View Full Version : Tie to trailer, or leave on? (spin-off)

Jeannette, formerly ponygyrl
Jan. 15, 2012, 07:14 PM
Back in the day, seems like we always tied to the trailer, or had someone hold the horse between phases/while we (re)walked the course. (First walk had been at 3 pm the day before, with the TD or PoGJ (don't remember which, but I remember the walks!)

It is true back in the day I had a pony who was not an easy loader at all, and trailers generally may have been smaller and a bit less horse friendly.

These days I almost always leave horses on the trailer when they aren't being tacked up. What about you, and your arc thru the ages, if you're old enough to have one? Any theories on why you have changed what you do, if you have changed??

Jan. 15, 2012, 07:20 PM
I always left mine on. Figured they were safer in their 'stall' away from home than tied.

Jan. 15, 2012, 07:34 PM
I have one whom I always tied outside the trailer (he pawed and would ding up the door frame of the escape door if left on at all) and my current horse whom I always leave on the trailer (if he decided to leave, he might just take the trailer with all 17 hands of him). I think it just depends on the horse.

Jan. 15, 2012, 07:43 PM
I tie outside the trailer, or I started to after I got a horse that tied! Before then I'd have to hold the blockheaded SOB all day. I think it's usually cooler off the trailer then on and they relax more.

I've arrived at a show by 8 and stayed until 4 and my horse sleeps and eats (and eats and eats and eats) tied to the trailer except when being ridden.

Jan. 15, 2012, 08:08 PM
I do both. But I trust that my horse will stay tied to the trailer. I realize he's a horse, and things can happen, but... He's pretty good. He's also good about standing on the trailer too, so.. it mostly depends on the weather.

Jan. 15, 2012, 08:58 PM
We always tie here. We'll leave stallions and some naughty horses on, and a lot of the 'showies' will leave their horses on when it's raining, otherwise horses get pulled off the float, tied and fed first thing, then we go suss out numbers, rings etc.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:08 PM
Depends on the horse. My mare was very very reliable tied to the trailer and happier standing there.
I am not sure I will trust the new boy when his time comes and will likely load him back on.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:14 PM
I think it depends on the horse, I had one that would stand happy as a clam as long as she had hay, I had one that would sit down and SNAP anything, and my new boy gets a little stressed if his buddy leaves so I don't like leaving him ties in case he starts to learn to "sit and snap" too. So he he stays tied if he has a buddy, and in the trailer if his buddy has to go off at a different time then he does.

I know that doesn't really help does it?! :)

I do leave all the doors and windows open of the trailer and just the butt bar up when he's in the trailer and I am convinced it's cooler being out of the direct sunlight then standing in the trailer.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:20 PM
Do both. I have a sort of mental time limit on how long they should be tied to the trailer, especially on a hot day. It's nice to let them be off the trailer so they can move around; it's nice to let them be on the trailer to shield them from sun.

In my case, on a hot day inside the trailer is actually cooler.

As others have mentioned there is less opportunity to get into trouble on the trailer. I don't like to leave them tied to the side and unsupervised for a long time. Horses being horses and all ...

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:27 PM
I am in the depends camp too.
The large pony left in the trailer has enough room to move around comfortably. If I am going to be near the trailer I take him off and put up a hay bag. When I was going alone however if I was leaving the near vicinity I would put him on. I actually had someone say to me how good he was just to stand in the trailer at a show last year....LOL. He is 13.3 in a 2 horse SL xtra wide & tall with two flakes of hay and the doors all open. What does he have to be un-good about! He will stand tied all day (and night did so camping on a hi line) unless something spooks him (lose horse running by, bicycle) in which case it is game on.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:43 PM
I always thought putting them on the trailer would be safer than them breaking away from being tied. That was until one day at an event, my friend and I put our horses on the trailer to go walk xc. Two OTHER horses escaped from being tied and were galloping around the parking lot. The excitement spooked my horse, and after trying to climb out of his window, he flipped completely over. I am VERY lucky that all he walked away with was a few bumps and scrapes, thanks to a couple of amazing horsewomen that were parked nearby. The Vet on duty said to never leave the horses on the trailer, she had seen too many incidents of horses left on them gone wrong. So, he will always stay tied outside the trailer with company, or attached to my hip.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:47 PM
It seems like all the events I go to have to park trailers three feet apart to squeeze everyone in! My guy is fine either way but I tend to put him back on the trailer just to keep him from rubbing butts with the horse next door.

