Category Archives: Tack Reference

Modern Show Halter Reference

This is the second post in my Tack Reference series, and this one will focus on the beaded, crystal and macrame style Arabian halters. These types of halters became popular with showers of real Arabian horses because they are sparkly and yet subtle, and they are usually so delicate that they show off a horse’s head well. Keep in mind that this type of halter is not fixed to a certain standard, and so there are many different kinds of halters in this category. I will try to discuss them all.

Beaded Halters
Beaded halters are…beaded. They are essentially a simple headstall made out of beads with a chain noseband that can have charms on it or not. The beads for the halter are ususally varying in size, with alternating small and large beads. The noseband can also be beaded. These halters can be worn with or without a throatlatch. Sometimes a tassel on each side of the halter can be added, though this is not common. Any colour is possible with these halters, and many are accented with gold or silver beads.

 

Crystal Halters / Arabian Horse Jewelry
I call these halters ‘crystal’ halters because they often have crystal-like stones on them. Really I am just making this category up, because it’s quite hard to seperate the modern show halters into categories. Crystal halters are heavily jeweled, with golden or silver decorations on the entire halter. They can have little decorations shaped like moons, stars or suns on them.

 

Macrame Halters
These halters are made using the special type of weaving called ‘macrame’, which is believed to have originated in the 13th century in Arab countries. The macrame halters basically weave beads and other decorations into an intricate pattern. They are usually very fine, detailed halters – perfect for showing! They do not usually have throatlatches, but I suppose those can be added for shows that require them.

 

 

Native Halter References

Recently I have been playing with the idea of doing a kind of ‘reference’ posts about Arabian tack. It would serve as a way of compiling lots of pictures of different styles of Arab tack, with short descriptions of what’s used at shows and other events. Of course I’m not an all-knowing expert on Arabian tack, so it will also be a fun learning process for me.
I will start with the tack item I know best – the native Arabian halter. Surprisingly, there are many variants out there, and I will describe each below. I will try to give photo credit wherever I can, but in some cases I couldn’t hunt down the person who took the picture.

Bedouin native halters
Bedouin native halters are woven from wool, and are usually found in traditional colours such as red, yellow, green, blue, white and black. These halters have a metal nose band (brass, silver or gold) sometimes with ‘daggers’ (shark’s teeth) hanging from them. According to some sources, the Bedouin halters only have tassels on the ends of the halter, near the noseband, as opposed to Egyptian native halters which also have tassels on the check pieces. Bedouin halters are decorated with cowrie shell designs and beads. The throatlatches are usually removable from the halter so it can be used with or without.

 

Egyptian native halters
This style of halter is essentially the same as the Bedouin style, but with tassels (usually three) on the cheeck pieces. This type of halter can also come in a ‘zebra striped’ pattern where the base of the halter is woven with two different colours. These halters can also have mini ‘pompoms’ on them in different colours, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a good photo of a halter with those. Egyptian native halters are sometimes seen with a decorative browband as well, though not often. The browbands are usually in a V shape and have one or more tassels attached.

 

El Badia style native halters
El Badia halters are an adaption of the Egyptian style halters, with the tassels being beaded at the ends. These halters often have shark’s teeth or other charms hanging from the chain nosebands. Unfortunately these halters are a little uncommon, so finding good reference pictures is hard.

 

Native style show halters
Show halters can be done in a native style too. These often have no tassels, and no throatlatches. Though a throatlatch can always be attached since they are mandatory in some shows. The nosebands can be plain chain or have charms. The base of the halter is attached to two halter rings, and can be wrapped with a contrasting colour or left unwapped. Cowrie shells can be used seperate in a row, or in the classic medallion style.


I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful halters in this post, and hopefully it was helpful. I would like to do posts like this on native costumes, Hollywood costumes, dancing horse costumes and other show halters. If you have other ideas for reference posts, let me know!

Inspiration

Searching ‘Arabian show halters’ on Google images turns up hundreds of results. Many of those beautiful halters and presentation sets I can only dream of making in mini scale, but some I aspire to recreate someday. Below are some pictures of what inspires me (none were taken by me).

 

 

I can even say that I’m working on recreating one of the above halters right now… But that’s for another blog post.

~Amy