Thursday, June 12, 2008

Packing a Blade

When I purchased my rope reins and slobber straps from Ken McNabb's website last winter, I also ordered two DVDs and a knife. I do not know what prompted me to order the knife. The first time I tired to actually open it I about cut my finger off. Well, there was no actual wound or blood, but it looked like I could do some damage with the thing. At some point I decided that if I was going to be around horses and spending a lot of time on trails in the woods, a knife might come in handy.

I carry the knife in my fanny pack. My fanny pack is almost always on me when I am around or on my horse. Before I started riding again, I used to think fanny packs looked silly but now I am never without it. This way I have quick access to important things, like chap stick, Kleenex, aspirin, my cell phone, my riding gloves, the knife, and my third eye- I mean, my digital camera. I have yet to pull out and use the knife. Of course, the minute I do not have it on me, I will need it.
Even when I rented a horse and rode in the California desert with my family last February, I wore my fanny pack. Do you think I might possibly be the biggest nerd ever? We also used horn and cantle bags. But there is something about having supplies on my person that just make me feel more secure. If you fall off your horse and he high-tails to the stable or the middle-of-nowhere without you, the items in your horn or cantle bags are pretty much useless.

I have been in one instance at the trail head where a knife might have come in handy. Our friend's horse was tied to his trailer and he pulled back, struggled, and nearly fell. The trainer I bought My Boy from, who was with us, shouted, "Do you have a knife?!" He did not have a knife and luckily the gelding righted himself and escaped with just a couple of scrapes.

The other story I heard from my farrier. A weanling who was getting a lesson on tying became panicked and began to pull back on the rope. That situation did not end well. In her struggle, the filly ended up breaking her leg against the wall in front of her and had to be put down. The farrier said the one thing that might have helped in the situation was if this they'd had had a knife, they could have possibly cut the filly free. I wonder how realistic it would be in a panic situation that I would be able to open my knife in time (without cutting off my finger), get close enough to a struggling horse, and actually cut the lead rope.....hmmm. More realistically, my scenario might be this: I could quickly get out my knife and hand it to the closest person, then they could use it- instead of me!

Here is another scenario. I could use the knife as self-defense. Who knows when you might run into some hoodlums on the trail. When I was a youth, we heard a story about a girl that was riding her horse alone on the trail. She passed a man who tried to pull her off of her horse. She was able to hit him with the reins and gallop her horse off. I do not know if this story was just a parental scare tactic or not, but it worked for me. If someone tried to grab me off of My Boy I probably would not have time to get out my knife. Regardless, I am prepared. I feel like a true cowgirl with my knife and I will use it if I have to. Beware hoodlums, I am not afraid to go for the eyes. Despite my sometimes irrational anxieties, I am actually quite good in a panic situation.

Update: I used my knife! I used my knife! I used it on Sunday to....

......0pen a new bag of shavings for My Boy's run-in shed. I know, I know, not quite the story you were hoping for.

Do you carry a knife when you are working or riding around horses? How often have you had to use it?


  1. That does look like a nasty weapon.

    I don't carry a knife when I'm working in the stable, however I do pack a pair of scissors in my back pocket for cutting twine off bales of hay and opening bags of bedding, etc.

    The knife looks like it would take two hands to open it and I find that I can access the handles of my scissors, whip them out of my back pocket and immediately put them to action, in one swift motion. Not unlike a gunslinger.

  2. Oh girl I always have my knife in my front right pocket. I have a Kershaw 1600 VIB. I absoutely love it and it is multi colored-so girlie! (will have to post a pic) I use it everyday for numerous things. Like: opening stubborn feed sacks, cutting vines on the trail, hay string, etc, etc. The list could go on for miles. It is always coming in handy!!
    Congrats on the knife! Be careful with it!

  3. I always pack a knife in my front right hand pocket.

  4. I dont pack a knife- I have a Ruger SR9 ;)

    Hoodlums on the trail are going to have you down and OUT before you can get and use a knife. I'd rather have the Ruger, and keep their slimy butts over 10' away. (Did you know a Bad Guy can cover that 10' in less than one second?)

