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Soft Halter


Soft Halter

 
Description:   The Soft Halter features Square Knot straps connected to knotted loops on the pieces that rest on the horse's cheeks.  The metal rings typically found on halters for horses have been replaced by these loops, making it a lot softer. All of the pieces in this custom halter are movable, so it's more flexible, too.  You have the option of adding a metal ring to attach a lead to the harness.

Since each horse needs a specific size, you must make careful measurements of your horse's head prior to starting.  You can also get your measurements from a halter you are now using.  

The material used in the example is Parachute cord (nylon), which can be finished off by melting the tips with a flame.  This material is by far the best for this project, although other materials will work as well.  When using material that cannot be melted, you will need to tie finishing knots or rely on glue.

This Macrame pattern is rated Easy, but make sure you understand the various parts of a halter.  A diagram has been provided.
 


Supplies Needed:
  • 550 Parachute Cord (amount depends on size -- see preparation)
  • One 1.5-inch ring (optional)
  • Flexible Measuring Tape
  • Project Board and Pins
  • Lighter
  • Glue that dries clear
  • Masking Tape


Knots Used: 




Preparation/Measurements


The most important step for creating the Soft Halter is to make accurate measurements. 

You must determine the length of all eight straps separately, by either measuring your horse's head, or a halter currently in use.  Write the measurements down on paper, since you will need to refer to them as you create the pieces.

To determine the total amount of material for this project, do the calculations as described below, then add them all together.  


Diagram

Below you will measure for the length of each strap shown on this image, then follow the cutting instructions.    Keep each set of cords separate, by placing them in plastic bags.

Prepare the tips of all the cords with masking tape, to prevent unraveling.  When using Parachute Cord to make the Soft Halter, melt the tips with a flame.



Cheek Straps x 2:  Measure along the sides of the horse's head, in the area where you want the sides of the Soft Halter to rest. The two loops will be part of this measurement.

  • Cut 4 cords, the measured length x 12 


Short Crown Strap:  This piece is a 6-inch strap, which has a loop that's used as a clasp.  The ends from the Long Crown Strap are passed through the clasp to secure the halter.
  • Cut 1 cord, 72 inches long
  • Cut 1 cord, 30 inches long


Long Crown Strap:  Measure from one cheek over the head to the other cheek, then subtract 6 inches
  • Cut 2 cords, 6 x the result + 36 inches
  • Cut 2 cords, 1 x the result + 36 inches


Throat Strap:  Measure from one cheek under the throat to the other cheek.

  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length x 6
  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length + 12 inches


Nose Strap:
  Measure across the top of the horse's nose, from one cheek to the other.
  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length x 6
  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length + 12 inches


Chin Strap:  Measure from one cheek to the other, under the mouth.  This will be similar in size to the Nose Strap.

  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length x 6
  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length + 12 inches


Connector Strap:  Measure from where you think the Throat Strap will rest, down to where the Chin Strap will rest.

  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length x 6
  • Cut 2 cords, the measured length + 12 inches




Cheek Straps


The Cheek Straps for the Soft Halter begin and end with loops made with Larks Head Knots. 

They are approximately 1.5 inches in size, which allows the other straps to move around a bit.  You can alter the size if necessary.
 
 
Loop 1

Step 1: Secure two cords cut for the Cheek Straps to your board, matching the centers.  The long working cord should be on the right.

Make a loop with the working cord, over - under the holding cord, rotating clockwise.  As you pull it right, pass over the working cord.  This loop should rest against the pin at the center when tightened.



Loop 2

Step 1, continued: Make a second clockwise loop with the working cord, passing under - over the holding cord.

As you pull it right, pass under the working cord.  Pull firmly to tighten the Larks Head knot.




Step 2:  Repeat step 1, tying enough knots so the sennit is 1.5 inches long.

This size can be changed if you wish, but it should be at least 1-inch in length.



4 Knots

Step 3:  Rotate the entire sennit around on your board. The working cord will be on the left.

Starting at the center, tie the same number of knots as in steps 1 - 2.  The only change is that the loops are made counter-clockwise.



Ring

Step 4:  Form the ring by bringing all four ends together. 

Tie a tight Square Knot with the working cords, with the holding cords as the fillers.



Band

Step 5:  Subtract 3 inches from the total length you measured for the Cheek Strap.  The result is the length you should make the following sennit.

Tie additional Square Knots, measuring as you progress, until the sennit is the length you just calculated.  Do not include the loop when you measure. 



Design Tip:  Always push the knots close together as you progress, especially if you are using Nylon Parachute cord to make the Soft Halter. 

Gaps will cause the knots to separate and loosen over time.



Divide

Step 6:  To make the second loop, divide the cords into two pairs, each with one working and one holding cord (filler). 

Repeat steps 1 - 2, tying Larks Head knots with the two cords on the right.  Tie the same number of knots as you did for the first loop.

The knots should be made clockwise.  



Detail

Tie the same number of knots with the two cords on the left.

Make the knots in a counter-clockwise direction.



