Cross-Tie Release Rings

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there's a monster out there, somewhere in every barn, ready to spook even the quietest horse cross-tied in your barn. You may feel prepared because you use cross-ties with quick-release snaps. Maybe you anchor them with baling twine. Or you may still be a little apprehensive.

If you attach the cross-tie snaps to the halter, you risk injury trying to get close enough to release him while He's in panic mode.

If the quick-release snaps are on the baling twine at the wall, and the horse panics and pulls back, the twine will break, causing the snap and cross-tie to fire back at potentially damaging speeds.

And, there's no guarantee the twine itself will break apart under the proper pressure. Too soon and you?ve got a loose horse that just threw his head around at a fly. Too late and he'll either lose his footing, flip over backward or break his halter and get loose.

TRADITIONAL CHOICES. You can purchase many different release systems. The Tie Safe Cross Tie (www.intrepidintl.com, 800-347-0033) has two pieces of nylon attached by Velcro that releases if the horse panics. It leaves the longer part of the tie on the wall, and the shorter part on the halter.? it's a good system. About $36/pair.

We like the look of the Turtle Snaps Crossties (www.davis manufacturing.com, 800-252-4884). They?re made of quality nylon with a nice panic-release snap setup that goes on the horse's halter and releases when the horse panics. A carabiner hook is on the wall end. About $50/pair.

The Blocker Tie Ring (www.blockerranch.com, 503-631-2380) looks like half of a snaffle bit. The tie rope is pushed in a loop through the ring and a center piece is flipped up through the loop in the rope and the two rope ends are pulled down snuggly. If the horse pulls, the rope slides slowly, giving the horse some slack and you time to remedy the problem. About $35 for one ring.

The Cut Heal Safety-Release Cross Tie (www.cut-heal.com, 800-288-4325) consists of two carabiner-style hooks with a release mechanism between them. The best part is you can adjust the release mechanism to varying levels of tension (think pony vs. draft horse). $50/pair.

THE LATEST AND GREATEST. Along the idea of baling twine is a plastic loop that releases under about 176 lbs. of pressure (or less, if needed).? The loop is placed between the wall ring and the crosstie. It releases on its own under pressure.

One of our test barns used the Equi-Pings (www.bitofbritain.com, 800-972-7985) for a year, and the rings held together during minor backing-up snits without premature separation ($11 each).

Another test barn used the Equi-Pings and the similar-looking Safe T-Ties (www.horsetieups.com, 877-778-7559, $12.95 or 4/$45). during roughly the same time with similar results.? The loops break apart easily (but not too easily) and snap right back into place.

They?re both plastic, so we're sure they?ll show wear eventually. But we suspect it will take many panic pulls before they lose their holding power. The Equi-Pings are estimated to last through 20 to 25 ?pings? without losing their holding ability.

BOTTOM LINE. For the amount of safety and peace of mind they provide, we think the Equi-Pings and Safe T-Ties are a bargain. The Equi-Pings include a keeper that slides over the connection, otherwise we noticed no outstanding difference in performance. And they certainly look much better on your barn wall than loops of scraggly unreliable baling twine.

Article by Contributing Writers Beth Benard and Lee Foley.