    ANYWAYS... I DO keep a knife handy though. Its in my trunk outside, used for twine etc... Carry a multitool on the trails. Love that thing! Got it originally for Dear Husband...hehehe... I have to get him a new one

    Good post Pony Girl!

  5. Mrs. Mom- I knew you'd go for the big guns! ;) (Or little, not sure what the Ruger SR9 is sized.) A multi-tool would be great too...then I could cut my nails if I needed, hee. I hate it when I break a nail on the trail....inevitable with horses!

  6. I am the typical english rider on the trial -- I carry nothing! I know, I know, so terrible! However I always wear a jacket so I can bring my inhaler with me :-)

  7. LOL The Ruger SR9 is a 9mil, 18 shots (There is a pic of it in the Lust Over A Ruger Post on the Other Blog- the one in the holster is Dear Husbands Rugher P95- which is HUGE in my hand and not comfortable at all). I have small-ish hands, so its not really a BIG gun by any means. Has nice balance to it, and is easy for me to handle with two hands or 1 should the need arise. Now I just need to teach the horses about mounted shooting ;) hehehehe

    OMG- I know! I *HATE* breaking a nail outside!!! You would think with my "job" that my nails would be crap, but they are shockingly kinda nice. Bugs the p*ss out of me when one breaks, and I can not get somewhere right off to fix it!! LOL

    (Sorry PG- it feels like I hijacked this thread here.... didnt mean to!!! But there are lots of APPY pics up at the main blog now, and an answer to your question about Jack to make it up to you!)

  8. When we bought my daughter a new (used) saddle I have to admit the one of the coolest things about it was that it had a little leather knife sheath attached. But we did have to remove it when she started showing. (Imagine that! 4-H frowns on knives in the show ring! Perhaps their afraid of a disgruntled participant taking a nutty and knifing the competition?)

  9. Geez, I just committed one of the grammatical errors that drives me nuts in other people's comments...I meant to write "they're" instead of "their"

  10. Megan has a knife fetish. Her and Chris will drool over the knives at sporting goods shops forever. I don't carry a knife unless I am carrying a rope. I usually have to borrow one from Megan-LOL. But I do have a multitude of scissors stashed in various places.

    Calf ropers usually carry a knife in case they have to cut a rope in an emergency. Because the rope is tied to the saddle horn-if a horse spooks or gets in a bind they need to be able to get it cut in a hurry. I have seen this happen a lot.

  11. Sounds likie carrying a knife is a good idea. I'll have to remember that while on the trails.
    I always have a knife in the barn and tack room, as well as wire cutters. Love them!

    But I have a question, as a new horse owner, about having to cut free a tied horse. Wouldn't that be unnecessary if the horse is tied with a safety 'knot' or Quick Release Knot?

    Oh and by the way, I don't think you look nerdy at all wearing your fanny pack.
    I think it does look nerdy when it's worn in the back (on the fanny). Have you ever seen runners wear them and the packs are bouncing all over the runner's butt?
    Now that's nerdy! hehe

  12. How stinkin' cool is this blog? Love it. And, I love reading about your love of horses.

  13. I think wearing a fanny pack with all of your essentials (including a knife!) is a good idea - nerdiness be damned!!

    I don't carry a knife - but probably should. I carry a folding hoof pick - that's a start! I could stab hoodlums in the eye with it or something!

    When I was a teenager, we used to go out on trail rides with friends - the one guy always carried a machete - it was pretty big (imagine me holding my hands "this" far apart lol). He would always be the trail leader and hack at tree branches and stuff.

  14. I had not thought of carrying a knife on trails either. I mostly ride around my neighborhood since I live in the middle of nowhere but you never know when one might be needed. I always have one in the barn, mainly for opening feed bags and cutting hay strings like most of the ppl have stated.

    As far as the fanny pack I think it is a great idea. I always carry my cellphone in my jeans pocket for the same reason you give for your pack. If I go down and the horse runs off I have access to help.

