How to Soften a Stiff Lasso Rope

Last Updated on December 17, 2022

If you ever compete in a roping event at a rodeo or work on a cattle ranch, you will want to know how to soften a lasso rope. Lasso ropes, also called lariats, can easily become stiff and difficult to use. If you ever use a lariat, you know the importance of keeping them from getting too stiff. 

Lariats often need to be softened when you first get them. However, over time they can also become too stiff and need to be softened again. Though ropes do need a certain level of stiffness, they can be difficult to use if they are too stiff.

How to Soften a Stiff Lasso Rope

Whether you are working cattle, competing in a roping competition, or performing trick roping, you want to make sure your rope is supple and durable. When you first get a lasso rope, it will likely need to be broken in. They are often not comfortable to use when you first get a new one. 

Softening a Stiff Lasso Rope

In order to successfully use your lasso rope, you need to be comfortable and confident using it. A rope that isn’t softened to the right amount will often be annoying to use. However, with the right steps, you can get your rope ready to use in no time. 

Test out Your Rope

When you first get a new rope, you want to test it out to get a feel for it. Some ropes will be stiffer than others when you first get them. By trying it out when it first comes, you can determine how much softening it will need.

Stretch Your Rope Out to Improve Flexibility

If your lasso rope is feeling stiff, stretching it out is key to improving its flexibility. Once it has stretched out some, it will be much easier to use.  

There are several ways you can stretch out your rope. One common way is to tie the lariat to a sturdy post and your saddle horn. Carefully back up your horse until the rope is stretched tight and have your horse stand still for a few minutes. It will likely take a few sessions to get it nice and flexible.

Use Powder if Needed

If your rope is still feeling stiff, you can apply baby powder to help with grip. When fully covered in baby powder, it can help keep them soft and even improve performance.

Use Powder if Needed

Use Your Rope Regularly

It is important to use your lasso rope regularly to keep it soft and supple. If your lasso is sitting around and not getting used, it will quickly become stiff and difficult to use.

Properly Store Your Rope 

Keeping your lariat properly stored is key to keeping it softened. After using your rope, be sure to wipe off any mud or dirt. Once it is cleaned, apply more powder to it before storing it.

You can purchase rope bags to safely store your lasso. They will keep them clean and away from the elements. 

What’s The Difference Between a Lasso and a Rope?

Whilst lassos are made from rope, not all ropes are lassos! Strictly speaking, the term rope is used to describe a single piece of thick, intertwined string, while a lasso is a rope that has been tied to create a sliding loop at one end.

In western riding circles, the terms lasso and rope are also used to describe how a piece of rope is used. Traditionally, the sliding loop of a lasso is used to catch animals. This is achieved by tossing the loop over the head of the animal, where it will tighten around the neck.

Roping is another technique used to catch animals, and this is now a popular spectacle at western riding displays. The same lassoing technique is used to catch young cattle, but they are then tied up and restrained using the same rope.

On a working ranch, you may find it hard to tell the difference between a lasso and a rope, and many ranchers will use one rope for all jobs. You may also find that everyone has their favorite rope, so make sure to ask before borrowing a rope or lasso!

How Long is a Lasso Rope?

The standard length for a lasso rope is between 60 and 100 feet long. The rope needs to be long enough to fulfill the job it is intended for, but not so long that it becomes unwieldy and difficult to manage. A lasso rope that is too long will be more of a hindrance than a help and could be hazardous if it becomes entangled.

There are other types of ropes used in western riding, and these come in different lengths. A standard head rope is around 30 feet in length, making it a good choice for a beginner rider to practice with.

How Do I Choose a Lasso Rope?

Choosing your first lasso rope is a serious business! The wrong type of rope will seriously hinder your attempts at roping and may be so difficult that you are unable to use it at all. Some of the heavier, stiffer ropes are only suitable for use by experienced riders and should be avoided when you are learning to rope.

A full-size lasso rope can be too much for a novice to handle, so a good option is to go for a half-length head rope instead. When it comes to the material your rope is made from, there are myriad options to choose from. The aim is to get a rope that is soft and sits easily in your hand, and you may need to try a few to find this.

If you have been practicing roping using a friend’s equipment, it is a good idea to ask them what they use and their preferences in terms of a lasso rope. This will help you narrow down the choice and find the perfect rope for you.

How to Tie a Knot at The End of a Lariat Rope?

The knot tied at the end of a lasso or lariat rope is called a honda knot, bowstring knot, or lariat loop. The aim is to create a loop through which the end of the rope can slide easily; this forms the larger lasso loop used to capture animals.

To tie a honda knot, two separate standard knots are loosely formed towards the end of the rope. The knot nearest the end of the rope is pulled tight, then the end of the rope and the tightened knot are passed through the loop of the first knot. The second knot is then pulled tight, leaving a loop of rope held securely between the two knots.

The free end of your rope can then be passed through this loop, forming a larger sliding loop – the classic lasso. If your honda loop is too tight, the two knots were placed too close together, and vice versa.

How to Clean a Lariat Rope?

The method used to clean a lariat rope will depend on the type of material it is made from. Some types of rope are machine washable and can be laundered in this way. Others may shrink or become misshapen if exposed to hot water.

Keeping your rope in good condition is key to keeping it in good condition, and will help your rope last for a long time. Poorly cared-for ropes can become weakened or start to fray, causing them to snap. This could put you and your horse in a difficult or dangerous situation with a risk of injury.

If you do choose to wash your lariat rope, make sure it is completely dry before storing it away. Packing a damp rope in a roping bag will cause it to develop kinks and bulges that mean the loop no longer runs smoothly along the rope.

Final Words – A Supple and Soft Lasso Rope

And remember, with the proper stretching, powder, and storage, you can soften your lasso rope. A lasso rope that has been softened is much easier to use than a new stiff one.