Panic while tied - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Panic while tied

I have been working with my new horse for several weeks now and while I groom him he stands perfectly still while tied then all the sudden he gets this panic and jerks back. I use a quick release knot and quickly untie him, calm him down and retie to finish grooming. Iím not sure if this is an old habit or what, but I would love to know what I could do to help him get past it. It does not happen all the time and I havenít figured out if there is a trigger since it has happened during different times.

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post #2 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 01:44 AM
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Hard to say what is triggering the panic.
On the backing the easiest is to throw a couple of dallys with the lead so there will be some resistance.
Panic releases only teach the horse that if I pull enough I come loose.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 01:47 AM
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My horse spooks easily when I am grooming him. When he jumps and tries getting away I just talk to him and let him know that it is ok and nothing is going to hurt him. I have done that for about two weeks now and he has gotten a lot better.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 01:50 AM
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He's learned that if he pulls back you untie him and pet him and reward him. I would tie him solid to a tree or something he can't break and just walk away and let him learn to give to the pressure of the halter. Make sure it's not a halter or rope that will break too.

The ONE exception to the rule of letting them pull back that I have found is an Arabian Halter horse that's been trained by a pro, they learn to lean back into the poll strap of the halter and frequently when scared, will rock back against the halter, trying to do their "stand up" which always gets them praise. Letting them pull back to learn to give to pressure doesn't work, it's been trained right out of them.

If your horse isn't an Arabian, this isn't an issue.

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post #5 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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He is a TB and I am his third home. He is great under saddle and I don’t have any other issues with him. I wondered if he thought that he scared people by doing that and it got him out of having to work. The last time he did it I took him immediately to the round pen and lunged him for a little bit then brought him back and tied him again and he didn’t repeat the behavior. My Spring Break starts tomorrow and I wanted to spend the week working on his issue.

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post #6 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 08:19 AM
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Some established pullers WILL set back so violently and will throw themselves to the ground or come forward so haed that they will hurt themselves or you.

Tying a horse solid that has already learned to set back and break halters and leads can be a real challenge. Many of them set back and sull and fall over on the ground. They can choke down when they do this and must be released or they will die. If they are not tied to something above the height of their withers, they can 'pull their necks down' which is severe permanent injury. If they don't fall over or injure their necks, they very often quit pulling and lunge forward so violently that they hit their legs on whatever they are tied to So, breaking a horse to tie solidly that has already learned to set back and break things can be very problematic. Not only can they hurt themselves, but they can thrash so violently that a person cannot safely get to the rope to release them.

We have a VERY safe place to tie horses. We have welded old horseshoes to steel oilfield tanks that we use for grain storage and tack rooms. They are welded about 7 feet above the ground. We have big, heavy permanent tie ropes with huge draft-horse size bull snaps. But, if we tie a new horse, young green horse or a known puller, we run their lead-rope THROUGH the horseshoe and tie if off to a different horseshoe weld on about 6 feet away. We tie with a knot that can be pulled out or we can take a coupe wraps around the second horseshoe and just hold the rope by hand. This lets us release a horse that has thrown itself down without getting in close to it.

A better way to tie a known puller is to a big tree limb that has a little 'give' in it. Again, I suggest hanging a rope down from a ring that is well above the horse's head. Then, the lead-rope can be run through that ring and tied off over by the trunk of the tree. That way the horse can be released if need be. In my experience, horses are much less apt to throw themselves down when they are tied to something with a little 'give' in it until they learn to NOT set back.

I no longer get in pullers like I did when I trained for the public, but I have sworn that if I get another one in, I will use a 'Blocker Tie Ring'. I have seen them work without the horse to throwing itself down. They must be used according to the instructions. There are several ways to run a lead-rope through them and the 2nd or 3rd setting will work better than the first one. You also need to make a smooth 14 foot or longer lead-rope WITHOUT a knot in the end of it. A knot will hang up if the horse pulls the rope all the way through the ring and will break it.

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post #7 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 09:03 AM
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My OTTB would panic and set back really bad. After 3 or 4 times of using the blocker tie ring she no longer does .
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 09:31 AM
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I would never tie a horse to let him sort it out. A trainer did this to a 3 yr old. It pulled back, panicked when it felt trapped, jumped forward, smashed it's face into the wall and broke his neck. Dropped dead like the proverbial sack. Comet, lunging the horse after the fact teaches nothing except how to run in circles. Instead use the round pen to teach him to stand while you circle him while touching him then gradually moving farther away. From the horse's perspective, he is trapped. He knows a predator is lurking waiting to pounce. He hears noises a mile away to which we are oblivious and that is why the sudden panic. Oftentimes, if given the opportunity to walk off, the horse will stay, with the rope tossed over his neck.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 02:20 PM
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After having dealt with several horses that pull back, and having gotten hurt as Cherie describes, I'm a little less patient with my own horses. I start every horse with a set up like Cherie describes and work with them on tying. I've gotten to the point WITH MY OWN HORSES that if they're so dam* dumb they want to hang themselves.....well, OK.

Most of the time, once I've run through the whole "Let's Learn To Tie" routine with them, there's not a problem. With the exception of the halter horses. I have one right now that if she's scared she tries to set up and that includes pulling back. Since I know it's not bullheadedness with her, I never hard tie her. If we both lived to be 100 I might be able to work her through this, but I'm skeptical.

There are solutions for every problem and every horse. It's up to us to figure out what works for us, for the horse and the situation.

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post #10 of 17 Old 03-10-2014, 03:14 PM
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Hope your horse gets over the issue. My mare tried that a couple of times. She was fine and then all the sudden start pulling. The first time I released her... Second time, she broke a lead rope this way and landed on her haunches. She then got a habit of it realizing if she pulled, she got free...

As skeptical as I was, and afraid she would hurt herself, I did the ole tie her to a tree thing and she pulled back (broke a brand new lead). So I retied her, she then pulled, broke the nylon halter I had on her, fell and has never pulled back to the point of no return since then. She calms almost instantly if she starts to pull now. Not saying the tie thing is for everyone, but it worked for her.
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