Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Useful things: Cable ties

This week's useful thing is the humble cable tie.  What's the use of that, you may ask?  All I can say is that cable ties have saved me more busted lead ropes and broken headcollars than I care to remember and more importantly have potentially stopped accidents and saved horses from injury.
Its very old-fashioned, but to have a breaking-point on a headcollar rather than on the tying end makes a big difference, particularly if you use those long, very strong lead ropes which are popular in natural horsemanship.  

We all know not to tie horses without a quick release and to something which will snap if they panic, but   if this is at the rope end, its perfectly possible for a horse to get loose with 6ft or 10ft of rope trailing between its legs.  

If you are very unlucky, as happened to a client of mine, the rope will wrap round a rail as the horse goes past at speed and then as the rope tightens the horse will get a nasty dose of whiplash and end up with quite a serious neck problem.   An even worse possibility of course is that the loose rope wraps round a leg and brings the horse down.  

I know those ropes don't break because someone illicitly "borrowed" a set of long reins from me once, without permission, and used them  - with a Land Rover - to pull some trees out of woodland.  They reckoned the breaking strain on the rope was several tons.  The same is true of course of nylon headcollars, which we all use, and rope halters, which have the added issue of being narrower so exerting more pressure if the horse gets caught suddenly by that. 

Cable ties, by contrast, cost a few pence but - if you buy heavy duty ones - have a reasonable breaking strain of about 25kg - more than enough to stop them snapping if a horse is just fidgeting. 

8 comments:

Nicky said...

This is such a good idea, I'm off to buy a bag of cable ties :-)

sarahh said...

What a good idea. I had T tied to my field shelter with one of those so-called safety release ties. He got panicked, pulled back and pulled a panel of wood off the shelter! I will definitely be raiding my OH's shed for cable ties now...

jenj said...

Haha, my husband and I were just commenting this weekend on how cable ties are like Duct Tape, WD-40, and bailing twine - essential to any project. In fact, I just bought two bags of them! We use them for everything from actually tying cables together (shocking!) to holding up the netting on our chicken coop. I haven't used them for breakaway horse ties though as I have attractive green bailing twine for that purpose. But what a great idea, thanks!

Cristina said...

I used them to turn a normal headcollar into a fieldsafe headcollar when Frankies was wearing his overnight with his grazing muzzle

Dressager said...

I like using cable ties better than bailing twine for just those reasons! Our barn owner has them on a the headcollar end of the crossties and at the posts people tie their horses up at. I have seen them work absolutely as intended, although my horse has never tested them hahaha (but I will happen one day, I'm just waiting for it!)

Nic Barker said...

Great suggestions, guys - love it :-)

cptrayes said...

We're never without a variety of lengths and thicknesses here! I have short lead ropes and quick release catches, so I don't use them like you do, but it's a good idea.

The work well for replacing rings for attaching leg straps to and repairing muzzles that start to fall apart to make them last until a new one arrives in the post!

C

Wiola said...

We still have loads of staff from Rockley sporting yellow and green cable ties :) Love them!