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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo 14

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

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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