High lining

This is the year I’ve been waiting for my whole life…at least 4 horse camping trips planned. My mare stands tied to a trailer. How may I get her used to high lining? Any recommendations on clips? The lines are already there but I’m not sure what clip to buy. Thanks so much for any suggestions!

No replies? I will offer a suggestion that you have a look in Western Horseman as I recall they used to do ‘practical horseman skills’ articles on things like high lines.

I don’t use commercial clips. I use a Prusik knot/hitch. I like them because they are easy to slide up and down the line for moving hay bags, water, or horses even after your line is tight. So easy to rearrange and reorganize.

1 Like

I also use a Prusik loop. Once you tie a loop it can be used for many things. I don’t want the horse sliding back and forth, I find they have plenty of room with the fixed loop (that can be loosened to move). I always keep the lead rope just the length they can get their nose down, so a few inches above the ground. The highline will have some give, they can lay down, etc. But as always with any ropes, keep a knife handy. I also keep the lead rope attached and just use a different one for leading, etc, so I don’t have to rethink the length each time.

Have fun, camping sounds great right now! You could practice at home if you have some sturdy trees!

1 Like

My horse immediately adapted to a high line the first time we needed to use one. YMMV but it will help if there are other horses down the line.

He does, however, know how to untie quick-release knots. So I got used to looking out of the window and seeing an empty space where there should have been a palomino in the moonlight. He never went far - just visited other horses and sampled their hay.

I got a blocker tie-ring and solved that problem. https://blockerranch.com/

The dicey thing for me is how long the horse end of the rope should be i.e. how much movement to allow? Too long and the horse can get entangled; too short and they can’t relax and lie down. I always went for longer, and just keeping an eye on him. He liked to make a little hay nest for himself and lie down in it like a Big Bird.

I give them enough lead rope to rest their nose on the ground so they can sleep if they lie down. I usually use metal rings fastened into the highline to tie to and add another for the hay bag. I also use a come-along to get and keep it tight. It might be a good idea to practice high lining at home first before taking them to the backcountry. People I know who did not practice had a major wreck at the campsite with the horse pulling back and having a fit; it was all kinds of crazy. Most horses take to it easily. At the high line, if it’s attached to trees, park your horse somewhere in the middle so as not to damage tree roots.

Check out trailmeister.com. He’s got lots of information on horse camping

also wrap the tree where the rope is attached to prevent damage to the bark

We highlined where ever we could as the horses could turn 360 degrees to see what’s going on


Yup, we use tree saver straps to protect the bark. Most horses acclimate quickly to highlines and they’re my preferred way of securing them for the same reasons you state.