Trailering: Tied vs. Loose - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 24 Old 02-21-2013, 06:32 PM
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This exact same question was posed not super long ago:
Do you tie in the trailer?

And for the same reasons as ClippityClop:
Originally Posted by BigGirlsRideWarmbloods View Post
I don't tie.

I volunteer for a local animal rescue as an disaster first responder for animals and one of the classes we're required to pass before we are eligible to be deployed, is emergency extraction: large animals. Basically how to fasten a sling to horses or livestock for helicopters or tractors, how to lead more than 5 horses at a time by yourself, and how to rescue livestock in a rolled trailer.

Watching the videos of a rolled horse trailer were the worst simply because it’s the easiest, and most common, of all the scenarios to imagine occurring.

When the trailer rolls the first thing the animal is going to do is panic and kick, and the weakest point out of everything confining your horse is going to be whatever is holding them in from behind. They don’t have enough leverage to pull back enough to break anything but a panicked kick or even a backward bolt, is enough to break the spring in the pin of a slant divider or the spring or clasp in the butt bar or butt chain of a straight load. Again they don’t have to break the whole bracket, just the part that is keeping the pressure in place, and the straight load bars or chains only have a max weight rating of about 300lbs and the slant dividers, 3-750, depending on the trailer make and model. (The Thuro-Built slants dividers are only held in place with a block of plastic.)

So in an emergency once the horse has broken whatever is confining them from behind they will try to run, but they typically don’t have enough leverage or strength to break a nylon tie. The clip is weaker but because its fastened to the head, the weakest and most controllable part of the horse, they cant break it. If they’re lucky they will be wearing a leather halter or a halter with a leather crown that will break, but most people use nylon halters and nylon ties, which will not break even under the stress of a panicking horse.

You want your horse to get out and get free. You can and will always catch him if he gets loose later, the priority is getting out of the trailer.

I have a 2 horse slant trailer and the divider goes up just short 6” from the roof and the head portion of the divider extends far past the withers so no matter what she cannot get her head around or stuck. I always trailer in a leather halter with a bumper and once she’s secured I will either remove her lead rope or just throw it over her back, usually I just put it on her back as I’m closing the divider. That way when its time to unload I just open the divider and grab the rope while she’s backing out.

As I trailer with foals often, I always leave them loose in the back. I don’t tie weanlings as usually they’re not mature enough to stand tied in the larger back stall. And they’re typically too small and they’re still so nimble, securing them in the front slant is asking for trouble, so if they’re traveling alone I’ll leave the divider open and locked so its more of a stock trailer. *IF* I do need to tie, for whatever reason, Im a big fan of the Tie Safe Trailer Tie:

These are the trailer ties that are like any normal trailer tie, nylon with a quick release snap at one end and a clip at the other, but the two ends are connected by heavy duty Velcro. It keeps the horse in place but will rip with enough force.
It was true 9 months ago and I stand by it today.
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post #12 of 24 Old 02-21-2013, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Spellcheck View Post
Sorry, when I said "training methods" I probably should have said "Training and Handling methods" though they did quite a few things to their horses that could have been done much more humanely, not very much that I could reasonably call authorities on, but they certainly angered me.

But they also had 6+ months (and over 2 months that they knew they were moving) to train that yearling to trailer and simply didn't bother. Catching her consisted of chasing her into a corner, throwing a rope around her neck and jerking her to the ground, then clipping the lead rope onto the halter they kept on 24/7.

After the horses were trailered, they left the halter on the big horse and you could her them all the way from my back porch (about 75 yards) kicking up a storm.

I understand that some horses simply don't like being trailered, or can't be tied, but there had to be better way to do this, right?
Wow. That would have angered me too. I would have liked to have done the same to the person(s) that did that.

In my experience, the reason 99.9% of the horses that do not like being trailered or tied, were never properly taught to do so, or were mistreated/roughed-up like the unfortunate yearling in your description. It will be now be a long road to get that poor horse to want to load in any trailer (but it can be done with a lot of patience and the correct method/training).

I would never ever haul a horse untied, unless in an exceptional situation, and then I would only trailer that one horse alone and no other horses. Also, I would also use a trailer that has the trailer doors that go up all the way to the top of the trailer - fully enclosed back door. Even with horses that are tied in the trailer, you would be surprised at how many horses can get over the top of the trailer door, even when tied up, and even just their hindlegs.
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post #13 of 24 Old 02-21-2013, 09:04 PM
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BGRW, how big is that trailer tie? I have two trailers that I haul in. One is a 2H without a divider, and one is a 2H with a divider. I don't know who the heck designed the second trailer, but there is about a 1 foot gap at the front of the divider between it and the head divider where you stick hay for the horses to munch on. Henny has already illustrated that he can very easily get almost his entire front half through that gap, so I HAVE to tie him in that trailer. Is it long enough for him to be able to munch on hay still?

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post #14 of 24 Old 02-21-2013, 09:36 PM
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Kayella: I'm at work right now but according to Smartpak its adjustable 2' to 2' 8" which seems about right.

