New Horse Owner: Fussy in the cross-ties

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New Horse Owner: Fussy in the cross-ties

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    10-06-2010, 12:29 AM
New Horse Owner: Fussy in the cross-ties

I just got my first horse, and I am so excited. She is a Saddlebred mare, around 9yrs old. She is very well trained, just needs some refinement. The only thing she has done so far that I don't like is, she is a little fussy & impatient in the cross-ties.

Any ideas on how to break this habit? My instructor tells me to just ignore the behavior, unless she does something bad like, pin her ears or nip. He says if I coddle her when she gets antsy, it might reinforce the behavior.

What do you guys think? I like to hear all opinions. Thanks!
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    10-06-2010, 12:39 AM
Make her stand there until she relaxes for a few minutes and then take her out or treat her.
    10-06-2010, 01:37 AM
Do you have to use cross ties? Sometimes horse need to move around a little. I would either let them move around a little, such as on a lunge line or in a round pen, then tie them for tacking. Or, like where we are, our horses are tied with just one line to a post and if they need to shift around a little, I let them, as long as they don't run into me. For that I would immediately poke them in the side and shush them off of me. Them can, however, move over a few feet, turn and look at things, and move around a bit. It's not the end of the world. So, I am with your instructor in that I would ignore it if it isn't too aggresive. If so, I wouldn't tie her but would work her.
    10-06-2010, 01:56 AM
Hi Tinyliny. There aren't a whole lot of other places at my stable where I can tie her, unfortunately. She does have room to move around, as she demonstrates for me as I am brushing her.

At first I thought she had very sensitive skin, because it felt like she was moving away from me when I would groom her, but no matter how softly I brush, she keeps squirming. When I walk away she squirms too, and paws the ground. She does calm down after a while, but it would be nice to have her relaxed during grooming, because it's supposed to be enjoyable for her!

Perhaps a good lunge session would tire the squirms out of her, but I would like her to understand the concept that she should stand still in the cross-ties because it's good manners.
    10-06-2010, 02:10 AM
Green Broke
Cinny used to have the same exact problem. He was a pasture pet for the 7 years of his life before I bought him so being tied period was a challenge at first. The first month I had him I only worked him on the ground and the ties were for rest. Good things always happened while tied...grooming, scratching on his favorite places to be scratched, etc etc. I was slowly able to move up until now we are bathing and blanketing in cross ties while he falls asleep. I think it took me about 4 months to get him to really relax in the cross ties.
    10-06-2010, 02:35 AM
Green Broke
It's okay to use cross ties if you are present and the horse is good at accepting being tied
There is lot of controversy concerning cross ties, and more wreaks have happened in them, so that some people just advocate not to use them period. I don't use them, and prefer just to tie a horse solid with a quick release knot
You then don't tie up a barn isle, and can move the horse's hips over as needed, for someone to pass
    10-06-2010, 03:38 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Smilie    
It's okay to use cross ties if you are present and the horse is good at accepting being tied
There is lot of controversy concerning cross ties, and more wreaks have happened in them, so that some people just advocate not to use them period. I don't use them, and prefer just to tie a horse solid with a quick release knot
You then don't tie up a barn isle, and can move the horse's hips over as needed, for someone to pass
I agree with you on the wrecks...but I have never heard of cross tying in a barn isle. My stable actually has areas that look like stalls with no fronts with the cross ties. I've also seen some bad wrecks on solids where people thought they did a quick release but did it wrong...ouch.

And I know it's a little off subject but I think it will fit in here. No matter where you are working on your horse for tying, and even after he is's always a good idea to have a good pocket knife with you, even if you do quick release knots or use blocker ties.
    10-06-2010, 08:13 AM
Everyone's barn is different, but I think the grooming and tacking up is a great time to do some training. In other words, don't tie your horse. Also, think about what you would do if you were standing around talking with friends. Have two of your friends each grab one of your arms. They can give you six inches to move around but that's it. And you have to hold your arms up, although you can lean on your friends. Now stay that way for 30 minutes. Remember, you can't move more than six inches. Try it and tell us what you think of cross ties. And also remember, you understand the exercise. Your horse doesn't.

It can be in the same place you cross tie, but just put a lead rope on her and drape the rope over your arm and start grooming her. If she moves her feet, move her back where she was. You might have to do this 100 times. Don't get irritated, just move her back. She'll get the idea she has to stand. The only key here is you need to get all your stuff out and near your horse when you start. Also, Rome wasn't built in a day. Don't go gestapo on her, she can scratch an itch or look around, but you want her to keep her feet still. You might need to put her back 100 times today, 90 times tomorrow, etc. etc. And as you probably can guess, don't be in a hurry. Horses need time.

It's neat how many little things get worked out but just getting your horse to stand still while your groom her and tack her up. I am amazed at the people who can't ask their horse to simply stand still, but have no trouble hopping on their back and thinking they will be able to get a positive reponse to any request up there. Like stopping. Think about it.
    10-06-2010, 10:05 AM
Green Broke
She may be clausterphobic? If a horse can't move his head it feels trapped. Understandable in a prey animal. I agree with the lot of you on ignoring the behavior but make being tied a fun and relaxing thing. Just becareful and don't get caught up with her.
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    10-07-2010, 07:07 PM
Here are a few pics of her in the cross-ties. As you can see, they aren't terribly restricting, she does have some slack & room to move around. She has been at this barn for 2 years before I bought her. I don't know how she behaved with her previous owner, but I know she is accustomed to the cross-ties, even if not perfectly behaved there.

Perhaps un-hooking one side, and trying to teach her to stand still may help? I'm not 100% convinced it's not a grooming issue. She gets the most antsy when I use the curry comb, even with a gentle touch.
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