Tie Downs - Good and Bad?
Hi! I recently got a retired polo pony. She's 19 and loves her tie down. I've learned that she likes to brace against it to make her job easier, but other than that I'm not sure how it would be a bad thing. I'd love to get some info from others on how a tie down can be bad or good and why. My horse rides exactly the same with one and without, she just enjoys bracing on it when we start to speed up...
I think this is common with polo horses and in her case and age it's not a bad thing. From what I've seen the horse can still get it's nose up fairly high but not smack the rider in the face. For other disciplines the use of one often denotes a lack of training.
If she seems to enjoy leaning on it, I don't see anything wrong with it. My gaming gelding wouldn't really "run" until I tightened my rein and gave him something to brace on.
All in how you use it :)
A lot of horses will use the reins or a tie down as a "third leg" if you will. They kind of balance off it, which is what it sounds like your polo pony is doing. At 19 years old I would say she's probably very used to it and would miss it if you chose not to ride in it.
Any training device has the potential to become a crutch to a horse or it's rider. Even the most skilled riders can jam themselves by becoming too reliant on a specific device, that's why, if possible, it's best to learn to work through whatever issue without it.
That being said, I'd say your horse is probably a "chain-smoker" by now and feels very comfortable in the tie-down.
I guess if depends on how its used. If you use it for barrel racing to help out your horses balance (or so I've been told, only dabbled in it briefly), then sure its good. When used to "fix" a horse who throws their head or tries to evade pressure then no, its a bad thing.
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Yes, she is definitely very comfortable and happy with it. The tie down is really loose, basically only tight enough that she doesn't smack me in the face! lol We don't use it all the time, probably about a third of the time and mostly when we're just playing. I'm trying to start doing some english pleasure open shows and they won't let you ride in one and her headset would need to be lower, so we work on that the other 2/3 of the time. I was just wondering if this was harmful to her or me, or if anyone had any knowledge on why she likes it so much. Thanks so much for your comments! (Only been riding a couple years so I thought I'd ask around)
Keep it. A nicely mannered, 19yo horse with good training doesn't need you to second guess the equipment.
Problems with tie downs occur on green horses that are given a tie down before they've accepted the bit. They can react by flipping. That gives the equipment a bad name. My babysitter QH, "Ro Go Bar", (1982-2009, RIP) starting tossing his head when we he was bored, and we were waiting for the battle--CW--, so, I put a tie down on him to keep from getting popped in the teeth. Worked great, and we only used it for that activity.
Thank you all for your nice words! I've always been told they were used as a crutch for a horse that had bad balance or collection, or just a high headset and it was a cheat, but I don't feel that it is the case with my mare. And I'm very glad to hear other knowledgeable horse people say the same thing:)
If she rides the same without the tie-down, I'd say it's fine =] My Arab's first owners used a tie-down with him for years because they had a nasty bit in his mouth that he hated, so he would just jam his head in the air to get away from it =/ He's 13 now and it's taken me months to get him not afraid of the bit anymore and to have a natural headset without a tie-down.
How does she go without the tie down?
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