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Tying a horse out to graze?

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  • Tying a horse out to graze?

    Question...someone forwarded this to me from a horse farm's facebook page.

    "Tying a horse out for grass, do it the safe way. Run your tie rope through an old garden hose or heck, buy one if you have too. Put rope all the way through to your halter hitch. Tie a knot at the other end of the rope at the end of the hose to keep hose from sliding down. Now you have a way of tying out your horse without the worry of ropes entangling and burning his legs."

    I don't ever tie a horse out...even the trail riders I know use a picket line or a portable electric fence. Sounds dangerous to me, no matter how you look at it. Am I crazy?

  • #2
    Tying a horse unsupervised is dangerous. Tying a horse to graze unsupervised is asking for him to break a leg. Why on earth people do it is beyond me.
    Esmarelda, "Ezzie" 1999 Swedish Warmblood

    "The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse."


    • #3
      It is quite possible to picket a horse for grazing using a picket pin and picket rope. It was regularly done by cavalry units in the field. Horse guards were used for security.

      As long as security watch is kept it's fine.

      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


      • #4
        This is very common in Europe.


        • #5
          I understand its used for Field Trial horses too.
          "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"


          • #6
            We used to tie horses out to dog stakeout ties (the ones that the ring rotated on) with 20 ft leads. Was it smart? No but I was a kid and that's how my parents would do things at times. Never had one injured that way. Sheer luck.


            • #7
              I saw that as someone's status on facebook too. I couldnt quite envision what they were trying to explain, but I would never tie a horse to graze. Or leave a horse tied unattended.
              Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
              White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

              Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.


              • #8
                When I was a kid the neighbor girls had no fenced pasture, their ponies were staked out daily and it worked OK for them, BUT, when I tried it with my horse it was an immediate fail, we used clothesline and she was gone in less than an hour, so the oldest neighbor used a chain when she bought her horse and that was a HUGE mistake.
                I also used to see people stake their horses on the grassy verges of the four lane hwy - 50 feet from the road. Nice grass so they tended not to leave.
                I might stake out the pony but I don't think I would ever stake out the old guy - it so totally depends on their mentality because they do get caught up in the rope and they have to just deal with it, the old guy doesn't understand a trailing lead rope, although he may learn in time, but the pony already knows to turn his head and trail it off to one side if he wants to move in a hurry.
                Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                Incredible Invisible


                • Original Poster

                  Would it make a difference if I told you a rescue posted this?


                  • #10
                    My horses were hobble broke first, and we advanced to picketing out by one leg. However they were REALLY well trained about the leg stuff, before adding the rope to tie. I found it an advantage for grazing when they had no pasture space at barns.

                    The hose covering is a good suggestion, but you do need a long rope to allow horse room to work his grazing area, less likely to get it around a hoof or rope burned.

                    I tried the tying out with a halter attachment, but got a lot of rope burns with head lifting to check things, front leg over the rope or hose covering. Using one leg to tie, rope stayed down on the ground, not much chance to rope burn the leg.

                    Having come up with reading US Calvary books, old Western stories, I didn't really think anything of training my horses to hobbles and picketing by one leg. If THEY did it regularly, "how hard could it be??" Well with some training time in, it was not so simple, but not really difficult either. Horses had done a lot of stuff, this was just one more "weird thing" they got used to doing.

                    I did get my picket pins made by a welder, 2ft long, and pound them into the dirt so no top is showing. Horse or rope won't get snagged while grazing the area. Rope was at least 30ft, gave a 60ft circle to graze, good for an hour or two. Horse was always under supervision, but not standing over them every second.

                    Training came in handy a number of times, horses didn't spook when wire broke and they tangled in it. PREVENTED injury by standing still until rescued. My horses had no scars or damage from the training.

                    Might be a case of what you expect from the horse, lower standards of training because you don't EXPECT them to do scary looking things. My horses had to do anything I thought would be interesting, always managed to "cowboy up" when asked. Some horses are not able to mentally deal with some requests.

                    If a tied out horse is not acting like a dork, he probably will manage the picket line alright. Horses have been tied out on picket lines to graze for hundreds of years. It isn't anything new.


                    • Original Poster

                      I guess it depends on the area of the country and the circumstances. I, personally, don't foresee a situation where I would need to tie a horse to graze, as I would expect from almost all the farms around here. We have adequate pastures and paddocks, if a horse needs to be hand grazed, he is.

                      If we need temporary small turnout paddocks we used round pen panels or electric fencing all enclosed by perimeter fencing.

