Two Questions: Cross Ties and Round Pens - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 02-12-2014, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Two Questions: Cross Ties and Round Pens

PART ONE: Cross Ties
We don't really have a great place to tie our horses anywhere.

Our run-in shelter isn't built to hold up to that sort of thing, and the big fence posts that are, are blocked by the electric wire.

What's the safest/best design for free-standing cross ties?
Would a couple posts sunk deep into the ground be good enough?
How should they be spaced?

I don't think any of ours know how to stand tied, so it needs to be strong enough to withstand unhappy, full grown horses until they learn that being tied isn't a bad thing.

Right now, if we need to tie for anything, we either have to have multiple people (one to hold and one to do whatever needs doing), or we have to load then into the trailer and work in the confined space - Obviously not the best options.


PART TWO: Round Pens
What's a sufficient height for a round pen for working with horses that are broke, but out of practice?
The biggest one is only 14.2hh, no stallions, no colt breaking.
Just a simple pen for lunging and groundwork.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-12-2014, 07:27 AM
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I'll start with the round pen as that's a shorter answer. Most average panels that you buy at farm supply stores are either 5 or 5.5 feet tall. That will work fine for broke horses who just need a refresher.

Now, for the ties. Personally, I prefer a single straight tie instead of cross ties, especially for the initial tie training. It seems to give the horse a bit more movement with their head and doesn't seem to be quite as panic inducing for a horse that isn't used to being tied.

As far as what to tie them to, I prefer that they have a fence at whatever they are tied to instead of a solitary post. The fence keeps them from getting wound up around the post if they get nervous. Plus, something like a hitching rail works a lot better if you are handling multiple horses. You don't need as much space as you would if you wanted to have cross ties for each horse.

For post size, I wouldn't go any smaller than 8" diameter (if we're talking wood, if you choose metal, you can go smaller) set about 4 feet in the ground, and set in concrete. The last thing you want is the post leaning/coming out of the ground if a horse decides to fight.

You'll need the tie ring to be tall enough that they are tied at or above wither level. If the tie is low, they run a greater risk of being injured if they fight.

Just as an example, this is where I tie when I need to have it tie solid and hold up to anything that a horse can dish out.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-12-2014, 08:30 AM
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I don't like cross ties myself, I have seen to many wrecks involving cross ties, especially when horses are first learning to be tied. To teach a horse to stand tied I like to use a big sturdy tree, I put the rope around the tree trunk over a limb to keep the rope up throw the rope over itself a few times so there is some pressure but if they pull back the rope will slide, and they learn to stand tied at the tree, or you can attach a tie ring to the tree and use that. I also have a hitch rail that is built using a cut in half telephone pole with notches on top to hold a 6x6x8 post bolted in, and a 4x6 in the middle so they cannot walk under the post. The rope is way up over their head and out of the way.

My first round pen that I built from whatever I had around was probably about 4 ft tall. I used some old farm fence and posts, not suitable for breaking or starting colts but it worked for what I was doing at the time with my broke horses. Make sure you have a large diameter though anything smaller then 50' is to small, I prefer 60' especially if your going to ride in it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-12-2014, 09:58 AM
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I agree with the above. If the cross ties are already there/ you have a straightforward barn aisle way to plug em in then go for it, but I wouldn't go through all the trouble to put up some cross tie posts if you already have one solid base post that you could use. Horses that need work in the tying department are much more receptive to straight tying.

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post #5 of 11 Old 02-16-2014, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks :)
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-16-2014, 02:19 AM
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post #3 listed in the thread "how do you teach a horse to stand tied?" under horse training has an extensive but VERY informative answer!!! To accept being tied the horse must accept yielding to pressure as opposed to fighting it and this post referred to presents many ideas to try.....

I start foals in the 1st wk with a butter soft roohide riata by gently laying it against their cheeks and let them turn away from it gradually putting a little more pressure so as to introduce them to moving off of it---same thing with placing it on the poll behind the ears and gently applying downward pressure and when they drop their head...i let them experience that release and then scratch them between the ears and proceed to give them a body rub with the riata, maybe sliding it under the fetlock until they lift their foot---then coming back to the poll area again....always letting them find the release of pressure and limiting it to a time or two.

Lots of little short 3-4 minute sessions can have a lasting impact on a horse's attitude toward learning...what is just playing with a new foal for a few minutes is actually laying some foundation....but I have done this with grown horses that had face/head/tying issues and just something you might want to try...

Best of luck with it and stay safe!!!
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-16-2014, 03:32 AM
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I've never been a fan of cross ties, we use a solid tree with a chain around it for out tie training. It has worked great for every horse we have trained on it.

For the round pen, our pony lives in one while her new pasture is getting fixed up, its 5ft, she's 14.2 and it works great.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-16-2014, 08:37 AM
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You really don't need either, in my opinion.

Sure you need a solid post to which you can tie a horse. That can be done as you described for cross ties.

You can lunge easily without a round pen. You can train without a round pen.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-16-2014, 01:53 PM
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And horses can learn to stand still when told without being tied. My good trail horse would wait all day and not try to graze when the rope was tossed over his back. The two I have now will wait at liberty until signalled to move.
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-17-2014, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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The 5ft tall round pen is pretty well decided, but I have one more question about the tie post - Should it be free-standing, away from everything else, or near a wall so the horses can't wrap themselves around it?

**** **** **** ****

I am genuinely very impressed by those of you who have horses able to stand without being tied, and especially who lunge without a round pen.

I'm sure ours will get to the point where they can stand still too, but they just aren't there yet. Until they learn, I have to do something for when the farrier/dentist/vet comes. Even tacking up takes two people - one to hold and one to saddle.

As far as lunging without a pen... I'll never do that again.
They don't know how to do it, and I'm the one who ends up getting dragged and hurt. Before coming here, I don't think anyone ever lunged them properly - just ran them around until they were too tired to misbehave.

I realize that probably makes them sound like monsters. They're not.
They've just never been asked for anything more and don't know any better.
Until I can get some big improvements in these two areas, I can't even ride :(
They're too hyper and too out of practice to know how to behave.
I'm hiring a trainer in the spring, but no matter what, we're going to need some tools to make progress.

The way I explain them is that they were "broke" instead of "trained" if that gives you an idea of their skills and abilities - saddle up and go, but no real foundation and weak manners.

I really am in awe of horses who can do all of these things automatically.
I know it's basic stuff, but it feels like a real luxury when it's missing.
They're challenging, but it's a good challenge.
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