"Some people think rope halters are harsh but the opposite is actually the case.
In my practice as an equine bodyworker, I often see horses with very painful muscle spasms, tightness, soreness in the neck, shoulders, back and jaw.
These horses can not bend or move their neck and body properly.
One of the causes of this pain is poor communication between the horse and rider when doing groundwork and lunging.
Most often, the poor communication is caused by either an ill-fitting halter, such as a rope halter that is too big and swivels and hits the horse in the eye, or use of a padded or web halter that makes communication very difficult so the horse does not hear "Yes, good job" or "No, that is not quite correct."
The horse ends of pulling back against the halter or lunging with their head up on the air which causes the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders and jaw to spasm and become very tight. Just like in a game of dominos, the muscle tightness in turn causes painful movement restrictions of the vertebrae in the neck and back."