Thursday, June 26, 2014

Safe Tying Solution - The Functional Tie Ring

Most of us had had a horse spook while tied. What normally happens, if the horse is tied hard and fast, is that the fear of whatever spooked him is exacerbated and/or replaced by the fear of being confined by the halter and the pressure of that halter on his poll (behind his ears), and sometimes pressure behind the jaw and on the nose if the halter is fitted right.

The weak spot in most halters is the metal snap connecting the lead rope to the halter - this usually breaks when a horse pulls back hard. If you are using a tied on lead rope, like on a rope halter, the halter itself can break.  Had that happen once.

If your horse is in a trailer when the halter or lead rope breaks, the horse can drive his head into the top of the trailer and sometimes with fatal results.

Have you ever seen a horse spook while cross tied? If the surface is slippery, the horse's feet can go out from underneath himself and a neck or leg injury is possible.

There are several tying devices on the market that allow the lead rope to be fed through a ring so when the horse pulls back a friction controlled release is obtained. The Clip is one such device. The reason I'm not fond if it, is that the ring (hole) that the lead rope is fed through is pretty small making it hard to fed larger diameter lead ropes through, and, one side of the clip has a rope channel with a knurled screw type device that is designed to be used to tighten the rope so it won't feed out if you prefer, but it can damaged lead ropes if you aren't careful or if the horse pulls back.

Another device is the Blocker Tie Ring or Aussie Tie Ring, which is pretty much the same purpose, but the design is a little different in that is uses a pivoting, magnetic arm for the rope to feed around.   

If you are not familiar with the Blocker or Aussie Tie Rings, it may be easier to go to the link to see them, but basically this device resembles half a snaffle bit. A lead line is fed through a ring and a pivoting arm is flipped up between the bite on the lead rope. A magnet on the pivoting arm holds the arm in place. I have seen a lot of these in use, but again the size of the hole is just a little bit small for my liking and it is possible to feed through a lead rope backwards so that when the horse pulls back the arm releases and frees the horse. To be fair, if someone isn't paying attention and "reverse ties" a horse then they probably have other problems as well. The main advantage with this tying device is that it can stay connected via a snap link while the lead line is fed through and the pivot arm flipped up into place.

For about 10 years now I have been using a different tie ring and after being asked repeatedly to make it available to others, I applied for a patent and received a provisional patent on what I call the Functional Tie Ring.

There are other uses for the Functional Tie Ring other than to quick tie horses.  Using the Functional Tie Ring you can teach your horse not to pull back but putting some pressure on him and causing him to pull back where his body weight pulling back feeds the lead rope through the tie ring in a controlled manner giving him a release.  When you repeat this the horse will pull back less and less, figuring out that he doesn't need to pull back at all.

If you use thicker three or four strand cotton ropes for leads ropes, they are easy to fit through the big hole and loop around the Functional Tie Ring, more so than if you use another tie ring with a smaller diameter hole.  And the Functional Tie Ring is reversible - you can hook the snap link to the bigger diameter hole and use the smaller hole to feed smaller lead ropes through, like if you are using the lead rope or get down rope portion of mecate reins. 

I use my tie rings on the cross ties on my shoeing stand and wash stand.  I've had horses pull back once in while but it is a minor event compared to what usually happens when a horse pulls back then feels that pressure from the halter and panics. 

I also use the Functional Tie Rings looped through a rope from my trailer to a tree or pole creating a high line to picket my horses on.  This provides a loop to snap or tie your leads onto.  And lastly a note on bungee trailer ties.  These are bungee cords with snaps and both ends and are designed to provide the horse a release when they pull back.  I advise never to use these. I have seen twice, maybe three times where a horse has pulled back, breaking the bungee or the snap and having that elastic cord snap back and hit the horse in the face.    

The video below helps explain how I use the Functional Tie Ring.  You can click on the link here to purchase a Functional Tie Ring, and these is a static link on the left hand side of the website. 

Safe Journey to you and your horses.   


  1. where can this tie ring be purchased?

  2. You can click on the Functional Tie Ring image at the top left of this website to order online, or call me at 915.204.7995 and over the phone.

  3. Have you ever seen a horse spook while cross tied? If the surface is slippery, the horse's feet can go out from underneath himself and a neck or leg injury is possible. discount wedding ring