4 yr old that refuses to be tied up
I recently bought a 4 year old gelding from a sale barn. And I know that's not always the best place to get a horse but I couldn't resist him. But he is a really sweet guy until I try to tie him up. He pulls and rears and throws a fit. Even if I'm just holding his lead and he tries to walk away and I put pressure on him he flips out. But yet he's fine when he's being led except for him being disrespectful and getting too close to me. I eventually want my little sister to be able to handle him herself but I'm kinda stuck on this problem. I've never had a horse do this before. So I'd like to know how people have solved this kind of problem.
Shelby, howdy and welcome to the forum :D.
Since you've never dealt with this issue yourself before and any advice I would offer could be very dangerous for you or the horse if you don't really know how to properly use the advice, I'm just going to advise you to get some help from a good, experienced trainer.
I would start with a lot of ground work. Once he is really respectful of you in every way on the ground, then I would move to the tying issue.
This is what I had to do with my filly when she decided she didn't want to tie anymore. It only took her one session, but she was a quick learner and most horses will take more than one go.
Tie the horse to something strong enough that he cannot break it or pull it out of the ground. Make sure that the rope is thicker than the one pictured here and I also padded mine with towels all the way around her body. Also, make sure the knot is not a slip knot and cannot get tighter when they pull!
Tie him up like this, stand a safe distance away with a sharp knife ready just in case something happens, and let him fight it out. When he stops fighting and stands relaxed, tell him he's a good boy, but make sure to leave him standing nicely for 10 minutes or so before untying him. You will probably have to repeat this several times, but eventually he will learn that he can't get away when tied and will learn to stand patiently.
Good point smrobs, don't attempt my suggestion unless you have a lot of experience with horses. Even then, it would be a good idea to have someone more knowledgeable with you who can let you know if you are putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
I agree with the above posters, get a experienced trainer to help you.
Please, do not tie your horse to something that will not break, I have seen this happen many times and the horse will end up hurting himself(being hung-up) or you. A great thing to tie to is an inflatable rubber tube over a fence post, if the horse pulls back it will just come with the horse or stretch. Always tie with a leather halter incase it needs to be broken.
Thanks for the advice guys. I don't feel like I need an actual trainer to help me because I do have a lot of horse experience and I have trained my own colts and helped friends with their horse problems. I will eventually figure out what works for him, I was just curious to see how others have went about this problem. And I definitely agree that he needs major ground manners. We've been working on it and will continue until I think that he is respectful enough for my sister to handle him. For right now I let her play around with my 10 yr old barrel horse and they absolutely adore each other. I hope the colt turns out like him!
A trainer (a reputable one, that is) is always going to teach you something you didn't know before. I didn't have my first official lesson until I was 24 years old. I've been riding since the age of 2. I trained horses for people in high school. And boy did I love the lessons! So many things a second set of eyes on the ground can pick up. I make sure to take a least a couple lessons every single year in different things, because it can only make me a better horseperson.
Anyway, ranting aside..... Chances are this horse has never been asked to respect people. So you have to treat him as if he has never been handled before. You'll have to start completely from scratch. And I wouldn't expect your little sister to be able to handle him for a long time (months). This 4-yr-old has learned some serious bad habits and it is going to take a long time to earn his respect and trust. Ground work, ground work, ground work! Timing is so very critical, as is body language. If you leave the pressure on too long, he'll learn to brace, resist, rear, etc. If you do not leave the pressure on long enough, he'll learn he can get away with anything.
I would not tie him at this point, because he doesn't know how to respond to it. Start with the basics. Put a tiny amount of pressure on the lead rope, let's say we are asking him to walk forward. He might resist, or "flip out" as you state. Whatever you do, do NOT release that pressure until the very instant he gives to it. Don't pull harder though; just hold steady. If he moves, you move with him so you stay the exact same distance from him. But you've got to be ready to give to him when he gives to you. This is where timing is crucial and would be much better explained if you took a few lessons from a trainer in person so you could be shown.
