What is the best snap closure to use in the cross ties, on buckets, and on blankets?
Wow, what starts as a relatively simple question actually can be expanded into a lot more…. Buckles and straps are everywhere at the barn, they hold water buckets up, halters on, and blankets snug, and really there is no totally right way to use them. Usually.
There is usually a best way to use these crazy snaps, and the picture below is not it. Some folks like to face the snap opening away from their horse as a comfort reason when he's wearing a blanket. No nubby snap thumb holders poking your horse. BUT, this leaves the snap open to attaching itself to other stuff, like hay nets and wire fences. THIS ENDS BADLY.
I'm a firm believer in hot wire so that your horse never ever touches a fence, EVER, anyway. Other farms have different rules and different fencing, so this may be something to think about. But horses can still get stuck on goodness knows what if the snap opening is pointed away from their bodies.
When it comes to bucket hanging, those snap openings better face the wall! I don't know how they do it, but horses are highly skilled at ripping lips on snaps.
This is the ONLY way to hang a bucket with double ended snaps.
For cross ties, You have tons of options. The styles below are very common in cross ties. They are OK, but can be tricky to open in an emergency. Once you wrangle them open, you must have some slack to get the halter out of the snap - which will never happen if your horse is pulling and pulling.
My least fave cross tie buckles - impossible to release if your horse is freaking out and pulling back.
This particular style below is the only one I suggest using in the cross ties. These are designed to be lightening fast to undo in an emergency - no lever mechanism needed. Just pull the middle part down (the part with the arrow). If you have a panicked horse in the cross ties and he is straining against the ties, a traditional snap won’t be easy to undo (two hands needed, one for the buckle and one to pull the halter so the snap can come free). These quick release snaps make unclipping him safe, fast, and easy in an emergency, and can be one handed.
Quick release. Pull down on the middle section and your horse is free. Some also will release on their own with pressure. These work because you can release them even if your horse is pulling back and freaking out.
I’ll also add that in the cross ties, I prefer to use a safety mechanism like an Equi-Ping or some string/twine to attach the cross ties to the wall. I also prefer the panic style of buckle (as pictured above) is closest to the wall, as a panicked horse won't hold still for you to unsnap near his flailing face. The wall will remain still for you.
My preference for the cross ties - wall, safety mechanism of some sort, quick release.
How do you keep your horse safe and comfortable and not stabbed by buckles?