Cotton lead ropes are an important piece of tack for horses that aren’t being ridden in a bridle or saddle. These ropes are used to control the animal during daily activities and can come in cotton, nylon or leather. Some are also made with a chain shank for increased control of particularly strong or difficult animals and should only be used under the supervision of a trainer as excessive use can cause serious injury. Read more

While some lead lines are integrated into a halter, the majority of these horse leads are separate pieces of tack. They are commonly made of cotton or a soft, flexible synthetic such as poly or nylon. They can either be round or flat and may or may not have a chain shank.

Leading with Length: The Benefits and Considerations of a Long Horse Lead Rope

In many cases the end of a lead rope is spliced to make it easier to attach to a snap or halter and less likely to become tangled or knotted. Most lead ropes can also be shortened by hand or clipped to the bridle with brass swivel bolt snaps.

Traditionally, a handler holds the lead rope with their right hand and the gathered slack with their left; this allows them to swat the animal’s nose or shoulders with the tail end of the lead in order to ask it to move forward or backwards. Alternatively, a cross tie is sometimes used and involves placing two lead ropes together with one of the snap ends attached to a halter on both sides of the animal for restraint while grooming or tacking up.