This page will discuss gear used in the training of green unbroken horses. I would like to use the term 'Breaking Gear' but the term 'Breaking' no longer gels well with modern attitudes and interpretations by visitors to this site who do not have English as a native language. Of course we do not 'break' the horse. It is a traditional term that is well understood in the English speaking world e.g. in Western terminology 'Green Broke' Nevertheless, I will forthwith only use the term 'training'.
Ropes are indispensible. For a number of reasons any-old-rope does not cut it. Better that we select and design our ropes as specialist items.
There are a wide range of synthetic ropes nowadays. These are very strong and virtually unbreakable by the horse. For a number of reasons I do not like synthetic.
Any but the very expensive marine type ropes are stiff and remain stiff. They will not run easily around posts or rails. Their knots are more likely to loosen and untie. They are more likely to cause rope burns on the hands or on the horse.
They only have 3 advantages: They do not weaken with age. They can be left out doors. The strand ends can be melted together, which is fast and easy
I much prefer natural fibre. Supplies are still available: https://www.donaghys.com/rope-and-cordage/products/general-rope-and-cordage/rope
I use either sisal or manila. Sisal is surprisingly cheap. It will feel prickly when new but soon softens up. You may have to wear gloves in the beginning. The best binding twine is hemp ‘Shop Twine” (see web site above) this is low cost and comes in rolls.
Diameter and length
Neck ropes (minimum): 25 mm diameter, 5 metres length
Rump ropes (minimum) 16 mm diameter, 7 metres length
You will also need at least one set of neck rope 7 m, rump rope 9 m. DONT skimp on these lengths or you will regret it.
Natural fibre has one problem – binding the ends. We can splice but then the ends are to large in diameter to go through rings etc. There is a trick: bind the ends with twine then dip in epoxy resin.
If you want more than one rope don’t get them cut to length in the shop. Cut the total length and ensure that the ends are bound with tape.
Lay the rope out, mark the cut points. You are going to do 2 bindings before you cut. The following technique (demonstrated on a 25 mm broom handle) of binding eliminates any annoying knots. These will become very hard after epoxy treatment.
Step 1: You will need about 800 mm of twine. Start the bind around 12 mm from the cut mark. Bind Tightly.
Step 2: feed the bind end through the loop after 8 rotations
Step 3: Pull the twine on right until the loop and bind end is snuggly under the bind.
You will find a natural channel within the rope, which makes it easier to pull
Completed bind ready for cutting and epoxy treatment
2-pack epoxy resin can be found in any hardware shop. It is expensive but we dont need much. Mix and thoroughly dip the rope ends into about 12 mm beyond the bindings - no more or you will end up with a long stiff end which is a pain in the butt. Lay the ropes out vertical as the ends will drip. After an hour re-dip and lay out to cure. You have yourself the ultimate rope
A bound end on sisal rope after several years of use.