Jan. 15, 2012, 09:54 PM
I grew up in pony club, and we tied almost everything to the trailer, all day, with a water bucket and hay net, and it was never a problem.

My current horse does not tie to the trailer. At all. Even with one of the fancy quick release snaps while you are actually there tacking him up. So he goes back on the trailer no matter what, and he is generally very good about hanging out quietly-- but I do try to arrange things so he is not left longer than strictly necessary.

I'm not sure I would be comfortable leaving most horses tied to the trailer for long periods of time at the events around here (like if I went to walk the xc course or something) since, unlike at a pony club rally, there are not people always nearby who will keep an eye on it. Also there is always that one person who decides to let their dogs run loose through the trailer area/ gallops back to get their armband/ lunges their crazy stallion in between trailers etc.

Jan. 15, 2012, 10:04 PM
I leave them in. In the trailer, the worst they do is paw the floor, but left to their own devices with a rope... Oh no.

Jan. 15, 2012, 10:08 PM
I also grew up in PC and I used to leave them tied to the side of the trailer (properly).... now I often will stick them back on the trailer if time warrants/if possible. I just feel better knowing they aren't gonna untie themselves or breakaway. I try to make sure they have plenty of hay and offer water before leaving and upon me getting back to the trailer... or if I have a convenient hook/tie spot I will leave water within reach.

Jan. 15, 2012, 10:34 PM
Grew up in pony club and always tied. My mare stands like a pony club horse. I leave her on when I get my packet, then unload and set up her haynet and water bucket. I get SOOOO frustrated by fellow horsepeople who don't tie properly. Long leadropes or no breakaway twine. Then I get the "but they wanted to eat grass" After they've stepped on their leadrope, busted their halter and the owner has no spare anything. My trailer is hotter than outside.

Jan. 15, 2012, 10:36 PM
I always put them back on. Much safer, much, much cooler than standing in the hot sun (I can usually get a good cross breeze going in the trailer), and much easier to deal with. If I have a fractious one, I may leave someone to hang out near the trailer, but almost every horse I've dealt with has learned to chill, munch, and nap (only horse I couldn't convince of that was Paco, and he would literally tear the trailer apart and wear himself out so much he would shut down in the next phase!).

I have to admit, I HATE being parked next to someone who ties out the whole day. It seems to never fail that they will tie with 6ft of rope, the horse is fractious and ill mannered, the humans leave it for hours on end alone (I guess they figure I can babysit), are completely inconsiderate of our shared space, and they ALWAYS tie on the side I work on...Murphy's Law of One Day Events, I guess...the type of person who bugs you the most is the the person most likely to end up next to you ALL. DAY. LONG.

Jan. 15, 2012, 10:57 PM
I have to admit, I HATE being parked next to someone who ties out the whole day. It seems to never fail that they will tie with 6ft of rope, the horse is fractious and ill mannered, the humans leave it for hours on end alone (I guess they figure I can babysit), are completely inconsiderate of our shared space, and they ALWAYS tie on the side I work on...Murphy's Law of One Day Events, I guess...the type of person who bugs you the most is the the person most likely to end up next to you ALL. DAY. LONG.

We tie-er outers hate being next to these types too. :D

Jan. 15, 2012, 11:15 PM
My horse is a loon on the trailer ESPECIALLY by herself. Outside tied, she can watch the comings and goings easier and she is rather claustrophobic at times (although trailer has drop down windows). I've always tied to the trailer with water and hay nets. Just have to remember to bring pitchfork to clean up after them. She ties well.

Jan. 15, 2012, 11:21 PM
I won't let anyone tie up a haynet to the outside of my trailer - might scratch it!
So that decides it - unless the horse is tied for a short period of time.

