The (Free) Hitch'n Rail

The Hitching Rail

A typical project around the Rains household was this hitching rail. Shelley wanted something to tie the horse to during grooming and saddling. Jack thought a kind of rustic design with a saddle support would be nice and that the whole thing could be done from scrap materials. The posts came from the old goat pen, the split log and oak diagonal brace from the firewood pile and a piece of large pipe, too rusty inside to use, was found in the basement. The only new things necessary were a 3/8" x 8" lag screw for the saddle rack, a pair of caps for the pipe, and some small wood screws for the brace (already on hand). Just under $7 for all.


In order to set the posts you need a clam shell post hole digger ($43.65 plus tax). Then a digging bar/tamper (29.95 + tax). You need an extra long drill to go through the post but it can be done by hand with an auger bit (on-hand). Unfortunately, The biggest expansion bit is only 1 3/4 inches, short of the 2 1/8" needed to clear the OD of the pipe. (Hole saw @ $14.25 and special pilot drill @ 2.75 ++.) At least we had the 1/2 inch drill motor repaired before we left San Jose ($52.38 including tax).

About the third time we used it Bailey got his halter lead tangled on the saddle rack, paniced and broke the thing off leaving the 3/8 lag screw sticking out and bent at a 90o angle and the wood screws for the brace all protruding without heads. Another length of scrap pipe gave Jack the leverage to straighten the lag screw, so he could remove all the screws. Sharp points must be removed immediately so the horses do not incur expensive injuries. Rebuilt with two 1/2" x 10 lag screws (special order $3.50 each plus the usual tax).

Since the injuries to ourselves, Shelley put the horses out to pasture until we recover, but the "The Hitch'n Rail" makes a nice decoration by the empty stable.

and in conclusion

collapseThe old wood had not been pressure treated and already had rot in it. One of the ponies used it as a scratching post, and over it went. There is no hitching rail left, but we have several useful tools in the tool shed. Further experience indicates clamshell diggers are to be avoided at all costs.