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How to Make a Lead Rope for Your Horse

| Updated August 11, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Braided heavy-duty 5/8-inch polypropylene rope

  • Two 5/8-inch rope clamps

  • One brass swivel snap hook, 4 1/8-inch long by 1 inch wide

  • Cigarette lighter

  • Hammer

  • Pliers

  • Small container of water


  • Always tie your horse with a quick-release knot to prevent him from injuring himself if he should panic.


  • When your rope gets a fuzzy look to it, the strands are starting to wear down and break. Simply cut it loose and make yourself another rope using your original snap hook.

    Wash your rope by hand to prevent grit from wearing away the inner strands. Run it through a bucket of soapy water a section at a time and gently loosen the braid while swishing to release the dirt.

Making your own durable lead ropes for your horse lets you choose the length and colors you want. Make ropes to match your stable, school or team colors or just have a few different colors to suit your mood. A few basic tools and some supplies from your hardware store are all it takes to whip up a simple lead rope in a matter of minutes.

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Cut your rope to the desired length adding an extra 4 inches. If you want a standard 12-foot lead rope, cut your rope to 12 feet 4 inches to allow extra length to loop through the snap hook and secure the end. You may want a longer rope if you plan to lunge your horse for training or if you have a larger horse.

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Stop the ends from fraying. Take the cigarette lighter and melt both ends of the rope to prevent unraveling. Dip the ends in water to cool before handling.

i Howard Jokela/Demand Media

Feed the rope through the eye of the swivel snap hook, bringing 4 inches of rope out the other side. Lay the rope clamp open on the table with the clamps facing up. Position the clamp so it is 1 to 2 inches below the eye of the snap hook. Position both sections of the rope side by side between the open prongs. Hammer all four of the prongs firmly over both sections of rope.

i Howard Jokela/Demand Media

Position the second clamp 1/2 to 1 inch from the end of the tail end of the rope you fed through the swivel snap hook. Lay the clamp prong side up on the table and position under both sections of rope. Hammer the clamps down to secure the rope. Press the clamps lightly with the pliers to ensure they are snug.