Switch

Step 8:  Move the working cords under the holding cords, so they switch places. 

Use the HOLDING cords to tie a Square knot, with the previous working cords as the fillers.  This will close the loop.

Tighten it as much as possible, adding glue inside the knot.



Back

Step 9:  Turn over the Cheek Strap so you are working in the back

Pull the four ends through spaces in the area, working them under the back of the knots. 

Apply plenty of glue to hold them in place.  (See finishing information below)



Finishing Information:   The finishing method depends on the type of material you are using to make the Soft Halter.  

For Parachute cord (nylon), the best method is to start by applying glue.  When it's dry, cut the excess down to 1/4-inch, and apply a flame to the tips.  Melt the material so it adheres to the back of the knots in the area.

Bonnie Braid and similar materials can sometimes be melted in the same manner. TEST the material first by applying a flame to a small piece of scrap cord.  Do not use this method if the material burns rather than melts.


Natural materials
like Jute or Cotton cannot be melted, so you need to rely on the glue alone, or tie finishing knots. 



Step 10:  Repeat steps 1 - 9 to make the second Cheek Strap for the Soft Halter.




Crown Straps


Step 11: The next part you will make for the Soft Halter is the Short Crown Strap, which is 6 inches long.   Arrange the two cords on your board vertically, with the long working cord on the right.

Repeat Steps 1 - 4 to make a 1.5-inch loop that will be used as a clasp.  Place it on your board vertically, as shown in the image below. 

Arrange the Right Cheek Strap horizontally, so the first loop (steps 1 - 4) is in front of you, with the second loop to your left.   Stand it upright on one edge, which is considered the bottom.  Place pins behind it for support. 

Important:  Make sure the front is facing you, NOT the side where you finished off the cords, which is the back.



Attach

Pass the holding cords (short) from the Crown Strap through the loop on the Cheek Strap (front to back). 

Bring them back up towards the Crown Strap, so they surround the top portion of the loop.

Adjust the position of the Crown Strap so the Square knot is 4 3/4 inches from the Cheek Strap.
 


Band

Step 12:  Use the working cords to tie a 4-inch sennit of Square Knots (Crown Strap).   Make sure they go around all four segments of the short cord, which are the fillers.

Push the knots close together as you progress.



Small Space

Step 13: Tie another 1/2-inch of SK, so you leave a 1/4-inch space between the last one and the Cheek Strap. This will allow the Crown Strap to move. 

Test it by moving it side to side.  You can remove or add knots as needed, depending on how much movement you would like to have in this area.



Back

Turn over both pieces, so you are working in the back

Pass the working cords from the Crown Strap under a loop from one or more of the SK in the area.   Apply glue to hold it in place.

Finish off the ends of the working cords and fillers as you did in step 9.




Now it's time to create and attach the Long Crown Strap.  It doesn't have a loop, so the process is a little different.

All the remaining pieces for the Soft Halter are made in a similar fashion.

Step 14:  Arrange the four cords vertically on your board, with the short cords between the long ones.   Place pins on the cords at the center, which is where the sennit starts.



Center

Tie a SK with the long working cords around the short ones (fillers).  When you tighten the first knot, make sure it rests against the pins.

Take a look at the measurement you wrote down for the Long Crown Strap.  Divide that measurement in half and subtract 2 inches.



Turn

Step 15: Tie additional Square Knots until the sennit is the size you just calculated.  Remember to push the knots close together as you progress.

Rotate the entire sennit around on your board to work on the second half.



Second Half

Step 16: Tie the second half of a Square Knot with the other half of the cords, placing it at the center.

Continue on, tying the same number of SK as you did in the first half.



Step 17: Measure the entire sennit to make sure it's 2 inches shorter than the length you need.  Add or subtract knots as needed.

Look at both ends of the Crown Strap to see which has the shortest cords coming from it.   That end should be arranged vertically in front of you.

Place the Left Cheek Strap near the Crown Strap, arranged horizontally, so the first loop is in front of you.  The second loop should be to your right (see arrows on image below).

Stand it upright on the bottom edge.  Make sure the front is facing you, not the side where the cords were finished off.



Connect

Step 18: Pass the ends of the filler cords from the Crown Strap through the loop (front to back), then bring them back up so they surround the top portion of the loop.

Move the pieces until there is 2 1/4 inches between the last SK in the Crown Strap and the loop.



Step 19: Tie 2 inches of SK with the working cords, around all four segments of the filler cords. 

Make sure there is 1/4-inch space between the last SK and the loop in the Cheek Strap. (See image for step 13)

Make sure the Crown Strap can move easily, then finish off the ends as you did in step 13.



Position

Step 20:  Arrange the Cheek Straps so they are standing upright on the bottom edge.  Adjust both Crown Straps so they are horizontal and heading towards each other. 

Pass the ends from the Long Crown Strap through the loop in the Short Crown Strap.


Step 20, continued:  Measure the entire Crown Strap (both parts) to verify that this portion of the Soft Halter is the right size for your horse.

