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Scary moment--or why tying your horse to baling twine is a good idea!

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  • Scary moment--or why tying your horse to baling twine is a good idea!

    So I was at an event this past weekend getting ready for dressage when I see a horse, tied to a nearby trailer, in big trouble! He was tied way too long and somehow got a leg over his lead rope. He was pulling back, jumping around, shaking his head trying to get free. The back of his tendon and much of his weight was resting right on the rope which was pulling on his halter too and nothing was breaking. His owner/handler was there and he was trying to untie the rope but there was no way. Finally the horse sat back hard, then took a flying leap--all four legs off the ground and crashed into the side of the trailer and then he fell down. He didn't try to get up, I am not sure he could at that point. I had grabbed my pocket knife but then saw the guy unhooking the horse's halter and then it was over.

    This is why it is good to know how to tie a horse to a trailer properly!! I know there is some debate on how to tie. Personally I always tie to bailing twine figuring that my horse is more likely to get hurt if he gets hung up or something than if he gets loose.

    I don't know if the horse hurt himself but I wouldn't be surprised. I know of other horses who have hurt tendons in similar incidents.

    Pays to be careful!

  • #2

    Tying to bailing twine is an invitation to the horse to learn to "set back" and release itself anytime time the spirit moves it.

    You tie a horse eye high, arm's length, with and to something that won't break. All the time, everywhere. If you do this the risk of injury is negligible to both horse and people the horse might run down while it's enjoying its freedom.

    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


    • #3
      My horses tie to bailing twine. They do not learn to set back...because they know how to give to pressure. I am sure they would pull back if something really out of the ordinary happenned, but I think that is true of any horse!

      I have seen enough horses tied hard who have dents in the back of their poles from being forced to tie to think that it is worth it to ever tie a horse solid.

      I do not ever expect my horses to stand tied unattended though either.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


      • #4
        I remember seeing an OnTTB (on-track TB) get hung up on a walking machine in the same way - he started screwing around and reared up, and managed to hook a front leg over the tie. I saw him hopping trying not to fall with one leg jacked up in the air, and the groom had a bugger of a time trying to undo ANYTHING to get him off - nobody saw him til he was already hung up. Ended up bowing a tendon as a result.
        Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
        Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


        • #5
          I have been tying to bailing twine for 25 years – including teaching youngsters how to tie – never produced one that pulled back, but have fixed one that would panic and set back often – he learned to ground tie – then to hard tie to twine – and the habit went away.

          A double loop of bailing twine will take a fair amount of pressure before it breaks – usually less pressure than a horse takes to break though.

          Twine – leather – cotton, I want my set up to break, not to break my horse.
          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


          • #6
            Originally posted by DeeThbd View Post
            I remember seeing an OnTTB (on-track TB) get hung up on a walking machine in the same way - he started screwing around and reared up, and managed to hook a front leg over the tie. I saw him hopping trying not to fall with one leg jacked up in the air, and the groom had a bugger of a time trying to undo ANYTHING to get him off - nobody saw him til he was already hung up. Ended up bowing a tendon as a result.
            I wonder if this is common. This is the exact story I was given as to how my TB bowed and was being retired before his career even started. And given how he likes to play around - I can certainly see that the story is likely true.


            • #7
              I am also firmly in the camp of NO bailing twine. I've never seen it do much more than cause a lot of bad habits. I spend a lot of time teaching my horses to tie properly. I also spend time teaching them to hobble, picket, high line, etc. so if they are ever tangled in anything- they pretty much freeze until human help arrives. This has saved some major damage more than once, for example I was out on the trail one day by myself with my then 4 year old, recently started mare. We went through some fallen leaves and she stepped in some barbed wire hidden under the leaves. She stopped instantly and waited for me to get down and fix it. Had she panicked, her legs would have been shreds.
              "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
              So you might as well have a good time"


              • #8
                In a public place, you tie hard and fast and hope the horse stays tied and out of trouble.
                Because if the horse gets loose, he may not get as injured as fighting the trailer, or not, BUT the loose horse is a liability to everyone out there, horses, humans and all the loose horse may run over.

                That horse tied on purpose with something that will break, if he gets loose and someone gets killed because of it, will be hard to explain to anyone why you didn't tie the horse where it was not going to be getting loose easily.

                In the military, if you tied a horse and he got loose, you were in very -bad -trouble.
                You could not have loose horses and soldiers on foot running around after their horses, sometimes in enemy country.

                In your own confined place, tie as you wish, there you are on your own.

                One warning on tying with wire or twine and expecting it to break, it doesn't always break.

