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Long lead ropes

I was just reading another post about lead ropes, why do people like them so long? I cut all of mine down to 5 ft, just enough to tie off, and short enough so horses cant step on them. Just curious I don’t understand what you do with a 12 ft lead. it makes walking 2 horses at the same time almost impossible.

I just do not understand the desire please educated me.

I like a long lead to have some time before a horse is loose and away from me if something weird happens. I can always shorten a long lead by holding it closer to the horse…you sure can’t get more length if you need it on a short lead.

I’ve never struggled leading a couple or a few horses with long leads.


How?? Loop the excess up in your hand. I don’t understand this.

I like a long lead for the same as Simkie, to have time/length to grab if a horse spooks loose or something. I also like to have some length so that I can multitask while maintaining hold of the horse, lean into the tack room to grab something quickly, let them have some room to hand graze, etc.


I like a long lead rope as I can use it to move a horse along faster should I need to, I can tie to just about anything, and can use it to direct a horse’s hind end away from me.

I have no idea what you do with a 5’ long lead.


People also use the longer leads for doing ground work. Some of them are long enough to function like a very short longe line

I will have to check how long my daily lead ropes are. Definitely much longer than 5 feet and I often lead two horses. I double up the rope in my hand

If you have 2 horses that both decide to be silly you are kind of hooped no matter the length of your lead rope

And yes, I can use the end of the rope to move the horse forward or sideways


I’ve liked my long one when out handwalking my mustang who was new to domestic life and had some issues - afraid of moving vehicles for example. It was a way to know that I had a much longer line if he felt the move to move away quickly.


You evidently have never gone on a weekend trail ride where the horse had to be high tied to a tree limb.

I used to have the Amish make my extra long lead ropes - with quick release snaps on them.:cowboy_hat_face:


My everyday lead ropes are a bit less than 10 ft., but I wouldn’t want them any shorter. Dealing with a spooking horse as mentioned above, but also so I can drape the rope over the horse’s back as it self loads into the trailer, and so I can pick burs out of the horse’s tail while holding the lead rope.


This seems more like mismanagement of tools than anything else. Any excess line that you’re not actively using should be put up as a daisy chain if tying (or left as is if using a blocker tie ring). Don’t loop the excess line in your hand if you’re actively handling the horse. Instead double it back so it won’t wrap around your hand if you get in a pickle.

I regularly use 14ft and 30 ft yacht rope lines and don’t have any issues at all. It comes down to education about proper use of these tools and preference. I wouldn’t pass judgement on them until you’re taught to use them correctly.


I’ve led 3 horses at once, with 12’ leads, without any problems. I don’t have issues not being able to manage that length at all. In fact, it makes it a lot easier because the outside horse on one side has enough line to not be walking on top of the inside horse.

The length is easily managed with a double back loop (not a circular loop, ever)

Even a 5’ long rope has to be gathered somehow - how are you doing that? If you’re holding it 4’ down, that’s a lot of room for a horse to jump around. If you’re holding it right under the halter, that’s a lot of rope swinging that could wrap around a limb if the horse jumps around

My 12’ line has a leather popper at the end. It makes quick work of dealing with some unexpected spookiness, without having a heavy knot at the end to have momentum that’s harder to stop. Granted, that knot is useful to hang on if you get to the end of the line, BUT, at least IME, that happens far, far less often when there’s extra feet of line to get the hind end pointed away from you to stop a bolt.

And finally, it makes it very easy to do quick ground work sessions without having to swap from a “leading line” to a “working line”. I can do in-hand work and use the last few feet in one hand as my “whip” to do some directing


I high tie all the time, I just have a chain that comes down from the high line with a clip.

Not me but this is pretty much how all my leads are https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/84gnuq9kj85ax254zhb0h/385082436_10231758901423405_9126314700673332921_n.jpg?rlkey=7xrz3vuiyv8okct9vteheuk73&dl=0

I checked this afternoon and my lead rope is about ten feet long.

I like long leads for many reasons, including time for my brain to catch up if horsey decides to Leave

  • I can reach my tack box with the horse still standing in the aisle. I forget things a lot (hello adhd)
  • I can work on their tail or hind end while holding the rope, if there’s things going on to make me not trust their ground tie (like toddlers playing on the tractor. Scary!)
  • blocker tie rings need the extra length. I really like these, especially if tied outside the trailer
  • I can throw the rope over their back while hand grazing or feeding alfalfa while grooming. They can’t reach the bucket on the ground while tied
  • I can use the tail to push the hind end away if needed
  • I can stand on the other side of the Scary Ditch and wait until the horse decides to leap it - the extra length means I don’t get yanked off my feet when they land cantering for a stride or two. I do a lot of handwalking on trails so Leaping Things happens semi-often

I like 10 or 12 foot lines, it’s super easy to fold the excess up in your hand when not needed.


I do prefer a longer lead, but I have small hands and when the big, thick cotton ones are doubled up I can’t always close my hand securely around them. The soft squishy cotton is okay but with the stiffer ones it can be hard to keep a good grip.



The entire way these horses are being led, starting with the length of the rope, is giving me serious anxiety.

Do your horses never spook? Never have an opinion? Do you never need to move them over or away from you? Do you never need to move another horse away from you, or your horse, or the gate?

There are plenty of times when leading a horse I don’t want to be right up on them. Like when my little filly had an opinion about leaving the barn and stood up to wave her feet at me. I would’ve gotten clocked in the head if I’d had such a short rope on her. Having space is having safety.


Different leads for different purposes, I suppose.

I use a longer lead (for example) to put my horse that does not self load onto the trailer. The lead is long enough that I can hold the end, out thru the door, while putting up the butt bar.


I did not witness this but knew the trainer who had a horse on a long lead letting it hand graze, horse who was normally very calm got excited over something turned kicking out hitting him in the chest nearly killing him

Since then none of our leads are exceptionally long, ten foot being the max. Even so a hand on the halter or near is normal for me.

To be fair, I see the short thin ones at shows all the time. Clearly people use them, but I am not a fan myself.

How did a longer lead contribute to that? How would a short lead have prevented that?