What Is a Horse Neck Strap and How to Use It?

beautiful grey racehorse with neck strap

Beginner riders may use a piece of equipment called a neck strap. It can be used by professional riders as well, as this strap comes with many benefits. So what is a horse neck strap?

A horse neck strap is a tool used to help control a horse during riding. It fits around the horse’s neck and is attached to the reins. The neck strap for horses improves the rider’s ability to direct the horse’s movements. Neck straps are made of nylon or leather.

Let’s delve into the benefits and common usage of neck straps.

Why Use a Neck Strap on a Horse?

A neck strap horse provides a convenient way to lead or tie an equine. Horse owners often need to move their horses from one location to another. For example, to turn out to the pasture or to the barn. A horse neck strap provides a secure way to lead the horse, reducing the risk of injury or escape. When a horse is tied, it can be dangerous if they pull away or become frightened. But with a strap, they are less likely to escape or cause harm to themselves or their owner.

Such a handy piece of horse tack can be used for training purposes. Trainers can gently guide the horse, helping them to learn new commands and behaviors. This type of control is particularly useful for young or inexperienced horses, who may not yet understand the new commands. A horse strap provides an effective way to encourage positive behavior and correct any negative actions.

Neck straps can also be used for medical purposes. If a horse is injured or requires treatment, a strap can be used to provide support while the animal is being treated. For example, if a horse has a wound on its leg, a neck strap can be used to keep the horse still while the wound is being cleaned.

leather neck strap on bay horse

How to Use the Horse’s Neck Strap – The Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Choose the Right Neck Strap

There are several types of neck straps available, including traditional neck ropes, neck halters, and lead ropes. Choose a horse strap that fits your companion properly. As an ill-fitting strap can cause discomfort or even injury. Consider the size, shape, and weight of your horse when selecting a new strap.

Step 2: Attach the Strap

Once you have selected the strap, attach it to the horse’s head. Slip the strap over the horse’s head and secure it behind the ears. Ensure that the strap is snug, but not too tight, as this can cause discomfort.

Step 3: Lead or Tie the Horse

When leading a horse, always walk on the horse’s left side, holding the end of the neck strap in your right hand. This will give you control over the horse’s head. It also allows you to guide the equine in the desired direction. When tying a horse, ensure that the animal is standing in a safe and secure location. The neck strap horse should be attached to a sturdy object such as a post or rail.

Step 4: Monitor the Horse

Check the horse’s behavior and comfort frequently. If the equine seems uncomfortable or agitated, check the fit of the strap to ensure it is not too tight. If the horse seems frightened or becomes difficult to control, remove the strap and try again another time.

The Different Types of Neck Straps for Horses

1. Nylon Neck Straps

Nylon neck straps are made of synthetic material and are often the most affordable option. They are lightweight and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for horse owners. Nylon horse straps are available in a myriad of patterns and colors, allowing you to choose one that complements the horse’s tack.

One of the main advantages of nylon neck straps is their versatility. They can be used for leading, tying, and training. They are also durable and long-lasting, making them a cost-effective choice for horse owners.

However, there are also disadvantages to consider. Nylon straps can be stiff and uncomfortable for the equine, causing irritation. Some horses may be allergic to synthetic materials, making them unsuitable for certain animals.

2. Leather Neck Straps

Leather straps for horses are made from natural materials and are often more expensive than nylon straps. They are known for their durability, strength, and long lifespan. Leather horse straps are also more comfortable for the equine, as they are less likely to cause irritation.

One of the main advantages of leather straps is their appearance. Such straps are often more attractive and sophisticated. They are also easy to care for, as they can be cleaned and conditioned with a simple leather cleaner.

As for disadvantages, leather straps are heavier than nylon neck straps and may be more difficult to handle. Especially this goes for inexperienced horse owners. Additionally, leather neck straps can be affected by weather and may stretch or shrink. This may reduce the gear’s effectiveness over time.

brown horse wearing neck strap

How to Make a Horse Neck Strap

In case you’re looking for budget-friendly options, you may prefer to make a neck strap for your horse on your own. Here’s a detailed guide to follow.

Materials Needed

To make your own horse strap, you will need the following materials:

  • Paracord (approx. 8 feet)
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Measuring tape

Step 1: Measure Your Horse

Wrap a soft measuring tape around the widest part of your horse’s neck and record the measurement.

Step 2: Cut the Paracord

Once you have measured your horse’s neck, cut the paracord to the appropriate length. For a standard strap, you will need approximately 8 feet of paracord.

