Home Horsemanship Basics Use Your Get Down Rope to Keep Safe

Use Your Get Down Rope to Keep Safe

With Richard Caldwell

When you ride with traditional gear, it is important to remember that each piece of equipment has a specific purpose and has evolved over time to be used in a certain way. The get down rope is a prime example of this. It is there to be used when you are getting off and on your horse, not only for convenience, but for safety. I see many people not making use of their get down rope properly, and it’s not a matter of if that will get them into trouble, but when it will.

If you use your get down rope properly, it will help you avoid getting in a wreck or injuring your horse’s mouth while mounting and dismounting.

Photo 1

Photo 1

1. Often I see people getting off an on their horses with their hands on their reins, not their get down rope.

Photo 2

Photo 2

2. If I'm halfway on, and my horse spooks, I might have to step down, or I might fall backward.

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Photo 3

3. Since my hands are on my reins, I will be pulling on my horse's mouth as I fall back, pulling him toward me.

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Photo 4

4. Now, my already frightened horse, is pulled on top of me. He might kick or step on me.

Photo 5

Photo 5

1. When I get ready to step off, I push my reins up my horse’s neck. I have my get down rope in my belt.

Photo 6

Photo 6

2. I get ready to swing off, My hand is on my horse’s neck­—on my get down rope, not my reins.

Photo 7

Photo 7

3. Now when I’m in this vulnerable position, if my horse were to spook, I am more prepared.

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Photo 8

4. As I fall back and step off, I have a hold of my get down rope.

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Photo 9

5. My momentum pulls his nose toward me, and his hindquarters away.

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Photo 10

1.As I step on, I have my reins way up my horse's neck and my hand on the get down rope.

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Photo 11

2. I step up and get ready to swing my leg over and sit in the saddle.

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Photo 12

3. Right here is where I'm most vulnerable, and where a very young horse might get bothered by my leg.

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Photo 13

4. So if he were to spook, I could step back off of him with my get down rope in hand.

Photo 14

Photo 14

5. My momentum again will carry me backward, but since I have ahold of my get down rope...

Photo 15

Photo 15

6. I pull his nose toward me, and his hindquarters move away from me, keeping me safe.

This article originally appeared in Eclectic Horseman Issue No.43

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Richard Caldwell

Richard Caldwell believed there was a need to preserve and bring back the true Vaquero methods of horsemanship and horse training. He and his wife Nancy lived in Alturas, California and traveled the country conducting clinics. He enjoyed showing his horses and had an impressive record at National Reined Cow Horse events, The Snaffle Bit Futurity, The Californios Ranch Roping and Stock Horse Contest and other big loop roping events.