As a horse owner, I've learned to expect the unexpected. Whether riding, working around them on the ground, traveling, camping, and, and, and the list goes on and on. If something can go wrong, it will.
Horses are naturally a flight animal. Left to their own devices, they will run or panic when they are startled or in a situation where they are afraid. From a young age, I find it necessary to train a horse to tie and not pull back. When the horse is a foal, I tie them to a very secure structure such as a post or tree and let them fight the tie until they are standing quietly. Repeating this over and over, while adding in fear elements can help greatly. By fear elements I mean doing things such as waving a plastic bag near them or taking a bucket full of rocks and dragging it around, towing a tarp, all things which may ignite their "flight" response in a controlled setting to help them work with that emotion.
It was a sunny spring day. Bristol was in need of a good hoof filing. I brought her into the barn, tied her with about one and a half feet of slack and began brushing her out and working on her hooves. I bought Bristol as a long yearling in the fall of 2016. She's a very gentle, laid back, in-your-pocket horse that has been easy to work with.
Once I finished up her hooves I decided to snap a few photos. As I took a couple of shots the other mares from the herd started calling for her, which peaked the interest of Big Red. From his pen, he cannot see the girls, but he started answering back. Bristol swayed back and forth a couple of times, wondering where this other horse's calls were coming from. As I snapped one more shot, she put her head down and as she pulled up, somehow got the extra rope around and up over the top of her head, resulting in sudden and immediate panic!
I threw my phone down and immediately started telling her, "easy, easy whoa, whoa" to which she stopped thrashing and stood for me, but the rope was tight, really tight. I knew at any moment, she could begin pulling again, perhaps loosing her footing and who knows what else. I grabbed a hold of the loose end of her quick release tie and as I gave it a good tug, she panicked once more, but was free.
A huge flood of relief came over me.
I rarely use snap ties for the simple fact that in a pinch, when you need to get out, you can't. I know this will not be the last time I have to react quickly or look back and be thankful that I had used the quick release knot when tying up a horse. It's part of horse ownership. However, with the right preparation and training, these situations can be easier to handle.
Here's a video of how I tie my quick release knots.