Question about cross-ties. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-11-2008, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Question about cross-ties.

I have a 3-year-old green gelding that I'm working with. He's a big 17hh draft cross. He's very quiet and relaxed with pretty much everything. However, for some reason he gets really antsy in cross-ties, especially if I try to tack him up and cinch him while he's tied (even if I only do it loose). He starts to raise his head up and back up, and because he's so big with tons of strength, I've been afraid of putting him in cross-ties in case he breaks them and hurts himself somehow. He's usually okay if I only groom him in them and don't leave him tied for extensive periods, but I have just started doing him in his stall instead. I've been doing a lot of natural horsemanship ground training with him and I've read a lot about how a horse should be trained to stand still for everything even without cross-ties, and that cross-ties are actually quite dangerous.

Since trying these exercises with just a lead and rope halter, he has begun to stand quietly to get tacked up and groomed either in his stall or in the arena or wherever, and I can easily do him in his stall even without a lead rope (although I use one for safety anyways in case I need extra control). He's much more content to have that freedom and he's fine if I have just a lead on him - it's just the cross-ties that seem to unnerve him. I don't understand why, because like I said, he is pretty much bombproof with everything else.

Is it a problem if I continue with this method since he seems much more pleasant and relaxed with it, or should I force him to learn how to be tied with cross-ties?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-11-2008, 11:47 AM
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You should NOT force him to stand in cross ties. :) Horses get very antsy in them because it's a claustrophobic situation, and all horses are born claustrophobics at birth, but in varying degrees. When the horse has his head trapped and he can't move it, just like being in cross ties, he feels restricted and the fear instinct comes up. I personally do not use cross ties (I study NH as well). My horse stands perfectly still for me while grooming and tacking up with the rope over his neck or on the ground. If your horse can do this too, or he's more comfortable without cross ties, then don't use them.
Spirithorse is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 01-11-2008, 12:59 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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It sounds like you are doing great doing just what you are doing :)

I usually tie to our log hitching post to groom and saddle, but I also sometimes just tack up in the open if it is more convenient :) We have one horse who it "cinchy" and has been since we got him at age 8 (he his 19)...I do not leave him tied up when saddling - I do not want him to get upset when being cinched and meet the end of a rope, freaking out and making saddling a worse experience. Same thing with your boy - I could not imagine if he got upset and met ties on both sides of his head - one or both of you could be hurt badly and he could then become traumatized not only about tying, but saddling as well.

If he will stand nicely in cross ties for grooming, I would limit it to that and be happy. In time, he may become more relaxed about it, but if you have no absolute need to use the cross ties (which it sounds like you don't), why stress both of you out. :)
AKPaintLover is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 01-11-2008, 02:08 PM
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Yes, this is a delicate situation.

My horse doesn't mind them but all horses are different. If it's not something he will relax for, it's not worth it. There are other ways to get your horse to stand for tacking and brushing and whatever else you need it to stand for.

AK and Spirit have both given good advice so I wont make things more redundant. 8)
tim is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 01-11-2008, 08:48 PM
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He's still very young. What you could try to do is just attach one side of the cross tie and not both. Or use them in shorter periods, working up a few minutes a week.

Personally I don't like them, but I know in some boarding barns your options are limited.

Good for you for not forcing the issue and moving to a place he's comfortable. This is especially helpful when prepairing to ride. Why start off with a horse that is stressed, don't we want to start off on a happy note?

Spitrithorse is right it's a very claustrophobic feeling for them, much like trailering.

Another thing you could start to work on is ground tying, With our's I toss the lead rope over a fence rail and say "tied". They don't go anywhere now that the understand the concept of being ground tied..

There's lots of good information on ground tying on the net, and if you have some NH reading material it's usually something they teach the horse at the onset of it's training, but it's never to late.
G and K's Mom is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 01-12-2008, 02:16 PM
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I think you should do what your horse is most comfortable with. However, I do not think that cross ties are necessarily dangerous if you have break-away snaps.
TheStables is offline  

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