                I had a horse tied to a feed trailer inside the barn, with twine on the end of the lead.
                He reached under the trailer corner and stretched the lead rope and it hung under the edge of the trailer, so most of the pull was on that, not where the twine was.
                His head trapped low, he pulled back and moved the heavy trailer around, until he decided he better stand there and wait for help.
                Another more flighty horse may have had a big wreck there.


                • #9
                  I think this story is an excellent illustration as to why you tie with an appropriate length, rather than using it as an example as to why the horse should be tied with twine.

                  After all, what would you be saying if the horse WAS tied with twine, set back and went over backwards when the twine broke? Horses have been killed in that situation, or injured badly.

                  In general, it is far safer to the horse and handlers if it is tied eye high, to and with something that won't break.


                  • #10
                    Some folks like the original example, are too stupid to own horses. You can't show or teach them to do things in a safe way, they can't retain the knowledge to put it to use. They "feel" their method is always better, because they actually don't THINK or REASON why other methods are better.

                    I am in the "tie hard and fast" school. However we always tie horses with neckropes or cow collars behind the halter. Thus there is NEVER any pull on the poll which is so sensitive. Not going to damage the neck with a surprise pull from horse.

                    There is no use tying hard and fast, if you use a wimpy snap or small ropes that break easily. Same as using the baling twine, the horse who pulls back and gets loose, now KNOWS that a hard jerk will release them. These horses will then KEEP TRYING the rope, halter, to get loose again. Our horses have heavy cotton ropes and heavy bull snaps or quick release snaps for their neckrope or cow collar. Sounds bad, but I don't want my horse getting loose for ANY REASON. A loose horse is a danger to himself and others (people or equines, vehicles) around him.

                    Have attended various horse shows with seeing the ill-trained horses that didn't tie, didn't even lead well, got loose to create havoc. They ran thru the trailers, stable area, scaring other horses to break their halters or ropes and run loose too. One show had about 10 loose horses running about surprising people on the grounds ALL DAY. I cut one tied horse loose who had slipped and fallen beside the trailer as a loose horse slammed into him. Horse was kind of dazed, but appeared unhurt when I got him up for the owner. She didn't have a knife for that non-working release knot.

                    I was so angry seeing the results of such poor horsemanship among the numerous loose horse owners. I had gotten to watch the original pair of horses get free as they fought their way out of the trailer, breaking ropes and halters to escape. Owners were pretty useless in the skills department all the way around.

                    I NEVER want one of my horses responsible for hurting or damaging anyone else, by getting loose away from the farm. They go thru extensive training to learn to stand tied WELL, in all kinds of places and situations. His equipment for being tied is NOT going to fail if stressed with a hard pull. If the horse is too stupid to learn to tie well, hard and fast, he is not going to live here. Horses here have to meet high expectations, be very accepting of strange situations, which makes them a lot of fun to own and use.

                    Other folks don't expect horse to behave when tied, maybe unwilling to put the time into good training to make him a good horse citizen that is enjoyable to work with. Lots of EXCUSES for letting horse break loose instead of staying tied.
                    Really bad habit, horse leaving when he does't feel like being restrained.
                    Last edited by goodhors; Nov. 14, 2012, 11:19 PM.


                    • #11
                      I tie eye-height or higher, hard and fast, and with just enough rope that they can relax and rest, but no way could they rub their nose on their knee. That is just asking for trouble. And I tie in rope halters with tied-in lead ropes.

                      My horses are taught to yield to pressure. I had Chip turned out in a wooded lot and I noticed after a bit he was not moving. Walked out there to find he had a big muscadine vine between his hind legs- it ran in front of the left, then out between his legs and behind the right. He'd felt the pressure on the left, then couldn't back up, either..so he just waited for me to notice ....about 20 minutes later. That's a sensible horse with training to yield to pressure and wait for help. Or nap.

                      We occasionally overnight camp and they may be highlined. They will sleep tied. And they will not be tied with twine, thank you.


                      • #12
                        I also say tie hard and fast AND correctly when tieing a horse in a public place. A horse running loose around a show grounds or at a park certainly can get hurt (I know a horse who got loose at a show, ran into some long grass and happened upon a downed wire fence and severed their superficial digital flexor tendon) as well as causing damage or hurting others. If the horse can not be trusted tied (needs any gadgets or gizmos) someone should stand and hold it or it should be closed in the trailer.


