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allisonjoy 01-08-2012 12:24 PM

having a horse pull logs, deer out of the woods, etc.
i would like to see if my younger mare can pull logs, deer, or anything else that would be safe for her to pull.

what i would like to know is:
how many of you have a horse that will do this?

how did you begin training them?

what is the safest approach to doing so? (i have seen people that will tie the object in question with a rope then loop it around the saddle horn.) is that the best way to do it?

which muscles will this strengthen and how to properly use them.

thank you and looking forward to feedback!

OuttatheBlue 01-08-2012 12:38 PM

I'll sub because I don't know much about getting a horse to actually PULL something large, or the best techniques.

For trail, I had to practice dragging something very small off the horse. I learned from experience, until the horse is used to dragging something DO NOT wrap the rope around the horn!! The horse sometimes thinks it's being chased, and if you can't drop the rope they will get worked up.

I just did lots of practicing with my horse, the first time I dragged a log (very small) he was terrified of it, the second time he was better and then kept getting better. Now he doesn't even care. Once he got used to me dragging the log off of him, I tied it around the horn and had him 'pull' it (10 lb. log)

I think getting them used to actually having something behind them (like a small log) first before tying it up to them and having them pull will be beneficial. But interested in other replies!

Iain 01-08-2012 12:47 PM

Man, it's a good question that could inherit long answers and possibly a heated debate :D I'd just like to say firstly, that these are my opinions on what you should do

My horse right now will pull a log, and it took some long training. There are so many factors that have to be taken into consideration. First, imagine that you were the horse having to pull the log. You would have someone on top of you that is in possession of a rope, that is pulling something fairly heavy. You can imagine that the log, while it is being pulled along behind your horse, is going to make some noise. Some serious noise. Now, for the duration of the ride, he is going to have this "noise" following him. When he stops, it stops, when he goes, it goes. NOW (sigh :D), while you are doing the work with him, take that into great consideration.

The way I first approached the pulling of an object with my horse, was to pick the object... -_- I wanted to gradually bring him into the realm of noisy items, so I picked something that was going to be quieter. I picked one of those blue water jugs (you know... the one's for camping). I kept the top on so none of the vibrations would cause too much of a noise. Then I tied a very long rop to the handle, and I was ready.

With things that I know, or even think could freak my horse out, I always start with groundwork. First I let him see the jug, sniff it paw at it (whatever he wanted really). Then I would gradually put the jug on the ground and start very slowly circling him with it dragging on the ground. Depending on what his reaction is, you can proceed so forth, either with getting him more comfortable with it, or proceed to the next step of having it follow behind him. This could be very traumatizing for a horse, so tread carefully. I think you can understand the steps after this, such as pulling something heavier, getting on your horse to pull something ect. Just proceed to the next step, only after he is bulletproof (so to speak :D) with the step before.

As for tying the rope to the saddle horn, I personally think it's dangerous, because horses do unexpected things, and I would rather be able to cut/let the log off my horse at a time of urgency. I actually hold the rope in my hand if the item is not too heavy ( I know... You're probably rolling your eyes, and if your horse is calm, you could probably use the horn, just have a knife handy if things go badly :))

Hope I helped, and all the luck to you!

Mike Zimmerman 01-08-2012 01:05 PM

It helps to start off backing first so your horse can see the log first before you pull it forward. Or even better have somebody else pull the log with a horse that can already do it and let your horse chase it. Start off with a smaller log and work your way up to a heavier one. Make sure if you use your horn that the saddle is made for it. It's better to dally the rope to the horn even if it's one turn around, that way you don't have to hold the weight with your hand. Always remember pull straight up to undo the dallies instead of trying to unwrap the rope back off. The rope will just pop off the horn when pulled straight up if your horse gets in trouble. If all else fails pop your dallies and drop the rope, get your horse fixed back up and start over. If you want to be even handier with a rope you can do what is called "running rope" or "slipping rope", it's when you have your rope dallied to the horn and you let some rope slide around the horn with pressure but not the full load when your horse starts to pull. This is more for heavy logs, it lets your horse get some momentum going before he feels the full weight. I hope that makes some sense, if not I'll try to explain better.
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smrobs 01-08-2012 01:18 PM

Are you talking about having her pull it with a rider, like a cowboy that had roped a cow or are you talking about having her pull it like a harness horse with the handler on the ground?

allisonjoy 01-08-2012 03:04 PM


Originally Posted by smrobs (Post 1299099)
Are you talking about having her pull it with a rider, like a cowboy that had roped a cow or are you talking about having her pull it like a harness horse with the handler on the ground?

yeah more so like the same technique as a roper, but the log being behind, but i'm sure i won't always, or at first, be seated upon her while pulling.

and to the rest of you, thank you!!!! :D i planned to use a quick release knot around the horn, and i do have a roping saddle for some reason (never done it a day in my life lol), and i always have a pocket knife. but i am open to holding the object myself as well.

blacksplash 01-08-2012 03:19 PM

I was just wondering the same thing smrobs. If you mean logging in harness then this is the quick version of how we do it. Assuming the horse already has the basics and is comfortable ground driving- We bring the horse into the sand ring and introduce the harness piece by piece- starting with the collar. I put the collar on and lunge at a walk to get them used to how it feels and then the rest of the tack until the full harness is on and lunge for another couple of minutes.I do this for three days.

