I know nothing about OTTBs, but we do own one horse that can be difficult to tie. In my past I had solved the issue one way or another. However this horse was a little different, he too has broken rope halters by sitting on his ass.
What I found that triggered him was the length he was tied. If I tie him long, to the point most would deem dangerous so he can eat his grain out of a pan on the ground he is fine. I tie him shorter like most would if tying a horse to the trailer it would end in a pulling fit(hence the broken halters and shoe marks on the fenders of my trailer). I have no issue with leaving him tied long, since he is hobble broke he will not do much if he got a foot over a lead. Also, he is the best out of the bunch to lead! I do not buy into the BS about a horse that doesn't tie doesn't lead!
I am by no means suggesting hanging her out to dry on a long lead, but she may have a trigger/hole you haven't caught yet.
My horse was a right pig to tie up. She would throw her head back, rear, sit down and generally muck about until something broke. Once she was free she would stand there and laugh at me
The only thing that helped was tying another rope through the halter and around her neck, behind her ears, with a none tightening knot of course and we always had a knife handy just in case it went to custard. She got the shock of her life pulling back on that and nothing breaking. Never pulled back again...until I didn't put the rope on so it took a while but she's good now
Make sure the rope is tied to a solid post or something that won't budge quick release knot too! Good luck!
I had a draft horse, belgian who came to me like this. Couldn't tie her to anything or cross tie, she would rip the place down. I went through 4 different nylon halters & 2 leather halters for this mare & I had enough. My friend let me borrow a old blue halter he had used for breaking mustangs. It had an attached lead rope through the center of the halter, that wrapped around the back of the ears & connected back to the lead. It was prickly and woven fiber, very tough.
That draft mare got tied to the pine tree out back for 6 hours. She fought, thrashed and tore the side of that tree up. Dug holes, stomped, kicked out & made the back of her ears brushed burned.
After 6 hours & her finally just accepting pressure she calmly stood for an extra hour before I walked her back to the barn. Dressed her scapes & let her loose without her halter to the pasture for the next few days.
I waited a week & put a cowboy style pressure rope halter on & walked her out to the tree, clipped her up & proceeded to brush her body, pick her feet & she would wiggle around, then back up to her pressure point & release off. So I left her stand there while I mowed the grass and yard work & she danced, wiggled & pulled to just a little pressure. About two hours went by & she stood still for the last half hour, so I returned to finish brushing her, back to wiggling & I left again.
I played this game for 7 hours & when she completely stood tied without pulling, wiggling or dancing I got her all brushed, up clipped her & lead her back out to the pasture. We did this from then on every morning for two weeks untill she got the idea!
I agree w saddlebag ^^, clicker or not - a sturdy hitching post and a long rope for leverage is the safest for you and the horse. I no longer have a super sturdy hitching post, and I won't be satified that my filly will stand tied for most things until I can put her through the paces on a post. To me, unless you are at one end of the rope, anything else presents a danger to them, or the possibilty they will break it.
I've read the whole thread and thought I'd toss in a few lines, since I've had some experience with several horses like this.
First, a word of caution. We all know about a horse's instinct for survival, and that it includes flight. I won't bore you with all that. However, if a horse cannot escape, such as when you use gear the horse cannot break, once it figures out it cannot escape by pulling back, very often the horse will lunge forward, crashing into the hitch post, trailer, tree, wall, or whatever is in front of it. Make sure you NEVER GET IN FRONT OF A HORSE THAT IS PULLING BACK!!! Use a horse-tie knot the horse cannot pull loose, but will not bind and can be pulled loose with a simple tug. People get hurt by getting in front of a horse that is pulling back while trying to untie/unsnap a lead. Regardless, wait until the horse stops pulling back before releasing it.
