Monday, April 13, 2009

Follow-up to PSA

Mrs. Mom commented that something big must have happened to prompt today's earlier post.

Thankfully, not a major catastrophe - not this time. Just a reflection on an on-going annoyance.

Yesterday I arrived at the farm to a group of horses with spring fever and no place to run it off. They were looping the lot, tails flagged, throwing in the occasional buck just because it felt good. Not a problem - pretty to watch, actually.

But in one of their passes around and through the lot gate got knocked partway closed (the chain fastening it open has apparently been appropriated for someplace else again), and before I could fix it, Thunder got himself stuck in the V between the gate and the fence. Of course, backing up on his own wasn't an option (silly horse!) he was determined to go forard OVER the V, and then to complicate things, he stuck a hind foot over the sucker rod on the fence side.... Thank goodness for nice round sucker bar! After a few hairy moments I got him sorted out. Minus a bit of hair, but other than the odd scrape or two he seemed fine. But that excitement was followed closely by the recurring behavior that prompted my PSA.
For whatever reason, some people just aren't motivated to change ingrained habits. So on the odd occasion that I have "help" with the horses, I have to keep an eagle eye out for square knots and assorted other odd methods for attaching the horses to their various spots. It's a wee bit frustrating to hear, "Oh, I just can't seem to get the hang of these silly knots." T is not the culprit, but you all probably guessed that!
Usually, I just shrug to myself, check, and move on.

But hot on the heels of what could
have been a major wreck,
it stuck with me,
and I had to vent.

I'm relatively okay with the "wrap the rope around the post" option - at least that way if one of them panics, they're not going to hang themselves. It does make for easy self-release - not a habit I really want encouraged... but in the grand scheme, it's fairly minor.

But tying with hard knots is just inviting an accident. I don't care how broke your horse is, there's always that freak breeze that picks up that random blowing feed sack, the deer that goes bounding out of the tree lot, or a dog that starts barking at the wrong moment. Not to mention the weird noises cows and sheep make all the time.... And that's at home. New places have even more potentially scary horse-eaters.
Have you ever seen a horse hanging upside down from their halter? I have. It's not pretty. And it's a lot harder to get a halter unbuckled than you'd think. But that's a story for another day.
I do carry a Leatherman multi-tool. It's not exactly ideal for sawing through rope or nylon, but it will do in a pinch.

What's better is something that locks open, with a sawtooth cutting edge - a lot of ropers carry these, in case a horse, cow or person gets hung up in the arena or otherwise. They're even commonly called ropers knives. Not a bad thing to have in your back pocket, especially if you insist on tying with square knots, 'cause it's only gonna be a matter of time before you'll need one!


Mrs Mom said...

Yep, I've seen a horse break his neck being tied hard and fast. Pulled up to a client a few years back (pre-Little Mens,)at a boarding barn... college kid was freaking OUT, horse hanging half over a low horizontal telephone pole that had been made into a tie rail.....

A dog had run behind the horse, chasing a bird. This normally placid horse FREAKED, flipped over the rail part way, and his neck snapped.

We tried to help, but to be honest, I had to leave. That was damn rough to see. Since then, I either use a Blocker Tie Ring or I just loop the line over something. AND!!! I ALWAYS make sure to tie the horse HIGH- as HIGH as possible!!!!

Sure am glad that everyone is OK on your end though. Scary damn thing to see a horse tied hard like that...

SunnySD said...

Yikes! That's bad alright. It was scary enough seeing the horse get hung up and survive. One dead would definitely stay with you for a LONG time, especially if you were the one that put it there. What an awful thing....

A half-dozen or so of some sort of tying solutions are on my "to-be-purchased" list :)