New Issue: Gelding Panics When Tied - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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New Issue: Gelding Panics When Tied

I'm trying really hard to keep this short, I tend to ramble. Key bullet points, I have taken riding lessons over the years, been with current instructor now for 6 months, but she recently had a baby and works outside of the farm so hasn't been as available to help on a day-to-day basis. There are very knowledgeable people that board at the farm as well that have helped when they could, and I've been trying to research this topic but I really would like to hear what you guys have to say after hearing a little bit about him.


About the horse:
He's my first horse. I've had him for a little over a month, he's a 16y/o Arabian Gelding, has pretty good ground manners with the occasional quirks that get corrected, spooky (though he's in a new place to him), able to saddle up but still working on having him accept the bridle (he's getting a little better, weirdly... one of the boarders there has a much more quiet approach than my instructor and he was able to get the bridle on within a minute which was a record lol). I still ride him with the halter under the bridle. He is polite under saddle, though I always lunge him a bit before a ride just to get him moving and potentially some extra spunk out of him. Luckily, he doesn't buck or anything like that even when lunging.

To my knowledge he has never had issues with being tied and apparently did well in crossties. I know of his history for the first 14 years of his life (he was halter broken and shown as a colt, then later on saddle broken and ridden leisurely), the last 2 years are a grey area because he was owned by someone else in that time (a barn that was open to children to go whenever they want without any supervision from an instructor, which probably what caused some of these issues). With that said, he may or may not have been mistreated. I maybe wouldn't say abused, per say just handled by people who know nothing about horses and potentially taught him some bad habits, which may have inadvertently abused him.

When the issue started To MY knowledge:
The day he arrived he came in after a 6 hour trailer ride. Probably the longest ride he had been on since he was a wee boy after his long ride up to a trainer in PA. Apparently he trailered fine (hired a trusted source to transport him). We let him relax in the pasture for a few hours, then went out there, loved on him for a bit, then brought him in to be crosstied and groomed. I normally just do a single tie with my lesson horses, but the woman who owned him for the first 14 years of his life (and then the last month before he came to me), said he does fine in crossties. So, we tied him. My instructor was present for this. He stood well for about 8 minutes before I had to leave the isle to sign the boarding contract. My father, the man I'm dating (who the horse is loosely familiar with), and BO still with my horse, started saying "whoa, whoa whoa!" and as I heard the horse go into a full blown panic and came back into the isle. This "panic" I'll call it, involved him jumping back jerking his head back and tugging full force with his neck, his front legs straight out in front of him as he pulled back with his rear legs. He was wearing a breakaway halter at the time with the leather crown strap, and it broke right as we were about to pull the latch on the end of the tie to release him (this panic lasted about 5-8 seconds before the halter did break). He turned and cantered out of the barn to a corner where we corralled him. We made sure we tried to end that day on a positive note.

Next day, went to the barn, decided -not- to do crossties, so I used a regular single tie. Had him there for at least 40 minutes while I just grooming on him, giving him affection, etc. he was fine. Put him out to pasture, left. Next day, same peaceful horse. The following day, I noticed he had a scratch on his right eye and it was cloudy. Not sure what caused it, if he did it in pasture or if it was from his panic the time the halter broke but the vet was called. No infection, antibiotics for preventative measure, and it's cleared up with just a mark now where the scratch was which I'm hoping doesn't cause scarring.

On going issue:
But now ANY time without fail if he's tied single or cross, he out of nowhere will panic. The reason I say out of nowhere is we have checked the barn for things that could have potentially spooked him, tried to correlate anything we did that may have frightened him, etc. and couldn't come up with anything. I try to visit him daily, and if I can't do daily, at least 5-6 times a week. I've been grooming him in hand and everything else in hand.

Yesterday one of the boarders who was helping me bridle him told me to every day put him in a tie for 30 minutes and associate it with good things. Like yesterday, I personally never give him carrots or alfalfa cubes, but we gave him one carrot and an alfalfa cube once we put him in the ties and he was standing politely. I groomed his back, girth, etc. to prepare for the saddle. We put the saddle on while he was tied, and RIGHT as we were done within a minute he began his panic.

