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jillybean19 02-05-2013 12:08 AM

Why you should tie your horse in the trailer...
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I was just reminded of this on another thread and thought I'd share a humorous anecdote about tying in trailers :)

I used to be more or less indifferent about tying horses in the trailer. That is, until I met my Arabian, Snickers. Snickers is a very *busy* horse and likes to know what's going on around him at all times - particularly regarding what's going on behind him. He never gets nervous, but is very fidgety about things going on around his rump. It took a long time for him to become comfortable with me walking behind him without his help to move his rump over quickly while keeping an eye on me. While other horses may like a butt scratch, he tenses up like you're going to tickle him or something. I once tried to pull a tail hair out of his butt during a ride when his tail was flying like a flag - that tail clamped down tight as soon as he felt my offending hand getting anywhere near his tender parts (after that, he just had to deal with that hair stuck up his you-know-what).

When it comes to other horses, he seems very nervous about their ill-will toward his hind end. On trails, if he senses another horse coming up behind him, he will politely step to one side of the trail and look back at the horses, watch them as they pass, and then continue as if nothing had happened and no amount of prodding can convince him to just ignore the other horses and keep moving.

So what does this have to do with tying in trailers? Once, a friend of mine picked me up with her four-horse straight-load trailer. Her horse was loaded in its usual spot in the back left section. She figured that our horses would be better off staggered with each other and so had me load Snickers into the front right section. Snickers went in willingly, but then immediately realized that this horse was going to be staying right behind him. His response was to twist his long neck over the spare tire and look straight back at this stranger while tucking his tail and smooshing his body as far forward as he possibly could. Seeing that this was clearly not going to work, I backed him up and put him in the section right next to the other horse, and we tied their halters so they could see each other, but not reach each other and nip one another.

However, the ultimate example came during another ride in a friend's trailer. It was a two-horse slant-load, and her horse was in the front stall, so Snickers got lucky and received that nice little triangle section in the back. I might note that it wasn't exactly large, and Snickers' isn't particularly small, either. She didn't tie her horse, and since I was indifferent, I didn't tie Snickers, either. The horses seemed to get along just fine. Off we went to our ride. Within the first five minutes, there was a lot of sudden hoof movement, and then everyone was holding still. It sounded like they were fine, so we went ahead to our ride, which was a 40 minute drive on the freeway and down the busiest highway in Idaho (which is pretty busy, by the way). Little did we know, this was the view everyone behind us was getting:

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Now, I tie in the trailer. :)

waresbear 02-05-2013 12:12 AM

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Quite agile & flexible, isn't he?

jillybean19 02-05-2013 12:17 AM

Apparently. And determined haha.

Wallaby 02-05-2013 12:20 AM

I guess I don't get it, why is it bad for him to have his head out like that? Just the possibility of debris/etc getting on his face/in his eyes?

I never tie Lacey in the trailer either and she always ends up riding backwards, peering out the back too (she doesn't stick her head OUT like Snickers did -you have a silly, very cute, boy!!- but she always ends up looking out the back). I figure that if she's happy riding weird ways, who am I to stop her? haha
She rarely gets to ride in a trailer these days so I suppose it's sort of moot point for me, but knowledge for future horses, right? :lol:

jillybean19 02-05-2013 12:29 AM

Riding backward isn't the issue, really. It's the moving around that I'm worried about - it took some serious twisting and pushing to get himself into that position. I was a little worried he might have injured himself, but he was okay that time. However, I don't want to risk him trying to move around again, whether it's twisting and pushing or deciding he should go ahead and climb right out. Not to mention that he could have caused issues with the other horse as well.

But yes, I have a dork of a horse. I love him to death though :)

usandpets 02-05-2013 12:33 AM

I would say that it would depend on many factors. Does the horse tie well? Is the horse able to keep its balance well? Just to name a couple.

Normally, we tie in the trailer. A young horse, especially a foal, I would leave loose. They don't have good balance usually yet. A horse that pulls back, I would not tie solid, until it was trained better to tie.
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SorrelHorse 02-05-2013 12:47 AM

I had a really stupid horse once who, when tied, would literally pull back and never stop until she was released. Just on Friday my friend's horse pulled back in my trailer while I was getting her out and almost squished me. Scary things. In that case I may do a bungee tie or a tie ring, but that's something to be considered too.

AlexS 02-05-2013 01:01 AM

I like your horse. I like that he has his own thing without being difficult about it.

As a Brit transplant, I believe in tying in the trailer and having them in a divided space to the ground. When I buy a trailer here, I will modify the dividers so it is to the ground and the horse can brace against it.

JaphyJaphy 02-05-2013 01:36 AM

Awww...he's just sayin' "hi"! :)

Kayty 02-05-2013 01:41 AM

I always tie when travelling with horses.
A friend had a horse years ago that she never tied, one trip he decided to look around behind him, got his neck stuck around backwards, panicked when he got stuck, and nearly killed himself trying to get free. We had the quite literally dismantle the float to remove him, he'd gone under the divider, got a front leg hooked over the chest bar, pushed the divider through the roof so that he was completely trapped and tangled. There was no way anyone could get in there with him as he was thrashing so much.
It was horrible to watch and we all through we'd be pulling a gun out to put down a horse with a broken leg/back/neck etc.

I ALWAYS tie just short enough to stop the horse getting its head around backwards.
And if your horse pulls back, then you shouldn't be travelling with it. Teach it to give to pressure on its head - thats a ground work problem that should not be just accepted as a horse's quirk.

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