Major Herd Bound Problem! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 03:59 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Canada
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Exclamation Major Herd Bound Problem!

I have a very bad/dangerous situation. At my farm we have 3 large fields, but in the winter my 2 horses (thoroughbred and quarter horse) are kept in the closer field which my plow for the them when the snow in the other 2 fields gets crusty and can cut their legs. They are very very herd bound and can't stand being without each other. My thoroughbred is high strung and my quarter horse is laid back but can be stubborn and push you around. I've read other post about this topic but tying them alone until they calm down seems.... I don't know, I can just picture them having major stress and bucking/rearing and screaming (yes they scream). When I try to take one of them out, they usually calm down, but that only works when I take out the thoroughbred and make her concentrate on me and not her buddy (that take about 2 hours, no joke). But when I try and take out the quarter horse and the thoroughbred is alone in her field she has a major fit, and I'm scared that she'll hurt herself. Sorry that was so long, but I really need your opinions on what I should do! Thank you.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 04:20 PM
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The only way your going to get them over their herd bound ways is to tie them up. Take the mare find a safe place to tie her out of sight of her buddy. Have a halter and rope that wont break and a solid post that wont break.

Tie her up and leave her tied for the day let her scream throw a fit rear,buck,dig a hole. Do this every day till she can stand quite. Iv done this with my herd bound gelding he got over it after 3 days of screaming,digging holes and just acting like a jerk.

I make a point of seperating my horses out of sight of each other almost daily. If at any time one has an issue with it they stay tied up for the day till they can stand quite. One thing i hate is a herd bound horse so wont tolerate it peroid.

I can take one out riding and the other never screams or runs around. If the one left behind starts the running and screaming its tie up time again.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Ok thank you! I guess I will get over my fear of her hurting herself and try tying her up.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 04:49 PM
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I too was very afraid of tying a horse out - in fact just recently a friend of mine told me about her horse, who a trainer tied out. She was tied very securely, but it took 3 days before she stopped fighting the rope. When the owner took her home she was very good, but was having trouble eating. She began choking on everything. Soon she couldn't eat anything without serious choke. Finally the vet put her down because she couldn't eat anymore. On examination it was discovered that her throat and neck muscles were so damaged by the pulling that made her unable to swallow correctly.

I had an issue with my two horses being herd bound too when I first moved them in together, away from every other horse.
Here's what I did and still haven't hadn't a relapse in over a year.
I took my smaller and and quieter, easier to handle of the two horses out of the paddock. I started walking him around the outside perimeter of the paddock - at first the other one was all a-panic following us around the edge. After the second lap the inside one began to lag behind and just watch as we circled the paddock. When she no longer watched or fussed I put the little one away.
A few hours later I repeated this. This time it wasn't half a lap before the inside one stayed relaxed ad didn't watch us as we circled. So I added another paddock into our circle, so we got further away but still in hearing and seeing distance. Again, at first she jumped and fussed and when we got back she was all a fuss, but the second time she didn't even notice. I put the little one away, this was their reward for being good.
They both realized "I go away, but I always come back". Once this was no big deal I added my house onto our "route" where for just about 1 minute we could not be seen or heard. But before they even noticed we were back. Again, at first the inside one came running over when we reappeared on the other side of the house, but the second time she just looked up. The third time she didn't look.
The fourth time my neighbor stopped by to talk while I was behind the house with the little one. I let him graze as I talked, he liked that, it was almost 20 minutes before I went back and the inside one barely lifted her head at our return. I put him away. The next day my friend was over - so I took the little one on our usual lap, but this time, behind the house I left for a walk in the woods. I came back about an hour later, my husband was on call just in case my mare lost it, but she didn't. We got a little nicker when we returned, but it wasn't worth the energy of trotting over to see us.

They had learned that we get separated, but they always go back together in the end. I did it slow and never let them get too worked up.
When this was solid I switched for my more reactive horse but didn't have any trouble there.
I haven't had any relapses even though it's not often I take one out. I got a 3rd horse too and no one seems to mind if one or two are taken away.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 05:08 PM
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Punk's method is far safer than tying a horse and letting it carry on. When horses panic some will literally commit suicide. I know of one that pulled back, suddenly jumped forward and slammed it's face into the wall, breaking it's neck at the poll. Not something I'd be willing to take a chance on.

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post #6 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 05:32 PM
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If the horse your tieing out knows how to tie to begin with its not an issue. Iv done the tie method for over 30 years NEVER have had a horse get injured doing so.

They also get put back with their herd mates after they spent the day tied. So also learn they get to go back with pasture mates after.Maybe they get stressed but they also get over it.

All 3 of my horses have been trained this way none are any worse for wear. I want horses who can be tied up and not have to worry their going to pull back and be stupid. We camp so horses must beable to be tied sometimes for a week while camping.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 05:37 PM
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I agree teaching a horse to tie is vital. I go about it in a different manner.
I also see tying a horse while in distress as potentially dangerous.
Use what works for you - I'm just giving the OP options as it sounded like she wasn't comfortable with the risks involved in tying out her horse.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 07:44 PM
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What are people's favored ways of safely teaching a horse to tie?
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-03-2014, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Evil View Post
What are people's favored ways of safely teaching a horse to tie?
Personally I use reward-based training :) I teach my horse to stand on a solid verbal cue, rewarding them staying still when asked. Once they've learned this I run the rope through a tie ring and make this the "cue" to stand. Once they have this solid I use a blocker tie ring and loop the rope through once, offering a little resistance so they can learn more about the fact that they are attached. I may even ask for a "back up" and stop when they hit the contact of the rope, teaching them that that contact means "stand". From this I progress to a tighter loop on the blocker tie, where the pull has to be dramatic to loosen the rope. I usually leave the blocker tie just in case of emergency, but at this point I would feel safe solidly tying them anywhere.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-04-2014, 08:26 AM
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I have tied horses solidly for over 50 years and have not had one serious injury. Its been 30 years since I even had a horse get skinned up or slightly injured. I used to have at least 50 horses go through my barn every year just to break. Many arrived not even halter-broke, some as old as 7 or 8 years old and they all learned to tie. This included many Arabians and TBs and a whole lot of spoiled horses. For years, I never had fewer than 10 outside horses on the place. That's an awful lot of horse to send home trained enough for their owners to get along with. I could not have done any of this without horses trained to tie solidly and dependably.

I found out quickly that they needed to be tied to a place higher than their withers.
It needs to be safe with no place for their feet and legs to get injured.
It needs to be smooth.
It needs to be stronger than a mad 'big' horse.
They need to be tied with a halter that fits well. Never use a halter that hangs too low or is so big that it can pull up into the horse's eye.
The halter and the rope need to be strong enough to never break.
They need to be tied with a way to release them if they still manage to get in trouble.
They need to be watched when they are green at being tied.

We teach our own horses to tie solidly when they are yearlings.
We use a flat, wide, smooth nylon halter.
We tie them up 2 at a time, about 30 feet apart.
We want to address one thing at a time, so we want them to learn to tie confidently before we separate them and make them tie alone.
We frequently use a rubber inner-tube between them and the tie-place the first time or two.

Obviously, a horse should accept tying without any problems before the added stress of separation from all other horses is done. That is only common sense.

Our favorite tie-out place to use to separate horses from a herd or herd-mate is under a tree, tied to a big nylon rope that is hanging down from a strong tree limb. Ours puts the big bull-snap about 5 feet off of the ground. Any rope like this needs a big snap with a very good swivel. Horses will always start out going around and around and around, so they cannot be tied with a rope that will twist up. Always keep an eye on one.
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herd bond , problem , seperation

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