Teaching the houdini horse to tie - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Change
  • 3 Post By AtokaGhosthorse
  • 2 Post By blue eyed pony
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post #1 of 7 Unread 01-14-2020, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 79
• Horses: 0
Teaching the houdini horse to tie

My horse is coming up on 12 years old, and I found out he's never ever been taught to tie! Yikes!

The way I was taught to teach horses to tie was to let them figure it out for themselves, and he sure figured it out alright. He's learned to undo my quick release knot in a matter of seconds!

Blocker tie rings or any sort of tie that lets the lead slide through is a no go, because he figured those out too. I tied him to a blocker tie ring while I mucked stalls, and in a matter of minutes he slid his lead through the tie and came to see what I was up to. Sigh.

For the record, he does stand if you're there to babysit him. If you leave, he will try to follow you regardless of if he's tied. He just has to be in my business All. The. Time. Sure it's cute, but I'd like to be able to walk to the tack room without having a horse in my pocket.

Luckily he's not the type to haul back, scare himself and break the tie, but I also don't want him to learn that he can escape being tied by hauling back. My boss suggested I tie him with a bungee cord or car inner tube, but if that did break wouldn't it snap back and possibly hurt someone?

I've also been considering a nylon or velcro trailer tie for teaching him, but I worry about those safety release buckles. Would they be strong enough to hold him if he did haul back? Would they be able to stand the teeth of a bored horse? I've seen the velcro crossties, and they seem very sturdy.
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post #2 of 7 Unread 01-14-2020, 11:01 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Huntsville, AL
Posts: 4,306
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When I got my gelding as a 3 year old, he was mostly unhandled. He was born feral and caught as a 2 yr old, then went to a rescue where he was gelded and turned out to a 60 acre pasture with the other geldings. He'd had less than 2 weeks training when I picked him up. After getting him settled and working on basic ground handling, leading, etc., I tied him to an inner tube tied 6' up around an oak tree. Being high-tied makes it difficult to haul back. The tube provided a little give them pulls back. He only fought for a minute or two before giving up. He basically taught himself.

When I groom, I usually just loop the lead around a branch about head high, now. He'll stand there all day even though he's not really tied.
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post #3 of 7 Unread 01-15-2020, 01:13 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
Posts: 3,414
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I would recommend a patience post... And personally I wish I had one and am considering having one made.
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"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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post #4 of 7 Unread 01-15-2020, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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My horse came to me dodgy on hard tying and has broken cross ties and clips on leads when panicking about being "stuck" in one spot. Since then, I use both blocker rings and the velcro trailer tie with her. It has made a world of difference for her.

With the blocker ring, have you tried all the different ways of looping the lead through it? The "Level 3" maximum hold option here is pretty secure and difficult for them to work themselves out of: https://blockerranch.com/tying-options/

This is the breakaway trailer tie I like: https://www.smartpakequine.com/pt/tiesafe-ties-1620
It's very sturdy and holds up to tugging on it without snapping the velcro. In an all out panicked set-back, it does give, but there are no snaps or hardware to fly in the horse's face.

It sounds like your horse is more of a "problem solver" rather than a "panicker" when it comes to tying, so not sure how well an easy release option will work for you. With my horse, her pulling back was done in a panic, so hard tying became really dangerous. Having breakaway options kept her much safer; even when she got very startled and popped the velcro on the trailer tie (while standing in a stall getting groomed), once she was no longer restrained, she just stopped and looked for comfort after the scary experience. She's got some other "claustrophobia" type behaviors, so with her, this is something I do try to work around to keep her safe. I know you'll find plenty of other people who say that no way, horses just have to get over it and accept being hard tied, so that's up to you!
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post #5 of 7 Unread Today, 08:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 6,827
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I use a patience pole (mine is actually a big tree with a very deep tap root) and I solid tie with a rope halter and a 12ft lead with a bull snap. Add a pullback collar to that if necessary. There are quick release knots that horses can't undo; learning one of those will be handy.

Tie above horse's head height, they can't get the leverage to break free.

The pullback collar prevents broken necks.

I also use leg protection (usually brushing boots, sometimes bandages) if I think the horse is likely to really fight hard.

This is the ONLY thing that has worked for my 17hh mare. She is a big, strong horse and she knows it. She's broken so many halters, so many leads, so many posts... she even pulled a heavy post out of the ground once

I do not tie to the tree of patience until the horse understands yielding forward off poll pressure. That's why I haven't tried tying my breaker yet. He isn't yet consistent enough in yielding to poll pressure and sometimes, he sets back harder when he meets it (I am working on that though, every day he improves)

Pic of my setup. You run the lead through the loop on the rope halter and clip to the collar, so the pressure goes on the collar more than the halter. (this is my 17hh mare and she was wet, not sweaty; I had just washed her in preparation for clipping)
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post #6 of 7 Unread Today, 01:20 PM
Join Date: May 2012
Location: CT USA an English transplant
Posts: 33,832
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The Velcro release feature works well.

A horse has to really put some weight behind them to get them to release but they will separate in a true panic situation.

The quick release snaps are great because you can have one snap at the end that you're going to clip to whatever you're attaching the horse too and one that you clip to the horses halter, but whatever you clip it too must be sturdy enough to hold the weight of a horse that's determined to break free.

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #7 of 7 Unread Today, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Arizona
Posts: 300
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Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
I would recommend a patience post... And personally I wish I had one and am considering having one made.
I second this recommendation. We are buying a house and I am having one made there.

to ride on a horse, is to fly without wings
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