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ShinaKonga 01-02-2011 07:17 PM

Horse dislikes being tied
Long story short, I have my first horse, a four year old gelding, and despite being an all-around good horse, he obviously has his dislikes- such as, being tied.
I don't want him to develop a habit of pulling back, plus I'm inexperienced on the matter, so I was wondering if any of you had any advice on how to get him used to it.
Today I tried associating it with good things as he was tied; groomed him with a rubber curry, gave him a handful of hay since he wasn't fond of the apple slices I brought... But I was wondering if any of you had any ideas.

He hasn't actually pulled back yet, he mostly paces and swings himself around a lot unless I'm making him hold still. He calmed down when I began brushing him, though, so that is progress, right?

lilruffian 01-02-2011 09:15 PM

It might not be him having an aversion to being tied so much as he's young and needs to learn patience while being tied (i know older horses who still havent learnt patience). This will only come with time & by leaving him tied either by himself, with another horse or while you do things to him for increased periods of time.
Make sure you use a good rope halter on him though, just incase he does pull as nylon halters tend to break. Also, many people make the mistake of rushing to untie the horse if he pulls. DONT do this. This creates pullers. If he's not visibly injuring himself, leave him be. He'll learn that he can't pull and get off.
Some people will suggest using a neck rope just incase as they can be safer, but iv never had any trouble with a rope halter on a puller.

tinyliny 01-02-2011 09:18 PM

Well, since he hasn't yet pulled back, you could leave him tied for a while. Maybe first with a bit of hay, then at another time just leave him to work it out for himself. Let him weave or move if he needs to. He may come to the end of the line and bounce off and this would help reinforce to him that he can give himself a release from the pressure of the rope by moving forward.

Some folks use a kind of tie, I think it's a Clinton Anderson product, that allows rope to move through it if the horse pulls back suddenly, but only if there is really strong pull. for the most part it acts like a normal tie and snubs the horse but has the ability to give in an emergency.


mom2pride 01-02-2011 09:48 PM

I it sounds more like impatience than pulling; tie him to a good sturdy tie post, perhaps with a neck rope, and make a habit of letting him stand there for a good chunk of each day. A horse only gains patience at the tie out by being tied and not getting off the hitch for being antzy.

IF he starts to pull back, as suggested, unless he seems in immediate danger, do not release him...once he figures out that setting back actually gets him off the hitch, it becomes ingrained habit.

However, that said, if he does pull back, get an aussie tie ring, or the like, and use that to desensitize him to being tied, and teach him to 'spook in place'. If you get the Aussie Tie Ring, it will come with video, and instructions on how to use it. I love the concept of the tie rings, because the horse can set back, release a bit of line, and figure out that being tied is okay, simply because his fight instinct is 'shut down' by being able to get a release, and eventually they don't even set back anymore.

However, that said, "some" horses do figure out that they can just keep backing up and release themselves anyway...which would defeat the purpose of the tie ring. For those I teach them to ground tie, and when I'm ready to solid tie, I start with looping the lead over the fence, and progressing to eventually solid tie.

ShinaKonga 01-02-2011 10:05 PM

Thank you all so much! I do use a rope halter with him already, but I didn't know that I should leave him tied if he pulls back- good thing he didn't today before I knew.

I think for now I'll keep him tied for some spans of time to get used to it, and if that fails I'll look into the tie ring. Which I should look up now- I actually never heard of it until you both mentioned it.

bucktheattitude 01-04-2011 01:50 PM

I have a mare that hates being tied and loading. I started with the loading first and fed her every meal in there for a month. That was 18 months ago and she self loads now :) Then I started feeding her tied at every meal and even when the bucket is not there she stands quietly. I know this may not work for everyone but it worked great on my mare. Good luck!

ShinaKonga 01-04-2011 11:32 PM

He is doing so much better now! Just to update you all, I've been tying him for longer periods of time, letting him eat there, leaving him tied where he can say hello to some buddies over the fence. Its been a great improvement in only three days, but I'm staying careful. He's been pretty good so far. :)

AlexS 01-05-2011 12:12 AM

push a wheelbarrow of hay in front of him when he is tied, he won't care about standing there then. Slowly decrease the hay, remove the wheelbarrow over time. It is just a fear of being restricted for a young horse, and he just needs to learn that nothing terrible is going to happen. Horses are flight animals and until we teach them, they always want the option to be able to run away from danger.

I am glad that you are wanting to work this out before he pulls away, I love owners who see a potential problem coming and try to fix it early! I think your young horse will do well with you.

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