Making Your Own Rope Reins

I need a set of rope reins for training my horses, and for a clinic I have coming up in May.  – Also I prefer rope reins when trail riding.

But sadly they are not in the budget, so what am I to do? Well make my own of course!

Here are the steps I took to turn a “horsemanship style” lead rope into a set of rope reins with snap ends.

Alternatively you could purchase the “raw” yacht rope from a boating store, but I purchased this lead rope from a local tack shop, plus the snaps the total came to less than $15.

Dismantling the loop: This lead rope has a loop on one end to accommodate a large snap, this loop is sewn into itself, but the core remains solid and separate. Here is how to take it apart.

  • With a sharp craft knife slowly and carefully sheer away the outer layer of the shell. Careful not to cut too deep!
  • Then you will see stitches the go through the centre of the rope. Cut those as well. Now you should be able to pull it all apart.
  • Separate the pieces by pulling gently apart, then cut away the excess strings with scissors.
  • This is what you will end up with, clean up all the loose strings, then lay it out on a large flat surface.
  • Now go to the very end of the rope, pull apart the end of the casing, to find the core.
  • Hold onto the core and slid the casing down so that the ends you cut earlier meet.
  • Place a piece of foil underneath the joined sections of casing.
  • Take a barbecue lighter, and carefully melt the frayed parts of casing together.
  • while melting the casing press it into the foil, turning as you go to make a solid seal and to make the surface smooth.
  • Let cool fully
  • It is very strong, but I added a layer of electrical tape as well to add strength.

IMG_2751

  • Now you need to seal the tip of the rope
  • Cut away the extra core that is now sticking out of the casing
  • Trim the extra strings and use the lighter to melt it closed (also rolling on the foil to make a smooth surface
  • Finish by wrapping both ends about 4 to 6 inches of electrical tape

IMG_2753

All that is left is to add the snaps…

  • Place the ends through the snap eyelets
  • Fold the ends over so there is 4 – 6 inches of overlap
  • Wrap 1 turn of electric tap around the finished end once
  • Then start wrapping the end back onto itself to seal the snaps in place. I only did 1 layer, but more could be added if desired.

The great thing about this design is also that if the snaps where to break or rust, it would be simple to cut away the electrical tape, replace the snap and re-tape it.

Alternative (but also more permanent) ways of sealing this style rein would be…

  • Multiple zip ties
  • Sewing with large leather working thread and needles
  • Lead shank clamps
  • Wrapping in rawhide (like a bosal)

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