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Best Leads

What is there to a lead shank—you just attach it to a horse’s halter and go, right? Well, not quite; there’s actually a lot more to consider when purchasing this essential tool. For example, is it for everyday or competition use? Might you need a chain attachment for better control? Other factors you might think about: what length works best for your purposes, the materials from which it is crafted—even the way it feels in your hand. Here are a few that caught our eye.

Most Versatile

Aime Imports Basic Cotton Lead Rope w/Stud Chain

Double Duty

If we could only buy one lead for multiple horses, this would be an excellent candidate.

What We Liked: 

This lead combines the control factor of a generous 14” length of brass-plated chain and traditional bolt snap with the softness of a cotton rope shank. In our book, that makes it a win-win for most uses around the barn, from that energetic yearling who might need a bit of extra reinforcement to that ancient pony who doesn’t. The purple color is a special bonus! Buy it now. 

Most Durable

TGW RIDING Horse Poly Lead Rope 

Made to Last

Stock up on these affordable shanks so you’re never without a lead.

What We Liked: 

Unlike leather lead shanks, which can be stiff at first, this premium polypropylene lead comes with a broken-in feel that is easy on the hands. That’s especially nice with a horse that pulls back. Other features we like: the generous length, the awesome color selection (never lose a lead again!) and the durability (the ends are even heat sealed to prevent fraying). Get yours here.

Best for Show 

Classic Beauty

For that touch of elegance, nothing beats a traditional style lead.

What We Liked: 

This lead seems tailor-made for a young horse being taken to his first show. The 30” brass-plated chain adds a measure of extra control, should you need it, while the smart leather finish and stitching offer enough polish for any competition setting. It’s suitable for use around the barn, as well, and we love that it’s made in the U.S. Available here. 

Best for Everyday

Weaver Leather Cotton Lead Rope

Weaver Leather Cotton Lead Rope

Weaver Leather Cotton Lead Rope

Back to Basics

When practical and affordable count, this lead rope is your best bet.

What We Liked: 

Available in a wide variety of colors and combos, this lead rope is everyone’s favorite barnyard staple! We love how the natural cotton is super-soft without sacrificing strength. It’s easy to wash, too. And when you need to create makeshift cross-ties (using a quick release knot, of course)—this is a great choice. Get yours now.