The adventures of Gilly the rescue horse and his side kick and partner in crime, Pokey the donkey.


Being with a horse is a journey that never ends. What they have to teach us is amazing; but we must quiet our mind to hear them. ~ jca


Monday, February 21, 2011

Trailering and tieing or not....what do you do?

I have been thinking (I know, scary isn't it?) about trailering and how is the best way to tie a horse or not tie one in a trailer. I was working with Gilly yesterday on trailer loading.

As you know Gilly has his own ideas about how things should be so at first he didn't think he needed to go in. After all, we weren't going anywhere so why bother, he said?

Well, I said, you need to practice so you will be very good at it.

He thought about it for awhile (wheels turning and eyes deep in thought) well, he said what's in it for me if I do?

Then I said, well, only good horses get peppermint treats when they preform well. He nodded his head, sighed and walked in the trailer. Then he got his treat.

We did this a few more times and he did really well and got several treats for being a good horse. We have quite a few discussions like this, Gilly doesn't like all the running around like Clinton and other trainers do, he gets pretty agitated and well....pissed off. And if pushed far enough will jerk the rope out of your hands and run off. So now we discuss things of such importance.

When I trailer Gilly I use my knotted rope halter and 14 foot lead rope and use the Blocker Tie Ring or the Safe Clip so if he needs to pull back the rope will slide some to release pressure. Gilly rides really well, he never moves from where you put him, he doesn't paw, move around, just stands and rides very smooth. I have a stock type slant load but have taken the divider out, Gilly is a big boy and doesn't like to be squeezed. I have heard that some people like to just let their horse loose in the trailer but since this trailer has a front dressing room, I want Gilly tied. The papers that came with the trailer said not to let a horse loose because of putting too much weight in the back. But if you have two horses in the trailer, that would be more weight in the back end....interesting. Well, anyway I prefer to have Gilly tied and really the only room left would be for a Pokey sized animal.

Gilly has no problem with being tied, anywhere. One time when he was not wanting to play let's load in the trailer, I tied him up for several hours. He didn't care, he just stood there. Heck, he was probably napping the whole time!

 (did someone say "nap"?)  

So the rope halter isn't an issue with Gilly. I have heard a lot of people say that their horses don't like the rope halter, Gilly is one of those horses that is pretty laid back, so much so at time one of his nicknames is "Laid Back Lenny".

But what I really posted this for was to ask all of you what kind of trailer you have, what kind of halter you use when trailering your horse and do you tie or not. Just curious how others do things.

Jane and Laid Back Lenny


Gail H. Ragsdale said...

I love your new header!

Personally I prefer my horses tied. We have leather halters, use cotton ropes to tie in our slant. We also have a six horse conventional trailer, three facing backwards, three facing front, aisle in middle. With this we crosstie using rubber bungies with snaps.

Katharine Swan said...

Panama has to be tied or he'll leave with you! He doesn't walk in on his own -- he has to be led in, and then we usually play the one-foot-at-a-time game -- so you have no hope of getting him to stay on the trailer unless he watches you tie him up.

Annette said...

We have a four horse slant and we don't tie the horses. We are usually just hauling two - but we need the four in case of fire and evacuation. Ours trailer very quietly and I like that they can lower their heads.

I think it depends on the horse and the trailer and the owner's personal preference. No right or wrong - We trailer other people from time to time and leave it up to the owner for what they want to do.

Jacque. said...

Can't help you out there, Jane. But, sure did love reading the convo between you and the Gilly-boy. {grin}

photogchic said...

He looks stunning in that! I use a rope halter for everything...but when I trailer, I put on a breakaway halter with a head bumper. I use the blocker tie ring and before opening anything, I unhook the rope from the blocker and toss the rope over her neck.

I am really hyper cautious about safety and trailering. When I was a kid, I saw a horse smash his head on the top of the trailer at the racetrack. Brain fluid was seeping out his ears...they had to put him down. I will always use a head bumper no matter what. For me, that is one the most important things to put on no matter how well your horse does in the trailer.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

We have a two horse bumper pull. I never tied Baby Doll, but she was a big girl at 15.3hh and had no room to move around in there.

When I first got Apache, who is only about 14.2hh, I didn't tie her either, but then after one trip to trail ride she refused to get back in and was obviously fearful.
A couple days after getting back home I started working with her practicing loading. I was so confused because she went from readily loading herself to completely refusing.
Bu finally after 3 days of spending several hours every day loading, I noticed something when she finally agreed to stand in the trailer.

She kept trying to bend her head down on the floor to pick up pieces of hay. And then when she lifted her head, she'd smack it on the divider pole, which just so happens to be un-moveable.

So from then on I decided to keep her tied inside the trailer so she wouldn't have the opportunity to get her head stuck and injured again.
Oh, and I do use a rope halter because that is what I have and they tend to work best, especially with ground work. But I have been told it's safer to use the web halters in a trailer because they do tend to break easier.


allhorsestuff said...

