Trailer tying is a common practice that every horse owner should use when transporting horses. The purpose of a trailer tie is to prevent a horse from turning around in the trailer and causing themselves to get into an uncomfortable or dangerous position while in transport. Horses, however, pose a unique challenge due to their “flight” response when alarmed. A trailer tie should be secure but should also break free if the horse becomes panicked. There are several different types of trailer ties that can be used.
- Nylon adjustable-length tie – This is the most common trailer tie. It is a short nylon strap that can be adjusted to fit the perfect length for your horse. The strap should be long enough that your horse can move their head to get to their hay but not to the point where they can get over the divider to another horse or down to the ground where the strap can be stepped on. This nylon strap has a “panic snap” on one end which allows the tie to be released with a downward motion on the snap. This is useful in case a horse becomes panicked. Please note that a panic snap should be used at the trailer wall not at the horse’s head. If you have a thrashing horse you need to be able to get to the snap.
- Bungee-style tie – Bungee ties are much like that of a nylon strap except that it is not adjustable. The bungee allows the horse to have a little pull with the flexible strap. They also come with a panic snap on one end that is released just the same as that of a nylon adjustable tie. What most people don’t know is that bungee ties are actually quite unsafe for restraining a horse. If a horse pulls on the bungee and it snaps, the recoil can come back rapidly at the horse causing severe injuries.
- Tying rope halters – Tying a horse in a trailer with a rope halter is also a common practice but they also raise safety hazards. If a horse struggles against a rope halter, the rope halter will not break. In order to get a horse free from a struggle, you must tie them properly. A safety release knot should be used when tying a horse with a rope halter. With a rope tie of any sort, a horse pulling back often makes the tie difficult/impossible to release. These knots take skill and practice so make sure you know what you are doing before you tie a horse in a trailer with one of these.
There are several different ways to tie a horse in a trailer. Use the method that you feel is the safest and that works best for your horse. You know them best!
For more information on trailer ties, visit: http://animals.mom.me/correct-use-horse-trailer-ties-6931.html.