To Tie or Not to Tie


It’s no secret that I hate trailering. It’s not that I’m a bad driver, or that my horses are bad at trailering. I just have a very active imagination and I worry about how they are traveling and what could go wrong. Maybe it’s because I live in an area where people are more likely to cut you off while you’re pulling a trailer, completely oblivious to your inability to stop quickly.

This video takes a literal look at how horses travel depending on how they are tied. It definitely gives me pause. I always tie my horses in the trailer, although they are tied loosely. I’ve never tried removing the partition in my trailer, either.

I now trailer with an “IBall” camera keeping watch over the horses. I think I’ll need to experiment with how I tie them.

How about you? Do you tie your horse in place? And do you watch how they travel?

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7 thoughts on “To Tie or Not to Tie

  1. Ugh, I have an active imagination as well. Other drivers are the thing for me. I have seen this video before and it makes me sad at the beginning. I would be curious to know the driving conditions during this video clip. I also want a camera now to see what mine do. I would also want to see a similar video of a conventional slant load, reverse slant, and even a box stall arrangement.
    It is obvious how much most horses lean on the divider based on the gray rub marks they generally have when they step off the trailer. Makes sense from this video.
    I have a 3 horse regular slant load trailer. I like to tie them loose enough to put their head down a little and so they can move/balance, but not loose enough to step over. With the dividers in the trailer, I do not like to leave them untied because they spend so much time looking below the divider or squirming/craning around to look around/behind. That makes me uncomfortable. I have had a horse acted like he was going to kneel down and I have heard stories of horses going under and over dividers when not tied. Granted, behaviors are different based on if you are hauling them alone or with other horses.
    My favorite way to haul a horse by its self is without any dividers and loosely tied (so you can easily and safely get them out) in the middle. This way they can move around, stay balanced, and stand the way they want to. I have discovered that most horses when hauled this way (in conventional trailers, not trucks) or untied, face backwards. An interesting thought to keep in mind when figuring trailer arrangements.
    I am going to look at the IBall now!

  2. The IBall was a great investment. It’s plug-and-play so no wiring required! You don’t get a really detailed picture but it’s good enough to see what’s going on back there. I use mine every time I trailer.

  3. Whew, that was hard to watch! Honestly, I’ve ridden in a friend’s trailer with a camera before. Those horses barely move when they’re trailering. I think this might be a horse specific thing. Your trailer looks a little short, honestly, like he can’t get his footing because he doesn’t have enough room. Can you try opening the divider or trailering in a different trailer with the cam to see how he does? Just my two-cents! You know your horse much better than I do! 😉

    1. This is not my horse or trailer, just a video that was part of a discussion on trailering. I agree that the horse in the video is tied very short and is quite uncomfortable. I do tie my horses, but on a longer tie. I have a trailer cam and my horses don’t move around nearly that much.

  4. In the video that horse is tied VERY short and restrictive (cross tied and the lines are short). It can’t use it’s head to help balance at all. I dont’ think this is a good example of “tie or not tie”. I too have an active imagination and my horses are tied in the trailer. They are tied to a singe point and long enough they can put their head below their withers and cough. They can turn their head to the side some – enough that their field of view goes behind them.

  5. Ann Shear

    That’s painful to watch. I want to jump in there and give the horse some leeway to balance.

    I never tie my horses in the trailer, but it is set up so they can’t get under the dividers or get tangled with anything. It’s a straight load, two horse. They ride very quietly and seem calm and matter-of-fact when we arrive.

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