ABOUT OUR HORSEMANSHIP ROPES
Firstly let’s explain why we recommend Rope to be used with horses for halters and lead lines etc....instead of other typically used materials such as leather, webbing halters or nylon lead ropes.
A correctly constructed HIGH QUALITY ROPE HALTER will be your absolute best training tool, and not a training hindrance like some other styles of halter. Not only should it offer your horse superior comfort, and an improved fit, but it should also discourage your horse from pushing into pressure, due to the strategically placed noseband knots making it uncomfortable for him/her to do that, thus teaching your horse to be soft and light both in the saddle and on the ground.
Obviously this will only work with a well fitted rope halter being used on your horse, which should look like the ones shown on Jack, in the photos above. Due to the correct rope being use to make the halter, it should offer strength and longevity, whilst still feeling soft on your horses face. It should get even softer with age, and we advise it to be correctly stitched all through the bottom hinge knots for safety and security, as well as this allows the halter to be able to be machine washed to look like new even after many years of use
Here at NATURAL HORSE NZ we make all our HORSEMANSHIP HALTERS exactly to these high standards including being made from our specialist EQUI-ROPE, which is the best horsemanship rope money can buy...being soft and strong, including having UV, mould and mildew resistance built into the strands of the rope.
We also recommend that the end of tailpiece (where you tie the halter) is correctly spliced back into itself taking it from 2 rope strands into 1 for safety, as we have been aware of horses who have suffered with eye injuries from other incorrectly finished ends.
Secondly, why do we encourage people to use 12ft lead lines.....surely aren't they a bit long?
Well if you understand a horses psyche, you will know that the more you try to restrict a prey animals movements, the more they will want to flee. As they feel trapped when held tight by short lines, which effects the horses mindset due to their pre-primed inert survival instincts, which is to run away for a threat, thereby using reverse psychology by offering them more drift and a longer line, the horse will move less as they feel less restricted and confined which makes them feel safer, which is why we recommend using 10-14mm thick Equi rope lines, depending on your personal preference for thickness and weight etc....
10mm lines are light and easy to use, promoting lightness and softness from your horse, but some still prefer the heavier feel of a 14mm line, which we are happy to offer within our range.
We also recommend removable snaps that swivel, as shown, for versatility. We do not recommend the dog type clips as we found the spring loaded effect fell part too quickly.
Also experience has shown us that all leather poppers, which is the leather tailpiece spliced through the rope, should be made from soft and not stiff leather for the safety and well being of your horse as we have seen stiff leather cut into a horses skin even accidentally.
THE ROPES THEMSELVES
There seems to be a lot of confusion about which ropes are the best for use with horses and as a Professional Ropesmith and experienced Equine Behaviourist, I thought I'd write this piece in order to give people the genuine facts about what to look for when choosing rope tack for your horses.......
1-COTTON: whilst cotton feels great, unfortunately it just doesn't last. That is because is acts like a sponge and holds water as well as dirt, and this in turn causes it to rot and feel itchy on the horses skin and your hands due to ingrained dirt, hence the low life expectancy, and why we don't RECOMMEND using cotton for horsemanship ropes.
2-NYLON: well this is simply horrible stuff as it's hard and rigid with no "feel" and unfortunately this is what most rope halters and lead lines are made from. It can give a rope burn very easy too due to the stiffness of the rope and feels harsh on both your hands, as well as your horses body and face. It is prone to cracking and frays easily and we do not recommend it to be used with horses due to this.
3-POLYESTER YACHTING BRAIDS: there are many types of yachting ropes that people sell for horse uses but unfortunately not many are actually DESIGNED for EQUINE USE and this is the difference that you should look for when buying horse ropes!
Getting the right rope really will make a huge difference to your horsemanship success, as well as your pocket, as you literally "speak" through these ropes to your horse. Therefore it is extremely important that they feel comfortable and soft, as well as offer the fastest possible release for the reward for your horse. Plus a suitable high quality horse rope should last the life of your horse so it really is an investment.
So lets explain the differences as it can be hard to tell what is good and what is not, as shown on the photo below......
Out of all these ropes below only 1 is suitable for use with horses as all the others are of poor or incorrect quality, or are too hard, too loose, or are too harsh on the hands etc...
STANDARD YACHTING BRAID;
This tends to be way too hard for horsemanship use as it doesn't slide well or "release" as it was made to bite into itself for use on yachts when at sea as to be able grip fixtures as to hold sails firm etc...and this shows in the stiffness and construction of the rope.
One of the down sides to using this as a lead rope is it really can leave nasty rope burns as I experienced 1st hand when a clients horse pulled back at one of our clinics, so it's not good for horse use. So we advise caution about using standard yachting braids.
This is correctly constructed purpose made Double Braided Equine Rope, which is pre-softened by the machine that makes it as to be soft enough for horse use without compromising on strength. It will also stay true to its original form without stretching, bulging or changing shape, as well as will last you for many years due to it being UV - Mould - Mildew resistant.
Now this is the right stuff for horse use and although it does costs a little more, it will give many years of quality service and is the best you can use for you and your horse. Horse Rope should be both strong but yet soft enough to give a "live feel" to the handler and allow for immediate release for the horse. And this is what we use at Natural Horse NZ to make all our rope tack items.
As the horses comfort is our priority, we do pay a lot more to buy our rope than others but we know it's the right gear for our horses and that's what is important to us . We have used many professional clinicians ropes in our own horsemanship journey over the years and through much research we can only recommend Parelli's, as well as our own lines, as we both use the same types of ropes for all our horsemanship tack which is specialist high quality Equi - yachting rope as described earlier because it is simply the best.
When buying rope tack you should look for items that are made by a Ropesmith rather than a saddler or layman etc, as making horse rope tack is a skilled craft that takes many years to learn to be good at it, therefore buying from others will often compromise the quality of your product.
Ropesmith's are experts in their field and offer high quality 2 in 1 splicing with correctly finished ends, that is correctly constructed with correctly stitched knots & a high standard of workmanship, which is what we offer from all our rope tack items here at NATURAL HORSE NZ.
We guarantee that you will not find better rope or workmanship than this anywhere in the world, with all our workmanship and products being fully guaranteed!
To see our great range of high quality horsemanship ropes please see our shop pages