Hobble Training

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Hobble Training

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  • 1 Post By beau159
  • 1 Post By albertaeventer

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    05-16-2013, 12:13 PM
Hobble Training

I have a 2-yr-old colt who is just rather "bored" when he is tied. He will chew on anything in front of him, as well as try to put his leg up on anything in front of him. So when he's tied to my trailer, he's chewing on my lights on the wheel wells, or pawing at the hubcaps, or trying to stand on the running board or wheel wells.

I know that the "key" to getting a horse to stand tied nicely, is to do it alot! So I am going to try to do more of that this summer when I can (I board my horses, so I'm not going to have him tied up when I am not there!!).

I plan on bringing him with as a buddy to any shows I take my other horse to. However, I'd like him not to destroy the side of my trailer in his boredom. He doesn't have an issue being left alone, so that's good.

So I thought about hobbling his front legs while he's tied at my trailer, so at least my hubcaps will be safe.

I guess I can't say that I've seen a hobbled horse tied at a trailer before at a show, so just wondering if I'd be out of my element for doing that.

Any specific precautions before I buy some and try some? I figured the first time I put them on, I'd have him loose on his lead rope, so that if he needs to hop around to figure it out, he has the room. He's pretty laid back and doesn't mind when things around around his feet and legs, so I don't expect to have much issue with them.

But I guess I've also never used hobbles before, so thought I'd better check for tips on here before I do!

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    05-16-2013, 01:13 PM
With our 8yo twh mare we hobble her when she is high-lined or tied to trailer. She is very "leggy" so to speak. She puts her legs up on any and everything. She does this out in the pasture too. She will gladly put them over a hitching post or up on our wheel wells on the trailer. It does look funny to have them tied and hobbled but I have yet to figure out how to break her of this because she stands out in the pasture and does it as well. She is also very mouthy as well but so far hasnt damaged the trailer. She has been tied for hours and hours on end and has had a lot of practice but she doesnt throw her legs on stuff being impatient. She just does it. If the trailer was parked in the pasture she would still do it.
    05-16-2013, 01:13 PM
Have you ever seen a high-line setup for tying horses?
    05-16-2013, 01:19 PM
Yes I have seen those Ian.

I guess I don't really haul that heavily that it's worth investing the money to install something of that nature.

I figure, if he's hobbled when tied to the trailer, he'll get "used" to not putting his foot up on things, once he gets used to just plain standing there. I plan (and hope) to not use these forever.

I'm also praying he grows out of this chewing phase ...... I'm glad his lead rope is home-made by yours truly and very sturdy!! He chomps on it like a piece of jerky.
    05-16-2013, 01:45 PM
True, to install a proper one would take up quite a bit of space and cost money. I should show you the setup I use. I think it cost 20 bucks. I just take a rope and tie it to two overhead supports (trees, posts, whatever is available) and tie a swivel in the center of the line (you can get those at a hardware store). The swivel keeps the lead rope from getting twisted and I tie the horse to that. Just make sure there's enough clearance for him to turn a full circle, and enough slack to hold his head comfortably but not to where he can get a foot over it.

I was going to suggest a high-line because my experience with hobbling to teach patience is that it sometimes means that they're impatient, hobbled and have plenty of time with nothing to do but try and figure out how to defeat the hobbles (as in, move with them on). By contrast, every horse that I've high-lined has been able to successfully learn to stand patiently because that excess energy had a place to go. Now here's the really awesome thing: High-lining him will also prepare him to ride. Reason: as he mills around impatiently for hours, hundreds of times he'll find the end of the halter rope which will bend his body, causing him to step his inside hind foot under IN RESPONSE TO THE LEAD ROPE (by which I mean reins!). You're teaching that horse to respond with his feet to the reins before you ever ride him, at the same time he's learning patience. He might mill around for hours. I've tied some up for an entire day plus overnight but by the time they were standing content they were changed horses. Then I could tie them anywhere, they'd stand, and then they'd learn to stand content in hobbles as well.

That got a little long but I really can't say enough good things about tying horses up like that.

To add: The times I tied horses up all day and night I brought them water in a bucket. Probably a good idea to do that. But I paid no heed to their pawing and calling!
    05-16-2013, 01:55 PM
I'm actually riding him already. He just had his 4th ride last night. We're going to venture out of the corral tomorrow, and into his pasture (familiar area). The people I board with, she's going to ride one of her calm horses for moral support for him.

I've gone through tons of ground work with him already for the past 8 months or so, and he knows precisely how to disengage that hind end. I don't get on until the "power steering" is 100%.

Anyway ... I see your point where some horses would put there efforts into learning to walk with them, so I'll certainly keep an eye out for that.

As far as high-lining at home, I wouldn't have anywhere to do that. There aren't any trees big enough with string enough limbs to do that, and I don't think my boarders want me to hack a board onto the side of a building to tie him up on. I'm not going to high tie him in the barn because its concrete in there and they are never left unattended in case they would slip and fall.
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Ian McDonald likes this.
    05-16-2013, 03:15 PM
How about the TYPE of hobbles?

Which is better?

Or fleece-lined nylon?
    05-16-2013, 03:44 PM
I've taught horses how to hobble, but the way I was taught was with a soft cotton rope, not with actual hobbles. If you google rope hobbles there's some how to's you can see, and the advantage is that the soft rope is nicer on their skin, plus you can adjust the length easily, which is a huge plus when you're just introducing them.

Anyways, we started by introducing turn on the forehand to start by pressing your finger into their side. Lots of it during ground work, out in the pasture, in the stall, etc, until their reaction is almost automatic. This prepares them for what to do once hobbled, so they aren't "stuck", they just have to learn to move a different way which you need to prepare them for before you put the hobbles on.

The very first time we hobbled loosely, maybe 12 inches slack in between the legs so the horse could still take small steps, and with the horse on a long lead, and did more turn on the forehand for a short time. Praise when they stand quietly or turn on the forehand. Some horses would panic the first time and hop around, but when they settled, praise the standing quietly and reinforce the turn on the forehand both directions. Make sure you do the initial hobbling in a large pen or arena, if the horse panics you need that room. Then we'd slowly hobble them a bit tighter each day until the rope was the length of regular hobbles, and always reinforce the turn on the forehand when they were on. We'd start leaving them hobbled for short periods in a small pen or stall, but stay close by to watch, and then gradually work up to hobbling in the barn aisle, by the hitching post/cross ties, and other places, never tied at first, but just hanging the lead rope over the post, etc. Then you could gradually introduce hobbling near the trailer, and then at the trailer with the lead rope just looped through but not tied, or use twine or something else breakable just in case.

The horses I've worked with have caught on really quick, with short sessions daily. Hope this helps:)
beau159 likes this.
    05-16-2013, 04:44 PM
Does anyone know where you would purchase 4-way hobbles? I haven't been able to find them.
    05-16-2013, 04:46 PM
This tells you how to make a 3-way hobble. Not sure about a 4-way.

Three-Way Hobbling

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