Facts and Opinions on Tie-Downs.
I was just curious about the facts and different opinions on tie-downs.
Do you use one? Why or why not?
What is their main purpose? Can it be achieved in another, better way?
What are some pros and cons?
I did search for similar posts to no avail. If you know of a similar post, links will be appriciated. Thank you:)
Tie downs are meant to be used to give something for the horse to brace against. They can be very handy on horses for speed events or roping.
For this I think they can be an effective tool.
What they are not meant for is to hold the horses head down or prevent the horse from rearing.
I agree, in speed events they can and are helpful, but not necessary for other events or as a training tool to keep them from rearing/hold their heads down. Though they make a handy halter for inbetween events while you're trying to cool them out :)
IMO, tie downs (or standing martingales), or training forks (running martingales) should only be used as a safety device for a horse that flips their head up while ridden (or jumped). It should only come in to play when the horse's head is above the bit, or nearly straight up in the air.
That said, either device shoud only be used as long as it takes to correct the behavior through proper training, bitting, and if needed, saddle fitting and body work (chiro/massage).
I do not agree with the long-term use of these kinds of training devices, nor do I agree with the use of any gadget to "force" any kind of headset, frame, or change in gait. Proper riding/training produces better and longer term results than the use of a quick fix gadget. (proper use of) Side reins on a lunging horse is one thing, to help the horse round and collect without the added interference of a rider, but their prolonged use, the use of tight side reins on the lunge or while riding, or the use of other lunging gadgets is not ultimately beneficial to the horse or it's training IMO/IME.
ETA: I do not know anything about speed events or roping, so I cannot comment on their use there. I am refering to pleasure horses, trail horses, H/J, Dressage, WP, etc. That said, I have seen plenty of good barrel horses run without a tie down, so I am skeptical of their "need" in that event.
I was going to comment on the use of martingales being used for horses that throw their head up by opposite to yours, my experience lays in the speed/rodeo area. Thanks for pointing that out!
tiedowns are usually used for "head-tossers". I had a mare once who was used for barrels & poles for years by her previous owners and would get super hiped up when she knew or thought we were gonna run.
She'd never bolt but would start tossing & tossing her head and one time actually knocked me in the nose, so we went with the tiedown for quite a while after that until i was able to get her to learn how to relax lol. She still did it for years afterwards, but it was better & she would only bob her nose, not fling her whole head backwards.
Kind of funny, cuz after i managed to someowhat correct the behavior, i sold her and the family that has her now uses her for speed events again lol.
The only reason I would ever use a tie down is for a horse that needs help balancing around turns. Its only purpose is for something to brace against (as SD pointed out) Most of the 4-H kids ride with them because they come in fancy colors. That is the way it is around my part though!
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