My mare actually went from one end of the arena to the other the 1st time we put hobbles on her. She had both fronts out and bounced on them. It was like watching that skunk (Peppy la Pew) from the Bugs Bunny cartoons. Needless to say she gets tied not hobbled when we go camping.
They actually look scary and cruel the first time you watch a horse with one on. But they are great to teach your horse not to panic and take off when something gets wrapped around it's legs.
My grandpa had a horse that was taught the hobble. He was on it in the mountains one time going through thick brush and the horse just stopped. So my gp clucked, kicked, and such but the horse wouldn't budge. My gp hopped off in a huff, and then he noticed that there was barb wire wrapped around the horses legs.
The hobble can be a great teaching tool. And as my gp puts it. Teaching that horse to hobble saved it's life. If it would of panicked it would of torn off much flesh and most likely of been put down.
I teach all my horses to hobble. It allows me to turn them out in my field (aside from the pasture) without having to worry about them traveling anywhere fast. I like doing it when we go out for a lunch ride as well.
Horses have to be trained to hobble just like they need to be properly taught to do or accept anything else. If a horse took off hopping with hobbles it is because they were not properly trained and someone just put them on and hoped for the best. Like with everything else, this does not always work out for hobbles either.
We used to hobble-train everything. I still would if I could get around better. We not only taught a horse to accept hobbles but also 'side-lined' them. [Side-lining is where a horse has a front foot hobbled to a hind foot on the same side. A side-lined horse cannot get nearly as far as a hobbled horse can.] Horses trained this way never get hurt if they get into wire or caught up in a rope or any other similar death-trap.
I always teach a horse to accept a soft cotton rope around each foot -- one at a time. I want the horse to 'give' me the foot and keep asking until it quits trying to pull the foot away. You can actually 'lead' a horse by any foot if you take the time to teach it to 'give' to the pressure.
Once a horse accepts the pull on each foot. I hobble them in a small pen with sand footing. I use individual 'picket hobbles' rather than a one-piece hobble like the one shown. I tie a rope between them that makes them about 2 feet apart. This teaches the horse to 'shuffle' around and they usually do not learn to hop that way. Once they learn to hop, they can only be hobbled with a side-line.
If you start with the hobbles 2 feet apart, you can gradually shorten the distance until it is about 10 to 12 inches.
When I used to take out a lot of hunters on pack trips, I side-lined part of the saddle and pack string and hobbled the ones I knew did not hop.
Even a hobble-trained horse can chaff their pasterns from shuffling around. You can put an old sock, that has had the toe cut off, on one's legs or you can take a couple of wraps around the pastern with duct tape. Just do not put it on too tightly.
You teach the side-line the same way. Start out with it fairly long (like 4 feet or so on an average saddle horse). With acceptance, shorten it up until the feet are a little closer than a horse would stand squarely.