Lead A Pack String
Lead Rope Adjustment The surest way to have a wreck is to have improperly adjusted lead ropes. The lead rope should be at least 12-18” off the ground when the pack horse has his nose on the butt of the pack horse in front of him. Pack horses occasionally are very close to one another, especially going down steep trails. Sometimes the pack horse in front will start kicking the horse behind when the trail horse has his leg over the lead rope.
Lead Rope Quality Buy quality and strong lead ropes. A big strong horse can break a poor quality lead rope like a string when frightened.
Hand Leading Pack Horses While Dismounted Never wrap the lead rope around your hand. Loop the rope in your palm so if the horse pulls the rope, it is pulled out of your hand so then you only have a hold of one strand of the lead rope. If the packhorse spooks with the lead rope wrapped around your hand you could be dragged and seriously injured. One person I knew wrapped the rope around his hand and was drug and almost tore his fingers off and he had to go to the hospital.
Lead Horse Occasionally, you will have to quickly get off your riding horse to correct a problem in your pack string, i.e. broken break away string, loose pack, animal’s leg over a lead rope, etc. There might not be a readily available place to tie your riding horse so your riding horse needs to be trained to stand when not tied. You don’t want your riding horse to take your pack string down the trail while you are dismounted. I am fortunate to have Jack, the black appaloosa, as my riding horse. I put the reins around the pommel and dismount to take care of problems. Jack stands like a rock for me. If your horse is not trained to stand, always put a figure 8 nylon hobble on your riding horse that slips on easily and quickly to insure you don't have a runaway pack string.< back to Horse Packing Tips