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post #11 of 21 Old 02-23-2011, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
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My horse is going through the same problem. I like the tie ring idea a lot, but this saves me a little money and it works for my horse and me; however, it may not work as well for others. I tie a hay string around my hitching post and then tie my horse to it, so when he pulls back it will break. If your horse is one to take off once he's loose, then use a rope with a little more length so that you can have a few extra feet to grab it (this is the part where it may not work for others as well as it has for me, because my horse is one that just keeps backing up once he's loose instead of running, go figure). Once I grab the rope I make him work by trotting circles around me and then I let him rest at the hitching post. After doing this only a couple of times he has improved a lot, but we're still working on it! Good luck with your horse!

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post #12 of 21 Old 02-23-2011, 05:28 PM
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I have 2 horses that do this (or used to). The tie ring is a great gadget to use, even for the horses that don't usually pull back; however, some smart or especially sensitive horses (like my TB, who is both) figure out how to pull the lead rope all the way through the tie ring. So then it is counterproductive as they just get away easier. It was getting to be a real problem, as he would just pull away any time he felt like it (which was close to every time we went to an event), and he would also pull his lead rope through the ring enough to stretch his head down and eat, and I was so worried about him getting his legs tangled up. Then my trainer recommended a special halter called the "Be-nice halter", and it has worked wonders! It is basically an elaborated rope halter designed for horses who are hard to handle, but it also works great for the pull-problem when tying; it has a sliding nosepiece that tightens on the horse's nose when (and only when) he pulls back...the harder he pulls, the tighter the noseband gets. It also has small blunt metal studs that go across the horse's poll and behind the ears, making it very uncomfortable for him to pull back.

I borrowed one of these from my trainer, and put it on my TB until he tried to pull in it when tied...he never did it again! It didn't hurt him unnecessarily, but it was uncomfortable enough that he is now content to stand tied anywhere I put him! (ground work and bonding since I got him last July have also probably helped with that...he is calmer because he trusts me now). You just tie them to a doubled piece of baling twine in the halter, so they [U]could[U] break away if they really had to, but they would have to really be putting effort into it (like if they were really in a scary situation). I still haven't managed to catch my other horse in it when he pulls, but I was really impressed on how it worked with just my TB...I don't think I even need it any more on him. Just one time and my horse had learned how unacceptably rude it is to just break away any time he feels like it. Now and then when they're truly spooked is a different story...but try to catch it now if your horse is making a routine of pulling like that.

Here's a link to a site that has the halter:

'Be Nice' Halter (Equine - Horse Tack Supplies - Halters Leads - Halters)

Hope this helps...sorry for the novel. :P

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post #13 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 12:50 AM Thread Starter
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This is all very helpful! Thank you everyone! I'm definitely going to consider that halter, in addition to doing more groundwork. I'd rather her learn her lesson now than eventually have someone's fingers ripped off.

I also like the tire idea- I'm definitely going to use that for horses who are learning!
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post #14 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 06:40 AM
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Also tying them up from above for several hours really helps.. like to a tree, but you have to have the rig setup by somebody experienced with tying horses this way (if you have a vaquero friend
-this way the horse has a littlebit of a slack in the lead and can walk around a little bit, but they can't pull on the rope really cause it is tied from above and it is hard if not impossible for them to "lean" against the rope.
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 08:11 AM
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Whatever method you try, whatever cause you give it (horse is naughty or horse is scared) you have to be extremely aware of the risks involved when you try to fix this issue with habituated adult horses.

Horses have died trying to fight a tie. There's a huge flap going on in the internet world about a trainer who tied a horse to a tree, and it somehow ran into the tree and died. Of course everyone has a different version of what happened, but suffice to say, tieing a horse hard has its risks. We would never tie directly to a tree when riding out, for example, but rather to a tie line tied high between two trees.

A control halter may actually provoke a fight that ends in a broken neck, especially if it puts a constant pressure on, and more pressure the harder the animal pulls.

Horses don't always look scared when they are scared. And even a 'stubborn, disrespectful' horse can die fighting a tie.

