Disaster strikes. Now what? That’s usually why I keep a bag full of zip ties in my truck and tack trunk.
You never know when something is going to snap in half, or a latch falls a part… When we’re talking about life with horses, the list and likelihood of disaster opportunities is never ending.
Here are 15 common and not-so-common methods to use zip ties around the barn.
On the cross ties. Plenty of barns use bailing twine in between their nylon cross-tie latch and the o-ring they’ve drilled into the barn wall. It helps in the case of a spooky or naughty horse who likes to bust out of the cross ties and tear down the barn aisle. It’s a safety measure and cost saver all in one – if the horse spooks, they’ll break a thin, plastic zip tie no problem, setting them free from the tie. But replacing a zip tie sure is less costly than replacing a board or nylon cross tie after a horse bails out.
To hang stuff. At horse shows, a zip tie will hang a feed or a water bucket. It’ll hold a fan in place on a stall wall. It’ll hold your farm’s pretty banner above the tack stall. It also works as a makeshift latch to hang up a stall guard.
To keep stuff closed (or open). Say the latches on your trailer like to jiggle in place when you’re on the road, sometimes leading to the point of coming undone, and having a window panel flap in the wind like mad. Secure these flimsy latches with an extra zip tie or two to keep them safely in place.
To stay organized. Zip tie neatly rolled extension cords to keep them from unraveling at the bottom of your trunk. Or use them to organize a box of old halters. Zip tie bits together for organizational storage purposes. I even zip tie hay and feed bags when on the road, to keep grain from spilling in the truck or trailer. Zip ties are easily removed with scissors or a knife.
As a boot tool. If you’re anything like me, zipping up your tall boots can be a challenge some days. Slide a zip tie into the zipper of your boots to give you extra leverage when trying to get it to slide up over your calf.
Zipper fix. Speaking of zippers – do you have a pair of breeches where the zipper just refuses to stay up? Instead of giving the judge a nice flash of pink lacy undies, you can use a zip tie to fasten the zipper to the button of your breeches to keep it in place.
Packing hack. Don’t you just hate it when pillow wraps or grooming towels spill out all over your trunk? Roll them tightly and neatly, then secure them with a zip tie or two to make packing easier and your tack trunk certainly more tidy. It works well on clothes, too.
Fasten stuff. I’ve seen a few show barns organize their flower boxes by zip tying bouquets of plastic flowers together. This way, when it’s windy or raining, the flowers stay put in their boxes without ending up in the turf of the arena.
Camping must-have. Do you spend the night in the trailer at the show grounds? Zip ties are an essential camping supply. From securing the outdoor awning to helping put together panels of a dog crate, zip ties certainly are useful.
Wire management. Just like keeping those extension cords under control, zip ties can help secure plugs and wires in the rafts of the barn. Don’t leave wires that can sag or generally just be exposed in horse stalls, where horses can nibble on them. Use zip ties to hold them in place and to keep out of reaching distance.
Trail marker. Hooray for zip ties that come in a variety of fancy colors. Take a handful with you on a long trail ride, and use them sparingly on a fence post or branch to mark your trail. You won’t miss a neon orange marker on the way back to the trailer.
As a replacement. So the old rivet from your name plate on your horse’s halter just fell out. You can use a zip tie for that! Fasten it in the hole made for the rivet and cut off the extra part of the tie. It will hold the name plate in place until you have time to invest in a new rivet.
Makeshift girth loop. So your martingale or breast plate is missing the clip that attaches to the girth loop under your horse’s belly. Don’t fret! A zip tie can work as a makeshift attachment in a pinch.
Bit keeper. So you’ve lost your last bit keeper for the bazillionth time. Good thing you have some zip ties. They can hold a bit in place, and just like with the halter name plate, you can cut down the extra to make it hardly noticeable.
For traction in the mud. Don’t you hate having to slug it in the mud to catch your horse in the pasture? Why take the chance of falling in it and messing up your #ROOTD when you can add a little bit traction to your muck boots? This is a hiking trick – you can use zip ties as makeshift “crampons” for extra support on slippery surfaces.