The boarder didn't release the ties, he pulled the reins down to get him to I guess focus/gain control? and he was able to get him to settle down. We had him stand for a minute so he didn't think we were rewarding him for panicking and then went outside to mount. Was able to mount but once I sat in the saddle he danced forward for a second and tried to turn back toward his pasture, which I corrected. To me he was still feeling anxious. Throughout the rest of the ride however he only spooked once and it was over low flying ducks that landed into the pond beside us, which spooked the boarder's horse as well who is as close to bombproof as you can get a horse. He was a great boy after that and stood very politely for about 30 minutes while I sat in saddle talking to another boarder and her child. He trotted very nicely and we did some round pen work before doing a light cool down work and I returned him to the pasture ending on a positive note.

The next step my instructor wants to take is to patient tie him. She told me which I'm aware of, if he keeps this up, he can very well hurt himself quite seriously as well as any human around him. Would patient tying work? Is this something to bring in a behavioral trainer? Any and all advice welcome. I'm all ears, if we're doing anything wrong, also please say so.

The farrier comes out end of this month and he's due for a trim. I really don't know how this new farrier will take to us holding him vs. him being tied.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading my novel, this is the first what I consider real problem I've had with him so far.
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post #2 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Werecat View Post

The next step my instructor wants to take is to patient tie him. She told me which I'm aware of, if he keeps this up, he can very well hurt himself quite seriously as well as any human around him. Would patient tying work? Is this something to bring in a behavioral trainer? Any and all advice welcome. I'm all ears, if we're doing anything wrong, also please say so.
This was actually what I was going to suggest doing. I think it will work very well for him. I would suggest not watching though. It can be hard to watch your horse freak out.
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post #3 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 12:57 PM
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As I read this, I'm concerned about when your are praising and petting him. You need to keep in mind that how we soothe a toddler, which seems to be instinctive, doesn't work on a horse. You need to develop the attitude "you will stand here or you'll become dog food". He sees this as leadership. For the next month, don't talk to him or pet him. This isn't easy but do try. The next time you tie him, use an extra long rope and loop it thro the tie ring and hold onto the other end as you groom. If he moves he won't feel tied hard. Just put him back and continue on. Since he's in new territory, there are many smells he is unfamiliar with and they could be coming from a few miles away.



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post #4 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werecat View Post
still working on having him accept the bridle (he's getting a little better, weirdly... one of the boarders there has a much more quiet approach than my instructor and he was able to get the bridle on within a minute which was a record lol).

the last 2 years are a grey area because he was owned by someone else in that time (a barn that was open to children to go whenever they want without any supervision from an instructor, which probably what caused some of these issues).

This "panic" I'll call it, involved him jumping back jerking his head back and tugging full force with his neck, his front legs straight out in front of him as he pulled back with his rear legs. He was wearing a breakaway halter at the time with the leather crown strap, and it broke right as we were about to pull the latch on the end of the tie to release him (this panic lasted about 5-8 seconds before the halter did break). He turned and cantered out of the barn to a corner where we corralled him.

We put the saddle on while he was tied, and RIGHT as we were done within a minute he began his panic.

The next step my instructor wants to take is to patient tie him. She told me which I'm aware of, if he keeps this up, he can very well hurt himself quite seriously as well as any human around him. Would patient tying work?
In your specific case, NO, I would NOT patience tie him. (I am assuming your trainer means leaving him tied for longer and longer periods??)

He is panicking. He is pulling. He needs to learn to give to pressure in any situation.

Since he is also difficult to bridle, my guess is that there are some other holes in his ground manners, along with tying.

I would work on desensitizing and ground work and re-training him to give to pressure; not fight it.

I use patience tying when a horse won't stand still for tying. I do NOT use it when the horse is pulling back. If you tie a horse hard and fast for patience tying, they're going to break something (including themselves).

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post #5 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 01:16 PM
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"You will stand here or you will become dog food" - I love it, Saddlebag. lol

I agree. I'd have knocked one of mine into next sunday if they did that with me near them. I've been stuck under horses pulling back before, multiple times, and I will not tolerate it. It only takes once seeing the hooves aimed at your face to develop a complex about it.

I agree with the intructor. I'd put him up to a big tree or perhaps a very strong well grounded post, tie him in a secure halter, and leave him there. And when I say leave him there - I mean walk away. Go to the grocery store. Read black beauty, go to dinner, clean the house, do the barn chores, and maybe - Just MAYBE - he'll be ready to come back inside. And I'd do it several days in a row.

