Sitting back problem...HELP - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Sitting back problem...HELP

Okay i have a 10 year old mare who i guess learned to sit back before we bought her. ive had her for a year and been battling this problem for a year. She did not tie when we got her, she would pull, flip almost over, lay down, rear up, and sit just as hard as she could. She'd do it everytime we saddled her and we sent her to get 'halter' trained and when she got back she was 10 times worse. Ive tried tying her all day, using a twisted halter, and working her and then tying her. But yesterday she almost hurt me so now i need to know how to fix this problem before it gets worse. Please help me!!
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 04:45 PM
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use a rope, clip and halter that won't break, tie too the trunk of a thick tree, give her as much slack as possible but not enough so that she could put her head down and get her foot over the rope and simply don't untie her untill she is standing without pulling or fighting.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 05:22 PM
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I might try high-lining her instead of tying her to a solid object in front of her. If she's broken halters/lead ropes before, it would certainly explain your trouble.

The advice about using a halter/lead rope combination that won't break is good, but it's also a double-edged sword. If the mare panics and can't break free, and you can't get to her to release her, it's possible that she could really injure or kill herself in her struggle. A horse needs to move in order to feel like they're dealing with their anxiety; if they feel trapped they can surprise you with the violence they're capable of. A high-line is generally safer as it allows them to move around. If you set it up right, it can even train your horse for you. As she mills around in a circle and repeatedly hits the end of the rope, it'll bend her body and disengage her hindquarters just like you'd do if you were riding her. If she's really anxious and doesn't want to stand, she can train herself all day long. It's really a valuable tool that I've found to work very well.

You'll want to tie the lead rope at a height that simulates where your rein would be if you were on her, which is where she can find a comfortable head position (approximately level with the withers is where I put it). Not so high as to make it uncomfortable, and not so low as to allow her to get a foot over the rope.

A (strong) overhead tree branch works well, so long as it's far enough away from the trunk that she can't wrap the rope around it. You can also build one. At my place, I run a length of strong rope between two trees and put the swivel in the center. This gives my horses room to turn completely in a circle and they can't wrap themselves around either of the support trees.

A final word of caution: At first, you'll want to throw the lead rope over a tree limb and hold it in your hand rather than tying the horse up. It's possible for a horse to hang themselves if they panic, so it's important to hold the rope in-hand until you're pretty sure she's got the feel of it and is over panicking. Otherwise you could have a bad wreck.

Once a horse is good about the whole deal, they're generally pretty good to tie up anywhere.
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post #4 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 05:34 PM
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Rather than use brute force I'd rather teach the horse to want to cooperate. Load your pockets with small treats and walk her past the saddle, back and forth and ask her to touch it with her nose. When she does offer her a treat. With the lead over your left arm, lift the saddle and just hold it. If she stands quietly, treat. If she looks like she will move, take a step back away from her. Approach again and see if she'll stand and treat only if she will. I wouldn't try to saddle her just yet, but just work in small increments in approaching and backing up. She will start to figure out that a treat is forthcoming if she stands still. Repeat this exercise the next day and you may find you can progress a little closer and even raise it a little. She may have a big fear of being tied when you saddle her and having the rope over your arm usually really lessens the fear. Often when a horse knows it can escape it will remain. It just needs to know that. Let us know how you do. Before you start, lunge her at the walk and make her move her butt over as she's walking with a light tap with the lunge whip. Her back legs will walk a larger circle than the front. This is tiring but the key here is you are pushing her around as another horse would. This makes your rank higher than hers.

Last edited by Saddlebag; 09-23-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Ian i need a little more description lol i dont understand. and Saddle, shes broke to the saddle now i just cant get her to stand tied without sitting back. today i left her on the tree from 9 til 4 and she didnt calm down til around 2 if that helps any ive been told all kinds of things. Ian can you get a picture of this and how to start them on tying like that? please it would be helpful..
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-23-2011, 10:52 PM
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I rigged up something with a garden tractor inner tube -- the idea is that they get a little 'give' from the inner tube which makes them feel less claustrophobic, compared to hitting the end of a rope that doesn't slide or give. This is how I did it - my outside hitching post is a crossbar between two of my barn poles, with a heavy duty tie ring, bolted into the 4x6 frame of the barn. (So it's a safe place to tie and I can get to the tie ring if I have to, without endangering myself). I used a heavy duty carabiner and hooked the inner tube on the carabiner (cut out the valve stem) and clipped it onto the tie ring. I put a sturdy rope halter and cotton lead rope on the horse, and tied the rope to the inner tube with a quick release knot. My horse still paws like crazy (working on that) but he doesn't pull when tied anymore.
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-24-2011, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetpealover View Post
Ian i need a little more description lol i dont understand. and Saddle, shes broke to the saddle now i just cant get her to stand tied without sitting back. today i left her on the tree from 9 til 4 and she didnt calm down til around 2 if that helps any ive been told all kinds of things. Ian can you get a picture of this and how to start them on tying like that? please it would be helpful..
There's a fairly good description of it here:
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-24-2011, 01:35 AM
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Don't tie her solid, or to a tree, or with unbreakable rope, or whatever.

Get yourself a Blocker Tie Ring and use it religiously. It's not quackery. It's not gimmicky. It's safe (FAR safer than the above methods) and effective (ditto for efficacy compared to the above). I worked with a mare who sounds just like yours: rear, flip, flop, crash, repeat. Nothing worked, including the tire trick, patience, tough love, pressure halters, etc. And then the Blocker Tie Ring improved her by probably 75% by the time she was sold, and still improving.
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-24-2011, 08:18 AM
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I second the Blocker Tie Rings. They're relatively inexpensive, and even if it doesn't help, it can't make the situation any worse if they're used correctly (i.e., use a 20-ish foot rope, attach the ring at eye height, and use the appropriate "setting" for your horse).

The key is in the fact that the ring allows the horse to move her feet in response to her claustrophobia/fear/whatever-cause-of-pulling, without her getting the release of halter pressure until she stops pulling, as opposed to breaking something and getting a release/reward for the pull. The tie rings also allow for an instant release of pressure when the horse relaxes, as opposed to a bungee or an inner-tube that keeps pressure on until the horse comes all the way back up to the post, disconnecting the release from the choice to stop pulling.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-24-2011, 09:12 AM
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I prefer to wrap the lead around the post only I hold the other end. As soon as the horse starts to fuss I make it move it's hindquarters in a circle or semi circle and make it hustle. When a horse is moving like that it is very difficult for it to pull back and it now has something else to think about. The use of a lunge whip tapping her hip will get the horse moving. If a fence is in the way, I'll just move the horse back the other way so we are doing semi circles. A horse usually wants to stop before completing a semi circle which should be allowed because the goal is that the horse stand still. A treat at this time is a good idea. The moment it gets restless it's time to move those feet again.
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