How to Tie a Rope to Your Halter When You Have No Snap!

 A metal snap on the end of a lead-rope is a pretty practical invention but it does have its disadvantages. Especially if you are interested in refining your feel. 

For one thing the metal goes a long way to short-cutting the Feel you are putting down the rope. This effect is increased with the fancier metal snap. For example if you have one that is designed to swivel nicely, so it doesn't turn awkwardly or put twists in your rope, it also... swivels. This has the downside of adding quite a bit of "noise" that dulls down and impacts the clarity of your Feel when you are using the rope itself for this purpose.

The second reason is that having a metal snap of any kind, particularly if attached to a metal ring on traditional halter, actually makes your rope generally "busier". Do this quick experiment to see what I mean. Put your halter on a post, or have someone hold it. Now hold a long lead-rope so you are about 10ft or 3m away. Now do a big arm motion with your rope hand. It could be as simple as quickly picking a brush off the ground a few feet away. Now get back to your original position and "set the rope", meaning put your rope hand forwards and down slightly and be STILL. If you have a metal snap, you will find the rope continues to swing for sometime, as many as a dozen or more swings. If you have a tree-line rope (like the blue ones we use) attached to a rope halter it's more like once or twice. 

Why do we care? Because we are using the float (slack) in the rope to offer a precise Feel that is timed to foot placement and shapes the horse left or right. If you have a rope that tends to swing left and right when you don't mean it to and dulls down the Feel in the rope you mean to offer the horse... well let's just say, you're making this much harder than it needs to be! 

Understandably people sometimes hesitate to make this change because the first thing they are faced with is a rope end and a puzzle around what to do next to attach it. Well, no more worries on that point. It couldn't be easier - take a look at this quick video. 

And if a voice in your head is suggesting this is "just a detail" and can't really matter that much, I say this: don't steal from yourself!! Nowadays I've become a bit of a rope snob. We laugh about it at clinics. "Do I have a noodle rope too?" is a phrase that caught on when I said this ONCE! Why did I say this? Because someone handed me their horse on a rope that could truly only described as just like a long noodle - no Feel in it at all. It felt just like one of those bad cell connections that cuts out or drops and reconnects. Awful! Not conducive to a good conversation. No good for the Flow of communication. When you have the right setup, it's like walking from the barn where you have no cell signal out into the open where it kicks in and everything is clear.

And then what do you do? See the Power of the Float.

Video Tutorial: How to Tie a Rope When You Have No Snap!