CUTEEST ever new header Jane!

lOVED your conversations with Laid back Lenny!
He appreciates your keen knowlege of him, I'm sure. That is what it takes sometimes, to do it right for your own horse...somethings SEEM- to- work- for- all- horses- but, I am finding, sometimes they can be the worst choice for yours!

Well, I'm old school as I have been taught by my sissy. Some thing I am breaking away from her on(Saddle choice) but for safety stuff..I think she is Spot on correct about 100% of the time. She has seen it all happen to horses( LIKE EQUINEMINE mentioned) Once you have seen it happen, you KNOW IT COULD.

***That is how I prepare for anything trailering. I know that some people out there that have horses that won't ever hurt themselves- so this is NOT for them.***

I too use a "Head Bumper". it takes second to put on.

I use a "Breakaway" halter, it has a thinner Leather top. (Or any leather halter would do).
To make things REALLY simple,I leave the bumper and halter set up together-just for trailering.

I use a blocker tie rings, that have thier own ropes, they stay in the trailer.

I personally won't use a rope halter in the trailer, but I allow my friends to, with a blocker-in my trailer.

You guessed it, I tie...much like one of your responders, mine settles, if she is tied and OLD SCHOOL again..if it could happen, it might...I tie cause I don't want to risk it. I've seen the outcomes of some that did not.

I have a two horse slant that I wish were a three horse, like I used to use from my sissy. I tried leaving the divider open and fastened it open a few times but she has gotten really I think-though she is claustrophobic, she may like the secure feeling of this is where I am, I can lean on this- So I use it now.

PLUS+ I use leg wraps.
that takes a small amount of time to do.
I had my horse HURT by not using's like schooling laterals, wise to use them.

My "Must ride" girlfreind has two mustangs. They load up when she points to the trailer...go to the spot and stand, she never ties them. She opens the backdoor and they usually wait to be asked out and then turn to come out slowly.
She trailers ALOT, and they just know the drill!

I'm thinking, that the axel has something to do with why manufacturers say to have the weight on or ahead of it. If there are more than one in there, they usually say heavier horse in front. it has to do with the toungue and axelload bearing areas for safety, I think.
A loose horse can move alot, changing the wieght bearing areas and how the load is mean't to be carried safely.

My take, thanks for asking!
I think you and Gill man are doing awesome too!

Desert Rose said...

Wow...really great comments...but I will add my 2 cents!
I believe the very 1st thing is...teach your horse to WANT to load up! I have a hay bag in each stall...and always put frosted shredded wheat/cookies/carotts inside. Every horse I have ever hauled are very eager to get in the 2nd time. I tell my horses up and they jump have to get otta their way ;)
I use the trailer ties with safety releases and snug nylon halters. I was rope halters, they move to easily and a horse could loose an eye. Dividers are great for a horse to balance themselves...lady can't be up front...she scrambles cause she can't spread her legs for balance the way she wants...but Jesse is fine up front. They do not want more weight in back than the front. Also if a horse is moving that could make driving safely difficult!
Next time you need to tie Gilly for not loading... try tieng him to the trailer...he will then be able to conect why he is being tied.

jane augenstein said...

Gail, thanks, the dirty pair!
Thanks for your comment, wow you have a BIG trailer.

Katharine, Panama doesn't think he needs to be in there either! Like Gilly.

Annette, Gilly boy doesn't fit well in a slant with a divider gate to shut. He can't move at all so he likes room to breath. Yes, it is up to the owner to decide. Thanks!

Jacque, Gilly is quite the conversationalist at times! LOL

photochic, thanks, he thinks he is quite handsome too! :-) A head bumper is a good idea no matter what kind of halter is used; I just ordered one, thanks for reminding me.
Oh, my! Poor horse, I have seen horses bump their heads but not like that but it can happen.

Lisa, Oh, poor Apache no wonder she was fearful. Glad you figured out what happened and got her over her fear and tied her to keep her safe. I think if I didn't tie Gilly he would be into something. I am glad that you and others take the time to figure out why our horses are having problems. Makes the bond with our horses better. :-)

Kacy, Thanks, the boys love to sunbathe. Weather here has turned cold and rainy again, boo!
So far Gilly seems to be one of those that is NOT accident prone. My neighbors horse Lacy is, always getting hurt. Since Gilly will be hauled in his own trailer by himself I haven't used leg wraps. Nothing wrong with taking precautions for your horse, since you know her best.
Thanks for your post!

gtyyup said...

Love, Love the new header Jane!!! Such a pair!

Lots of good advise here btw!

We've got two trailers. The first is a 4 horse slant. We use it most often, and most often, we trailer two horses saddled. So, the dividers have been removed. If I trailer one horse, he goes toward the front of the trailer. With Colt, I've tried hauling both tied and untied (when he's hauled alone he gets nervous). Which seems silly since he's been hauled a BUNCH since he was a 2 year old. But that's just his deal. It didn't help him to be loose (I thought it might). So, I do tie. I have trailer ties with the quick release snap at one end, the lead is then tied off to the horn.

