How to Clean Your Parelli Ropes

"Pat Parelli was inspired by Tom Dorrance’s advice that horses need to be able to drift and teeter. During ground work, your horse needs to be able to move out a bit and have enough room to turn and face you, get control and then come back.  For this reason, you should choose rope that moves through your hands smoothly to avoid jerking your horse.

Parelli rope is smooth, slightly forgiving, and will flow through your hands as your horse needs additional space. Rather than drag your horse from point A to point B, our ropes are designed to allow for drift and teeter by both the nature of what they are made of, as well as the length.

The rope you usually see used for halters and leads is typically nylon rope and was never designed to withstand the unique challenges an equine application presents.  Nylon rope stretches, can become stiff with use, increases in size over time and absorbs unwanted moisture.

The 100% polyester [yachting] rope used at Parelli has been specifically engineered with horsemanship use in mind. Parelli's rope is dirt, sweat, mildew, rot,  and UV resistant.  This means that your rope will stay truer to it's original form longer, without fading, stretching, popping or elongating." (

So how are you caring for your rope to ensure you get the most life out of it?  Are you throwing it in the wash with bleach or detergent?  Are you not washing it at all?

Here are some best practice tips when it comes to washing your Parelli ropes:

  • A plain water rinse does wonders to reduce build up of sand and dirt.  Spray down with a hose or let sit in a bucket of water for a few minutes then "squeedgy" out the water.  You can do this with your hand by squeezing the rope and sliding your hand down it's length.
  • If they're really dirty and you're going to wash your ropes in the washing machine put them in pillowcases first.  This does a couple of things:
    • It helps keep your ropes from wrapping around the center agitator of the washer (if you have that style washing machine).
    • It keeps the snap from banging around in your washer.
    • It protects the ropes and gentles the action of the washer on them.
  • Use a gentle cycle.  These ropes are surprisingly easy to clean and don't require high heat or a lot of action to get them clean - this will only accelerate their deterioration.   
  • Use a mild detergent or none at all!  Soaps can reduce many of the desired properties of the rope such as it's UV resistance, smooth feel, and elasticity.  Use a soap with a pH between 7 and 9, or just use a fabric softener in a small/medium amount.
  • Never use bleach or abrasive soaps.  Never!
  • Let air dry, if you dry with heat you may shrink or warp the core of the rope.

For more detailed information about yachting rope and cleaning information visit: