Picketing horses - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By SailorGriz
  • 2 Post By equest21
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-10-2011, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Aurora, Texas
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Picketing horses

Im starting to trail ride and I want to know what y'all use to picket your horses. Etiquette, tips on general trail riding. Stuff like that. I'm an ex- barrel racer and I'm trying to slow down ;)
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-11-2011, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Learn to highline your horse. Also to use hobbles.

I hobble my horse and let them graze during daylight hours. I always highline them at night or when I can't keep an eye on them. the rules of highline are 7' high, 7' between horses and 17" leads. If you do this the main rope will be above most horses heads, they will be far enough apart to not tange each others leads and the leads will be short enough that they can't get a leg over and get a rope burn.

If you have horses that will kick or fight, Give them more space or put up a seperate highline for them. Mine get along great, so 7' is enough. I also fudge a lot when I am close by and can watch them. I'll give them longer leads so they can lay down and sleep and also when I feed them, leads barely long enough so they can reach their feed. The biggest concern is a horse trying to scratch his chin with a hind leg and getting the leg over the lead. You can get a bad rope burn really fast. I've never had it happen, But hear stories.

Choose a good strong rope and string it between two live stout trees. I carry 50' long lengths of Mountain Climbing rope. I attach it to old cinchs or Tree saver straps. These prevent the rope from scaring the bark of the tree. Pull it good and taught, So when the horse put their heads down, they have to pull down the highline. When they lift their heads, The highline returns to it's position above their head.

Here are some tired horses after a long ride. Leads are little longer so they can lay down.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-12-2011, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Idaho
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On a recent Wilderness pack trip we highlined at night and used a combination of hobbles, pickets, portable electric corral, and free roaming for foraging during the evening/morning.

At our first camp, two nights, I hobbled Big and let him go where he wanted. We had other horses in the corral and a couple tied up so I figured he wouldn't wander too far. He went about a quarter mile looking for grass. When I wanted to bring him in I just whistled and called and he nickered back at me and started in my direction. I walked out, clipped a lead rope on him, removed the hobbles, and led him back to the highline.

I took a risk letting him wander, even in hobbles. Knowing my horse it wasn't much of a risk--but he could have gone a very long way and gotten very, very, lost!

At our second camp one of the guys used a picket for his mustang. We had a big open field. The mustang broke free about 4 or 5 times. Then we quit using the picket.

One time when the mustang broke free he broke into the electric corral and managed to get all six horses stampeding in the field. Quite the little rodeo while we sorted it all out and got them all contained again! Biggest fear was them finding the trail and taking off down it toward the trailers about 5 or 6 miles away. Didn't happen, but could have been a problem.

In the future I think I'll hobble for foraging and run a short lead rope from the hobbles to the halter so he has to keep his head down. He won't go as far that way. And I'll highline at night as that seems to be the most safe and secure.

Beyond all that . . . first and foremost tip: find an experienced trail rider and go trail riding. Tell your eperienced partner that you're new to trail riding and would like all the tips and help he/she can give you. Me, I'm new to horses, let alone trail riding, and I've found a lot of people won't help you out for fear of offending you--so you gotta tell 'em you WANT their help and then thank them every time they provide it. Most people to teach greenhorns--but don't want to offend nor embarrass them so they might not volunteer to teach and will have to be asked.

Just my thoughts on it.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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DH have been picketing, like, forEVER, it seems. Gonna do it again in 2 weeks.
All above are great suggestions. I would add that the horses pull on the picket line and it will begin to sag after even an afternoon, so you'll need to watch that and tighten it up periodically.
Also, some places are afraid you will kill their trees with a line. If you have any worn out velcro shipping boots you can put them between the tree and line and satisfy these folks.
I've never taught my horses to hobble, but I HAVE watched a hobbled horse hobble nearly 1/4 of a mile in search of better grass, so watch them if you do that, so your horse doesn't "hop away" on you. lol
We have also as CW Reenactors, taught our horses to ground tie with a picket pin. You can make the rope as long as you like, and the pin has a ring that you tie to. The pin itself is similar to one used for dogs, but's it's about 14" long and about one inch thick, and you pound it into the ground. IF your horse panics when a leg gets caught this ISN'T an option for you.
ONE MORE thing: We tied loops about 7-8 apart in our lines bc if you don't you might be watching your dominant horses beating up on your submissive ones, up close and personal. SOMETIMES you may end up tying the herd leader to the TREE itself, so he/she doesn't constantly fight on the line. JUST an FYI. =D
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-14-2011, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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Welcome to life in the slow lane!

Painted and Griz both have excellent points.

Here's a video on some of the basics of setting up a highline

Tree savers are mandatory (unless you want a USFS ranger ticketing you, they check here in WA)

When we go out we always highline at night to keep the beasts close and hobble during the day. I'm becoming a big fan of three way hobbles as opposed to the standard two legs. Gives me a little more leeway to tend to camp chores while the horses graze. Once they start picking their heads up, their stomachs are starting to fill up and they go back on the highline before they start wandering.

Yes, I know that I haven't addressed picketing, mostly because I don't like to do it, I've seen a lot of wrecks and burns even with running soft rope through garden hoses etc. Is much easier for me to highline and hobble. To each their own and this is what has been working for me.

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post #6 of 9 Old 09-16-2011, 10:48 AM
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Trailmeister is right, picketing can lead to a wreck. If you want to do it, spend some good quality time at home picketing your horse. They have to learn the ins and outs of what to do as much as you do.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-16-2011, 02:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
Trailmeister is right, picketing can lead to a wreck. If you want to do it, spend some good quality time at home picketing your horse. They have to learn the ins and outs of what to do as much as you do.
True, if they don't know it, don't do it. (I think I said that, already.) It's a good skill to teach them at some point bc the ones that I used to have (passed away now) would NEVER panic if they stepped through a tied lead. We even told our herd leader, who had tied himself into a mess this one time, to "sit down." He obliged, and then we untied him.
Here is what it a US Civil War picket pin looks like:

We one one of these and have several repros which are made of stainless steel.

Last edited by Corporal; 09-16-2011 at 02:11 PM.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-17-2011, 11:09 PM
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I don't know if this is somthing your looking for but either way it is a great product you should check it out :) Express Corral - The fast, easy and affordable way to provide a corral while traveling
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-19-2011, 01:18 PM
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~$650.00 is a little pricy, but I think it would pay for itself--thanks for the link!
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