Jan. 16, 2012, 12:04 AM
We've done a little of both - and it depends on how many horses we're hauling- if we have one riding in the aisle then we usually will tie one outside; we don't leave them unattended; and it depends on what type of trailer you have. I would never tie one up outside some bumper pulls - have seen some nasty injuries as a result of license plates. Depending on some venues it can be pretty tricky if a horse gets loose and starts to run around parked trailers w/ horses outside. I've been at 2 shows when some loon decided to tie their horses to fence posts pulled back and the next thing you know we've got a loose horse running like a maniac w/ a fence board attached to him - not good.

If we have a horse that is a loon by itself - we make sure to bring a babysitter.

Jan. 16, 2012, 12:24 AM
It depends on a lot of things. I do endurance rides and generally load him back into the stock trailer overnight. He's a 14.2h Arab and is in a 4 horse stock trailer. He's got enough room for 6 of him in there. In fact, in bad weather we load him and my friend's Arab in there loose together and they hang out shoulder to shoulder happy as clams. If they're in the trailer they'll just munch hay and doze all night. If they're tied outside, they're on high alert all night and spend the whole night bouncing around freaking each other out. "ZOMG, did you hear that?!" 'No! What?! Where?!' "Over there!!" rinse, lather repeat all night.

If we have enough space to put up a pen (portable electric fence), we'll do that.

He'll also tie to a high line overnight if there are a bunch of us camping.

If we're just at a day thing and there don't seem to be too many idjits around, I will just leave him tied to the trailer with a hay bag. He's had some fantastic role models for that - my husband flag and barrel races and his boys will stand tied all...day...long. No hay or anything. They'll just chill.

During the day at endurance rides or gaming shows, he's tied outside to the trailer.

Jan. 16, 2012, 12:27 AM
I tie, and always have, unless the weather is completely miserable or I have a horse I don't trust tied (both of my own are fine, though). I've seen too many freak accidents happen in trailers to leave mine unattended on a trailer. (I've seen tying accidents, too, but always with horses who were not properly trained or not properly tied.)

I think in the end it comes down to your own comfort level and your own horse(s). :yes:

Jan. 16, 2012, 07:58 AM
I tie, mostly because my current horse who loads really well and will stand politely munching hay outside the trailer decides that he wants to take the trailer apart if he is left on it longer than he feels is proper (5 seconds after the truck engine is turned off is the appropriate amount of time in his opinion). Plus, not much really spooks him, so if something spooks him enough to make him break the twine he's tied to, I'd much rather have him loose than freaking out in a trailer.

Jan. 16, 2012, 08:15 AM
I tie outside... mainly bc I have a 2 horse straightload trailer and my horse is a royal PITA on the trailer... pawing, neighing, you name it, she will do it to get your attention. If you are next to the trailer and she knows you are there, she is fine. So, I tie her with hay and water and she is as happy as can be all day. My trailer is also hotter inside than out of it on most days.

Jan. 16, 2012, 08:59 AM
I do both. Both of my current guys are dead quiet at shows. My older guy doesn't much like being on the trailer and honestly I think you'd have to land a helicopter next to him to spook him tied, so tied he is. And asleep.
The other one is easy going either way. If I'm really going to be _gone_ like walk the course gone, I put him back on as I suspect it is a bit safer if someone comes galloping through. He falls asleep once on anyway.

So I guess default is tie as it's easier for me, but if conditions warrant, including weather, back on they go.

Jan. 16, 2012, 09:58 AM
Until last summer I would've been one to say on the trailer. I was at a show where I saw a horse go absolutely bananas on a trailer. Took multiple people, tools (practically the jaws of life), and a couple of vets to extract the horse from over the chest bar and half out the door and sew him back up.

I think a lot of people get too careless about leaving their horses unattended when on the trailer. Certainly not everyone, but I *feel* like I see more unattended horses on trailers than tied out.

Jan. 16, 2012, 09:59 AM
Well...it depends....when I first started showing my mare, she would break away from the trailer if she had a mind to (usually to much commotion, such as kids running around would set her off). She did not load or stand on a trailer well, either, so tossing back on the trailer was not an easy task. So, she got tied and watched.

As she got better, she was able to tie and not be watched for a bit. She traveled loose in my stock trailer and would paw at the door, making a sound akin to gunshots. I got my packet as quickly as possible, then unloaded her, let her walk a bit then tied her.