A horse can start out stubborn and end up scared and struggling to get free. You can't even believe how fast 'stubborn' can switch over to panic mode.

In general, people make a big mistake when they think 'stubborn' and 'scared' are so separate or so far from each other, or that the results would be so different. Horses simply switch over to panic/fight mode very, very easily, and regardless of what started it, panic can finish it.

So I'd recommend being very, very thoughtful when trying to solve such a thing.

These things reduce the risk of injury, though none of these are a guarantee -

1.) Was originally trained to tie when young and was very good about it for a long time, horse does 'know' how to tie

2.) Less active, less fit, less energetic, less 'up' or tense type of horse

3.) More broke, been-there-done-that type of horse

4.) Smaller horse

5.) Younger horse

6.) Exactly how you're trying to tie and how your facility is set up - that's a big one

BEEEE careful. Read your horse every second, and know when to say, 'aaahhhh...I think that's enough for today'. Don't get too set in your mind with 'we have to fix this TODAY'.

The rougher your horse is, the closer you need to follow safety rules. Sure if elderly Precious has just gotten in the habit of 'setting back' a bit so he can go nibble some grass, it may not be too hard to fix, but think very carefully before you make assumptions, even about the quietest old horse.

Especially if you're working on your own a lot and/or have little experience handling rough situations (Oh I know, everyone always thinks they are very skilled and very experienced).

Look at your facility and choose where you work on this very, very carefully. 'The usual' is usually very, very dangerous.

First of all, the area you pick to work on should have nothing in it - no buckets, poles, junk, tools, brush boxes, jump standards or poles, hung up or on the floor in a corner, and preferably, no horses able to get at your horse thru their stall door or the like. The usual wash rack, full of shelves, nick knacks, muck buckets, barn tools - is an accident waiting to happen. Clean it out or use another spot.

Is the tie area worn slick concrete, or to be honest, any concrete? Dirty, slippery rubber mats(hair is especially slippery under hoof, but so is manure, even a little)? These surfaces are especially slippery and not a good place to work out this problem. 'Piece' mats (3X5 or 6), even if 'boarded', can start to slip around and fold up if a horse starts struggling, adding to the problems and adding to the panic.

Perhaps the least slippery surface is hard level dirt, like a dirt barn aisle(starting the process of fixing a puller out in the middle of an open dirt area such as a paddock or field is not such a hot idea).

Is there no pull back barrier behind the horse? This is a huge problem with cross ties in an aisle, and can actually CAUSE pulling back.

Have something very, very solid behind the horse, keep in mind that guidelines for safe stable construction specify that NO tie areas are without a pullback, this is for a reason. Yeah, I know crowded boarding barns don't follow this, but you're an awful lot better off tacking up in your stall than in aisle crossties with no pullback. A wheelbarrow, row of buckets, or a rail does not qualify as a pullback, and can add to the mess if things blow up.

Have quick release ties. You can debate among yourselves WHERE the quick releases should be - on the horse or the wall end, but have them somewhere, and practice releasing them so you know how they work.

One of the worst pullers I ever saw, a young, scatty OTTB. No I am not saying all OTTB are bad. I'm saying, this horse was young and new to the stable. This horse was on cross ties in a sloped, concrete aisle. The owner flipped, and was frozen in terror, and the horse was flipping out big time, I think she was afraid to make a move as the horse was falling on the concrete. The trainer walked over and undid one cross tie. The horse immediately stopped leaping, twisting and slipping and falling on the concrete.

So it is very important to know what is setting the horse off, that isn't always so obvious.

But, as you train your horse to stand, if it's a really chronic problem puller for years, think about teaching it to stay in a PLACE, rather than 'not pull'. Bring it very quickly back to the place each time it runs back, without punishment, instead of teaching it 'don't pull'. If it will not come forward, you may need to tap it with a whip on the hind quarters to urge it forward, but be careful as you can get kicked. Teach it this is the place to stand.

