How To Soften A Stiff Lasso Rope

Jessica McDaniel
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How to Soften a Stiff Lasso Rope

Lasso ropes usually get stiff when kept for long periods in their sealed packaging. Other times, the lasso rope retains moisture or is stored in moist areas. Whether it’s packaged or not, it’s best to store lasso ropes in a clean and dry space.

When the rope is stiff and hard to manipulate, you can soften it back up with the following:

{1}. Cut off a portion of rope and try to untie it and you will find it’s a bit stiffer and not easy to untie.
{2}. To soften the lasso rope gradually, hold the lasso rope above a low burning flame.
{3}. Hold one end of the rope with your other hand and hold it low enough so the flame is just about reaching it. Keep the rope in the flame and the heat will eventually soften the rope.
{4}. The slow and steady approach, as compared to the "flame-torch" approach, should soften the fiber and the lasso rope will eventually get back to it’s original pliability and flexibility.

Test out Your Rope

One of the techniques to soften lasso rope is to hold it over an open fire. While it sounds like a good idea to ensure the rope is the right length, it is not recommended.

The heat will damage the rope and make it easier to burn and will certainly turn your rope into a twisted mess.

Instead, explore other ways to soften lasso rope so you can use it when needed. When you pull on a rope that is too stiff or dry, you put stress on the join between the rope and the saddle horn, which can cause the rope to break.

Stretch Your Rope Out to Improve Flexibility

If you find your rope is stiff and difficult to work with, or you want to improve the flexible of a certain rope, you can learn to stretch it.

Most people roll and uncoil their rope to keep it compact and organized, but this will lead to a stiff rope that is difficult to work with. The best way to keep your rope soft is to prevent your rope from becoming tightly coiled in the first place.

How can you do this?

When you are finished using your rope, don’t coiled the rope for storage. Instead, simply unroll the rope and let it hang freely. This will allow the fibers in the rope to break down the "memory" that allows your rope to coil up in the first place.

If you still find your rope is too stiff, you can simply grab the rope behind one shoulder (for instance) and work it back and forth, towards you, for about 30 seconds. Then uncoil the rope and let it hang free. You’ll notice quite a bit of the rope is limp and the fibers have been loosened up.

Use Powder if Needed

Oxalic acid is the most popular and most commonly used product to stop a piece of rope from shrinking. These days, most rope manufacturers recommend the use of Oxalic acid most successfully.

If the rope was colored, then you have to remember that Oxalic acid can be harmful. Wear safety glasses and gloves because it may cause burns and irritation to the skin and eyes.

One thing you should know is that although oxalic acid helps in stopping the shrinking, it’s not a cure-all for the rope.

The rule of thumb is that the larger the batch of the rope you want to be softened, the more Oxalic acid you need. Stick to the recommended amount for each cup of powdered Oxalic acid. Also, make sure that there are no kids or pets around while you use the powder because of the strong side effects it has.

Use Your Rope Regularly

Frequent use of your lasso rope, when you're actually lassoing, will ensure your rope stays in good shape and won’t need to be melted or stretched. But if you stop using your rope (or let it dry out), the fibers become hardened and it becomes really difficult to loop.

Before you resort to heat or bending, try looping your rope a couple of times. We have yet to encounter a rope that looped so tightly that it couldn't be stretched out at least a little.

Heat on a rope is dangerous. It can melt the fibers together, making it a dead rope that is completely useless. If this has happened to you, or you never try to soften the rope, don't panic. Look for a rope that is similar in size and shape and buy a brand new rope.

Your rope is not a piece of metal that is meant to be bent and shaped. If you stretch or soften the rope you will weaken the rope and decrease its longevity.

Preventing your rope from drying out is essential to maintaining a strong rope. The best way to do this to store your rope in a bag or coil it up and keep it in a cool dark place.

If you've been using your rope, but don't want to use a traditional bag, then try wrapping your rope up with a towel and storing it in a plastic container.

Properly Store Your Rope

A rope that has been left outside will bring in bacteria and mold and will not dry properly. Try to remember to bring it inside every night to prevent this from happening. A rope hanging inside your barn will allow it to dry quickly, and when you're ready to ride, you will not have to deal with a stiff rope.

A Supple and Soft Lasso Rope

You know how a brand new lasso rope can be much easier to work with than a stiff one. If your lasso is feeling stiff and you need to use it, there are a couple ways you can soften it.

Dip it in hot water
As the saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen, and you can adapt this saying to the beauty of dipping your lasso in hot water. If you put your lasso in hot water it will soften it.

Put it in the dryer
If you really don’t want to put your rope in water, you can put it in a dryer on high heat. This might take a few rounds of drying and re-dipping but it will eventually soft your rope making it easier to handle.