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What is a "be nice" halter?

G. W.


A Be Nice halter At first glance, a "Be Nice" halter looks pretty much like any other halter... until you look at the ring where you attach a lead rope. Rather than being attached to the halter itself, the ring is at the end of a loop of webbing that moves independently of the halter. The loop runs through parts of the halter and over the poll -- the sensitive area behind the ears. Pressure on a normal halter gets distributed widely -- over the poll, the nose, along the cheeks, etc. With a "Be Nice" halter, however, almost all of the pressure is instantly communicated to the poll. This gives the horse immediate and forceful reinforcement -- both positive and negative. If the horse tries to pull away, it gets an instant reminder that it's not supposed to do that sort of thing. If, on the other hand, it gives to the pressure, it has the immediate reward of taking pressure off the poll.

In addition to helping to cure head-pulling, you can use the "Be Nice" halter to quickly teach a horse to approach you. Standing in front of the horse, give continual, quick, tugs on the lead rope. This creates an irritating pressure behind the horse's head, and it will naturally step forward to get away from the annoyance. As soon as it does, the horse is rewarded by having the annoyance go away. The "Be Nice" halter, therefore, is a handy tool for teaching a horse to yield to pressure.

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