Setting back when tied
My horse has set back 3 times in the past few days.
She is a 6 year old, QH x TB mare. We have had slight issues with setting back in the past, usually within cause though, something would spook her and she would set back, frightened, she would struggle for a few moments then, once I got to her, move forward.
A couple days ago, I had tied her to a hitching post to bathe her, went to turn on the hose (she was not spooked by the hose, it was far from her when turned on) and when I returned, hose in hand, my horse was long gone.
She snapped both the lead rope & the metal clip on the throat latch of her (nylon) halter. I found her happily snacking on some hay.
Well, I made her hitch back up and take her bath with a spare halter. She did fine.
Today, during our barn (lesson barn) day camp, she was used as a demonstration for horse anatomy. She was hitched in the indoor arena to a metal ring, plain lead rope, brand new nylon halter.
Two little girls ran in, and she spooked, set back, panicked for a few moments, then, when I reached her, came forward and relaxed again. She 'fractured' the metal ring and it fell to the ground right as she stepped forward, I was very glad it happened while I was there, otherwise young children could have been hurt if she ran off.
(The girls learned very quickly that when we list the rules [ex. NO running around horses, EVER] we mean them.)
I walked her around to calm her, got the lead rope loose (had tightened around the ring) and rehitched her to a different metal ring. She was fine for the rest of the day.
After riding that day, I took her to a hitching post to tie & bathe. This time she set back for no reason I could see, while I was right next to her face, (the hose was on, and spraying her, but just at her legs/barrel) and pulled the ring right out of the post. I made her stand, while I held the lead rope, for the remainder of the bath.
I'm really at my wits end.
I feel like, with the halter & lead breaking, the first time, has taught her it's ok to set back so she can get free. You tell me if I'm right.
I need to know how to fix this. I'll be speaking with my trainer, obviously, but I'd like to hear others experiences, etc.
I know one recommended practice is tying to a high, thick tree branch & letting them 'fight it out', but whether this is safe or not...? Also, I doubt I would be able to accomplish this, as we do not have any suitable trees on the property.
I also do not wish to spend money on name brand training halters that may or may not work. I hope you all understand that.
Ask away if I've left anything out.
For grooming & tacking up I use crossties. It's only for bathing or when we are in the indoor that I hitch.
Please, support, suggestions, anything. I'm really frustrated that she's fallen into this habit, but more over I'm disappointed that I have no clue how to solve this one.