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This is a discussion on Tying within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        02-09-2010, 09:42 PM

    I'm just beginning the training of my 3 yr old filly.
    She's halter-broke (barely), but hasn't been taught how to stand tied.

    If I tie her up, she becomes nervous as soon as she realizes it. She doesn't try to pull back and break out of it (yet), but while she's nervously pacing around as much as she can, she tugs the rope over and over again. She gets even more nervous if I walk away and leave her tied, or try to do anything with her while tied. (She stands calmly just fine when someone is holding her lead rope, just gets nervous when actually tied.)

    Before I color the conversation with any of my ideas about this, I'll ask for your ideas on how to (gently!) teach her to stand calmly while tied.
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        02-09-2010, 09:49 PM
    I would say just do what you're doing. Ignore her nervous behavior and go about like there's nothing wrong with her. Eventually she should calm down when she realizes you aren't going to kill her.
        02-09-2010, 09:56 PM
    There are multiple problems going on here.

    1) Your horse is insecure and lacks self-confidence.
    2) She's been rewarded (probably unconsciously) for her poor behavior and thus it's been reinforced.
    3) You do not teach a horse to tie, by tying.


    1) Work with her in a small enclosed area w/o the use of restraints of any kind.
    2) Stop rewarding unwanted behavior. Ignore unwanted behavior, praise wanted behavior.
    3) Work with her in a small enclosed area w/o the use of restraints of any kind. Groom her, pet her, pick up her feet...etc... When she moves, simply put her back where you want her, and then continue on. When she will stand where you put her, let you work with her AND you can walk away from her and STILL she stands, then you may put a halter and lead on and tie her.
        02-09-2010, 10:24 PM
    Tie blocker rings or something similar. If they pull hard it slowly releases them so they do not feel trapped. If you wrap the rope twice it is harder for them to get loose.
        02-10-2010, 12:31 AM
    There are many ways to teach a horse to tie, depending on their experience...it very much depends on the horse as to what you do to change what the horse is doing. If it's fear based, you'd approach it differently than if it's just boredom. Different again if it's abuse related or just a twiddle bug.

    I think trust building exersizes will help with this, but first you have to figure out WHY she won't stand tied calmly. Have you tried tying her on another location? Outside maybe? Is is possible you're asking her to stand in front of a horse that doesn't like her (in a stall)? Think of your routine and see if there's anything that could be making her uneasy.

    Once you've ruled out outside reasons, look at yourself. How are you moving around her? Edgy and careful, because she's so fidgetty? Or are you walking around as calm and cool as you would with any other horse? What emotion are YOU portraying to her? If you think you're doing the same old thing you always do and don't think you may be the cause of her upset, then you need to look at the horse.

    How long have you had your filly? If not too long, then I'd maybe contact the previous owner and see how they "trained" her to tie. If no base work was put into her, then no wonder she's dancing around - nobody ever showed her how she was *supposed* to behave while tied. Sometimes, people can come up with some crazy methods and think they're genuinely teaching their horse something valuable.

    All things to think about...
        02-10-2010, 12:42 AM
    I agree with Mercedes. You need to work with her where she'll stand without restraints before you can expect her to stand with restraints. I spent the first couple of months with my horse just working in the stall, as she wasn't truly halter trained, and hadn't had much handling, so all I was able to do was work her in the pen without restraints. When it came time to actually tie her up, she was just fine. She fidgets some still, just cause she gets bored very easily, but it is not a nervous thing, and if I tell her to stop she does. I also talked to a trainer at a rescue place that said the same thing. Work with the horse in the arena, or stall or whatever, don't tie them up, just work with them, grooming, picking up feet ect., until they understand that they need to be still. Then when the day comes that he actually does tie them up, its nothing new, nothing big, because the horse already learned that he was supposed to stand still.
        02-10-2010, 10:59 AM
    Only start tying when you have finished a good training session and all your horse wants to do is stand and catch their breath. If they get to stand tied and catch their breath every time they will begin to love it because they know there are a lot of other things the could be having to do. I also like the Ted Blocker tie ring, it's a great tool.
        02-10-2010, 11:11 AM
    Originally Posted by EveningShadows    
    How long have you had your filly? If not too long, then I'd maybe contact the previous owner and see how they "trained" her to tie. If no base work was put into her, then no wonder she's dancing around - nobody ever showed her how she was *supposed* to behave while tied.
    That's exactly it... She had never been tied at all before I got her, and she's only been halter-broke to a rudimentary level.

    I'll definitely be doing more work with her before I try working on tying, so maybe that will help. Also, I like the idea of teaching her to stand still after getting her tired out, so she wants to. I may also try to find one of those tie blocks in a local store... I've heard great things about them, and by all means I don't want her to learn to pull back and break something. (Which in her current state, if something startled her while tied, that would probably happen.)

    For now though, I'm off to get her to accept being haltered without the use of treats.
        02-10-2010, 12:13 PM
    Originally Posted by justsambam08    
    I would say just do what you're doing. Ignore her nervous behavior and go about like there's nothing wrong with her. Eventually she should calm down when she realizes you aren't going to kill her.
    I agree. When I teach my horses to tie. I will tie them to a tree, with 2 halters and leadropes. Then I will start brushing (brushing calms my horses). And just talking to them("easy" "whoa" "stand"). If they start getting antsy, I walk away a few feet till they calm down again. Then go back to brushing. If they set back. I let them set back. I stand there as calm as can be and tell them "easy" "whoa" "stand". And as soon as they come back to the tree... I go back to brushing. Typically a couple times doing this.. and not getting free. They realize its easier to stand, and with you stepping back and staying calm and trying to calm them. They will realize... nothing is coming for them after all. My horses will stand tied with a piece of yarn, (and yes I have done this).
    I have seen a lot of horses tied with the tie rings.. and it just teaches them they can get looser by pulling.
        02-10-2010, 12:36 PM
    My trainer and I introduced my horse to tying in her box stall, using a circle-ring mounted to the wall and a lunge line. This way, we safely adjusted the length as she grew more comfortable with the restricted movement of her head. At first she stood there, then when she was ready we asked her to move around to feel the pressure on her head. Everything went so well for us using this method, I had visions of rearing and flipping over but it was never like that. I did the same thing with the crossties, we started out with two lunge lines, moved to one cross-tie, attached by a quick release knot and one lunge line, then both cross-ties with bale twine attached so she had some slack. The first time we used regular crossties she did back up and snap one, but after she snapped it she just stood there with a look on her face like, "Gee, I'd like not to do that again." We've never have had a problem since. Good luck!

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