If you do tie the horse hard, you might consider some of those pieces of equipment that allow for a little give - a rubber inner tube is a cheap option.

It's feeling the unyieldingness of the tie that sets most horses off, if they can move a little it really helps.
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post #16 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 01:55 PM
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GREAT post, slc.

I am very careful tying because in the past I have had a horse pull a board off a fence, seen a horse break a cross tie and cut his head on a light you would never think a rearing horse could reach, and seen a horse knock herself unconscious by getting under a "very safe" tie post and hitting her head.

I've had slip-knots get stuck when the horse pulled hard enough. I would much rather have a horse get loose than have them panicking and pulling back.

I also own a horse that someone tied in a nylon halter and she pulled back. A bone on the front of her face is deformed from her breaking the halter.
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post #17 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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I agree that being naughty can switch to actually panicking very easily, therefore I will be very careful.

It's not slippery where she's tied (just dirt), and there's a huge space behind her, so we have that going for us...

She's 11 years old, used to be great, but is progressivly getting worse. If I don't fix it now, I worry about the future.

And yeah, what's with slip nots getting stuck? I've had that too (luckily not during a crisis though). It defeats the whole point of being "safe".
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post #18 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 05:04 PM
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Almost any knot or contraption can stick, even some of the cheaper quick releases can stick.

You should always have a Plan B, and C and D. And you should aways think, what is the absolutely most insane, impossible, stupid thing that could possibly happen, because it eventually will happen.

A horse weighs about 1000-1200 or more pounds. And let's face it, it is something other animals used to routinely EAT. That means that deeply wired in that little brain is, 'IF YOU FEEL TRAPPED, FIGHT OR DIE'.

And in a barn full of walls, posts, poles, saddle racks and such, it can very well turn into 'fight AND die'. Many ceilings are very low and many floors are very slippery. Just because a horse hasn't done it before, doesn't mean he won't tomorrow. Remember, it's a horse, not a robot.

Once I stood there going 'oh.my.god' while a girl tied her horse's reins to a sliding door ('I can SO tie him here, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN' and other various unpleasant remarks - one girl ran to get the barn manager, but then.....), this bright and shining light, she hit the horse for eating a dish of cat food (long, long story there), and have it pull back, hit the weight of the door - and wind up tearing all over the farm with a 250 or 300 lb sliding door, tied to its mouth by the reins.

When that horse ran and crashed into the other horses standing in cross ties, while dragging the door by its mouth......
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post #19 of 21 Old 02-24-2011, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by slc View Post
When that horse ran and crashed into the other horses standing in cross ties, while dragging the door by its mouth......
WOW, that sounds like one of my worst nightmares. I always hear people say their horse is so well trained or they never pull back so they can tie them in unsafe places. Or tie them by the reins. I just have to think they haven't seen the things I've seen so they don't know what to be afraid of.

Horses are so talented at hurting themselves. I don't trust them at all. I once saw a horse shred his leg on his water bucket that he lived with every day in his stall.
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post #20 of 21 Old 02-26-2011, 04:45 PM
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I'd suggest just not tying the horse. There really isn't much a point to it seeing as you are not supposed to leave your horse alone. At the new stable I train at we don't tie up our horses, we just trust them to stand there. If I walk out of the room my gelding will either stand there, or he'll be right on my tail the whole time. He's alot like a dog, and listens to the command stay and come. It's cool when some of the oldest, best trained horses will just stand in the arena and not move unless someone calls them or comes and gets them. My horse has only been doing this for 2 years, and is around 5 years old. He still is a bit naughty, but for the most part he'll listen well.

If you do this, I'd suggest holding onto the leadrope and sending a wave through the leadrope if they put there head down, or in the case of my horse, try and nip you in the butt. I actually have gotten clever enough where I can be picking his hooves and can send a wave through the rope if he's drifting off. Once the horse gets better, you can just let the leadrope on the ground. (I do realize the risk of this, but my horse has never been startled enough to absolutely run away. The most he's done is walk over to some people sitting on some chairs and ask to be petted. :3)
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