Hunter Green halter - Arab sized
I liked the halter and thought it looked really good on Ashke's head. J was less impressed but mostly because of the color and my desire to have everything matchy-matchy. I purchased a cotton rope lead rope at the Expo that matched the color of the halter and decided I would use it but store it in my tack box, leaving the beat up, faded blue one for the barn to use. And I haven't rushed out and purchased a bunch of green gear, although I've wanted to.
So the 19th of March, I stole the truck from J, hooked up the trailer by myself and hauled Ashke to Circle Star Arena to work cattle for a couple of hours. When Circle Star hosts events, we park in the pasture, with a solid fence between us and the road, which has a lot of fast traffic and big trucks that whizz by. When it's just a few of us, as it was that day, it's easier to park in the gravel lot at the end of the dressage arena. I was the first one there and parked as close to the edge of the dressage arena as I could, but we were still twenty yards from the road, with a partial fence between the trailer and the traffic. I got Ashke out, got him settled with his bucket and started tacking him up.
I always ride in the Alta Escuela and when I go to put it on him, I usually have the girth hanging over the seat of the saddle. I have short billets and the girth is jumper long. On that Sunday, it was over cast and blowing in the 10 - 15 mile an hour zone. I hadn't had a chance to work Ashke since the Expo, which had been more than a week prior (traveling for work). The combination of those two things made him a bit antsy. As I was trying to adjust the saddle pad and the saddle, I must have lifted the flap on the saddle too high and the girth slipped out and hit the ground next to Ashke's front leg.
He startled, spooked sideways about six inches while giving the girth the death stare, and managed to dump the saddle off his back. At that point, he spooked and pulled back.
This is not a horse that pulls back very often, but he is still a horse. And on that day he was pretty spooky (in fact the saddle hitting the ground made such an impression, we had issues with lifting the saddle onto his back from his right side for a couple of weeks - he was pretty sure it was going to eat him). He sat back one time, fairly hard, but without any of the thrashing side to side or butt almost on the ground behavior you might expect from a younger or more volatile animal. It was one hard spook.
Imagine my surprise when suddenly he was free. Twenty yards from a dangerous road and a blind hill. I couldn't process what had happened. I thought maybe I hadn't secured the halter correctly. I watched in horror as he trotted off. Thank all of the Gods that he headed into the property at a trot, rather than heading for the road. Uncle Daniel and his horde of Indian angels were riding flank that day. I had nothing but the lead rope and a bucket to entice him back to me and although he is usually a dream to catch, the day was going bad enough that I was worried he would consider this a game and decide to play. I didn't have a back up halter, which I usually do in the trailer, but I had emptied the trailer of all extraneous stuff for the Expo and hadn't moved it back in yet.
As I walked around the end of the trailer, carrying the bucket in one hand and my lead rope in the other, Ashke spotted the cows and headed toward them. That meant he was boxed into a 20 x 20 arena and I had a really good chance of getting a rope on him before he decided he really wanted to play Spirit, Wild Stallion of the Cimmarron. Thankfully, the BO of Circle Star had seen him running loose and had come out of the house. I asked her if I could borrow a halter and she headed to the barn to get me one. Ashke let me walk right up to him, throw the rope around his neck and lead him into the arena, where if he freaked out and got away from me, he couldn't go very far.
This is what the halter looked like:
As you can see the crown piece of the halter ripped through.
An up close look at what ripped out.
It tore out right along the seam.
I do not believe that the break away halter I got at Expo a year ago would have broken, because I don't believe that Ashke pulled back hard enough to tear apart the leather crown piece. I think this is a defect in the material used.
I reached out to Two Horse Tack (the woman who had contacted me about reviewing the product) and told her what had happened. I got back an email that 'splained all of the ways in which I could make sure, going forward, that Ashke did not break another halter. Her offer to replace the crown piece was at the very end of the email, and after the lecture, I read the offer as being given grudgingly.
I didn't get another crown piece. Honestly, I would never trust it to hold him again, and let's face it, halters are designed for one thing. I went out and purchased a web halter in the same color green (slowly but surely, I will win the matchy-matchy war) and have been using it when I have him out. This was the second time I got something from THT. I still have the bridle and breastcollar I ordered from them in 2013, but would probably not spend the money for more gear. I certainly would not tied Ashke in a halter they made.