Cross ties

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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One thought on “Cross ties”

  1. Thank you for this valuable safety tip. I used to be a Health and Safety inspector for a department in a company I used to work for a few years back….but to do a safety check in a barn environment is so very, very different. There are things you have brought up today and in the past that I would never think to check. i.e. wheelbarrow handles, broom sticks, cross ties etc. Unfortunately it is through mishaps that occur with our curious horse friends that we learn. Another tip you mentioned to me quite a while ago and maybe you could bring up again, is wire fencing surrounding paddocks. In particular the size of the mesh used and how this could be a hazard to our equine friends. Thank you for sharing your story.

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