Friday, March 10, 2017

10th March, 2017 Fit Right!

This article was written for the IH magazine...

The Dually Halter

Many people use the Dually Halter on their horse as a training aid and as a kinder alternative to a bridle, chifney, knotted halter, or a headcollar with a chain over the nose. It offers more clarity than a plain flat headcollar and a better release than an ordinary halter as well as giving a little more control when really needed. It also works with less compression than other options. It can also be used as an everyday headcollar with the option of using the ring at the bottom if so wished. Used correctly and with proper training, it can offer finesse, softness and consistency to your horse.

The advantage of using a Dually, which is made from broad webbing, is that it doesn’t dig in anywhere on the horse’s face or work on very sensitive areas such as the poll, and it can’t damage or desensitise your horse’s mouth. It is really important to fit it correctly at all times so that it doesn’t twist on the horse’s face or inadvertently operate on the soft part of his nose.


The Dually is now sold in four sizes for ease of fitting, but it is important to make sure that it is adjusted to the optimum fit for an individual horse. 

Green – extra small
Red – small
Black – medium
Blue – large

Fitting the Dually Halter 

'Fitted correctly' is the key phrase here. It’s really important to take the time to fit the Dually correctly every time you put it on so that it works in the way it is intended to and does not cause the horse discomfort or irritation.

The easiest way to put a Dually on is to loosen off the top noseband and the strap that goes under the chin before you start. Then put your left arm through the two nosebands of the Dually as shown and hold the crown piece in your left hand. Take your right arm over the horse’s neck and your left arm underneath and pass the crown piece from your left hand to your right hand releasing the nosebands so that they hang down. This leaves your left hand free to lift the nosebands over your horse’s nose.

The upper Dually noseband needs to be fitted higher than you would fit the noseband of a standard headcollar because the lower, thick rope noseband is NOT intended to work on the soft part of the nose. Accordingly the upper nose band should almost touch the bottom of the horse’s cheekbone when in the correct position. Once the Dually is in place then the two straps over the nose and under the chin should be adjusted again so that they are snug but not tight. As a rough guide you should be able to place two fingers under any section of the Dually and the horse should still be able to relax his jaw. The Dually should not be able to slip around and interfere with the horse’s eye if pressure is applied to the line at any angle.

To prevent rubbing you may wish to purchase a natural sheepskin guard to go over the active lower noseband. These are available from the IH shop.

Tying up

Remember that you should NEVER tie a horse up using the schooling ring of the Dually Halter. This is because if the horse pulls back the schooling ring will continue to tighten and could damage his face. Just as with a normal halter or headcollar it is always important to tie a horse up to something that will break if he pulls back as he could easily damage his poll or even break his neck if he is tied to something solid. A horse should not be tied up at all until he has been taught how to lead and how to happily tie up.

The rings on the Dually will bend or even break under extreme pressure but this should not be relied upon. The Dually Halter is not sold as 'breakable' or 'field-safe'.

Loose horses

Horses should never be left loose in a stable or field with a Dually or indeed any headcollar other than a 'field-safe’ one in case they become caught up on anything.  


I would always suggest having a leather headcollar on your horse when traveling so that it would break if he gets caught up. The Dually can be placed over the top of this and removed once the horse is safely installed.