I WILL say that for my yearlings that are still learning to tie I like to use the crosstie version that is adjustable from 4’ to 5’4”. Its a little longer thant I would like, but I find it I just tie a granny knot or two on the non-velro end, it shortens it to a better length, so that it gives the babies who are learning enough rope to keep them still and in the proper place, but still gives them a little more length to work with, all with the added safety of quick release snaps and velcro:

Tie-Safe Ties - Cross Ties & Trailer Ties from SmartPak Equine

Cross Tie: 4’ to 5’4”
Trailer Tie: 2’ to 2’8”

Last edited by BigGirlsRideWarmbloods; 02-21-2013 at 09:37 PM. Reason: Spelling and whimsy.
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post #15 of 24 Old 02-28-2013, 04:20 PM
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The only time we haul one tied and one loose is if we are hauling a broodie and a baby. That is the ONLY time.

Other then that it doesn't matter what is in what trailer they ALL get tied.

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post #16 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 12:59 AM
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For the same reasons as Clippity Clop and Warmblood said I don't tie in trailers. I have a two horse slant load stock combo with normal dividers. I think the only time I would tie is if I was teaching a horse to stand still in a big space in a trailer - and then it would probably be to a Velcro trailer tie clipped onto twine with a blocker tie ring at the end and a breakaway halter -just to be safe! I find that my horses usually are focused on trying to balance in the trailer rather than moving around when the trailer is moving(and not tying allows them to use their neck more for balance!

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post #17 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by clippityclop View Post
Untied -

I haul long distances and I have personal experience with horses who have developed respiratory issues due to not being able to get their head down below their knees from time to time. Of course one would argue to just tie them longer but if the rope is tied long enough so that they can get their heads down, then the rope gets under a front leg and then they are caught and depending on the horse you have - well then it depends on the accident that happens afterward - hence - I don't tie.

I haul in halters with the rope attached thrown over their back loose - been doing it for over 20 years - in stock trailers and slants with dividers. Worst thing that happens is the rope slides off and gets peed on - no big deal. My horses can back out AND turn around and walk out forward - been in an incident where the trailer was stuck and the back end was high in the air - too high to back out so I turned them around and they were able to leap out forward. Much safer.

Took a technical large animal rescue course this year - one of the things the firefighters/rescue workers/sheriffs/ etc complained about most was horses who have been tied in trailers took too long to get out - often the animals were upside down and twisted, caught by the rope holding them in - they said that so much time was wasted trying to reach in to a mangled trailer and cut the rope (usually with a knife on a long pole b/c getting in there with the animal was NOT safe) and most horses go into shock way before they could even get the rope cut. Horses who were loose tied were immediately assessed and often easier to handle and move b/c they weren't stuck on a twisted rope - and because they were untied, could often right themselves or at least sit up.

The emergency rescue folks have seen many instances where a trailer gets in a wreck and they see snapped/twisted necks, pulled/ripped/torn muscles - in most cases the animal who was tied ended up being the animal that was mangled the most because the body (as gruesome as it sounds) was not allowed to roll with the trailers momentum. Animals who aren't tied had a better chance coming out with only scrapes and bruises while tied horses often ended up going to the vet a week later after the incident with serious issues liked cracked C1 or C2, and on a regular basis, ended up dying a few days later. Emergency folks I have personally talked to at this course (who actually spoke at the course) and those here where I live vote for untied as well when it comes to horses.

The horse has a better chance of survival if it can move with the trailer - even if that means doing complete cartwheels over and over. Locking any one part of their body down and then rolling them over and over is a death sentence.

I had already been trailering without tying for over two decades before I took that course - it only confirmed it for me. If a technical large animal rescue class comes to town, I would recommend you take it - even if you aren't working as a type of rescue personnel - it is an eye opener for the average horse owner on so many subjects - tying in trailers was just one of many.

this is very interesting to know.
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 04:43 PM
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It was a really great class and the instructor was not only experienced in these issues, she was a real comedian as well. Well worth taking the time to go to. The hands on 'crisis situations' that we got to work with were amazing. We pulled horses out of mud holes, flipped trailers, rescued horses from smoke filled barns (the latter being the only actual live horses we used and a really expensive fog machine) and some other fun stuff the went along with a detailed and at times gruesome powerpoint lecture (complete with video and live animals in sickening situations and then some) - and it was an eye opener!

Clippityclop is finally getting to spend some time in the saddle!
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post #19 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 05:20 PM
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I always tie my horses. It makes them not back out as soon as I open the gate and it teaches them not to rush - even in emergencies.
I wouldn't never drive off without my horses tied.
one reason - is because my horse will crawl under the dividers. not a pretty sight - he ahs already tried it. But its fixed now. lol

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post #20 of 24 Old 03-01-2013, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by COWCHICK77 View Post
I have done both, depends on the horses, trailer and situation.

In the situation the OP described I would of most likely left them both loose, or tied the older gelding and used the cut gate to separate the yearling to leave him loose if he was not halter broke/broke to tie.

EDIT: should say that I haul in a stock trailer with at least one cut gate. Not a horse trailer with dividers.
I agree 100% with this. I've also hauled with loose horses and with tied, it depends on the horses, the trailer, and the terrain.

If hauling with an unhandled yearling, what I did would greatly depend on the older horse's temperament. If they were prone to "get after" strange horses, then I would have tied the older and left the yearling loose in a separate compartment (in a stock trailer is the only way I would haul an unhandled horse). However, if the older horse was mellow and tolerant of strange horses, I would have left them both loose.

However, tying one horse and leaving another loose in there with him without separating them is just asking for trouble, IMHO. Too many ways to get tangled or hung up and ruin a good horse....or sour a baby from trailering forever.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog:
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