Do you prefer cotton lead ropes or nylon lead ropes for your horses? I have always preferred cotton as I like the feel of them; everyone has their own preference. I had a nylon rope pull through my hands once - giving me quite a rope burn - and since then I haven’t liked using them.
Both types of ropes come with either bolt snaps or bull snaps, the rope is either clamped or braided back into itself at the snap end. And they both come in either 6-foot or 10-foot lengths. There are pros and cons with both types of rope, it just comes down to personal preference.
Cotton vs. Nylon Lead Ropes
The cotton ropes are easy on the hands and are easily tied, but they don’t seem to last as long as the nylon ropes. When they get wet and soiled, they can rot and fray, and sometimes the braid loosens and pulls out. The nylon ropes last longer, but you can get rope burns from them easier than with cotton. I’ve also had troubles, especially with the older, stiffer ones, in getting them to tie tightly enough. I have to admit though, the newer nylon ropes have a much softer feel, are more flexible, and they don’t rot like the cotton ropes. Another advantage is that if they do start to fray, you can use a match and melt those frayed ends, tightening them back up.
Bolt vs. Bull Snaps
Bolt snaps – at least for me – are a little easier to hook, but I’ve had them break when a horse has lunged back against the hitching rail. I’ve never had a bull snap break, since they're thicker and heavier, but I have had the cotton rope it is attached to come apart! I also prefer the 10-foot length to give plenty of room for tying around a tree on trailriding lunch breaks.
Again, it all comes down to each rider's preference and experience. Whichever type of lead rope you use, make sure to learn how to tie them properly and check them consistently for wear and tear.