How do you teach a horse to stand tied?
Curious to know how some of you teach your horses to stand tied and/or ground tied. So whats your method?
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I learned my method from John Lyons but then I saw Pat Parelli doing something very similar and so I use both. I don't have time right now to explain but I'll come back later and write something for you.
I got this article from thehorse.com... but it is what I do to teach tying and it really works for me and lots of other people.
We all take tying our horses for granted. But if you've ever owned one which you can't tie, then you know how inconvenient and even dangerous he can be. You don't have the luxury of tying your horse and leaving him, even for a moment. You have to schedule time or pay someone to hold your horse for the farrier or veterinarian instead of cross tying him. And you can't tether him to a trailer at competitions, as an escaped horse is the last thing any show organizer wants.
Many people feel, and rightly so, that a horse which doesn't tie is useless. But whose fault is it? Standing tied to a stationary object is not natural for a horse. Running away from danger is a horse's first defense, and standing tied takes this choice away. Staying to fight is his next defense, and fighting while tied isn't safe for the horse or anyone near him. This well-adapted flight or fight response is what has kept the equine species (as prey animals) around for so long.
Your horse is not stupid if he doesn't understand what tying is all about; it just means no one has ever taught him properly. The good news is that it's not too late. All horses can be trained to tie.
Test Your "Trained" Horse
Are you absolutely sure that your horse will stand tied? Most horses will be perfectly fine when all is calm, but how will he react if his environment changes? Will your horse remain calm if:
Pat Parelli, internationally known horse trainer (and handler), says, "At nearly every demonstration I have given, the question inevitably arises, 'Why do horses pull back?' Almost everyone involved with horses has had to deal with this at one time or another. Not only is it frightening, often it ends up with damage...to the horse, the equipment, the handler, and/or the thing to which the horse is tied."
Wendy Hilton, owner of Cornerstone Ranch near Dallas, Texas, is a certified John Lyons trainer who specializes in helping clients work out problems in a calm, safe manner. She says that learning to teach horses to tie is a common request.
Why Do They DO That?
Parelli says that owners should look at the natural horse and try to see things from his perspective. "Horses are prey animals, which means they are hunted as food by predators that sneak up on them, then trap and kill them. Consequently, horses are always on the lookout for dangerous situations and signs of trouble. When a horse feels trapped, he doesn't think. He reacts.
"For example, if a horse gets startled, pulls back, and finds he's restricted by a halter and lead, he instantly feels like he has to fight to save his life. At that moment he doesn't realize that he is not being attacked or otherwise in danger. He just knows he needs to run for his life, and he has to get away from whatever is stopping him.
"When teaching a horse to tie safely, it's not just a matter of teaching him he can't win (the bigger tree, stronger halter, and rope method)," continues Parelli. "We have to teach him how to yield to pressure and to think his way through situations, instead of getting worked up into a blind panic. We need him to become calmer, smarter, and braver so he can deal sensibly with all the different situations 'humansville' will present.
"Pulling back is actually pushing against the pressure they feel on the back of their heads when haltered," added Parelli. "This is called the Opposition Reflex. It's a survival strategy as much as anything else. Unless we can teach our horses that they don't need to oppose us, they will become frustrated, hurt, and potentially dangerous. We have to reprogram our horses to yield to pressure and the earlier we can do this, the better."
What NOT to Do
The following "training" concepts are never an option, according to Hilton. They go against the horse's fight or flight nature and do far more harm than good.
Never tie a horse to a tree or post and let him fight it out. This is a common training practice with the idea that a horse will resist until he understands that fighting gets him nowhere. "You are risking your horse's life and your own safety by doing this," says Hilton. A horse will not learn by exhausting himself.Training Tips for Tying
"Would you leave a claustrophobic person in an elevator?" asks Parelli. "When teaching a horse to tie up safely, I don't start the lesson by tying him up! The overall objective is to help him become calmer, smarter, and braver. I start by giving him a number of tasks designed to teach him a few basics:
Parelli uses his Seven Games training to make sure the handler and the horse have a sufficient relationship that will allow the horse to accept being tied without panicking (see "Naturally Parelli" in the May 2002 issue of The Horse, Article Quick Find #3449 at www.TheHorse.com).
Once Parelli has worked a horse through the Seven Games, he will use his special halter and 22-foot lead rope for a learning situation. He cautions that the following training exercise should only be done if you have studied his training methods and understand your role and goal.
"You'll need to do some preparatory work on yourself and your horse to make sure you have the level of knowledge and skill it takes to produce good results," cautioned Parelli. Here is the learning situation as he directs.
"I find a sturdy rail, and I bring the horse close and take a turn around the rail with the lead rope. I get out of the horse's way. To stimulate the pull-back situation, I need something to bring out a reaction in the horse, causing him to try to pull back. One of the best things I have found is what I call a 'flag.' I make a flag by attaching a plastic bag, with the end cut open, to the end of my Carrot Stick (another special Parelli tool). When I shake the flag, it sounds like a predator sneaking through the undergrowth.