I use both flat and rope halters and do find that the rope halters can loosen up on them and I don't like that. I'm probably going to make an effort to use a flat halter.

The other trailer is the LQ 3 horse slant. The dividers are in. I don't haul saddled in this trailer. When I haul Colt by himself (which is most often), I put him in the middle stall. The front stall (full length divider stud stall) is usually full of hay and water etc. The divider that would be to his left telescopes in and I have it tied open, so he has more room to move his hip, but he can't get his head around because I tie him. This trailer also has mangers in it (the solid kind, not the fabric ones). Once when hauling in this trailer, I had him tied with the bungee type trailer tie and he turned himself around 360 degrees in the middle stall with the divider closed. Yep...he had his front feet in the manger...and proceeded to turn himself around taking out aluminum bars as he went. Thank God he only had a small scratch on a front leg (the trailer was another story...). I will never use the bungee tie again. I believe the problem is that they can't get enough of a release on the face when they do pull against the tie, which I believe is what caused him to freak out. Just my personal experience and opinion there.

Gail H. Ragsdale said...

Actually, the 6 horse is our small show trailer :) The other is a 15 horse slant although with 4 Friesians they tend to take up more than half of the trailer :). Both trailers are 5th wheels and we have a 3 ton truck to pull them.

jane augenstein said...

Desert Rose, I have tried all kinds of things to entice Gilly to get in the trailer at times. Even beer didn't work, he LOVES beer.
I didn't tie Gilly to the trailer cause I didn't have one yet when that happened. The trailer was at the neighbors. That's one of the reasons I got one, I could use hers, true, but I wanted my own.

gtyyup, thanks, aren't they the cutest?
Wow, glad Colt wasn't hurt more than a scratch, very lucky! Yes, horses can find the darnedest things to get themselves into! I haven't hauled Gilly enough to have him think of something to get into, if I am lucky he won't.

Gail, Wow, big trailers!

Leah Fry said...

I use standard trailer ties, but Daltrey is so young and not yet able to stand tied for very long. He is still loose in there. I don't like it, and drive much slower when I'm hauling him.

TK said...

Hmm to tie or not... good question. I usually always tie. Have seen way too many accidents with trailers (caused by random motorists, you can't predict those) and I can't stand the possibility of a horse getting loose on a busy road/hwy. I think it really depends on the trailer also though. If they are alone! I would never leave them loose with other horses. If the trailer is roomy and safe maybe leaving them loose for short rides is not a bad idea. I know horses balance better when tied longer, personally I tie where the rope can droop down to about chest level so he has free head movement and can step sideways to balance.

Like some others have mentioned: I use a cotton lead (less rope burn and less chance of it tightening beyond hope) and a flat break away halter. I love my horses rope halter for everyday barn use but I'd never use it for trailering. Can't stand having anything that's not 'breakaway'.
And sometimes I use leg protection, sometimes not. Like I said - there are situations in dealing with traffic that one cannot predict and the horse CAN be severely injured even if they are alone. However my opinion was loosened slightly last summer when I had to move my gelding several times. He has developed a severe response to shipping boots because he HATES moving, so he's taken to kicking (even with only 2 legs on the ground! Talent!) So the past 2 times when trailered alone I have left the boots in the truck, until I have more time to work with him 1 on 1 about the boots themselves.

I think I'm an 80% tie person, but I would make some exceptions.

Kate said...

Interesting question. I think it really is a factor of the type of trailer and the way the horse behaves. I learned horses on the east coast where all the trailers are straight in with full dividers beteen the horses and most have a manger with a side door or like ours a open area in front with a door. there was a padded chect bar and a butt chain too. My mare couldnt care about anything as long as there was a hay bag in there. She was tied as thats how I was taught to do it. My gelding was a trailering nightmare. Took a year of patient training to get him to stand in it without freaking out. He's walk in and fast moves got the butt chain up then we were ok. But if the chain wasnt up then a fast backing out and we started again. If he was tied there was a huge fight. So he trailered untied and was fine. We once trailered a friends horse and once at the show, she left him untied and he climbed over the chest bar and out the front door, how he did that without killing himself I dont know. Not a scratch on him. We always used a head bumper, shipping leg boots, and a normal nylon webbing halters and a cotton lead rope.
Then I moved to the west and about died when people showed up at events with tacked up loose horses in stock trailers with no dividers or separations, wraps or anything. Most horses seemed to fine. So in some ways its what they are used to. Do what works for your horses and hope for the best.

One thing I did see, never tie your horse to the trailer without you standing right there to release him if he panics. or a baling string tie to break right away. I saw a horse pull, then panic, rear, slip and slid his hind legs under the trailer, mass injuries and had to be put down right there at the show. Awful.


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