When it comes to choosing a cross tie, we’re picky. We expect the tie to be strong — because a horse shouldn’t learn he can get released if he pulls away hard enough — yet we want it to release immediately if our horse gets into trouble.
If our horse slips and falls while in the tie, we don’t want him to be ”hung.” If he spooks and pulls backward, we don’t want to have him placed in a situation where he places so much pressure on the tie that once it does break it ”explodes” and sends the horse flying backward on his rump, while the tie itself becomes airborne and endangers everyone in the vicinity.
We want our horse to feel like he has room to move his head about, but only a little. We don’t want him to feel like he’s fastened tight, but he also shouldn’t be able to grab the cross tie and chew it. So, we want to minimize slack while maximizing give. Therefore, we need to be able to adjust its length.
Bungee-style cords are a step in the right direction, but they can also give your horse more playing area than you really want him to have.
We’re careful when adjusting the length on the nylon ties, as many of them leave a loop of excess nylon that the horse could get caught in if you set the tie too low — or he gets loose with the tie still attached to his halter.
The safety release on the cross tie should be near the horse’s head rather than the wall, as we don’t want our horse running free with a long rope dangling between his legs and threatening to trip him. Horses have broken their necks when getting hung up in an unbreakable, dangling lead. We also don’t want a piece of metal at the end of that rope. It’s all about safety for our horse.
But we want simplicity, too. While we made our way through figuring out how some ties were designed to work, we didn’t really ”want” to. It’s nice to have a clear design that snaps into place and quickly adjusts to the proper length. And, of course, we don’t want to pay a lot for the cross ties.
The Turtle Snap cross ties are our favorite. They are lightweight, so the snap itself doesn’t weigh the horse down and are easily adjustable. You can put them on and remove them with one hand, and if the horse panics, he will be set free.
The DuraTech Stretch Tie was a strong contender with its thoughtful design. We really liked the option of using a quick-release tie on one end of the cross tie and being able to use the entire tie as a lead, if need be. We don’t like using permanently attached cross ties in our horse barns.
For a Best Buy, it’s tough to beat the $15 pair from Big Dee’s. It was made of quality nylon with good hardware and is adjustable.