Years ago, when I managed the Riding School at the University of Toronto, I cross tied this nice new horse we had just gotten. One side of the cross tie was attached to the wall and the other side was attached to what I had assumed was a supporting beam.
Well, Teddy, the new horse, was startled by something. He pulled backwards and before I could get to the panic snap to release him, the supposed ‘supporting beam’ dislodged.
Apparently it was just a four by four that had been wedged between the floor and the ceiling but was unattached in any other way!
Now I am sure many people over the years had pushed, pulled and leaned on that four by four and it had stood firm. But it was no match for a thousand pound horse pulling away from it.
Somewhat miraculously, Teddy and I survived his seemingly eternal panicked battle to disconnect himself from this monstrous piece of wood. Except for a few cuts, scrapes, and bruises, neither of us were worse for wear.
An unnecessary and regrettable experience for both of us but one that taught me a lesson I will never forget. More than three decades later and I have NEVER used cross ties without checking to see what they are attached to. I will also never tie a horse to anything that doesn’t have a baling twine buffer in case I can’t get to the horse in time.
Unfortunately it taught Teddy a lesson too and he never fully recovered from the emotional trauma. He was a great horse but we were never able to use cross ties on him again.
Live and learn.
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