Properly tying a lead rope with a secure knot is key in preventing your horse from escaping and keeping them safe. While your horse should be tied at withers level or slightly higher to a strong, solid object, like a tree, a tie-ring that’s screwed into the wall, fence post, or hitching post, you should be able to release your horse in case of an emergency quickly. Depending on the situation, if a horse spooks and panics, a knot that cannot be easily untied can lead to serious injury.

What is a Quick Release Knot?

A quick-release knot allows you to quickly and completely free your horse in the event they suddenly get caught, pulls back, or needs to be moved in a hurry.

Understanding the Lead Rope

Dura-Tech®: 8' cotton Lead Rope

Cotton

Cotton lead ropes are extremely durable yet soft and comfortable, preventing abrasions and burns. They typically come in many colors and lengths, equipped with brass-plated bolt snaps.

Dura-Tech®: 8' Nylon Lead Rope

Nylon

Made from a nylon and polypropylene blend, nylon lead ropes are also durable and rot-resistant. Due to the material, they are perfect for daily wear. Plus, these lead ropes can be found in various colors and lengths.

BillyRoyal®: Flat Leather Show Lead 3/4in x 10 in

Leather

A classic option, leather lead ropes are elegantly crafted with a chrome-plated or solid brass chain. Some leather lead ropes include a chain shank for added control. Leather leads are most popular in halter and showmanship classes.

Dura-Tech®: 8' Nylon Lead Rope with Chain

Chain

Chains are sometimes added to nylon or leather lead ropes for halter or showmanship classes. They can also help convert lead ropes or lunge lines into training aids, if more leverage is needed.

Step-by-Step Guide to tying a Quick Release Knot

Here are the four simple steps on tying a quick-release knot:

    Use a safety string as an extra precaution

  1. Before tying a quick-release knot, add a “safety string” as an extra precaution to provide a foolproof way for your horse to be released in an emergency. Baling twine is a popular choice, which can be looped through the tie ring or around the post. Pull the tail end of the lead rope through the safety string loop.

  2. The Tail end looped around the rope, horse side of the safety string

  3. Grab the tail end and pull it over the rope, then around underneath, forming a loop around the part of the rope connected to your horse.

  4. Double back the tail forming a new loop, which will be put over the main rope and through the first loop we made

  5. Then, you will fold the tail end and insert the doubled-up end through the loop to form the knot.

  6. pull snug using the horse side of the rope and the safety tie

  7. Lastly, you will tighten the knot to make it nice and snug and form your knot. To release, simply pull on the end of the lead rope. If your horse has discovered how to escape on their own by pulling the tail end of the lead, you can place the tail end through the loop.

When tying the lead rope, it should be loose enough that your horse can safely look around without getting hung up but not so loose that a leg can get caught if your horse paws, wiggles around, or tries to itch. If you tuck the lead rope's tail end into the loop after tying, be sure not to tighten the end so you can still easily pull it out for a quick release.