                        • #13
                          Once our pony was tied with baling twine, got seriously panicked about something and pulled back like her life depended on it. Her leather halter broke before the baling twine did. I'm not a big believer in the safety net of baling twine but I will never be without leather halters.
                          My blog: Crackerdog Farm


                          • Original Poster

                            I have been to a few hundred shows and events over the years. I have seen dozens and dozens of loose horses. Some of them pulled back, some of them lost their riders some of them got loose other ways. I know of only one horse that got ever got hurt. It was an advanced level horse whose rider fell off and the horse ran loose for 15 or 20 minutes before he was caught--he bowed a tendon.

                            I know how badly horses can hurt themselves by pulling back because I am the person people call when their horse is not right. I have worked on probably a hundred horses with screwed up necks and bodies because they sat back and pulled once or multiple times. You can take a really nice horse and destroy it by putting it in a situation where it can sit back pull and fight. Especially if you don't recognize the damage and do something about it. Even sitting back and pulling once can set up pain and inflammation in the poll area and other places as well that can ruin your horse's performance that you have worked so hard to perfect.

                            I teach all of my horses to give to pressure--I really work on it because I know s**t happens and I want my horses to be ready if it does. I still tie them to baling twine and always will or I will not tie them. I also use leather halters or those with a breakaway piece.

                            Most events, as this one was on Sunday, are set up in somebody's hay field or pasture. There isn't much around that is all that dangerous. It is not like some shows that are full of buildings, fences, people, vehicles, even pavement. That is a much more dangerous situation.

                            I think it is personal preference based on the situation. You want to tie hard and fast go ahead and hope that your horse never does sit back and pull and hurt himself. This isn't a war, it is a horse show. I am not a soldier, I am a rider/trainer who has worked very hard to get my horse to that level and I sure as hell am not going to risk my horse getting hurt by tying it hard and fast. Several of the horses that I have seen pull back at shows have hurt themselves, they either strained something or bashed themselves into the trailer and cut themselves. I saw one horse kick the s**t out of another horse tied next to him. The other horse could not get away. That was really bad.

                            How ever you tie your horse--think about it first! Teach your horse to give to pressure--don't ever let them fight it out or you will hurt them!

                            I hope the horse that I saw on Sunday is fine. He sure could have hurt himself badly!


                            • #15
                              WhyI have made my own lead ropes with panic snaps.

                              And always have a breakaway halter.

                              And a sharp knife in the trailer (and the barn).
                              Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.


                              • #16
                                Baling twine among other breakable gizmos is a cop out for not training a horse to tie. Teach your horses to tie. Teach them to cross tie and straight tie. In fact teach them to straight tie BEFORE cross tying. Gah! I absolutely abhor halter pullers. IME they are worst, for they can carry that same behavior to under saddle. Gah! My closest experience to "death by horse" was a puller. THE worst "can not train it out of them" behavior of all time.

                                Have I made myself clear? YOU CAN NEVER TRUST A CONFIRMED HALTER PULLER. They can tie perfect 99 out of 100 times, it's that one time that is worrisome.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by sunridge1 View Post

                                  Have I made myself clear? YOU CAN NEVER TRUST A CONFIRMED HALTER PULLER. They can tie perfect 99 out of 100 times, it's that one time that is worrisome.
                                  You can never trust a horse 100%, ever. Like dogs, they are animals that you can train for most situations and 99 times out of 100 they are going to be fine. Any horse can do something unexpected and it's the idiot that gets hurt who believes (like the people that say "ohhh, my sweet little dog would NEVER bite" after it's taken a chunk out of a kid's face) that their horse is totally "bombproof". My horses give to pressure, my horses tie nicely, I have rarely ever had an issue. I tie with baling twine not because my horses aren't trained well, but because that 1 time out of the 100 where they are faced with something that for whatever reason freaks them out, I would rather take the risk of them getting free and being safe than being seriously hurt.

                                  Each to their own on this one. The problem the OP saw was indeed that the line was too long.


                                  • #18
                                    I didn't read all the posts completely but here is my take

                                    Quick release tie (taught by pony club), Leather halter and keep the rope short.

                                    Also never leave your horse tied to the trailer without supervision. Our horses learn to stay on the trailer when not being tacked up - but they do stay tied outside if it is just for a short period under direct supervision.


                                    • #19
                                      I agree about complacency and animals. However, a confirmed ( notice I say confirmed) behavior is whole different animal. You don't get know which horse will be 'confirmed'. It's just best leave that particular hole in training never learned. I cannot stress that enough. Really.


                                      • #20
                                        FTR now I trail ride, but at one time came from the show world. It is an absolute necessity that a horse can remain tied to nearly anything for long periods of time. I too once believed you could never leave a horse tied unsupervised. There is a big horse world out there and possibilities are endless with training. Doesn't it make more sense to prepare your horse for a different life other than your own?