You can add or remove knots in the long portion if needed.

Trim the cords coming from the unattached end of the long strap. Finish the tips in some manner to prevent unraveling (glue, melting, or knots).




Nose, Chin, and Throat Straps


Three Pieces

Here's a review of the arrangement for the next pieces of the Soft Halter:

The Nose and Chin Straps are attached to the second set of loops, with the Nose Strap resting above the Chin Strap.  

The Throat Strap is attached under the two Crown Straps, to the first set of loops.


Step 21:  Repeat Steps 14 - 16 using the cords and measurements for the Nose Strap.  

Step 22: 
Arrange the Nose Strap vertically.  Arrange the Right Cheek Strap horizontally, so the second loop is near the Nose Strap.  The first loop should be to your right (see image below).  

The Cheek Strap should be standing upright on the bottom edge. Compare it to the opposite end so you know which is the correct edge to stand it on.

Important: Make sure the front of the Cheek Strap is facing you.



Attach

Pass the fillers from the Nose Strap around the top portion of the loop (front to back), then back up.  Adjust the pieces so there is 2 1/4 inches between them.

Tie 2 inches of SK using the working cords, around all four segments of the fillers. 

Do not finish off the cords yet.


Step 23: Repeat step 22, attaching the other end of the Nose Strap to the Left Cheek Strap. 

Read the information below before you get started, so this strap for the Soft Halter is positioned properly.



Arrangement

Important:  The Cheek Straps should be standing upright on the bottom edge. 

The front surfaces are on the outside, and the areas where you finished the cords (back) are on the inside.

The front of the Nose Strap should be face up.



Step 24:  Once this portion of the Soft Halter is arranged correctly, measure to make sure the Nose Strap is the correct size for your horse.

Then finish off the ends of the cords as you did in step 9.



The next piece for your Soft Halter is the Chin Strap, which rests underneath the Nose Strap, and is attached to the same loops.  Your horse's nose fits between the two straps.

Step 25:  Repeat steps 14 - 16 using the cords and measurements for the Chin Strap. 

Step 26:
  Position the Soft Halter so the Chin Strap is vertical and the Right Cheek Strap is horizontal and upright, as in the image below. 

Note that in the image below the pieces were diagonal to get a better photo.



Chin

Pass the fillers from the Chin Strap around the bottom  portion of the loop (front to back), then back towards the Chin Strap. 

Adjust the pieces so there is 2 1/4 inches between them.  Tie 2 inches of SK using the working cords, around all four segments of the fillers.



Step 27:  Attach the opposite end of the Chin Strap to the Left Cheek Strap, in the same manner.

Measure the Chin Strap to make sure it's the right size.  Then finish off the ends as you did in step 9.



The next piece for your Soft Halter is the Throat Strap, which is attached to the first set of loops, and rests under the Crown Straps.


Step 28: 
Repeat steps 14 - 16, using the cords and measurements for the Throat Strap. 


Step 29:
  Repeat steps 26 - 27, attaching the Throat Strap to the first set of loops. The fillers should pass around the bottom portion of the loops, so the Throat Strap rests underneath the Crown Straps.




Connector Strap and Ring


The final piece for your Soft Halter is a Connector Strap that's attached to the Chin and Throat Straps.  It rests vertically, like the Cheek Straps.

A ring is added in the instructions below, but it is optional.  The purpose for the ring is so you can attach a lead.

Step 30:  Repeat steps 14 - 16, using the cords and measurements for the Connector Strap.

At one end of the strap, pass the filler cords through the ring under - over.  Pass the ends between the two fillers and pull to tighten.



Ring

This shows the back of the Connector Strap, where the ring is resting. 

It should dangle downward when you hold the strap above your work surface.


 
Attach

Step 31:  Place the Connector Strap next to the center of the Chin Strap, with the front surface of both pieces face up. 

Pass the fillers from the Connector Strap around the Chin Strap, and back through the ring.    Adjust the pieces so they are 2 inches apart.




Edge

Step 32: Tie several SK with the working cords of the Connector Strap, around all 4 segments of the filler cords.  Push the knots close together.

The last knot should touch the Chin Strap. This piece should not move around like the other straps in the Soft Halter.  Pull on the fillers if necessary to bring the pieces close together.



Four Ends

Step 33: Turn the Soft Halter upside down.

Pass all 4 cords (Connector Strap) through the ring, then slide them under the loops of at least two knots.

Don't finish them off yet.

 

Placement

Step 34:  Repeat Steps 31 - 32 to attach the other end of the Connector Strap to the Throat Strap.

Make sure it's in the center, and the last SK tied is against the edge of the Throat Strap.  



Step 35:  Put the Soft Halter on your horse, after making a final measurement of the Connector Strap.  Make sure everything fits properly. 

You can still make adjustments to the length of the Connector Strap if necessary.

Finish off the cords at both ends of the Connector Strap, in the same manner you did all the others.






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Have any comments about the Soft Halter? Contact Me.



 
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