This month I photographed more horses than I had photo halters for, so I had to improvise. I found that it’s super easy to DIY thses so I thought I’d share how to make your own equine photo halter for horse photography and also cover how to put a photo halter on and take one off safely when you’re out on location on an equine photoshoot.

There is a Five Minute Friday video explaining all of this, that’s here:

It goes without saying that horses are strong, powerful animals so you need to ensure that you are thinking “safety first” when making your own photo halter. I would recommend 5-7mm climbing cord, paracord, sailing rope or similar but you must do your own dudiligence. It’s worthwhile me putting a disclaimer in here:

⚠️ Working with horses is dangerous, there are many risks.

⚠️ If you are DIYing your equine photography halter then you need to be aware of the payload of your rope and make sure that it will not break under non-emergency level tension, and also that friction will not cause it to fray.

⚠️ Using a ring instead of just the rope is a step in the right direction, but really climbing, yachting, sailing rope etc will be the starting point for you.

⚠️ I will not be responsible if you make a weak halter after watching this video and cause an accident/wreck, ok!

With that out of the way…

I know that some people might like the steps separate so that they can refer back to just written text and photos for reference so I’ve gone ahead and split out the main steps of making & putting on the halter, and then taking it back off, here:

How to make a photo halter and put one on:

Step 1:

Take the end of the rope and fold a small section back on itself

Step 2:

Tie a small loop knot at the end with as little trailing rope as you can – add a small, strong ring for extra safety/durability

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

Step 3:

From the noseband of the headcollar/halter upwards, thread the little knot up on the underside of the head and pull a section of rope through

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

Step 4:

Pass the end over the horses neck and reach under to grasp the knot. Thread it back through the halter/headcollar under the cheekbones

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

Step 5:

Using the small hole (or ring) at the knot, feed a section of the rope from the near side through to create a new loop of of rope below the knot

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

Step 6:

Thread this loop down under the nose and pop it up over the nose. Wiggle and pull gently on the long end to tighten and readjust for ideal position – you can now take the headcollar/halter off and leave the photo halter in place.

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

How to safely remove a Photo Halter on location:

Step 1:

Put the horses normal headcollar or halter on over the top of the equine photo halter.

Loosen off the noseband portion of the photo halter so that it can slide down over the horses nose from underneath the headcollar/halter.

Slide the loop off the horses nose

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

Step 2:

With the loose end (the “lead rope” of the photo halter), pull it and keep going until the nose loop disappears. Your photo halter is now just a loose rope lying over the horses neck. Remove this and your halter is off!

How to make an Equine Photo Halter

If you haven’t already, consider checking out our Equine Photography 101 video, it might help!