Tiedown vs. No Tiedown

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Tiedown vs. No Tiedown

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  • Tie down or no tie down on a barrel horse
  • Breastplate tie downs

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    04-12-2011, 03:46 PM
Tiedown vs. No Tiedown

Since Rebel has progressed in his barrel racing since the chiro worked on him, I've been working him with a tiedown.

He has a tendency to get goofy with his head because he gets so excited. I notice when I run with the tiedown he really tries that extra mile for me. It's like he knows we're getting serious, haha.

Now, he's a VERY athletic horse. I wouldn't put it on him if I thought it would prohibit his balance or his speed in any way.

So what do you guys think? Do you ride in tiedowns? Why or why not?
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    04-12-2011, 08:05 PM
I don't know about Western, but I do know some Polo ponies that will brace on their tiedown when they turn (they're adjusted a little shorter), and some that like a bit more freedom (a bit longer). I suppose it's up to you in the end. If it's adjusted correctly so that it's not in his way, but stops him from sticking his nose in the air or breaking YOUR nose, then I don't see any reason to stop using it, especially if he associates the tiedown with giving that extra little bit (it's a similar concept in racing - pacers and trotters are all jogged in a bare harness with identical open, half-blind or full-blind bridles, but their fast work is in full gear - hopples, specific bit, poles, tiedowns etc).
    04-12-2011, 08:13 PM
It depends on the horse really. My barrel racing mare has a naturally high headset, and even when she drops her head, it's still just a tad too high for my liking, so when we are going past a trot on the barrels, a tie down is on her.

As long as the horse is not bracing itself against the tie down (which overdevelops the wrong muscles in the neck, BTW) and so long as the tie down is properly adjusted, I don't see a problem with it.

You could also look into a training fork, which I think (correct me if I'm wrong) are not as harsh as tie downs.
    04-12-2011, 08:44 PM
A training fork could be worse, because they act on the bit (if I'm reading this right - it's the same thing as rings). Also, you can't use rings with a curb bit. But if you did try rings, get ones that have their own girth strap as well as a neck strap, because a martingale attached to your breastplate is only going to interfere with the breastplate's work.

Oh, is your tiedown elastic or solid? If you're worried about interfering with him, an elastic tiedown would give him a little more give, as well as some warning before the full strength of it kicks in.

Also, the mare that braces, she doesn't brace all the time, just keeps tension on the tiedown when she turns to help her balance because it's the way she was trained. If they're constantly fighting the tiedown OR rings, they'll end up with uber muscles under their neck and no topline.

Just a thought, so don't yell at me, but you could try running reins if they're legal. That way, you've got full adjustment capabilities - give him space when he wants it and stop him from being a dork with his nose in the air. Of course, they're also only meant for use with snaffles, not curbs.
    04-12-2011, 11:12 PM
Green Broke
My mare had a high head set when we get past a trot..she gets extremely excited when we run barrels so yes, I always wear a tie down..except when I'm bareback..

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