Tying help - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-19-2012, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Tying help

I got Jester back in 2010 and was told he didn't cross tie. Looking back, it was stupid of me, but I taught him to ground tie and didn't go further than that. He's been laid up since September after injuring his deep digital flexor tendon and we just got cleared on Monday to start working and riding again. Now, he's so eager to get out of the stall that he WON'T tie, and I don't really blame him, but I need him to stand still!

I don't have much experience with teaching a horse to tie. When I worked at the farm back in IL, I mainly taught horses to jump and wasn't a part of the breaking process. The general consensus around the farm where he's boarded at, and the farm where I keep my other horse, is to tie him to an immovable object and let him fight it. However, his problem isn't that he breaks the ties or his halter, it's that he slips out of his halter, leaving it suspended in the cross ties.

I'm also not sure that I want to let him "fight it out" because I don't want a reinjury of that tendon (these past 4 months have been awful). Anyone have experience with this method or success with another?
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-19-2012, 10:28 AM
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If he's that flighty, I wouldn't tie him to anything he can fight and pull and possibly reinjure himself with.

If you have little success with a normal headcollar, invest in a knotted headcollar or a stallion chain. Have someone hold him whilst you tack him up etc. Pressure and release when he doesn't stand.

Until he's relaxed and quiet, I don't think its such a good idea to tie him.

I'm sure some others may disagree, but will also offer advice as how to help with the cross ties... maybe your headcollar is too big..?? Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-19-2012, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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I've tried the rope halter with the knots and the stud chain for leading, but have not tried it in tying. His halter fits snugly, so I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how he is getting out of it. He's so set on getting outside. Right now my husband (and 3 year old) have to accompany me to the barn every day so my husband can hold him. It's just getting tiring, but worth it if it means he won't reinjure himself.

I'm not sure why this posted twice, when I tried to post it originally it said Internet Explorer cannot be displayed. So just disregard one of the posts, they both say the same thing.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-19-2012, 09:47 PM
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Don't cross tie him. Tie him to a post with a Blocker Tie Ring in case he pulls back. And fit his halter better.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 08:23 AM
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I second the Blocker Tie rings. If you just use them right out of the box with no prep for the horse, they do a great job defusing that pulling tendency. If you take the time to really get the horse good yielding to halter pressure on the ground (i.e., NH-style lunging, lateral flexion, backing up/coming forward off of the halter, dropping his head to poll pressure, etc.), they are an absolutely fantastic aid for problem tie-ers. The horse simply learns that there is no reason to pull back - he is able to move his feet, and he does not get the release of an equipment breakage mid-tantrum/spook. The ring helps immediately "reward" the horse for relaxing while still tied.

If you do decide to go for a Blocker ring or similar, do use a long line that will slip. My own tie line is ~20 ft of round braided nylon rope. The length ensures that if the horse goes to test the ring, he can come back and move his feet without running out of room and pulling the entire line loose. For the first few "lessons" with the ring, stick right close - you will need to reset the rig a couple of times as the horse tests it, but the resets will very quickly come fewer and farther between, and far less dramatic.

I've never personally had this problem, but one complaint that I do hear about these sort of tie rings is that some clever horses will learn to pull all the way out and untie themselves. Might be a concern, but I've seen far more horses untie quick release knots than pull through Blockers. IME, these rings are the safest way I've yet come across to tie any horse, problem ty-er or not. You can use two of them to have the same effect in a cross-tie scenario.

Good luck to you!
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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 #6 of 10 Old 01-20-2012, 04:40 PM
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Oh, I have two that taught themselves how to get free in under a minute. But that's what the adjustable levels of contact are for--you can make it much harder to pull so they think they're tied solid, but it's still safe if they do decide to pull back.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-21-2012, 04:30 AM
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kcscott, DO NOT tie a horse solid with a rope halter, other unbreakable halter or a chain over the nose!!! If your horse fights, it'll only greatly increase the chance of the horse getting broken before the gear does.

Agree with Daffy(except for using a chain) & others. Don't tie him firm until such time as he can be calm about being 'tied' with a blocker tie ring or with a long lead just looped over a rail a couple/few times. Another similar option is 'The Clip'. That way, if he pulls back, while the rope will keep a bit of pressure on him, it won't prevent him from his survival tactics(moving his feet) & cause him to panic.

I disagree with the theory of just tying them & letting them fight not just because this can lead to injury... especially if what you tie to isn't as unbreakable as you thought & the horse ends up running away with it still attached... But also because I think it's best to work in a way that avoids causing a horse to fear for it's life. I don't think it's conducive to your relationship with the horse, and when animals are panicking they cannot think clearly - so can't learn. Essentially what it does is just cause them to give up, shut down or 'check out' mentally, when fighting for their lives doesn't work. Kind of like a post traumatic stress reaction.

Oh & bubba, don't you love Houdini's?? One of mine will not stay on the Blocker tie, even with it on it's 'firmest' contact... when I'm not there. He will not even test it when I'm around, but I've hidden to watch him calmly pull & give, pull & give until he gets to the end of the rope & can walk off free!
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-21-2012, 05:06 AM
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Depending on how thick your lead rope is, you might be able to use quick release snap that is on most cross ties and tie downs. Instead of clipping the tie to the halter, run the rope thru the quick release. We do that with one of ours that occasionally has issues with being tied. It works similar to the blocker rings. Either way if you use a tie down or the blocker ring, do not use a rope with a knot at the end so once the horse pulls the rope to the end, it still can come out.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-21-2012, 08:19 AM
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When someone told you to let a horse fight it out while tied, they certainly didnt mean while cross tied! A horse should never be left unattended on the cross ties! Tie him to a sturdy post instead.
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-21-2012, 09:52 AM
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I think you are wise to ignore the people who are telling you to tie him and let him fight it out. Good for you for listening to your own common sense!

I agree with you that letting a horse fight it out is an excellent way for it to injure or even kill itself. There was a fairly famous lawsuit over a "trainer" who killed a horse last year doing just that.

I've heard good things about those blocker tie rings. I have a friend with a mare who would not be tied, until my friend ordered one of those.

My horse, who is actually named Houdini, can be cross-tied but unties himself from a single tie more quickly than I can tie him up again! He doesn't go anywhere afterward - he just does it because he's a big pig and wants to free his head to graze while I'm grooming or tacking or whatever. I've managed to teach him some self-restraint, but if I ever give him time off (like he's had since Thanksgiving) I have it all to teach again.
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