The best buckles and snaps to use around horses!


Buckles and straps are everywhere at the barn, they hold water buckets up, halters on, and blankets snug. Is there a wrong type of buckle or snap? YES


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miscellaneous snaps and buckles



  • I’ll preface all of this with a friendly reminder that there is always that ONE horse that breaks all of the rules. No method discussed here, or really anywhere, is foolproof. Try to be as safe as possible, remembering that there’s more than one way to do things.


  • 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. This way, there are 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. At best, your horse decides this is fine and at worst, he decides that this is going to kill him and he panics himself right into a huge vet bill, or worse.


blanket snap pointing outward



  • I’m a firm believer in electric fencing and 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.


double ended snap towards wall

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.


buckles that do not quick release

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. Called a panic snap quick release, they are the safest for use around horses.


  • These are designed to be lightning-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 on cross tie

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 his halter near his flailing face. The wall is a much safer place for you to try and unhook your horse.


  • Some of us want the quick release near the horse, so that you can release him and he won’t have a cross tie or rope hanging from his face. This may, or may not, whack him somewhere.


  • You could also be extra prepared and have quick-release and safety measures in place at the wall side and the horse side of your cross ties.


  • You can also make the horse end of your cross ties safer by adding an Equi-Ping or twine loop as a breakaway there. If your horse were to panic, the halter end can also break away.



equiping and quick release snap

My preference for the cross ties set up – wall, safety mechanism of some sort, quick release. On the wall and on the halter end of things.

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Thank you!