One extra thing you could do that would help is to ride or lunge him until he is really pretty sweaty or tired (which is hard on arabs unfortunately) and then immediately take him out and tie him. That adds the "You get to rest while you're tied" element to the equation.

All of mine learn this lesson as babies that I'm not going to save them if they pull back. Every morning when I go to work, all of them get pulled out and tied to the fence. The ones who get rode will get saddled at this time. I go through the line and ride everyone. When they are done with their workout, they get tied in the same spot, unsaddled, and left while I finish everything else. I then clean stalls, feed, water, whatever - And put them all away again. At this time these horses have stood for at least four to five hours, if not more. If one of them pulls back - That's their problem. Usually they only do it once. You'd be surprised how good horses are at figuring out their own issues when they realize mommy isn't going to run and save them. Lol.

There will come a time when that horse can and WILL get you, himself, or somebody else hurt. It is best just to let him do what he needs to do to work it out on his own.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 02:05 PM
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The advice Cherie gave me when my mother's horse had all of a sudden started pulling back (in crossties), was to tie her above her head to a tree and forget about her. Apparently if a horse is a puller, tying them above their head will help prevent injury; at least this is what I inferred from the information given to me. I don't remember ever totally solving the problem (couldn't take Cherie's advice as where I live there are no trees!), so there is a large possibility that if the mare was cross tied again she has the potential to pull back. I'd like to solve it for good, but few barns here use cross ties and we are no longer at the one that did.

You might want to check to make sure the saddle fits well, the pad isn't so thick it's causing the saddle to pinch, and that he doesn't have any saddle sores.

As far as the summary of your ride goes, if the saddle is not causing any problems then it sounds to me like he is just trying to get out of work by acting out. Basically, spoiled in some manner and is throwing you attitude. Just push him through it.

"You can do something wrong for thirty years and call yourself experienced, you can do something right for a week and experience more than someone who spent thirty years doing the wrong thing." ~WhattaTroublemaker
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post #7 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 03:56 PM
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First teach giving to pressure, then I would ride until tired and tie to patience pole or tree. Every day.
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post #8 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 04:22 PM
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I agree that this is something he has learned to do and will continue to do it as long as it suits him.

I agree that I would take him out in a strong halter, clip and rope amd tie him higher than his withers so he cannot get the pull required to break free. When he learns he cannot get away he will stop doing it.

Many years ago a well broken horse was tied to some rails. For some unknown reason he pulled back and pulled back hard taking the rail amd two posts concreted into the ground with him. The ensuing panic was something to behold but he never hurt himself other than a few scratches.
That horse would not tie after that, he would just do as yours does,mist back and pull until he broke away,

One day he was tied for the farrier. He suddenly threw himself backwards. I was across the aisle from him amd my reaction was to go th whack him with the prong I was using. Infortunately (or not) he came back as I lifted the prong and the tynes went into his butt, two either side of his tail.
I tell you he went forward as fast as he had come back amd stood there.

I treated the wounds but one did abscess. The vet was called and by chance the farrier was there. When the vet said it was a warble the farrier just agreed with him!

That horse never sat back again.

I would not suggest you do this but I would have him tied and be waiting behind him, put of sight if possible, with a dressage whip and the moment he sat back he would,get three or four hard cracks across his butt.
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post #9 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 04:34 PM
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Umm, a different story. You have an arab! Our little 1/4 arab pony years ago was an absolute gentleman, you could do anything with him. The biggest fuss he would make was walking through puddles. He simply saw no point getting his feet wet if he could go round. No problem with ocean or streams!!

This pony one day was tied up with two other ponies. We were all just grooming and fussing over our ponies. My sister, myself and a friend. The friends pony pulled back and got away, so obviously we all went to catch him. When we got back to our ponies Q looked at the pony, looked at us AND PULLED BACK. He had never done it in his life!! Saw the result and thought he would try it!!!

Well he tried it a few times, and we would give him a hard slap on the rump with the whip. I think we did that three or four times before he decided it wasn't worth it and he never pulled back again!!

The point being, arabs are smart and your horse now has you jumping through hoops. Unless there is really something there to scare him, he is just being naughty. Growl at him, don't baby him.

Nothing like a smart horse, eh?

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post #10 of 63 Old 01-04-2016, 05:17 PM
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I agree, tie him to a tree. Solid.
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