Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tack Tip - More Than a Get Down Rope


At the request of several people for smaller, lightweight ropes for emergency lead lines on the trail, I have taken 1/4 inch Poly rope with a nylon core, usually 12 foot long, and fraying the rope at one end with a flat waxed line knot and braiding leather poppers at the other end to make a Get Down rope.


I keep several of these around, one usually handy to use as a catch rope where I loop the rope around a horses neck and lead him from pen to corral and such. The advantage of this is that's its much quicker than tying a halter and I think it actually helps a horse understand and react to neck pressure before you introduce neck reining.

Some riders will put a bridle over a halter but don't know what to do with the lead line except take it off and carry it with them. With a 1/4 inch 12 foot Get Down Rope, you can leave the thicker and more bulkier lead line at the barn and still have a line to attach to the halter for leading on the ground.  Because of the Get Down usually being a smaller diameter rope, a good way to secure it to the halter is with a double round turn. 

The Get Down rope can be used in the traditional manner, as the name implies, by attaching the rope around the horse's neck with a non-slip knot and securing the other end to the saddle. Be careful not to use a slip knot for the obvious reasons. I would also not use a rope like this when working cattle as you don't need a cow's head or horns getting underneath the rope when you have one end tied around the horse's head and the other end secured to the saddle. I use a bow line knot to make a non-slip loop around the horse's head.  If you were planning on leading the horse from the ground, you would tie the loop closer to the horse's head so the loop won't slip off the head. The picture above right is a way to carry the Get Down rope in a fashion that cannot tighten up on the horse's neck.  

The other end of the Get Down rope can secured to the saddle. You can coil the end and tie it to your saddle using the saddle strings - see picture above right. Or you can tie off the excess line to the saddle horn using clove hitch or a quick release knot - see picture below.


I have found other uses for a Get Down rope. I used it to keep tie open an otherwise one way Arizona gate so trespass cattle can be pushed back to their own pasture. I have looped the rope over a pasture gate that opened towards me but the vegetation did not give me chance to open it by hand.

You can just carry the Get Down rope in a coil tied to the saddle strings next to or in back of the cantle. In fact, many trail rider prefer this method and even though I ride in Mecate reins, I'll usually carry a get down rope in this method in case I have to pony a horse or something.

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