    I am so thankful to have found your blog. Your humor and pictures and comments are something I look forward to every day. Not to mention the other cool people w/cool blogs that leave cool comments. Man, I'm full of cool huh?

  15. I second Trailboss's comment: love your blog and the blogs that I've linked to from here!

    I think the fanny pack is such a good idea that I think I'm going to get one of my own. Is there such thing as a "cool" fanny pack? Time for some Googling!

  16. I always carry a knife in my front jeans pocket. Always. Haven't had to use it much sitting here at the computer, but you never know.

    I've used it twice to cut the lead ropes of horses. In each instance, a rookie had incorrectly tied up a horse, and the horse was throwing himself back and in serious danger. (Both situations occurred at the equine rescue where I volunteered.) And once I had to cut a hay net that was hanging in my trailer - Lyle did a Rockettes move and got his foot caught in it.

    Adrenaline is a wonderful thing, Pony Girl - when it comes time to use your knife, you'll do just fine.

  17. cool knife ponygirl~!

    I carry one when I am working or out on the trail....but just messing around here at home I dont.

    awesome blog header BTW! I like it a lot

  18. I love you guys, you are too COOL and crack me up! Thanks for telling me I do not look like a nerd with my fanny pack.
    One important safety feature: I make sure the fanny pack is tight around my waist, so that it can not become caught on the saddle horn should I be tossed from My Boy.
    Yep, it does make sense to use a quick release knot, that is the only way I tie my horse. Since My Boy rarely panics when ties (like, never, luckily) I haven't had to experience "quick releasing" him, or knifing his lead. But like I said, I've heard stories and some readers have had to do it, so it's always a possibility. Hey, even young Alec from "The Black Stallion" had a knife and used it (while under the water, no less, I believe!) to cut himself free from the swimming and panicked Black.....

  19. Sorry Pony Girl-I gotta stick my 2cents in again.

    Even when a horse is tied correctly with a slip knot-I have had horses pull back violently enough that the slip knot just won't come undone when you pull on the tail. The type of lead rope makes a big difference in how well that knot comes out. Cotton leads come undone the best. Those pretty nylon ones that match your halter are the worst for getting so tight you can't pull them free. I have quit buying those, except for Megan's horse, who is like My Boy-he wouldn't dream of pulling back either-LOL.

    Halter types are the other big thing too. Most people know that rope halters are not good for tying horses up with either. At least not while you leave them unattended. Those things can do some damage to a horse's poll if they happen to pull back and struggle. Nor do we use them if we are letting our horse's graze in hand. The knot where you attach the lead rope is perfect for getting a hoof into and boy howdy do you have wreck then. I have seen both of these wrecks happen, more than once, at youth rodeos and then Pony Girl-that is when you are really thankful that you have that knife handy. Better to just cut the wreck away than try to undo it.

    LOL-I have a funny mental image of Mrs Mom pulling out her 9mil and shooting the knot off...LMAO.

  20. BEC: I totally agree. One of the lead ropes I use, a soft cotton one, is very difficult to undo from the quick release, even when it is not pulled tight! So I can only imagine how it would be if my 1100 horse had pulled back and tightened it.
    Also, I never tie My Boy w/a rope halter from grooming, and especially not in a trailer! A big safety no-no.
    Thanks for the reminders. Your 2-cents is always welcome here!!

  21. My "raised on a horse" husband always carries a knife. Fortunately, we've never needed it for emergencies, but it has come in handy for other purposes.

    I think your fanny pack is the smartest plan of all! With everything in it, looks like you've got things covered!

    We have a small leather saddle bag that fastens to our English saddle, just room enough for a few essentials.

    About that horse that dashes back home ... I've got dog tags on the saddles with ID info.

    Back to that knife, it sure is handy in the tackroom drawer for those bags of shavings. So far, that's all I've used it for. But one never knows.

    Great post!

