breakaway for. Find a scrap of buckskin or thin, soft leather cut from a worn out purse, boot or coat. Cut a strip of leather the same width as the halter and 8 inches long. With a leather punch, punch a single hole in the center of the strip, 3 1/2 inches from one end (figure A). Double the leather strip so the hole is centered at the fold, and feed the salvaged buckle through that hole, shorter end up (figure B).

One inch below the first hole, punch two more holes about 1/4 inch apart.
Thread a thin leather thong up through both holes and tie a simple overhand knot. Trim the thong, then punch another hole 3/4 inch below that. It's finished (figure C).

To use it, buckle the crownpiece strap of a regular nylon or leather halter into the insert's buckle, then the insert's twin tongues into the regular halter's buckle.

Remove the insert before tying your horse: it'll pop in an instant if he spooks or leans back. But always reinsert it before turning your horse out. Breakaway inserts save horses' lives.

The author keeps a herd of horses on her Arkansas farm.

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Reader Comments

Marilyn    Madison, GA

6/20/2012 7:51:43 AM

Hi have just read your blog and would love to make one of these as my horse last week damaged her poll whilst in her grazing muzzle and was in quite a lot of discomfort for a week. The problem is the grazing muzzle has to be kept on her to stop laminitis and the head collar needs to be tight to stop her getting it off. Do you have a diagram of making the head collar I would really appreciate it as well as any other suggestions. Thanks

merrill    logan, UT

6/16/2012 7:27:39 PM

In reading your article on breakaway halters by Sue Weaver, you show that there are illustrations on making the breakaway halter. How ever there are no illustrations. Would it be possible you could send me the illustrated article? I like the article.
Thank You

PKL    Somewhere, WY

1/10/2012 8:09:21 PM

I have a horse, that I care for, who is hard to catch. I just use an old halter, and replaced on strap with a leather thong, which I know will break if he gets it tangled on something.

Katie    Oakland, CA

10/11/2011 9:42:18 PM

Great information, Thanks!

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