I had the ponies tied as I usually do prior to feeding vitamin buckets. As I was retrieving the buckets to go back over the fence with them to the ponies, out of the corner of my eye I saw a pony acting strangely. When I looked, she had tangled her head in her lead rope. I set the buckets down and headed her direction quickly, trying to reassure her with words as I approached. This wasn’t just a typical tangle; she had somehow wrapped the leadrope twice around the throatlatch part of her neck and then pulled it tight.
I was reminded as I freed her from her predicament the importance of having at least two quick release strategies in situations where ponies tangle themselves when tied. Generally, we’re advised as horse owners to never tie our equines long or low, to avoid them tangling themselves in their lead ropes. When I’m feeding them buckets while tied, I have to tie a little longer than normal so that they can reach their buckets on the ground.
Having two quick release strategies for when ponies tangle themselves in their lead rope is important in case the first one fails, as was the case this time. The pony had wrapped the lead rope so tight around her neck that I couldn’t get to the breakaway snap that is designed to be easy to release even when there is pressure on it. So I resorted to my second quick release strategy: the quick release knot on the lead rope. It, too, is designed to come free even when there’s pressure on it, and I’ve only rarely had it give me trouble. It worked as it was supposed to in this situation, and I was able to free the pony from the tangle she had created.
I always carry a pocket knife, so perhaps that could be considered another quick release strategy, as I could have cut the lead rope if necessary. And there is another strategy that I consider so basic that I forget about it. It is really critical to be extra watchful when tying ponies long. Especially with expressive ponies, either by tossing their heads (as was the case this time) or pawing, they can so easily tangle themselves, but with any pony really, I consider it the ultimate in irresponsibility to let them be tied long without keeping an eye on them.
In the next issue of The Partnered Pony™ Inquirer, I’ll include a short video showing how to tie the quick release knot, and I’ll include a photo of the quick release snap. Please join me (by clicking here) if you aren’t already a subscriber!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2013