Few situations put us in as much danger as trying to untie a panicking horse. Double the trouble if you’re trying to release one inside a trailer. When a horse panics and collides with the end of a tied rope, the result can be injury to the horse and any human trying to help him.
No horse should ever be tied with a device that does not release. It can be the tie itself, the snap that holds him, a quick-release knot or even a breakaway halter of some type. That horse has to be able to escape if necessary.
Quick–release snaps work well, but they take some pressure before they release. They’re an emergency release only. There’s no easy ”giving” feeling when a horse is tied with these snaps.
Old-fashioned quick-release knots can do the job, too. Unfortunately, though, not all leads can be tied in this manner, and many horsemen no longer learn to tie the knots anyway.
Although we’re not huge fans of them, Bungee ties will give a horse a bit more play to help alleviate the trapped feeling. These ties still need to have either a quick-release snap or a breakaway halter, though. And remember that, if the horse starts pulling on a Bungee, when the breaking part does finally give, you’re going to have one whale of a backlash to avoid.
Most horses tie just fine. But there are always going to be a few that don’t, and they make tying them up a gamble. Maybe they’ll stay, but maybe they’ll pull back . . . and if they do, they’ll panic as soon as they feel too constrained.
A horseman named Ted Blocker sat down to figure out a safer way to tie a horse — one where the horse wouldn’t feel confined and trapped. He came up with a simple device that looks like half of a snaffle bit. The tie rope is doubled and pushed through the ring. The center piece is flipped up through the loop in the rope and the two ends are pulled down snuggly. If the horse pulls back, the rope slides slowly around the post feeding the horse some slack. The tension can be increased by doubling the loop, if necessary.
The Blocker Tie Ring is portable, so you can take it off the barn wall and attach it inside, or outside, your horse trailer, when needed.
Tying your horse is with a quick-release snap and a breakaway halter is fine. You’re basically ensured the horse will stay put unless an actual emergency arises, and then he can safely escape.
However, the Blocker Tie Ring is well worth trying with horses who worry when tied or seem to just wait for the tension to occur so they can throw a panic attack. It’s also a good option for smaller animals who may lack the strength to release an actual snap or leather halter breakaway piece. The Blocker Tie Ring ensures a horse should get out in an emergency, but it should not be used as an excuse to not train your horse to tie. $30 to $45. Distributed by Toklat.