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Tying to trailers and picket lines

I had a minute and wanted to interject a bit of fresh pain on this

Anyone who waded through my XP story knows that I couldn't ride Gav on
the last day because he had rope burns on top of scratches on his right
rear fetlock... rope burns because he caught a rear foot over the lead
tying him to the trailer.

I'm not an NATRC rider, but am a strong supporter. When I'm around camp,
Gav is tied on a very loose line (not the NATRC way!) because he does ok
on a longer rope - three to five inches longer than NATRC advised. He
likes to turn perpendicular to the trailer and rest his butt on the
side... he's a leaner! 

Thursday night at the XP I retied him according to the NATRC rules -
"buckle" well off the ground - and left for an hour. This was the first
trip where he'd had the freedom of a portable corral. Since the age of 2
he's been tied when camping; to an overhead picket as a youngster, but
lately to the trailer. I had to teach him to not plow through this new
corral, he agreed to be contained, but he couldn't resist scratching on
it and broke it, so I tied him.

Gav had scratches on his rear legs, and when he caught his leg over the
rope, it hit the scratches and stung like hell and - he's a horse - he
fought the pain when he couldn't avoid it. Rope burn! End of ride.

He's very rope broke. From the time he was a youngster he's snagged his
foot - or head - up in a loop, backed up till the rope is taunt, looked
around and called for help...  "NEEeeeeHeeeee!!!" He's a huge lap pet -
sometimes very embarrassing - smacks his lips for kisses and everything.
The "I'm Stuck" routine worked until the day I caught him, bored,
practicing it repeatedly. He's been hobbled every way possible, and
leads in any direction with any leg or by his tail. He's as rope broke
as they come. This isn't a training problem.

Will I trailer tie in the future? When I can keep an eye on him or can't
avoid not doing it. He's usually okay with it.  He was trailer tied for
6 hours on Friday while I was at the vet check. Will I do it overnight
if I don't absolutely have to? Hell no! Why? If this horse with his
training can get caught up once, it can happen again. I've been trailer
tying, but will repair the PVC corral, get a fence charger and wrap the
top rail in hot wire to keep him from rubbing on it. Tying is not an
acceptable option for me anymore. Not for overnight.

Tying to picket lines... I have line and good picket ties, and tied to a
high picket Saturday night coming home rather than stick him in a hot
box stall at the Fallon Fairgrounds. It can be an okay solution if the
picket is done right and the tension rechecked every few hours at least.
I've had a horse catch a rear leg over a picket line tie anyway, throw
herself and ruin a nice camping trip. I set up a good picket, too.
Unless you use a come-along and regularly ratchet the rope tight until
it stops giving, it's hard to keep it taunt, especially overnight. 

NATRC has many great attributes. Requiring a trailer or picket tie is
not one of them! In my opinion, it's like the shoeing rule, it's going a
bit too far. I've never been to a NATRC ride that had facilities for
stalls. And if tied horses do so great, tie-fans should have no qualms
about reasonably secure corrals, right? I've seen horses become un-tied
and break or slip halters, and run through electric wires... with the
NATRC aptitude for developing rules to suit the occasion, a good corral
rule should be possible.

Now I'm off to re-dress that nasty rope burn.

  -- Linda


  Linda Cowles   
  Lion Oaks Ranch   
  Gilroy CA

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