Horse jerks lead rope out of hand and runs off! :( - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-02-2010, 01:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Horse jerks lead rope out of hand and runs off! :(

My lesson horse/horse-to-be in January has an awful habit. His previous owners let him jerk the lead rope out of their hands and get away from them. Now the barn that owns him often has to use a stud chain on him to ensure they have control when taking him out to pasture, etc. I had never had this problem with him because I usually give a teeny jerk on the lead when he tries to get ahead of me when I lead him out of his stall and a jerk if he gets that "look" in his eye. The ONE time he has gotten away from me is when I was naive enough to lead him by only his halter. (He used all 17.2hh of his weight to make me lose my balance and grip on his halter) It's frustrating, but not THAT huge of an issue at the moment because he usually runs back into an open stall in the barn, but I plan on taking him to shows so this is very concerning to me. Sorry for the essay!
But anyways, would teaching him to ground tie be helpful? What can I do to stop thisss?
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-02-2010, 01:44 AM
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My horse has done and still does this from time to time. At first it was when I was trying to bring him up fron the lower pasture, and he had been hanging around with mares in heat. We'd be part way up the hill and he'd stop, look of yonder and I though he just needed a moment, then he would quick as a lick get himself at a perpendicular angle to me and then rip the rope right out of my hand and gallop off wiiht the rope flying. I had this happen twice before I went for the stud chain. It hasn't happended since.
I normally use a rope halter, which has a little better control of the head than a flat webbed halter becasue the knots apply pressure on sensitive spots. So, that would be the first thing I would suggest doing; get a rope halter and long lead.
Mac, my horse, also has ripped out of my hands during trailer loading. He changes from following me calmly into the trailer to ZiP! I'm out here!. I have no chance to catch it and change his mind with a bump or what.
But you have the right idea in that you need to catch him BEFORE he has made the decision to bolt and then you have to do something to keep him "with" you; like have him back up or bend toward you or just give him a bump.
You could alway use the stud chain.

Of course, having him more respectful of you in general is a more longterm solution which would mean working in a round pen or on a long line . I bet other folks will have better stuff to say on that
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-02-2010, 02:39 AM
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Teaching him to ground tie will not fix the problem of him ripping the lead out of your hand and bolting. You are right to be concerned about what will happen at shows, especially with all the extra stuff that will be going on. You are doing the right thing in keeping him right with you, and getting his attention back on you when he starts to look at other things. I would do a lot of ground work in hand, making him back up, do circles, walk and trot on the lead, just keep his feet moving, and get him so that he's paying constant attention to you because he doesn't know what and when you are going to ask him to do next. It will also help if you could pin point when he decides to take off. Is there a pattern to it, or is it completely random, and what is your body language at the time he starts to act up. At this point its about keeping his attention on you, and it will take some time of just being one step ahead of him, and keeping him from looking at other things before he'll stop testing you as much, and start realizing that he's not going to get away with bolting and going home anymore. Just be very consistent, and the first few shows you go to, I would keep him in a stud chain just to make sure that you have a bit of added control until you know how he's going to act. Good luck with him.
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-02-2010, 11:36 PM
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I have had 2 brought to me for this very reason. I had good luck with using a lunge line on both. I try not to use a chain because they are smart enough to know the difference of having one on or not. I like a lunge line because it's obviously harder for them to fully get away since you have plenty of rope. Oh, and I always use gloves so they can't burn me.
With the 2 I worked with, I lead them everywhere with a rope halter and lunge line, and invited them to try to bolt. Every time they did, I let them go a couple steps then pulled them back around (and not super sweet, either).
It took many times of them trying and failing to get away before they quit trying. It really depends on how much the habit is ingrained.
Some people may think thats not a nice way to do it, but when the horse has drug a person and hurt them, I don't think that's very nice.
I'm all about NH and taking things slow and all that, but I will match the intensity in a heart beat when a horse has a bad behavior.

Last edited by ImagineThat; 11-02-2010 at 11:39 PM. Reason: forgot something..
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-02-2010, 11:52 PM
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When we first got my daughter's pony, he quickly discovered she wasn't very quick to notice when he would start to tug the lead rope out of her hands with tosses of his head until he got far enough away that he had the advantage and then would take off....... First we put a stud chain on him, then graduated to a rope halter and now he is in a regular halter. I had to teach her to pay attention and when he would toss his head, she would yank back, firmly and that would nip his behavior in the bud. He will occasionally try this when we are loading him in the trailer too, if he thinks you aren't paying attention...... he was a lesson pony for years before we got him so he must have learned it then and every once in a while this behavior pops up but it just takes a good yank or two to convince him to stick around. I would probably use a stud chain for your first couple shows, just to give you that edge. Goodluck, I'm sure it's a lot easier to convince a 13.3 pony to behave than an 17.2 horse! Luckily, my 18 hd. gelding is a ***** cat :)

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post #6 of 12 Old 11-03-2010, 12:18 AM
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Lunge line. Once he figures out he can't get away he'll stop. If he tries several times despite the lunge line, run his butt into the ground every time he tries to do it. He'll figure out, that if he tries to run off then he has to work WAY harder.

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-03-2010, 05:58 PM
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seems like he needs some ground manners just be strong with him. And wear gloves, I have had a bad rope burn from not wearing them :(

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post #8 of 12 Old 11-03-2010, 08:05 PM
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How much lead do you give him? On a horse that doesn't (yet) lead well, you want to keep him on a short lead. When you control the head, you control the horse.

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post #9 of 12 Old 11-03-2010, 10:45 PM
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I agree with a ground manners course...dressagebelle has given some great things to start with.

That said try to make sure you stay in a position in which you are to the side of the horse...if he does get in line with you and to the front of you, there is no way you can stop him, regardless of how long of a lead you have. BUT if you can get to the side, you can pull him off balance, and back in line with you.

I second using a rope halter...if you can find one, get one that has the extra knots on the noseband, for a little extra "bite" for the time being. I hate flat halters, for the reason that they are so easy for a horse to lean on. The only time I use them is for trailering, and halter classes at shows.

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post #10 of 12 Old 11-04-2010, 12:00 AM
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Teach him to lead off of a loose lead. Teach him to stop walking when you stop walking, to back up when you back up without pressure on the halter. This teaches him to work off of your body position and body language.

Use a 5' whip. You don't have to whip him just spats on the front legs or chest. Just use as much pressure as needed. You will be amazed at what a dream he will be to lead around because he will start looking to you for direction instead of just mindlessly walking waiting for someone to pull on his head in order for him to have to think.
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