Leading is a basic skill taught to new riders and young horses. Before you can lead a horse, you must halter it and attach a lead rope to the halter. Leading a horse can be dangerous if you don't do it properly. You must understand what you are doing before you ever approach the horse.
Attaching a Standard Lead Rope
Before you can lead the horse, you need to attach the lead rope to the halter. The halter is a fitted piece of nylon or leather shaped to go around your horse's head. It is used for leading the horse as well as for hitching him to a post. Your horse's halter has a sturdy metal loop on the bottom of the noseband, which is the part of the halter that goes around the nose area. The loop should be in the center of the halter more or less underneath the chin. Take the snap end of your lead rope and clip the swiveling snap onto the metal loop. This is how you attach a lead rope to a halter.
Rope halters are different from standard nylon or leather buckling halters, but the basic concept is the same. A number of rope halters have lead ropes already permanently attached to them, but some are individual pieces of tack to which you attach the lead ropes manually. To attach a lead rope to a rope halter, locate the small rope loop at the bottom of the noseband on the underside of the halter and clip the snap of the lead rope to it.
Tying the Lead Rope to the Halter
If the lead rope ties to the rope halter, it is generally not intended to be removed, but you can untie and reattach it if need be. To tie a rope lead onto a rope halter, push your rope lead through the loop on the bottom of the rope halter, circle it around the loop, and then push it back down through the hole to create a basic square knot.
Leading a Horse
After you attach the lead rope, stand on the left side of your horse, holding the lead rope with your right hand a few inches below where it attaches to the halter. Place excess rope in your left hand, but don't wrap it around your hand. Step forward and apply gentle pressure on the halter via the lead rope. A properly trained horse will respond to the pressure and follow you.
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Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.