With the horses I ride that belong to my trainer, they generally stay in the trailer while we are getting packets and walking the course. Then they get tied to the trailer for the duration of the show and back in once they are cooled out after all three phases. They are offered water periodically, more in the summer and graze between phases. If it is going to be a really long wait from when the first horse is done and the last horse is done (like a few hours), then the horse may come back out to stretch it's legs and graze a bit.

So, yea...all depends...

Jan. 16, 2012, 10:09 AM
There are a few events I do a year that don't have stabling. My horses have learned to stand tied to my trailer. I don't leave them unattended for very long and always make sure they have hay and water. I park with more room on the side I'm going to tie on. I really haven't had any problems with my "next door neighbors" like others describe. Most of the other competitors tie to the trailer and allow enough room between to do so.

I have seen a few horses panic when left ON a trailer and it doesn't go well. I have also seen horses snap their halter while tied to a trailer and someone catches the horse after a little trot around the grounds, it happens. However if a horse panics ON a trailer--it seems like they can do much more damage to themselves AND the trailer. I just think the loose horse scenario as less likely to end badly IMO.

Jan. 16, 2012, 10:13 AM
I have my mare trained to happily go into the trailer. She is cooler in there and safer....she takes a nap and munches her hay. I do not open the window on the side though as I have seen too many try to jump out and get stuck. I leave the back doors open and the windows not in front of her open to get a breeze going in there. She is more relaxed in there as well...sort of like her stall away from home.

I too, dislike having others horses tied next to mine and worry about them getting loose and injuring my horse who ties just fine to the side, but I feel isn't safe from someone elses if they are running loose. I only tie her if I am there to keep an eye on the situation.

Jan. 16, 2012, 10:17 AM
Both. If I leave inside, I open the dividers, have hay and water on the ground in back, take off halter and leave loose, like a stall. Or I tie, especially with a buddy next to him/her.

I have trained them on a Railroad tie as youngsters NOT to pull back. They still stand tied for a few hours at a time at home once in a while just as a reminder....works like a charm.

Jan. 16, 2012, 10:29 AM
Like most have said, it depends: on the horse and on the trailer. I grew up in PC too. We always tied. But that was back when trailers were much smaller. Now I have a big airy trailer that opens up well and is much cooler than outside - especially when parked in such a way to reduce direct sunlight. So I usually leave them on. BTW, all my internal fixtures are designed to come up even with a horse's weight on them. This also helps my comfort level.

But for horses that don't "do" trailers, proper tying can also work well. I think they require more vigilance than horses left on trailers (properly), but they all need vigilance during the course of the day anyway.

Neither way is completely safe, but either way can be done as well as possible. Even temporary stalls can have their drawbacks. So no solution is perfect. IMO.


Jan. 16, 2012, 10:50 AM
I keep my gelding more on the trailer then tied if I am going to be away for any extended period of time. Something I may try this year (and I got the idea reading this thread) is if I am going to be ata show for extended periods I will remove the center divider of my SL Warmblood sized trailer. I already keep the back upper doors open and the side doors open so he gets good air flow. He is compact enough to be able to turn around now with the divider pushed to the side, it should be easier with it removed.

He loves to look around, but I've seen a potential for him to get more anxious tied, then in a trailer. With the open doors and side windows he can see almost everywhere. Water, hay and he's happy and I am more relaxed. My mare is different and while she'd be okay staying in, she almost maxes out the trailer, I fear she'd even get stuck if I took off the divider so for her, its getting tied in all but bad weather. The most important thing is that I remain calm so anything that keeps my guys relaxed, I try and do.

Jan. 16, 2012, 11:20 AM
I tie. I do practice at lessons, etc, leaving horse tied to trailer and letting them get used to just hanging out there and being ok with that. I stay with him as much as I can -- if I am going to go watch rounds, I'll take him with, but he can hang out while I walk a course.

In my mind, it is safer, given that I tie well. Yes, he could break free if he really wanted to, but it's a horse show, loose horses happen and he's not stupid so he would get caught and returned. In the trailer, I worry that in a freak out, he would do far more damage to himself.

