Andy Holcomb's Head Horse Tie-Down Theory

Andy Holcomb explains when and how he uses a nylon noseband.

Andy Holcomb’s team-roping tie-down theory is simple. Here’s how he applies it to head horses.

If you watch my horses at a futurity, you might notice I use nylon nosebands on just about all of them. Here’s why:

Foundation and Balance

I start my rope horses on cattle in a tie-down. I think as team ropers, we all wish we could be better with our hands and not need a tie-down and have our horses softer and more broke. But we’re going fast enough we need to pick up and pull. With a tie-down, they won’t be popping their nose and getting in our way, and they collect more naturally.

Why Nylon?

This tie-down—all of mine come from California’s Ali Bilkey—isn’t super wide and, if you tighten it down, it has some good nose pressure to back one off. These last really long, to the point that I’m usually replacing the tie-down strap long before I’m replacing the tie-down.


Truthfully, I ride my tie-downs a little longer, especially at home. That makes them a bit more forgiving—I don’t want my horses sucked down and pushing against it with every move. I really notice too, when I use a hackamore, that a tie-down doesn’t infringe on the bridleworks. A smooth leather tie-down might get in the way of a hackamore, but these are thinner and softer and get out of the way to where the hackamore can work more naturally the way it’s supposed to. TRJ

More on Tie-Downs: 

Bits and Tie-Downs on Green Head Horses

Ryan Motes: Whether or Not Your Horse Needs a Tie-Down

Headgear Hints: Finding the Right Tie-Down 

What did you think of this article?

Thank you for your feedback!