Brat when tied
So, I am just wondering if anyone has any suggestions that I haven't thought of that could help.
Brief history of the horse. Firefly is about 3 (give or take a month or two) and Arab of Egyption and Polish breeding. Her breeder was overwhelmed with too many horses and this one got forgotten. Late last July she was tricked into a stall using cattle panels to get her away from the broodmare band where she had lived her whole life - untouched by human hands. The breeder spent two weeks with her stalled to halter break her and turned her back out with the mare band.
Two weeks later, she convinces me that the filly NEEDS a family and bullies me into taking her home. While she loaded nicely into the two horse trailer, being tied in the trailer was the FIRST time she had ever been tied. We then drove down I-5 in Seattle rush hour traffic for four hours to get home. She left dents on the sides of the trailer. She did ok as long as I didn't go faster than 40mph - so we cruised closer to 35mph for almost 150 miles. That was a LONG drive.
Due to my schedule, she got basically ignored for the next six months. I would take her out, tie her to half a cross tie near my gelding while I was saddleing up and then pony her out on trail, but that was the total of everythign she got until late Jan when we started actually having time to do anything with her.
Now, I don't like cross ties, they terrrify me. I have known someone who died when they were grooming a broke to death horse in cross ties when he paniced. She was found about six hours later... quite dead. Yeah, I don't use cross ties and won't use them.
In the barn, there are three cross tie stations and I have had a tendancy to just hook her to one side as we work on taming and the start of training. This was a bad mistake and she has learned that the stretchy cross tie that is several feet long gives her lots of room to be a brat - including bucking and rearing if I walk away. That HAS to stop NOW. I know it is my fault, but it still has to stop.
So the day before yesterday when I was trying to brush out her tail - for the first time I might mention, she started being a butt in the barn. So I took her outside where there is a steel hitching bar. It took me three tries to get her short tied as she kept tossing herself backwards with her head up. GRRRRR. So I got her nicely short tied and walked off while the royal freakout happened behind me.
Three times I went back, tightened up her line (MY hores ground ties so I don't actually tie very often and am out of practice), and walked away as she fought backwards against the rope.
I left her there for about two hours while my horse was played with by both my daughter and I. She was quite well behaved when she got to go back to her paddock.
I figure that everytime we go out, she is going to spend at least an hour, two or three preferably, tied to the rail for at least the next couple months. Then, when she is standing quietly, she gets some light training - suitable for her age and ability - mostly liberity work in the round pen.
Now, this is the old 'cowboy' way that I was taught on how to deal with a horse who doesn't want to stand nicely tied. It is one of the few 'cowboy' methods I use in my training. Anyonw have any other suggestions that might work? Everyone at the stable is like "yup, she needs to just spend time on the hitching rail".
Again, not natural horsemanship person. I just train however I see fit.
But personally I would actually tie her to a tree. Safely. Because trees have absolutely no give and a hitching rail.. well I've seen a few horses pull those out of the ground.
It teaches patience.
Honestly rearing while tied is very naughty, use any method to kick that habit from her system.
Then after she got the idea that tied equals absolutely nothing fun for darling missy, then I'd start training her to ground tie assuming that she already leads well. Then have her checked for any tying back problems because that can cause horse headaches and other bad problems.. especially if they learn to sit back when tied. Yowza.
But once she learns how to ground tie, then it's a case of teaching her to stand while you tie her to anywhere safely.
Best of luck with her!
I would love a tree - but there is not one on the property that is in a safe location. :(
I know this is my fault. It actually stems from it is not my horse, but my daughter's horse and I was not going to be in charge of training - but as I made this problem, I have to fix it.
She leads beautifully - hehehe, nothing like attaching her to my gelding's saddle for seval two and three hour rides to teach her to lead! She will walk on a loose line, stop when I stop, back up when I back up, and absolutely keep her shoulder next to mine.
My daughter, who has been doing primarily liberity work, can get full hing quarter pivots from her at liberty with just a hand on her neck.
But, yup, I think we are looking at a couple dozen hours tied to the rail.