                      If you're on a trail ride, I wouldn't expect you to carry a hose along. Under what circumstances would you think it would be necessary to tie a horse to graze on your farm?


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jaimebaker View Post
                        We used to tie horses out to dog stakeout ties (the ones that the ring rotated on) with 20 ft leads. Was it smart? No but I was a kid and that's how my parents would do things at times. Never had one injured that way. Sheer luck.
                        We did the same thing w/ our shetland pony - this was back in the 70's and this guy was as sane as they come so it was never an issue. I was also a kid and didn't know any difference. But we only did it w/ him - the rest of the crew were out in a big pasture. But no I would not do it nowadays...
                        "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                        • #13
                          Routinely done on camping trips, by cowhands on ranches for a lunch break for rider and horse, by many trail riders. Horse needs to be truly hobble broke first and using a tie rope that is attached to a stake in the ground is much less likely to get tangled up than a rope tied to post, tree etc. I train horses to lead by a single foot, hobble, sideline etc before I stake one out. Have had a few minor rope burns and recently saw a suggestion to prevent that (two actually)....take a sock and wrap the pastern and hold on with duct tape and then use hobble on that pastern....sock prevents rubs. The other was to make your foot loop out of rope covered with hose section. Secondary benefit is if your horse is hobble trained like this and gets tangled in something they won't fight it and tear themselves apart....instead they will stand there and wait for someone to come rescue them. Have had several that managed to get a foot caught in something....once was buried coil of barb wire out on desert ride and the other was one that liked to paw at things and got a foot in the cross wiring of a fence corner...not sure how long she stood there but was calm as could be while I pried it out.
                          Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                          Northern NV


                          • #14
                            We used to picket my horse and pony when we camped -- can't recall the exact setup, but certain no hose was involved. They did fine. Not something I would recommend now, but heck, I jumped helmet-less back then too.

                            Hey, BO's son did even better when they moved in to the barn where I have one of my horses -- drove a t-post out in the middle of the field and tied his horse by its BACK FOOT with a long rope to the post so it could graze. I was not witness to this, just heard about it later. Horse was dead lame after that incident. Geez, ya' think? He went to Montana to play a cowboy, thank goodness. Watch out, Montanans!


                            • #15
                              It is pretty common in the South which is where the rescue is located. Laura your baiting is growing old. Seriously, give it a rest. We get it, you don't like them.
                              McDowell Racing Stables

                              Home Away From Home


                              • #16
                                Please also note that that particular facebook page is maintained by several people who volunteer to help the rescue, and that statement could easily have been posted by one of them.

                                I can state for the record that I have visited Sunkissed on several occasions, and since there are numerous well-fenced pastures, there is no need to tie out on grass, nor have I ever witnessed that on any of my visits.
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                • Original Poster

                                  Since I had no intention of mentioning names, and I didn't, I really don't see what the problem is. I didn't out them...two other posters did. I was actually quite horrified that a rescue would post that as a possible solution. To my mind a rescue should promote good horsemanship skills. I doubt this is something taught in pony club or practiced at a well run farm.

                                  It says nothing about hobble broke, it says nothing about trail riding, it says nothing about a picket line (and I've used a picket line...I've seen them used in polo too.)

                                  It says...tying a horse out to graze.


                                  • #18
                                    I am going to clarify to end this stupidity. Anyone who is interested, please go to the Sunkissed Acres Facebook Page and read for yourself.

                                    I just - literally - this has occured over the past few minutes - clarified with the rescue, since I know that they never tie their horses, period. In fact, this tip was posted after the rescue received three calls in the last week regarding serious injuries as a direct result of people tieing their horses in an unsafe manner. So, this was in an effort to educate.

                                    Please stop taking things out of context.
                                    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by ryansgirl View Post
                                      We did the same thing w/ our shetland pony - this was back in the 70's and this guy was as sane as they come so it was never an issue.
                                      My shetland spent many years dragging a tire

                                      When we advanced to horses, we still turned them loose with a drag rope when we were home. They didn't need the tire.

                                      And yes, horses can be safely picketed. As has been mentioned, the hose is to keep the rope from tangling so easy, makes it more visible to the horse, and minimises rope burns if there is a problem.
                                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                                      • #20
                                        If you check out the origin of the term "fetlock", you will find that it derives from the fetters used to restrain the horse.

                                        Not all times and cultures use the same techniques as we do.
                                        Certainly desert and steppe nomads had few fenced paddocks or round pen panels...
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.