How do you hobble train? - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 5 Old 04-23-2011, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 7,713
• Horses: 2
How do you hobble train?

So I'd like to get Lacey hobble trained (she may already be since her previous owner did a lot of overnight trail rides with her when she was younger, but I don't know so I'm pretending that she's totally new to this idea) for camp since I like to let her wander around to graze but I worry about her going too far away since she's a brave girl and she, most of the time, doesn't think twice about leaving her buddies, especially when there's good grass involved.

I bought a pair of hobbles, they're these ones: Premium Harness Leather Hobbles Figure 8 Hobble - eBay (item 400203359443 end time May-16-11 15:59:01 PDT) and I haven't gotten them yet but I'd like to start prepping her for them now since I basically have 50 days until camp, aka 50 days to get her hobble trained. I imagine she'll be pretty easy, but who knows.

So far I found a Youtube video that recommended teaching your horse to be led by something around his leg/fetlock and therefore teaching the horse to give to pressure from anywhere, as a first step with hobble training. They recommended practicing with all four legs. So far, Lacey pretty much has it down with her front legs. I've practiced that before with her, just as a "for fun" sort of thing and she thought nothing of it. I haven't tried with the back legs yet because I'd like her to be 100% with the front legs before I try her back legs.
She's really good about her legs in general: they're really easy to pick up, any little touch on them pretty much means "pick up your foot" to her so she's always giving her hoof here and giving it there since she thinks that's what I want.

I'm thinking the next step might be doing her back legs, then perhaps tying the end of the lead rope around her fetlock and using that instead of just the lead rope around the back of her leg then doing that to all her legs when she's comfortable?

I've tried to watch Youtube videos about it but some of them are so scary and look ridiculously dangerous! I want Lacey to be totally ok with this. I don't want her to feel like she has to do anything more than the minimum of "omg. there is something around my legs?! what to do?"ing.
I also don't have a round pen. I'm thinking that once my hobbles get here and she's ready for them, I'm going to (after riding her for a while to get her a little tired) take her into the lower field (that I can close the gate to), put her on the lunge line, put the hobbles on, and back way off to the other end of the lunge line and let her do whatever she does, within reason. I don't want her going too crazy (which she shouldn't if she's prepared right, I think) so if she's connected to me by the lunge line, I should be able to control her pretty well and there's lots of nice grass in the lower field so once she's comfortable, she can hopefully just graze while wearing the hobbles and get used to them in a hopefully non stressful way for short periods of time everyday.

So does anyone know of a great video to watch or personal experience with hobble training?

And I know that this topic could become controversial but I'd appreciate it if we could keep controversy to a minimum.
I'm not a dumb kid that's just trying it out "for fun", I have a smart highly desensitized horse that has most likely been hobbled before, I have a good reason to need to hobble my horse, I'm trying to go about it the best way possible, and I'm aware that it could be dangerous.

Help me out? :)

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 04-23-2011 at 04:40 PM.
Wallaby is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 04-23-2011, 10:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 5,455
• Horses: 1
I bet that good ole girl has done everything at least once. If she leads by her front feet then put the hobbles on her and lead her a step and see how she does. She'll stumble on the first step but should figure out how to move with them quite quickly.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
kevinshorses is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 04-23-2011, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 5,995
• Horses: 0
Horses have to be trained to hobble just like they need to be properly taught to do or accept anything else. It is not unusual for a newly hobbled horse to take off hopping with hobbles 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.
Cherie is offline  
post #4 of 5 Old 04-24-2011, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 7,713
• Horses: 2
Kevin- Thanks for the tips! I will keep that in mind, that stumbling will not necessarily mean she's doing badly with them.
Also, it means a lot that you think Lacey's a "good ol girl". :) I totally agree!
Speaking of doing just about everything once, today we ended up "herding" two llamas and she totally locked in on them like a some sort of cutting horse. I have to wonder if maybe she's done that too at some point.

Cherie- I appreciate the knowledge! I will look into "picket hobbles". Can you use picket hobbles for sidelining as well? For sidelining, do you just basically attach one back foot to the front foot on the same side, or is it more complex than that? I saw hobbles that had a hobble for each front foot and one going back to a back foot, but that seems like a lot, to attach three feet to each other...
I think I'll just start with basic hobbling, but Lacey is smart enough that I wouldn't be surprised if she's one that's figured out how to run around or something, if she has in fact been hobbled before.
Good to know about the possible chafing issue! I appreciate the heads up.

Fabio - 13 year old Arabian/Lipizzan gelding

Rest peacefully, Lacey.

Last edited by Wallaby; 04-24-2011 at 12:47 AM.
Wallaby is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 04-24-2011, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 5,995
• Horses: 0
Side-lining is attaching a front to a hind on the same side. It is the only way to keep a horse that has learned to hop (with its front feet together) from running off with front hobbles. So many horses learn to do that if they are just hobbled with no training, that I quit doing that many years ago.

The 3-way hobbles and the 4-way hobbles are generally referred to as 'restraints'. They are intended to immobilize a horse. I used them frequently when I retrained badly spoiled horses, especially those that had kicked people with the intent of hurting them and those that would savagely attack. I always used them on soft sand footing.

I preferred 3-way hobbles to 4-ways as horses fall down more frequently with 4-ways. What I found out was that horses that had been taught to stand with restraints NEVER got hurt in a rope or wire wreck or if they ever got a foot or leg caught in anything. They just patiently 'give' to it and stand there and wait to be rescued.

I was sent a very well bred race horse one time that had hurt 2 or 3 people, had attacked anyone trying to saddle him and was headed for the 'chopping block'. Several trainers had tried him for more than 6 months and not one had ever gotten a saddle on him. They had blind folded him, twitched him, used a lip chain and had tranquilized him. They had petted and cajoled him but he would not have it. He came to me skinned up from head to hind feet with several cuts infected. You could not give him a shot and the only contact he would accept was to barely pet his shoulder (with his ears flat and grinding his teeth and snorting and blowing snot on you). He was handled as he was raised and all his behavior came from sending him to his first trainer that was young and new and very inept. This horse pounced on every mistake like a bulldog on a rat. Six months later when I got him he was as dangerous as any horse I had retrained.

I use my long rope to get him to accept something touching his legs. Then I got him to where I could rub and brush his legs. It took a couple of weeks but it got him -sort of - back to where he was when they sent him to the first trainer (and it let his leg wounds heal).

Once I got 3-way hobbles on him it was all over. He fought himself for about 5 minutes, lunged at me when I brought out a saddle, fell on his nose, got up and then stood there quietly while I saddled him and girthed him up. Within a week I was riding him.

I rode him about 4 months, gate trained him and galloped him in company. He went to a trainer at the track and they had no trouble with him at all. He broke his maiden and won a couple more races, but he was a cheap horse with little talent and was sold for a saddle horse. I lost track of him then and do not know how he turned out. He had a bad attitude and most people were not going to be able to get along with him.

Good horses have good attitudes and are forgiving of people's mistakes. This horse was not one of them, but he got his chance to run and prove himself, thanks to restraints.
Cherie is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to hobble. NHCavalry Trail Riding 25 05-04-2011 10:59 PM
How do you train? twogeldings Horse Training 1 09-27-2010 05:41 PM
hobble experts please Juniper Horse Tack and Equipment 3 06-01-2010 12:10 PM
Hobble White Foot Horse Tack and Equipment 19 03-09-2010 06:52 AM
What to train her for? BurningAmber520 Horse Training 5 01-30-2009 04:27 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome