Not again! Horse broke the cross ties

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Not again! Horse broke the cross ties

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  • Why my horse would pull from cross ties
  • Horse broke crossties

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    09-09-2013, 10:08 PM
Not again! Horse broke the cross ties

*** The jist of this rant is, my horse has spooked twice now in the cross ties and broken them. This time, she broke both and ran off like a lunatic until someone opened a pasture gate and she stopped near the new mini pony. When the incident is going on, she's hauling backward on the cross ties with all her weight in spite of what I do or don't do. After, she is excited but still responsive and not giving me any disrespect. I lunged her after both incidents and she would not pull on me. Her groundwork is fine, but she is not good with being tied. In her stall, when tied to the wall, she neighs, paws, and wiggles around. In the cross ties she used to paw a lot but has almost stopped entirely now that there are rubber mats there. I don't think she's completely comfortable with being restrained, so how do I fix that? What do I do when she is hauling back on the cross ties, or about to do it? She is usually laid back and confident, but it seems that when she has the mind to, she'll break out of the cross ties.

***** The looooooong version:
The first time this happened, my mare spooked in a different cross tie area, in the barn; she was going backward so I tried reaching for one of the ties then, which seemed only to make her more panicky and she put all her weight on one cross tie, breaking it and landing on her butt, however getting up surprised and embarrassed while I held the lead rope that I had left on her. No harm done, had the chiropractor out for adjustments as per usual and fixed the cross tie. About six months later now, she was excited in the wash stand cross ties. No lead rope on, she was acting bothered and hot from being in estrus, having the new mini pony nearby, it being close to turn-out time, and I hadn't worked with her much for about five days.

I saw her stargaze and start fidgeting, so I thought, last time reaching for the cross tie didn't work, so I'll cue her hindquarters. I stepped over and did so, when she kept taking steps backward I smacked her flank with a crop; she stopped moving backward and went closer to the cross ties, then stopped altogether, looking at me intently. Alrighty, done. So I moved back to her shoulder to put the crop down and put a hand on the cross tie as I did--- kablam. She hauled backward and I stood aside, calmly saying Whoa... she kept at it with her full strength, snapped one cross tie, kept hauling, and snapped the other, immediately whirling around and bolting off with the broken ties on her halter. She galloped up and down the back pasture's fence until someone ran out and opened the gate for her to run into the pasture and stop near the mini pony, where we could go out and grab her with no issue.

I lunged her both times immediately after the incident, and really made her move; both times, she didn't pull on ME at all and was as responsive as ever, only very quick and flighty. Makes me think that when I touch the cross ties, she thinks the ties themselves are after her? Since I can lead, back her, turn her, and send her off in a tight circle just fine with only a loose halter and lunge line. Shortly after, she is able to stand still and simply attentive while I pull on her halter and pop the whip or swish the crop next to her.

Thoroughly done with her crap, I lunged her a full session and made her work hard with lateral cues and transitions out the whazoo, then backed her, led her over poles, hosed her off, and tied her halter to the wall in her stall. Pissed her off, she pawed and neighed and moved around, but wouldn't pull on the rope in the stall like she had in the ties. I have tough mats in the stall, so pawing isn't much a damage with her front shoes on. I let her work it out while I fixed up her stall for the night, 'cause you better be believing I am NOT going to let her act a nut in pasture after that incident, nor am I going to chance having to chase her back to the barn tomorrow morning before I leave, and honestly I'm not in the mood to deal with a muddy gray horse tomorrow *cough* anyway, ended with letting her loose in the stall with hay for the night. Left the pony out to pasture, I doubt she will miss my mare much... she seems to like my neighbor's warmbloods quite a lot.
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    09-09-2013, 10:19 PM
I had a friend who had a few young stock like this so she put a very stout rubber inner tube to a tree, tied the lead rope to that and they learned, that no matter how hard the set back, or fought, they couldn't get loose, so in the end they learned to stand quietly. I am wondering that now that your mare knows that if she sets back hard enough, she can and has broken the snaps or ties and is loose.

My own QH mare had a thing about being tied, didn't matter where or what or trying the inner tube, for her, it was the feeling of being "caught", she is a very sensitive and reactive mare, hates loud voices, anything that she may view as aggressive she reacts. I now just throw her lead over the fence if I am working with her, if she moves I make a noise or say "No" in a firm voice, put her back where I had her and she stays there. My farrier has tied her and she was okay with him, but he knows he has to be patient with her.