Step 3: Melt the Ends

To prevent the paracord from fraying, use a lighter to melt the ends. Hold the end of the paracord over the flame for a few seconds until it starts to melt. Then, use your fingers to roll the melted end until it becomes smooth. Repeat this process for both ends of the paracord.

Step 4: Make the Knots

Make a simple knot in the center of the paracord. The knot should be tight and secure, but not too tight that it becomes difficult to adjust the strap. Then, make another knot on each end of the paracord, approximately 2 inches from the center knot.

Step 5: Adjust the Neck Strap

Once the knots are in place, it’s time to adjust the neck strap to fit your equine. Start by placing the center knot on the top of your horse’s neck, just behind the ears. Then, adjust the knots on either end of the paracord until the strap is snug, but not too tight.

Step 6: Secure the Neck Strap

Tie a simple knot near the center knot to secure the strap in place. This will ensure the neck strap stays in place and does not slip or shift while your horse is wearing it.

This is a comprehensive guide to making a nylon horse strap. In case you want a leather one, just use your old stirrup leather as the main material. Stirrup leathers and martingales are just great for reuse but make sure the width and length match up.

white horse dressed in neck strap

How to Ride a Horse with a Neck Strap On

Here’s a step-by-step guide on preparing your horse to ride with a neck strap on.

  • Make sure you have a well-suited strap and a properly fitting saddle and bridle.
  • Before mounting, make sure the horse strap is fastened securely around the horse’s neck. You should be able to fit one-two fingers between the strap and the horse’s neck.
  • Mount the equine as you normally would, either from a block or by mounting from the ground.
  • Adjust the reins so that they are not too long or too short. The horse reins should be long enough to allow you to control the horse, but not so long that you lose control.
  • Begin riding the horse at a walk, and gradually increase the pace as you become more comfortable. The neck strap will provide extra stability. It will allow you to focus on your riding and controlling the horse movements.
  • Throughout your ride, maintain control of the horse by using both the reins and the strap. The strap will help to keep the horse’s head in the correct position.

horse wearing black neck strap

What to Look for When Picking a Neck Strap for Your Horse


The neck strap should fit your horse comfortably, without pressure on the horse’s body. Avoid restricting the equine’s breathing or causing any discomfort. Measure your horse’s neck properly before purchasing a new strap to ensure an accurate fit.


Neck straps are typically made from either leather or nylon. Leather neck straps are more traditional, but they can be more expensive and require colid care. While nylon straps are more affordable, durable, and easy to clean.


Look for a strap that is fully adjustable to customize the fit to your horse’s unique needs. This will allow you to adjust the horse strap as your companion grows, or if you switch to a different horse.


The neck strap should be strong enough to handle the strength and weight of your horse. Especially if you plan to use the neck strap for leading or training purposes. Choose a gear that is made from high-quality materials and is designed to withstand the common demands of everyday use.


Consider the ease of use and convenience of the neck strap when making your selection. Look for a strap that is easy to put on and take off. Make sure it comes with a secure closure to prevent it from coming loose while your horse is wearing it.


Look for a horse neck strap that is aesthetically pleasing to you. Such straps come in a range of colors and designs, so choose one that you and your horse will both enjoy.

grey horse in the dressage ring

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does a Horse’s Neck Strap Cost?

On average, a basic nylon neck strap can cost anywhere from $10 to $30. While a high-quality leather strap can cost upwards of $100 or more. The cost of a horse’s neck strap depends on the quality of the material, the brand, and the type of strap. 

How Tight Should a Neck Strap Be on a Horse?

A neck strap should be tight enough to provide support and stability to your horse. But not so tight that the gear restricts their breathing. A rule of thumb is to be able to fit one-two fingers between the neck strap and your horse’s neck. If you are unable to do so, the horse strap is too tight. And if there is too much slack, the gear is too loose.

How Long Should a Horse Neck Strap Be?

The length of a neck strap will depend on the size of your horse’s neck and the intended use. The horse strap should be long enough to fit comfortably around your horse’s neck, with a little extra length to allow for adjustments. To ensure a perfect fit, measure your horse’s neck before purchasing a new strap. Choose a neck strap horse that is adjustable for a custom fit.


A neck strap is a valuable piece of equipment for horse handlers. Whether you’re leading your horse, training, or providing medical care, the strap helps to control your horse. This guide reveals the benefits of such a tool, so you can use its benefits if needed extra support.