You also need to immediately correct him when he crowds you when leading. It's very dangerous to have a horse walk all over you and not respect your space. I myself like to carry a whip when doing ground work, because it makes my arm longer. :wink:
Disengaging the hindquarters is going to be an important lesson for this horse. Yes, we want to control other parts of his body too, but if we can control the hindquarters, we can control a lot. I personally like Clinton Anderson's methods because he explains things well, including timing. Yes, this is a trailer loading video, but trailer loading issues ARE a ground work issue. So he does ground work with the horse. Watch closely to his body language, when he releases pressure, how he gets the horse to disengage the hindquarters and respect his space.
This is not a small task you've brought upon yourself with an almost full-grown horse who has bad habit engrained into him. You are going to have to handle him every single day, and you are going to have to be very consistent.
There's tons more I could say, but I'm going to stop for the time being. Because again, a trainer is going to help you more than anything at this point in this situation.
The only reason I said I don't need an actual trainer is because others were saying I needed one because it might be too dangerous of a problem for me to handle. They were saying that because they didn't know if I had the experience to deal with something like this by myself. I definitely do not think I know everything which is the reason why I posted this. I generally just wanted other takes on it. And I do watch a lot of videos on training and different problems with horses. I have been a fan of Clinton Anderson for a very long time and watch his videos ALL the time. I've even seen this trailer video. And I use his methods with almost everything I do when I work with my horses. I used those methods on my barrel horse and like I said, my sister and him adore each other and work great together. I hardly ever worry about her getting hurt on him. Not many people can say that about their barrel horse. Oh and my little sister is only 5.
But I am not trying to be rude I just wanted to say that I was not trying to be a "know it all". I know how it feels to deal with those. And I appreciate every bit of advice. Like you, I know its always good to have more information. Which is why I asked for advice on my situation.
Oh and I know he won't be ready for my sister for a long time. I would never let her handle him herself knowing he would possibly hurt her. So for now I'll just let her stick to giving him treats and petting him. She doesn't seem to mind waiting. And again thank you for your advice. I've seen your replies to other peoples posts and can tell that we are a like and I like the advice you give people.
If he is in your space he does NOT lead well and giving to pressure on that halter is the first thing he should know before he is tied.
This is a GREAT video on fixing a horse that invades your space while you're leading them without a big fight. It'll get him leading a log better and better prepare him to be tied.
As for your question on tying up, I HIGHLY recommend a blocker tie ring. The vast majority of horses don't tie because they get worried when they can't move their feet. A blocker tie ring eliminates that fear. If they spook they CAN pull back and move with some friction on that lead rope. You'll find that when she learns that he has the option to move she won't be so motivated to.
With the tie ring I use whatever halter and long lead. I have a 23 foot cotton lunge line that works nicely. You want the lead to be long enough that they don't pull it entirely though the tie ring. After they flip out, slide it back through so he is 'tied' short. You do want to stay close by to monitor him during this.
As he gets better, move to the firmer settings until he is safe to tie up regularly.
It's a easy safe way to keep anyone from getting hurt in the process.
It helps to lead and then tie in a rope halter. I find nylon is too easy for a horse to break and it also doesn't have as much of a feel.
Work on teaching him to lower his head when you pull down on the rope. How to do this is you apply even pressure until he "gives" and when he gives you give a little until he comes all the way down, then you release.
Repeat during random times you work with him. This will help him "deal" with pressure.
Practice planting your feet and gently tipping his nose to send him around you. If he needs encouragement with the whip, use it.. but get to the point where you only have to direct him and he takes responsibility of what he is being asked to do.
Also I used to plant my feet and apply pressure until my horse took a step towards me. Then I released. I kept doing this until all it took was a featherlight touch and he'd step forward. This teaches them that when they feel the end of the rope, they can step forward to stop the pressure.
I'd separate my horse from the herd to feed him his hay since they weren't given enough. I'd tie him up with his hay bag. That also made tying a very positive experience.
Now he ground ties, hard ties, cross ties, post ties, tree ties.. anything really. And he's happier about leading too.
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