At least she settles down fast. My horse, when he got that lesson, stood tied to that tree for six hours straight before he stopped fussing. Man I wish I had a tree to use!!
Good thought about having her checked by a chiro after we get done with out stupidness.
Any updates, OP?
Slowly, she is getting better. I put her on the rail of woe as I take out my gelding and she gets to stay there until she can stand still.
She has stopped rearing and bucking - funny that! But she does still fuss. I make her stay on the hitching rail of woe until she can stand calm for me to walk up and love on her. Then she gets love, untied, and hand grazed for a bit before being put away. Yestday she spent just over an hour tied before she coudl behave.
I think two, maybe three more sessions and she will be over it.
I hope so! And in the meantime plant a tree ;) LOL just kidding
LOL - if I plant a tree now and she is still enough of a brat to need a tree of woe when it gets big enough to use as a tree of woe - there is going to be some dog food on the hoof!
I don't like x-ties either, but I don't see how they're any more dangerous really than tying an untrained, frightened horse to anything firmly - it all can end in disaster. She's not being a brat, she's being a terrified & reactive prey animal & your first mistake was tying her firm in the first place.
I would avoid tying her firm, and use a long rope, either looped a couple of times around a rail, or with a 'Blocker Tie Ring' or 'The Clip' or such. That way, she can learn to *confidently* be 'tied', but in a manner that is safe and doesn't actively cause her to panic by complete restriction. The idea is that the horse(who should have already learned very well to yield to gentle halter pressure) will be 'tied' but if/when she gets worried, she's not stuck fast, can move her feet & pull back, without outright panic, breaking equipment, hurting herself... so she will learn that it's not so bad.
Normally, I woudl agree with you, but she used to tie just fine. Sigh. This was a bad habit that I let her learn and got worse as she got buddy sour.
I have two main rules when dealing with any horse.
1) I don't hurt my horses. A horse wont' learn anythign but fear if it is in pain.
2) Unless it is in the three seconds after a BAD bahavior when I want them to KNOW that I am going to skin them ALIVE (and that only gets to last for 3 seconds) I do not allow a horse I am working with to be afraid. Fear doesn't teach anything I want them to learn.
How you have described tying her, is how I prefer to tie, actually, I prefer tied to a pebble on the gound.
Her bad behavior started slowly, a pawing here, a bored twist about there. It was learned over about two months - the funny thing is, that when she has a long line she is tied with, she never once brings it tight! As I used to tie her to onen half the cross ties, she had several feet to 'play with' which is what she learned to do. Man she woudl hop up and down, dance in place, do some just plain silly stuff, but never reach the end of her tie line and without a care of how close or far away other people and horses were. But yes, she started to add bucking and rearing to her 'play' which is when I had to take action.
Thus, the hitching post of woe.
It also takes care of a secondary bad habit she has been picking up, that of tossing her head backwards while being asked to do something she doesn't wanna do.
Yes, this is all my bad! If I was the primary trainer I woudl be PISSED at someone who let her get these habits. Luckily, as I pay the horse bills, my grown daugher, who is the primary trainer, only gets to be slightly unhappy with me.
As soon as she stops jerking back on the rope, we can stop the hitching post of woe and work on teaching her to groung tie.
But thank you! I wanted other opinions of what to do, which is why I posted!
When I deemed she was well trained enough to be tied(rope looped around, not tied firm) & left, especially if she was nervous about being alone, I'd start out going out of sight(&/or taking her buddy away) for SECONDS, not minutes, let alone hours. The aim is to prove to her that it's no big deal, not make it a huge one that she's forced to put up with.
That '3 second rule' that people talk about is specific to behavioural research on dogs and is a bit misunderstood otherwise. Studies have shown that animals have extremely limited abilities for understanding abstract concepts, such as a consequence for a behaviour that happened in the past - that is, any time in the past. For an animal to clearly understand the consequence, it is best if it happens *AT THE TIME OF* the behaviour we want to effect. Studies have shown that, with *consistent* consequences, dogs can generally associate *within* 3 seconds of a behaviour. Horses have been shown to have no understanding of a consequence if it's more than a second or 2 after the behaviour.
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