Last Updated on March 26, 2022
Ever seen a horse tied to a hitching rail and thought you’d like to give it a try? We’ve got everything you need to know about building a hitching rail for horses!
We’ve got top hitching rail construction tips for you, whether you’re building a hitching post or hitching rail. We’ll also find out the best material for building a hitching rail for horses. And finally, we’ll take a look at how to tie the right knot to secure your horse safely, every time.
What Is A Hitching Post Or Hitching Rail?
A hitching rail is a sturdy wooden horizontal bar, designed to allow riders to tie their horses up securely. The horse is tied up by either looping the rope around the rail or through a metal ring attached to the rail. A hitching post is similar but is a vertical post that has room for fewer horses than a rail.
Hitching rails and posts are used in stable yards and outside barns. They give horse owners a safe place to restrain their horses. It is also common to find hitching rails and posts along long-distance trails, at picnic and recreation sites, and near to facilities such as public toilets.
How Easy Is Building A Hitching Rail?
Building a hitching post or rail for horses is a simple task that most DIY enthusiasts will be able to manage! However, the hitching post or rail must be built securely to avoid breakages. You don’t want a rail that comes out of the ground as soon as the horse tries to walk away!
If you think that building a hitching rail for horses is beyond your capabilities, a handy person or local tradesperson should be able to help you. Alternatively, you can build a simple hitching point by attaching metal tiering to an existing post, fence, or barn wall.
What Is The Best Hitching Rail Height?
The recommended height for hitching rails is 42 inches above the ground. At this height, the rail should be at about chest height for most medium to large horses. Smaller horses and ponies will need a slightly lower hitching rail height to prevent them from ducking under the rail.
If you are constructing a hitching post, the post itself can be taller than a hitching rail but the hitching ring should be placed at a height of 42 inches.
Best Materials For Building A Hitching Post Or Rail
Traditionally, hitching posts are built from timber. This is the easiest material to work with if you are building your own hitching rail. If you treat the timber with an animal-safe preservative the rail will last for a long time. Some chew stops will help to prevent the horses from chewing it!
Hitching rails can also be constructed from metal such as welded steel. This can be a long-lasting and durable option, particularly if you live in an area with a high amount of rainfall. Pre-made metal hitching posts can be bought from local suppliers, or a metal fabricator may construct a bespoke hitching rail for you.
How To Build A Hitching Post Or Rail
If you are building your own hitching post or rail, it is important to take into account the following points:
Securing The Posts
Whether you are building a hitching rail or hitching post, you will need to secure sturdy wooden posts into the ground. These posts should be about 8 feet long. Remember they need to stay in the ground if the horse pulls backward!
Dig a deep hole at least 4 feet deep and put your post in the hole, making sure it is vertical. Use a concrete mix to secure the post into the hole. Leave to dry before moving onto the next stage.
Installing A Hitching Rail
Firstly check that your upright posts are level and approximately 40 inches in height. You may need to trim the tops slightly to get this right. Place a long, thick pole on top of the upright posts, allowing it to hang about 6 inches off each end. This is essential to ensure that the horse cannot move the lead rope along the rail and onto the upright post.
Secure the hitching rail to the upright posts with 6-inch screws. You can also place short braces across the corners to keep your structure rigid and secure.
Installing A Hitching Post
If you want to secure your horse to an upright post, you will need to attach metal tiering to the post. This should be placed close to the top of the post. This will help prevent the horse from wrapping the lead rope around the post.
The tie ring must be secured to the hitching post with bolts. Make sure that the ends of the bolts are recessed into the post, to prevent injury to your horse.
How To Tie A Horse Safely To A Post Or Rail
When it comes to horses, they are large and unpredictable creatures! No matter how placid your equine friend is, it is vital that learn to tie them up safely to a hitching rail or post.
Remember that you are tying your horse to a very solid and secure object. While we don’t want our horses to break free easily, we do need to be able to release them quickly and easily in an emergency. You do not want to be fumbling for a knife if your horse is panicking or stuck!
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There is no better way to learn a practical skill than by observing and trying it yourself, so check out this great video on how to tie a safe and secure knot.
So, do you think you have got what it takes to build your own hitching rail for horses?
Follow our guide to building a hitching rail and you’ll be training your horse to hitch in no time!
Do you have any questions about how to build a hitching rail for horses? Or maybe you’ve been using a hitching rail for years – we’d love to hear from you if you are! Add a comment below this post and we’ll get back to you!
How deep should a hitching post be?
For feet deep holes should be enough to secure hitching post in the ground and offer maximum rigidity and stability. If you space them seven feet apart, the top rail will overhang a little bit on either side, which is perfect. Recommended hitch rail height is 42 inches (1 meter). This is a good height for both riders and horses when lead ropes are tied properly.
What did cowboys tie their horses to?
Hitching posts are the traditional tool used to hitch a horse or other animal to a post. They are also called a hitch, a hitching post, or a posting. Some of them can be very ornate while majority are just a simple wooden posts, sometimes with a hitch ring. The most common type of hitch ring is a ring with a single hole through which a rope or chain can be passed and tied to a ring or eyelet on the side of a post or other fixed object. But cowboys used to tie their horses to anything available – a fence, a building, a wagon, etc. – that is big enough, strong enough, and anchored deep enough to keep the horse in place and prevent him from straying away.
How do hitching posts work?
Hitching posts were in use for most of the 18th century, before the cars were invented and horses were the primary means of transportation, so carriages and horse-drawn carriages were used. Many homes and even businesses had hitching posts out front, for the owner to tether their animal.
The hitching post itself is a simple post or stake, sometimes with a loop on one end. A chain, rope, or strap attached to the loop serves as the attachment point for the horse’s lead. Some people today still use them for horses, especially in rural areas. In England, a horse tied to a hitching post is known as a “hobbled” horse, as this was the name given to horses that were hobbled and left to graze on uncultivated land.
When were hitching posts used?
The hitching posts most likely originated in Europe. Records show that they were used in England as early as 1625. They were made of wood, and some of the oldest ones were carved out of stone. Many public buildings in England had stone hitching posts and public water troughs for horses and livestock. They were used to feed and water horses and other animals.
The earliest hitching posts in America were probably built in the 17th century. At that time, the hitching post was a wooden peg driven into the ground. Hitching posts were originally used to hitch horses, or a horse-drawn cart. People in rural areas would tie their horses to trees, railings, or other structures to keep them from wandering off.
Where do you tie up a horse?
Attach the horse about 2 inches above its withers or around horse’s eye level. In that way he’s less likely to hurt himself if he suddenly pulls on the rope. Also make sure the rope isn’t too short or too long. When it’s tied, it should be about the height of the horse’s neck to keep it from being stepped over as this could be dangerous. However, tie the rope low enough that the horse’s head isn’t restricted.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then wenton to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE