lantairvlea: (lantair look)
[personal profile] lantairvlea
I acquired three sets of long lines from Knotty Girlz. My initial intent was to just get one set of lines in order to replace the 22' Parelli Feather Lines with something 30' long because 22' just doesn't give me the distance I need to do good work on the long lines. I don't want to have to jog to keep up (hard to keep a soft connection in the hands while jogging!) while trotting and cantering circles or changing directions. Plus I want to be well out of the horse's way should something go awry (like taking exception to the line above their hocks the first time). While a good idea and a start in the right direction in helping Tru-D find forward with the long lines, the feather lines had their shortfalls. Literally.

While not in their lineup, Knotty Girlz happily made my lines and does other custom work. I had debated just getting the rope (their parent company is Columbia Basin Knot Company and they sell rope by the foot and wholesale) and learning how to splice (because I need another skill to develop in all my spare time). They sell an equestrian rope sample kit for $5 including shipping that has a brochure and about a dozen short lengths of rope all labeled with their size, material, and color so you can get a literal feel of their ropes. It also includes $5 off your next purchase so the rope sample is essentially free.

The double braid polyester (also referred to as yacht braid) was the same type of rope as the feather lines and felt good in hand. I then started thinking about the worth of my time learning and doing it myself versus paying them for their time and skill, so I messaged them through their website and got a promt reply with a quote for three sets: the 1/4" that I asked for, 5/16" and also a 3/8". I think this was clever upselling on their part as they ended up with triple the order! They initially quoted for snaps, which I corrected, just the eye splice loop. I have grown less fond of snaps plus I have a drawerful I could pull from if I changed my mind. They typically do three inch "diameter" eye loops. They use 6" of rope folded back on itself to create a 3" teardrop. I was afraid it would be a true circle diameter, but they explained it and that made more sense. The Feather Lines have a 1.5" eye splice loop so I compromised and asked for 2" on all of them. One of my clients got a pair of the 1/4" lines with a 3" eye spliced loop and while functional it isn't aesthetically pleasing.

Once the details were finalized from the length, loop size, the end of each rope (leather "poppers"), and color they billed me through paypal and within a week my lines shipped.

They arrived safe and sound and I was excited to try them out (bonus, selling both the Feather Lines and my old MCR lines paid for half the order!)

In addition to the lines I ordered bit straps from My Draft Horse Superstore (everything you need but feed) at $5 each so I could buckle to whatever I needed rather than hitching it through or hitching i5 to a snap. I used mini/pony ones for the 1/4" lines and "Haflinger" sized ones on the 5/16" and 3/8" and they have worked well. While the buckles aren't as convenient as snaps they aren't as bulky weight wise and they fit on any bit without issue, including the slots on a Kimberwick or Liverpool as well as on any halter or lungeing cavesson.

I've been working between the three sets of lines the last few weeks to feel them out and decide their best uses.

The 1/4" are hunter green and are light in the hand. They have enough body to be able to send a little life down them and also to swing them up and over with a fair amount of accuracy. I like that I can bunch them up and send then through the surcingle rings without having to feed it through foot by foot. Because they are round they slide easily through the surcingle rings when in use. They are also thin enough that holding the slack doesn't create unweildy bulk in the hand.

The downside is due to their size they are easier to get hung up on things since they can slide into narrower spaces. I had issue with it getting hung up on the kicking strap as I initially sent it over the hip, but it's a pretty minor thing. I also found that they work best with a sensitive horse when lungeing. Long lining it doesn't really matter, but while lungeing there isn't a whole lot of weight there so with horses who aren't so attentive there's only so much "noise" you can send down the line to call the horse's attention back to you.

The other issue is the grip. Previously when I long lined with my 1/2" lines or flat lines (forever ago...) I usually had the reins come out the top of my hand for ease of adjustment, but the 1/4" lines don't offer much traction so I've been using my usual riding/driving grip, having it come out between my pinky and ring finger to be sure I have traction when needed.

I haven't had the chance to long line using the two thicker lines, but I have done a bit of lungeing with them. The 5/16" lines I ordered in navy. They are a little heavier and offer more grip. I think they are a good medium between the 1/4" and 3/8" lines. I probably could have gone without this set, but it's another tool in the toolbox. They're a good set to grab if I might switch between lungeing and long lining and don't want both the 1/4" and 3/8" to drag along.

The 1/4" line is pretty convenient, however as the 30' length at that diameter is nothing to hold in the hand. I wouldn't recommend tying with it as I believe it's breaking point is under 2000lbs, but you could use it to lead as well as lunge and long linr without feeling like you're hanging on to a ton of rope.

The 3/8" lines are purple and close in feel to my old 1/2" MCR lines. They have enough weight to get attention back much quicker than the 1/4" lines, but a little less bulky than the 1/2" MCRs. I do like them as a lunge line.

Overall I do like the lines. I like using the bit straps to connect. They aren't as fast as a snap, but they don't bang the jaw or require extra energy to move. I like the leather poppers on the end of the lines because absent a whip you can twirl the end of the line to good effect. The color variety varies depending on the type of line, but most of them have several to choose from and I like having then color coded so I can just grab the color over looking at the size. I had debated getting each individual line a different color
to make it easy to tell the left from the right, but decided against it. It would be more for clients than me anyway and I'd rather remember three colors than six!

In brief I like my new lines. The 30' length is so much nicer to work with. Yes it is long, but dealing with the slack is no big deal, especially with the 1/4" lines. I look forward to many years of use ahead!

Additional bonus, today I discovered I could use the bit straps to keep the lines tidy. Now I don't have to fight a tangled mess and they can hang neatly on the hook together!
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