Then I ground drive them around the ring while tacked up. Then I attach two ropes to the hames and join them at the end and get a second person to hold onto them. Start ground driving again, but this time when I ask the horse to move on I get the second person to put a SMALL bit of pressure on the ropes. The second person is effectively a log. The second person gradually increases the pressure making the 'log' heavier and heavier.

Repeat for as many days as it takes that particular horse to be comfortable pulling weight.We do about a week of ground driving in harness towing a person.
We then introduce different objects along with that person. Cans, plastic etc. getting the horse used to funny objects behind it.Person two usually has the rope of the collar in one hand and rope with oil can/plastic or any other object in other hand. So when i tell the horse to move on he feels pressure in the harness and sees and hears the object moving along behind him-giving him the same experience as if he were pulling that object.Repeat until horse is comfortable with that. Then we do the same thing with a small log.

When the horse is comfortable 'pulling'' these things around we tie the end of the collar rope with the end of the oil can rope and remove the second person. The horse is now pulling objects by himself for the first time but its not scary or strange because he's used to weight in the collar and the funny things following him.

Just don't put too much weight into the collar to start with or you will hurt him or sour him. Slow and steady is the way to go here.

I like this method because the horse gets used to the weight and sensation of pulling without a scary object. I think its safer to use a person as a weight because if the horse bolts a person can just let go of the rope if needed, rather then a horse charging around the arena with something bouncing round attached.

I'm starting a new horse soon so i'll take a few pics and post them if you want.

bsms 01-08-2012 03:25 PM

My spooky mare was given her first lesson in this Friday. The foundation was a month or more of work desensitizing her hind quarters and rear legs. Nothing scared her more than something touching her hind legs, so this was a good thing to move toward - but AFTER getting her used to ropes touching anywhere on her hind leg or hip.

For her lesson, the trainer started by pulling a 4' long 4x4 on a lariat in front of Mia. When she was OK with that, she pulled it beside her while walking. Then she let it trail back behind Mia, with the trainer still holding the end of the rope near the horn. When Mia was OK with both sides doing that, she went to a half-loop around the horn. She eventually worked up to 1.5 loops around the horn (but not tied). She thought that was very good progress for 30 min, and then went on to work her on just drive reins.

For practice over the weekend, she recommended just pulling it along with my hand next to the horn, rather than wrapping it at all. Mia is calming down, and we do NOT want a bad experience to undo nearly 2 months of work!

COWCHICK77 01-08-2012 03:27 PM

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The thing that no one has mentioned yet, is desensitizing your horse to a rope.

When I start colts, on the first couple rides I shake out a small loop and get him used to the sound and feel of it everywhere on his body. I do this in a roundpen and dont worry about steering him around I just rub him all over with it around his head,legs on his butt...if he wants to trot around while I am doing it let him. When he stops and licks his lips, reward him. When he gets used to the feel of it I start with a small loop, some horses spook at the sound of rope sliding on the burner, so get him used to that sound of when you make a loop. Start swinging a small loop...same as above when he stops licks his lips, reward him. When he can handle a small loop a make a bigger one, then I a huge one slip it over his head, let him walk through it. When he can handle a rope being swung off of him and touching then worry about dragging something.

I use a small log or a railroad tie, I know smrobs does this too. It is great to get the piss out of a horse, build some muscle, and they get gentle fast. Mike had a good point, have your horse watch someone else drag it, so they get used to something "chasing them" on the ground. Then walk up to your drag put the tail of the rope on the offside of the horse, mount. The rope stays on the off side. Before dragging, since I am assuming you have no experience roping, practice dallying. Keep your thumb up and wrap the rope counter clock wise around your horn. Depending on if you have rubber, one and half turns is enough to get a bite. Or a slick horn, about 3 turns. Practice dallying, without looking at your horn. And popping them off like Mike said pull straight up...dont unwrap.

When your ready take your dallys and start dragging. Your horse may be more comfortable backing at first so he can see it, or maybe going front ways. Out of habit I hold the rope off of my horses butt when I drag something heavy. So your coils and reins will be in your left hand and you will control your loop and dallys with your right. When he takes a few steps and doesn't panick I let the face, turn and face the log, then pop your dallys.Pet him, dally, turn away, drag, face, pop dallys, pet.

If you want a video, look up the thread Catching Wild Cattle, in the roping section. Amazing posted a video of his paint horse dragging a railroad tie. It will give you a good idea how to do it.

AmazinCaucasian 01-08-2012 03:44 PM

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