"This noise alarms the horse and amplifies his instincts to flee. As soon as he jumps away, I allow the rope to slide out slowly while still shaking the flag. This provides a little resistance for the horse, but allows him to drift backwards. If you lock on and try to prevent the drift, the horse will flip over in his panic and learn nothing. He may even hurt or kill himself.
"Using the flag as a stimulant accelerates the learning process for the horse because it heightens his reaction, but ends up, in his view, not being dangerous. He learns that he can live through scary situations and, with repetition, he finally starts to think, 'This really is no big deal!'
"So, when I shake the flag, the horse jumps and runs backwards until the point where he feels he is safe. I stop the flag when he stops--not before or he won't become desensitized. Then I reel him back in with a nonchalant look on my face. And I do it again and again until the horse learns not to panic and to give to pressure.
"You'll find the horse improves each time," says Parelli. "He'll run back less distance and without as much force or panic. He'll come back in easier and easier, until finally you can reel him in very close, shake the flag, and he won't put any pressure on the rope at all.
"Watch the way his mind starts to work," concluded Parelli. "Every time he learns something, or his brain shifts from right (instinctive) to left (rational), he will lick his lips. Give him a few moments to do this. I also make sure that I can rub the horse all over with the bag, once again proving to him that there is nothing to be afraid of.
"Remember that this has to become a program," added Parelli. "Do it for a minimum of four days in a row, then a couple of times a week until you can see that the horse has been reprogrammed and his first instinct becomes 'don't just do something...stand there.' "
Remember, said Parelli, "Try not to look for quick fixes, and don't resort to mechanical devices and force."
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You are most welcome.
I teach a horse to ground tie before moving onto 'solid' tying.
How I teach to ground tie is pretty simple...I will have the horse's normal working halter, and lead line attached, while I groom him or tack him up, whatever I am working on that day. Keep in mind that I will have already taugh the horse how to lunge, send back and forth on the line, to yield his hips, back up, and yield his forequarters, before teaching the ground tying, as I incorporate those exercises into the training.
I leave the lead fairly slack as I move around him, so the horse 'feels' he is loose; I just loop it over my left arm (if on left of horse, right if on right). When he goes to move his feet, I turn his idea into mine, and will do some simple lunging, or sending exercises, maybe some backing, hip yielding, or shoulder yields, then put him back where I had him, and resume what I was doing. If he moves, rinse, wash, repeat...By being consistant (ie, putting his feet to work when HE moves, but not before he moves...so let him 'commit the crime' before correcting, so he learns that "I move my feet, I have to work...I think I will stand still instead!!!" I've had horses catch on in two sessions...literally...my current mare took ONCE of moving off, and me putting her feet to work, and she was like, "okay, you win...I'll stand still!" But she's scarey smart... When they have mastered that exercise, start dropping the lead on the ground; always do this in an area that is fenced, until you know the horse has mastered the lesson... By dropping the rope you are still able to put him to work if he decides to move, but usually if they have caught on to the first lesson, they don't...this is just further reinforcement. Even once they catch onto the first part, I will alternate dropping the lead, and looping it over my arm...I always remain 'quiet and calm'...don't get frustrated or flustered if the horse gets it one day, and then gets fidgity the next...they can have off days and testy times too, just stick with it, and "wait" for it to click...
Now move on to simply looping the lead over a rail...if he moves his feet, you are still in a position to work him, since it's not 'tied fast'... Rinse, wash, repeat, until he stands quietly with the lead over the rail...
I will usually move on to tying him with a quick release knot after he's passed that phase quietly...if I feel he is still a little tense, I will continue just looping the lead over the rail until he falls asleep while 'tied'...then move on.
IF he doesn't catch on to any of the methods given here, try the Aussie Tie Ring; This is a training ring that is designed to "give" some lead back to a horse that spooks or sits back on the lead for whatever reason...the idea being that most horses that sit back have been spooked into their flight response, so being able to take some of that clausterphobia away, by "giving" to some of that pressure, releases the desire to want to flee. eventually he will stop sitting back so much, and eventually not at all...The ring can be adjusted to different 'pressure' settings as well, depending on how flighty the horse is...It's really a neat device, and if I were to come across a horse that DIDN'T respond to the extra training I put into them, I would definitely use one...
Thanks guys, very useful info here.
Hi i found for my horse who is now fine to tie was to bring him out to feed so he associated being tied up with something good. I would make sure the lead rope was slack (obviously not long enough so if he were to panic etc he could injure himself or trip over it) and make sure it was tied through bail twine or something which would break easily if he were to panic so it would just snap instead of him fighting to get free. After doing this he seemed to accept that it wasnt actually that bad to be tied up and was happy to be tied up to be groomed etc. Another good way of helping a horse to tie is if you have another horse who is part of his herd and is happy to be tied, tied alongside him as it may make him feel more secure and less likely to panic.
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