  22. P.S.
    Simply love your header photograph!

  23. Good grief! I am gone one day, and look what happens over here in discussion land! I always ride with a fanny pack--much to my sister's, my kid's, and my own--dismay! I used to make fun of "old" people and their fanny packs, but not anymore. I am deathly allergic to bees, and it allows me to easily carry my Epi-Pens, cell phone, lipstick--yes, lipstick!--and anything else that I might need. I have personally never carried a knife around, but my trailblazing friend does, and when she is riding by herself, she packs a gun. Maybe one day?????

  24. My 2 cents again. You know a real cowgirl when she pulls out her knife (or gun, in Mrs Mom's case, lol)
    I personally feel naked w/o mine. I carry a tiny pearl handled job that Wade gave me. I use it at least once a day.
    I agree also that the best quick release tie doesn't always work. Get a draft horse on the end of that and see if you can undo it, lol. That's if they aren't dragging your whole hitching rail around by that time.
    And freaky things happen. Last big incident requiring a knife was last year. We looped Mercy's old rope horse Casper up to the stocks at our shops (stocks hold unruly horses and are a huge wooden contraption) He wasn't tied, just looped. He rubbed his face, caught the halter and panicked. Pulled the stocks down on his head, ran backward into several other tied horses.. peeled the skin off his head. We were 30 ft away and Wade called "I need a knife" (he had one in his back pocket but was holding the stocks off the horse) I tell ya, 4 people, including me, stuck knives in his face. He cut the halter and I ran the horse to the vet for stitches.
    A knife, to me, is like my left arm. Gotta have it.
    As for the fanny pack, me too! After I got dumped and left my cell in my saddle bags and neighbors were calling me seeing if I was ok. I had to chase my ringing horse all around the neighborhood....I keep a fanny pack in the truck just to ride with, lol.
    Good post!

  25. I don't usually carry a knife just scissors for opening hay bales or shavings bags. That's a pretty nasty looking knife you got yourself there. Watch those little pink digits.

  26. Oh Mikey: I was laughing SO hard, thinking of you chasing that cell-phone ringing horse!!

    The Knutson's: I carry chap stick but depending on whether or not there are going to be any cowboys on my ride, I would bringing my lipstick too, lol!

  27. MIIIIKKKKEEEYYYY!!! Damn fine to see ya woman! ;)

    Now that multi tool that goes along (with the Ruger LOL) has a nice knife on it as well. Easy to get out, decent size blade, that keeps a nice edge on it as well. Its also got an awl on it, so in case a piece of tack breaks and needs a quick repair, I can punch leather with it too. (Laced back together with boot strings... lol.. been there done that on someone elses horse...)

    The dog tag idea is FANTASTIC! Have to have some tags made up. Maybe stick a set on the saddle, and a set in my pack to ID me... Awesome idea Strawberry Lane!

    And Mikey, I can not get the image of the ringing horse out of my brain... dats just not

  28. As some of the others, my Arab pulls back while tied and the quick release usually ends up being not so much of a quick release anymore! This has happened alot with me. Alot of times I just wrap the leadrope around my tie post if I am not going far from my horse. She is a chronic pull backer. Anything can set her off and I don't want her to get hurt.
    I don't yet have a knife, I leave the dirty work to my sis :)You'd save me wouldn't you Pony Girl?

  29. Haven't read all the comments yet, but I'm getting there (better late than never, right?).

    In answer to your question, a multi-purpose tool, for me, a Leatherman, is standard when I'm out on the farm or riding. I've used almost every single one of the tools at one point or another, although I can definitely say the wire cutters are SO not the equivalent of fencing pliers. But it's great to have for binder twin, emergency fence repair, hoof pick duty, and cutting apples ;-) Growing up, I thought it was cool I got to carry a knife for cutting open hay bales.

    Mrs Mom-- have to admit, bad guys hadn't occurred to me. Eek!

  30. I don't have a knife, but the hubby does all the time. I don't trail ride without him so far. I want to see your girlie knife KDW because I think I need one to have when I do not go with hubby... like this morning when I had to go to riding class without him.
    I loved reading the responses here, I learned a lot. We have those twisted cctton leads and they seem to allow for quick release pretty good, but I imagine if a horse pulls back quick and hard almost nothing will quick release.
    Thanks Pony Girl for a great post!


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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