How to Braid a Lead Rope With Mule Tape

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Mule tape rope leads are soft and pleasing to use. The tape comes in bright colors, or you can use beige, brown, white, or black depending on how fancy you want your equine companion to look while he's donning his halter and lead rope. Braiding the mule tape makes it look really pretty, and you can even braid several colors together. A mule tape rope can be made by stringing the ends of this polyester rope product through a metal spring snap commonly used on horse or dog leads.

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Mule tape rope leads are soft and pleasing to use.

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Mule tape is long-lasting and washable, so it's a great material to use for this do-it-yourself project. After a bit of use, you can put the rope into a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase just like if you were washing delicate clothing for humans and run it through your washing machine's delicate cycle. Just be sure to remove the metal clips beforehand. If you're not a fan of machine washing the rope, don't worry — hand-washing the lead rope is a great option. Soak it for about an hour first to get rid of dirt, sweat, and grime.

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Measure and cut mule tape

To make an 8-foot rope lead, cut two 16-foot lengths of mule tape. If you need a shorter or longer rope lead, adjust accordingly. The standard equation is to multiply the length you need by two and then cut two pieces of rope at that length. Remember to measure twice and cut once. Alternatively, you can use paracord instead of mule tape and follow the same instructions. Both products are available in a large selection of colors.

Use a metal spring snap

A metal spring snap, or a carabiner — such as that used on most horse tack or dog leashes — can be purchased at a tack shop, home improvement store, outdoor store, hardware store, or online. Make sure you get a snap large enough for a horse lead rope. You don't want a small, dog-size clip for an equine rope.

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Tie several knots

Take both pieces of mule tape rope and string them through the bottom opening (usually like a D-ring) on the spring snap. If you're using a carabiner, wrap them tightly around the narrow end of the clip. Slide the snap over so it's in the middle of the ropes. Then, make an overhand knot to form a loop. Do this twice so that the snap stays in the middle of the rope.

Braid the ropes

Lay the mule tape ropes side by side on a flat surface. Make a braid out of the ropes by keeping one rope in the middle and then criss-crossing the left over the right, then the middle over the second one, then the third under that, and then the fourth over that. Keep going until you have woven all the rope together and there is about 3 inches or so remaining.

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Stop the fray

To keep the braided rope from getting frayed, wrap all four strands of rope into a loop. Put the ends of the rope through the center of the loop and pull tightly until you have a nice, snug knot. If you are comfortable doing so, use a match, lighter, or candle to melt the very end of the rope for a second or two until it begins to melt a bit. You only want to do this for a second. Burning the ends will prevent the final product from fraying. Dip the burnt ends of the rope into a bit of cold water to harden the burnt portion.

Things You'll Need

  • Mule tape

  • Tape measure

  • Scissors

  • Metal spring snap

  • Match, lighter, or candle

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