Jan. 16, 2012, 11:58 AM
Maybe it's the difference in area, about around here in Area 2, the shows can have massive attendance and the parking police CRAM all the trailers in, guiding every single rig into a spot. We often have a horse length and a half between two trailers....and that's side of trailer to side of trailer. Add a horse and an inappropriate amount of rope so the horse can graze and move around and and gear and you are put in some very uncomfortable situations. I have ended up with my horses butt to butt with strange horses (touching!)...I tie my horses QUITE short when they are tied to the trailer...it is amazing I've never had an serious incident.

I am far, far less concerned about my horses freaking out IN the trailer than just doing something silly tied TO the trailer and getting loose. I have had horses in my care who were pros at untying themselves or knocking things over and startling and breaking loose. And, yes, usually a loose horse is not a big deal, but I don't want it to be MY horse. So, on the trailer they go.

Jan. 16, 2012, 02:41 PM
I normally would tie to the trailer, unless day stalls are available and reasonable (I'm from the midwest so far fewer one day events). My horse is good about being on the trailer, and I think if I needed all day and just had her I might take the divider out and leave her loose in there. I have a 2 horse straight load with mangers, so if I take out the center divider it would be about like a stall, but it's a pain to do that.

My horse will happily stand tied tothe trailer with a hay bag and some water. Since it's a 2 horse trailer she's the only one on that side, but it does not seem to bother her. She is always tied in a leather halter and I usually tie to twine in case she was to break away. If it was pouring rain or something I would probably stick her on the trailer, but I think I would leave the drop down windows up if I had to leave her unattended for very long, as the thought of a horse trying to go through the window is basically a worst nightmare. Plus if it was raining I'd rather keep her dry by just opening the sliding screened windowns instead of that big drop down window.

Like other people have said, if a horse was going to have a freak out, I'd rather they break away from being tied than freak out in the trailer. I have been lucky to not witness any serious trailer problems first hand, but have heard enough horror stories about them I'd really like to avoid that! But if I had a horse that would not stand tied to the trailer, but would stand inside nicely I'd go for that option if they were just going to get away all the time when tied.

Jan. 16, 2012, 03:14 PM
Depends on the horsep Depends on the trailer. Depends on the weather. Depends on the location.

Belle, my hot little Conemara cross, stands contentedly all day tied to the trailer. So I generally leave her tied, unless it is pouring rain, or a hot day when the trailer is cooler.

Chief, my SF x ISH is generally more laid back, but he WILL pull back to get to the grass. So he generally stays IN the trailer unless I am right there.

A couple of weekends ago I took both of them to a lesson a Sharon's. Left each on on the trailer whle I rode the other.

Chief yelled and screamed, but didn't do much pawing, and didn't work up a sweat.

Belle didn't say anything, but she was dripping with sweat (MUCH MORE that when I finished rding her) by the time I brought Chief back. I think she would have done better tied.

My "default" is to tie, but I adjust based on the circumstances.

My prevous trailer was effectively destroyed when I lent it to my sister. She left one on the trailer (WITH someone waching) while she rode the other. The one on the trailer completely freaked out at the PA, threw himself around, and down, and jammed himself halfway out the door. They had to cut major structural elements of my trailer to get the horse out.

I prefer to tie.

Mtn trails
Jan. 16, 2012, 08:12 PM
I tie to the outside and unless she's being ridden, she has a haybag and water to entertain her. Nothing bothers her she is that laid back, I can leave her for hours and come back and she's as happy as a clam. I also go horse camping with her and there's one place where she has to stay tied to the trailer all night and she's a champ.

Jan. 16, 2012, 08:53 PM
I don't think there is a right or wrong answer. I've done both....but probably tend to leave them on the trailer. I've seen horses get loose and get hurt. I've had my own horse get loose and run around the event for 45 minutes (he wasn't easy to catch but quite civilized to jump after his little gallop).
I've also pulled a horse off a trailer that was freaking out while his people were walking the course. He had gone over the top of the chest bar but got himself off it....me and some people near by unloaded him...vet happened to be near by (and a friend) who looked him over--lucky just some rubs.

We got stuck holding him for 45 minutes while we tracked down the owners. Was a nice horse....but I had to press my somewhat non-horsey mom into service to hold him grazing in the drizzling rain while I tacked up for xc (after deciding he was good enough for her to hold on to and happy to graze).

Bottom line...best and safest is just not to leave horses unattended...but I also know how that isn't practical for most of us at the one day events.