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Cross Tying Isn't Always the Answer!

Please keep in mind cross ties are VERY restraining. Oftentimes I see people asking for the horse to lower the head more OR be more relaxed and don't realize that the cross ties are preventing the horse from lowering their head or standing in a relaxed posture. I notice this a lot when people are rinsing off faces, trying to brush the face, or putting a product on.

Please consider taking the cross ties off completely, putting a lead rope on and putting it over their neck OR unhooking one side of the cross ties OR safely straight tying (with quick release tie on a solid post) if you want your horse to have more freedom to help you do what you need/want to do.


Once you unhook the horse to have more head & neck freedom, ask them to lower their head, reward them to say thank you and reinforce that’s what you want (a handful of timothy pellets and/or a scratch where they loved to be scratched) and then do whatever you need to do.

Furthermore, if you straight tie in the stall they can munch on hay or have a sip of water while waiting for you to do XYZ if they are getting tacked up or keeping them dry for a few minutes after a bath. It is also nice for them to stand on the stall mats in the stalls versus the concrete for a long time. Obviously if you are doing Keratex and you want their feet to stay clean and dry off, the wash racks are a great option. I always love learning from a different perspective! Amy always has very interesting insights. We do use cross ties currently, but straight tied for many years. With the layout of our aisleway we do find cross tying needed, but here's another vote for straight tying by Amy Skinner Horsemanship. https://www.facebook.com/AmySkinnerHorsemanship/photos/a.934096733311716/4009352345786124/

I think it is important to set up your horse for success - no matter the situation. Sometimes you will be forced to cross tie and sometimes you will need to straight tie. Always preparing the horse for what they may encounter is important You have to straight tie at the trailer or at the show in the stall so they need to understand straight tying very well BEFORE leaving the comfort and stability of home. Young or green horses are never cross tied for safety reasons - you ALWAYS start with correct straight tying so they are comfortable with that first OR you could teach them to ground tie first!

You may see me ground tying occasionally....even out in the arena moving ground poles...and the horse just stands there patiently Or when bathing - just tossing the rope over the fence. A great test your connection and relationship with your horse, though sometimes you cannot replace the pull of a really good looking patch of grass - it's OK! Just try again or later.

Just please do NOT do this with reins (no reins on floors ever) or anything connected to a bit. Also be certain whatever you have on the horse as a "breakaway option" or just put the lead rope over their neck instead.

How to safely tie with a quick release tie/knot! Video: https://youtu.be/fG6LiX10hlU

Never, ever tie to something that’s just “decoration” and not solid. Tie to something like a wood post, not the decorative board on the front.


Never tie too tight so the horse is made to feel panicked or claustrophobic and not too long that the horse can get his head down to the ground or a leg over the lead rope. About 12” is a good starting place and adjust from their depending on how tall or short the horse is and the length of their neck.

Remember to please use the stalls or outside wash rack to groom/tack up too! Remember if you use the aisleway cross ties or wash stalls cross ties, please sweep off afterwards.



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