Tying the reins around

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Tying the reins around

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    05-21-2013, 08:39 PM
Tying the reins around

I for one have never done it.

However, I'm beginning to think it may be a useful tool for my 2-yr-old, who I just started riding.

So far, he hasn't been the brightest crayon in the box but he is doing okay. I've ridden him 5 times. The future NFR-qualifier just had his first ride!! I keep my "rides" pretty short around 10 to 15 minutes. He's still just a "baby" so we're just taking it nice and easy. I mostly just like him having the exposure at a young age, because I feel its easier when I bring them back at age 3, after being a horse for the winter.

I always start my colts in this order (when it comes to the bridle):
1) Put the bridle on (no reins) for about 10 minutes on several occasions, so they can get used to it in their mouth.
2) Start asking to give to the bit in both directions, using the halter as reinforcement.
3) Start asking to back up in the bit, using the halter as reinforcement.
4) When he's giving in all directions after many sessions, THEN I get on.

And I always go through this little "flight check" before I get on him, to make sure he's paying attention before I get on.

He does pretty good about giving to the bit most of the time. Every once in a while, though, his nose goes in the air and he resists. I keep on him until he "gives" properly so he's not getting away with it.

Now I figure that he'll continue to get better with time, but I also wonder if tying the reins around will help him figure it out sooner, rather than later?

I've never done it, so I guess just looking for opinions on it either way.
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    05-21-2013, 09:36 PM
Green Broke
Horse has 5 rides. It has no idea at this point what you want, so I would not rush into tying the reins.

Work on keeping horse supple with stretching and consistent riding and light hands.

Does far more than tying around does.
    05-21-2013, 09:48 PM
I did it with Kaja, but she's very bright. I didn't tie her head all the way around like a lot of people do; I know she can stretch that far because she has to watch me whenever I brush her butt or back legs (like cheek touching belly turned around). I just tied it off so that she'd have to turn her head a little bit to relieve the pressure and still be comfortable.

I sat and watched her. It took all of 30 seconds for her to figure it out on either side, but I let her sit there with her head cocked a few minutes each way. I got on and she knew what I wanted. The only problem I had with that was that she knew if I pulled on one side, she had to go that way. As soon as I tried pulling back with both hands to stop, she got very confused and would bolt. I had to show her that one the ground too. I just lead her and said "ho" while pulling under her chin. Lightbulb!

But for the first horse I've ever had to start anything from scratch with, I have to give a lot of credit to Kaja for being very calm and very intelligent. The only things she's done wrong have been out of fear or confusion that have been from something I've pushed too far too fast.
xxdanioo likes this.
    05-21-2013, 10:31 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
By tying the reins around, do you mean taking the rein- attached to the bit- and tying it to the saddle? I would never do it. I'm sure there are better ways to do it that what I've had experience with, but my riding mare panicked once while tied around like that and nearly broke her jaw. Her old 'trainer' frequently used this to start young horses (incorrectly) by using the split rein to tie it to the D ring on the saddle and leaving them alone until they'd fretted and spun and lathered them so badly they were shaking. That's how he 'taught' Corona (my riding mare) to turn. I had a heck of a time retraining her for it and she was impossible to bridle for a VERY long time.

I'm not saying there arent perfectly humane ways to do it...but there are plenty of much safer ways to do it. Do they take longer? Sure. But are they much better in the long run? Absolutely. I've never used that method once in my life, and all of the young horses I've started (notably...only a few. LOL) respond to very light rein pressure.

IMO tying is the lazy way to do it. You can just as effectively (or more effectively) teach them to follow pressure by putting it on the rein with your own force, and lessening/releasing it when he responds. Tying will just teach him early on to evade the bit by turning his head enough to take away ALL pressure and overcompensating rather than SEEKING the bit.

Your horse is a baby. He'll figure it out, just be patient with him.
    05-21-2013, 11:13 PM
Green Broke
My trainers friend/trainer does this with her filly. Not tight just enough to where she can feel the pressure. If done right it isn't bad but you can't tie them so tight then leave em unattended and expect nothing to go wrong.
smrobs likes this.
    05-22-2013, 10:30 AM
Good points in both directions.

Now I am not going to *only* tie him off and not actually also teach him with the reins. I want to use the technique as an additional tool for him to figure it out on his own how to find that release. I wouldn't plan on doing it for more than a few minutes each way. I don't expect him to "freak out" because I have yet to see him freak out about anything. He's pretty ho-hum about everything.

I'm in no hurry to do it and actually haven't ridden him for 5 days because it has done nothing but RAIN here. Hopefully will get on him tonight though and see how he does.

I know there are some pro's who advocate tying the reins off, so just curious who also does it on here.
    05-22-2013, 10:39 AM
I think he's a little young for tying. I've done this a few times with my (embarrassed) not finished 7yo QH, but he's been ridden off and on since he was a 3yo. The last time I did it bc he totally wasn't listening to me under saddle, so I switched bridles, tied to reins to my saddle for a loose contact and lunged him on both reins. When I got back on he was really listening, so he had made the CHOICE to misbehave and later to behave.
I think your youngin needs to be able to choose to do the right thing while at liberty, and not restricted. I could be wrong, but I heard a long time ago that under 2 a horse can break it's neck if frightened while tied. They're still babies at 2, and that's why TB racehorses are always held by a holder--NEVER tied. People that buy off the track don't know this and are surprised when they bring home a horse that won't tie. (Sorry, got off topic.)
Please post more picture for us. =D
    05-22-2013, 10:51 AM
Originally Posted by Corporal    
I could be wrong, but I heard a long time ago that under 2 a horse can break it's neck if frightened while tied.
Huh. I have never heard that before. I expected my guy to learn to stand tied when he was well younger than a yearling!!! So he was tied then! We've always tied the young ones so that they learn to do so at an early age.

Very true. He is still a baby. Hence why I'm not rushing into anything.

(He sure doesn't look like a baby though, does he? For reference, I am about 5'6".)

They just had their feet done last weekend and my farrier LOVES his feet. He says they are some of the best Quarter Horse feet he has ever seen. Nice and big and solid; just like his legs too! Can't help but brag about my guy.
Corporal and HighonEquine like this.
    05-22-2013, 11:01 AM
Green Broke
In my opinion, it is only used correctly on very specific horses, Like ones that have a significant amount of riding on them(in well fitting tack, with teeth in good shape) and they choose to try to throw their weight around and resist the bit.

It has no place on a two year old, the same lesson can be taught far more effectively from their back, where the rider can choose to release.
Corporal and Endiku like this.
    05-22-2013, 11:01 AM
He's going to be a real beauty. I didn't say they couldn't be trained to tie. I had heard from several sources that you should be careful tying under 2yo. Doesn't matter--don't own a 2yo or younger. I still think the horse should decide to cooperate with you. He so young that he might feel restricted if you tie the reins. I can see by his size that it's SOOO tempting to push him. Just hold back and take your time.
Think about how many WB's, who are so BIG when they're young, aren't really started until they're 4yo's. Just put on your patience hat and post lots more pictures of your beautiful buy for us to drool over. =b

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