I have a mare who normally stands quietly while tied, but a couple times has surprised me. Under different circumstances, she has pulled a couple times. She panicked and went to pieces. I knew she could not break my gear. I use a flat-braid nylon halter with buckles, rather than snaps, and a heavy-duty cargo parachute cord about 3/4" diameter with a breaking strength somewhere around 50,000lbs. I stood back and watched her pull. Each time she pulled, lunged forward, crashed into the post and fence, tree, etc, then pulled back again, finally ending up on her back with her neck fully stretched out against the rope, to the extent she could not get up. Once she stopped struggling, I pulled the knot loose and let her up. Each time she suffered a few minor scrapes and bruises.
The last time she decided to pull back, she pulled, settled back against the rope for a couple seconds, then seemed to remember something. She then relaxed and moved back up to the post. It was like I was watching her change her mind about pulling.
I don't necessarily recommend this method. It is dangerous to the horse and the handler, however, if a horse can break the gear, you will never teach them to overcome panic while tied.
The method I recommend is this: Take a long, strong lead, maybe 25'. Bring the horse to a post or tie rail and wrap the rope around it a full wrap, then walk out to near the end of the lead, to one side of the horse and hold the lead. You may have to have someone provide a stimulus for the horse to start pulling back. Some will just pull back anytime they are tied. As the horse pulls back, you hold tight and allow the lead to slip, however, you pull against the rope, such that when the horse gives, you pull it back to the tie rail. Make the horse work hard for every inch it gets, then pull it back in as soon as it give even a little. It eventually learns it gains nothing by pulling except to get tired, and eventually stops doing it. The horse learns he cannot break the gear, yet doesn't feel trapped into lunging against the post. It never actually panics, because it can actually pull some rope and is not tied solidly, yet it quickly tires of the game and decides it is not worth the trouble to pull.
I believe this is a safe method for gaining the same thing I gained with my mare. The reason I didn't use it on my horse was simply that I didn't realize my horse had this problem until it was happening. Each time was under different circumstances that caused the panic. The good thing with my mare is that she learns quickly and never seems to panic twice at the same thing. She has now learned that regardless of what panics her, she is better off panicking in place, rather than pulling back.
Oh, and don't use your best saddle while training this. My poor old saddle is now in dire need of repair.
Just remembered some pictures I took when I first came to New Zealand and was working on a Standardbred stud.
The weanlings were haltered and a long rope attached which was then tied to the tractor - they were then pulled out into the yard and brought close to 'The Wall' a very strong filled in wall that could withstand a lot of pressure. As you can see from the photos - two strong men were then attached to the end of the rope while the boss tied a short rope around the weanlings neck securing it with a bowline, the rope was then threaded through the throat of the headcollar and the centre ring at the back and then tied close to the wall, again with a bowline. The long rope was then removed. The weanling was then left to sort out the problem of being tied up.
I found it quite horrific but I can tell you they never pulled back once they had mastered the wall. They would go on it for several days often for several hours until they no longer fought the rope.
My horse is also an OTTB, who used to set back every time he was tied. I didn't use the tie ring, I didn't use a butt rope, or anything similar. Every time he would set back I would just tie him right back up, I acted like it never happened, I didn't freak out or get upset or excited. I would ignore it and back tied he went. Everyone else before me that rode him or worked with him made a big deal about it and he got what he wanted-to be untied. He also always seemed very anxious when he was tied. So I constantly reassured him it was ok and gave him a simple good boy and a scratch in his favorite spot and he quit. He learned it's what I wanted him to do and that it wasn't going to kill him if he didn't pull free. If he set back I didn't seem to care and he got tied right back up so there was no point of him doing it. And I praised him and rewarded him when he was quiet so for him it was a win-win to stand tied. Now he'll do it all day long no matter where I tie him. Posted via Mobile Device
One thing that has worked for me in the past is to really work them hard then use the tying experience as a pleasant place to rest. When she gets restless, begins pulling, etc. it's time to go back to work. It's a full-day ordeal and may have to be repeated. But it seems like she's smart and just needs a new way to look at being tied. Good luck!