Originally Posted by Nightside
In the coast guard they emphasize a lot on rope handling. If you guys think a measley little horse is bad, try towing a boat in storm in rough seas. Basically the rope is held in your finger tips so if something goes wrong, your hand isn't crushed between the line dragging a boat and the sampsons post. That's the way I hold lead ropes with horses. I've got enough strength and skill in those fingertips to hold most horses but I know at any time I have the ability to let go. There's more to horses than horses, as I like to say. Sometimes you have to incorporate other skills, and I wish a lot of horsemen knew half as much as they did about rope as they do about identifying brand name tack or bloodlines.
Posted via Mobile Device
My great-grandfather lost his thumb similarly, as a little boy. His dad was in a small fishing boat in a storm and the rope snapped, he grabbed hold of it to stop it floating away and held on for dear life. Took his thumb off (but probably saved his father's life).
I can't give a toss about show rules as I have no interest in showing - having led a lot of very nutty horses that were more than happy to rear, bolt and prance on the end of a lead I always hold it in the figure-eight shape. And I prefer to use a 20ft lead rather than an 8 or 12ft one, if the horse spins and tries to rear it just gives you more distance between you and their front hooves without having to let go.