Could you get some quietex and put that on her food, take the edge off, especially when she is in heat? I did this for a while with my gelding who when we got a new mare, thought he was the reincarnation of Valentino!! It took the edge off, he was a pleasure to work and ride and all was well. Or, smart pak has some wonderful calming pellets that work wonders, had a friend who's mare was reactive like yours, they put her on them and she became a whole new horse after about 6 weeks on the pellets.
    09-09-2013, 10:26 PM
Tie her to a "patience pole" and leave her there except for water breaks for an entire day, until she learns patience. Repeat for as many days as it takes. Make sure she's tied so she can't break loose. She's taught herself that if she sets back and pulls, she can get out. VERY bad habit and hard to break.
    09-09-2013, 10:27 PM
Okay, I skimmed the long story but read the short story.

She is not responding well to pressure so the best thing to do would be to work on that through groundwork. She won't connect lunging with her issues in the crossties. She will connect yielding of body parts, backing up on lead and stepping forward (to release pressure) when pressure is applied via lead to her issues in the crossties.

My horse had the same issue.. except it was crossties, halters, just pressure in general. A poke in the side would have him bolting and jumping and spooking away.

Work on the base issues and it'll become a lot better in other areas!
GreySorrel likes this.
    09-09-2013, 10:41 PM
I'm worried she knows it's only related to the cross ties :/ She doesn't haul when tied in her stall. I'm thinking I'd have to set up two "patience" poles and tie her between them to create the same feeling. Or tie between two trees. Not sure what to tie her with if she's broken off the snap of the usual tie (I recall a 50-60lb dog breaking the snap on one such tie), but I guess a lead rope or thick rope is stronger than plain cross ties... I was always worried about leaving her tied to something sturdy when she gets uncomfortable, because I thought she could hurt herself.
    09-09-2013, 11:17 PM
Would these help? They're what we use at our barn in case a horse spooks and needs to be released for safety reasons
    09-09-2013, 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by Samstead    
would these help? They're what we use at our barn in case a horse spooks and needs to be released for safety reasons
not for solving the problem but for it happens again, save yourself a crosstie
    09-10-2013, 01:31 AM
Originally Posted by TerciopeladoCaballo    
Thoroughly done with her crap, I lunged her a full session and made her work hard.... 'cause you better be believing I am NOT going to let her act a nut in pasture after that incident,
This bit first, because it bothers me... Her 'crap' is obviously because she's scared & reactive in this situation. So lunging her hard (I assume you're doing it as punishment?) is not warranted or going to achieve anything there. Except that making her run hard is just going to keep that adrenaline/stress level high for longer, not calm her, & potentially also associate you working her with the fear.

I don't think she's completely comfortable with being restrained, so how do I fix that? What do I do when she is hauling back on the cross ties, or about to do it? She is usually laid back and confident, but it seems that when she has the mind to, she'll break out of the cross ties.
Well the first statement's a bit of a no brainer! How do you fix it? By getting her comfortable & confident *in those situations, in a non-confrontational way*. What do you do when she's hauling back on x-ties? Think to yourself 'whoops, I shouldn't have put her in that situation before she was ready for it.' It sounds like a situation of, rather than 'when she has a mind to', it's when her 'mind' has gone AWOL for some reason & she's panicking & reacting. In that situation, she can't really think. One tool I have found helpful & portable to use when teaching horses to tie confidently(& something I use in the trailer for safety) is a 'Tie Ring' or such, with which you can teach a horse to restrained confidently, with a variety of different tensions, without them being 'stuck fast', so without risk of breakage, injury, further panic, etc.
    09-10-2013, 02:30 AM
Does you horse have to be in cross ties? Cannot be single tied?
loosie and BlueSpark like this.
    09-10-2013, 12:01 PM
Doesn't have to be cross tied, though in the places I bring her to they require cross ties, no offered single tie area.

I tied her with a lead rope to the wash stand now, single; she walked and moved as much as she could with the length of rope available, looking careful not to pull on it, and in the end stood there with a hind leg resting. Figured I'd tie her secure this time and see what she would do, which, like the first time, gave nuthin. She's not excited, so is just standing there as usual. That's why I say when she's got a mind to she'll break out; she stays tied when I briefly secure her to a tree when we're out on a hack, and stands calm for the cross ties on a daily basis. It's just that when she get's hyped up, there's an issue. I can lead her, lunge her, ride her when she's excited, yet being confined and excited is different. She honestly did not look scared when she was pulling the cross ties yesterday, she broke both one at a time and headed straight for the pony--- she wanted out, and she got out. Prior to breaking out, she had been neighing to the pony and anxiously looking over at her. No whites of the eyes showing, tail switching, ear pinning, or blowing.

When I say I make her move, I mean on the lunge she is already energized after the incident and wants to take off, so I make her bend and work herself more properly than simply flying around and looking wherever she wants to.

I'm trying to get her into an excited mood again by having the pony out and her tied; the lead rope won't snap, I'd like her to figure that out when I expect it rather than that one time how many weeks or months later when she is hyped up again and decides to try the ties. I had quick release cross ties, but had to get rid of that feature, due to the fact that she figured out how to shake and toss her head to free herself and eat the grass next to the wash stand...

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