Lesson 1, Topic 1
Equipment : Lead Rope Copy
The lead rope attaches to the halter and allows us to direct the horse’s movement. It maintains contact between horse and handler comfortably and safely. The horse should have some room to move within and not feel that the head is being overly restricted while the person can maintain a comfortable position along the horse without straining their arm or placing themselves in harm’s way. Lead ropes come in different lengths and materials. They have a clip at one end to snap to the halter at the noseband. Some rope halters and leads come as one unit and do not have a snap.
The most common leads are either cotton, nylon or leather.
- Cotton, nylon or blends are the most common. They are inexpensive, durable and comfortable. They do not break easily under pressure. The drawback to nylon, and even less so, cotton, is that it can create rope burns in some situations, such as a horse pulling the rope through your hand (gloves help!) or resisting a rope caught around his or her leg.
- Leather is commonly used for show and many horse people prefer it because it will break under stress, which, as mentioned with halters, can be safer in some situations. It is more expensive and requires proper care, but is safe and attractive.
- A Chain or Shank can be added to a lead line for additional control over a difficult horse. It is commonly used with stallions. The chain can be run over the noseband to place additional pressure on the nose if the horse becomes difficult. It should only be used by experienced horse people in circumstances that warrant its use. Extreme damage can occur if a chain is misused. Under no circumstances should a horse ever be tied with a chain. If the horse panics or pulls, he can break his nose, tear the soft tissues, or strangle himself.