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The horse I ride most of the time does NOT tie well. She will break snaps and cross ties just because she can. She's old, it's a hard-wired habit by now, and no one has been able to fix it. However...

One thing very few people in the horse world seem to be taught is the fact that it's possible to almost never have to actually tie a horse. Maybe it sounds crazy, but... it's true!

It's generally a bad idea to tie a horse solid for the farrier or the vet anyhow, especially one that's anxious. Better to be there and hold the lead.

Tacking up? Pull the end of the lead through the top ring of one of the cross ties, but don't knot it.

Tying at a post? Loop the rope around the post once, then twist the end of the lead rope a few times back over itself for a bit of friction, but so that it will still slide loose if necessary.

Detangling a mane or tail? Let them graze while you're at it and toss the lead rope over their back where you can reach for it quickly if they try to move off.

Are there circumstances where you MUST tie a horse solid? Yeah, but they're nowhere near as common as you might think.
 

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I am not disagreeing with you , @AnitaAnne, but I do not understand why this works. I would think it would literally be just the opposite in terms of teaching a hrose to give to pressure.


I mean, a material like a bungie cord, or inner tube type thing, that has 'give' in it, also has 'take' in it. So, when the horse pulls back, it gives , some, but as soon as the horse comes off of that, and moves forward a bit, the material then 'takes' up the slack by its rebound property. So, it would seem that the signal of "freedom is in giving to the rope" would be less instant, and less noticeable than a plain rope (which as soon as the hrose steps forward, does NOT take up any of the slack created by even the minutest forward 'give' of the horse).
This is a good question. The way a bungie works is a mater of physics or one could say strength of materials.

First lets consider a horse that is tied with a regular lead rope. There is no give in it, and when a horse sets back on it and reaches the end of the rope, a small jerk of the head when the rope is fully extended will break the hardware on any halter. Horses are strong and have a lot of power.

This then, is why rope halters without any hardware can become so dangerous. If a horse is tied with an unbreakable halter, the horse could easily become choked if the rope tightens too much. The halter would need to be cut off the horse.

The other thing that can happen is the horse can suffer damage to the neck, including breaks, if the horse goes into full blown panic mode and continues to fight.

A bungie cord stretches, and a horse can't set back on one because it will not become fixed like a regular rope. The farther a bungie cord is stretched, the more resistance one feels, and the pull to return is great.


Thus as the horse pulls back, the bungie gives but does not put a fixed pressure on the poll. The horse doesn't reach that point of stopping, but the pressure continues to increase. If the handler encourages the horse to step forward, the pressure lessens. The horse is instantly rewarded for walking forward by a lessoning or complete release of pressure.


One must not tie the bungie lead so tight that there is a constant pressure. The horse should have no pressure on the poll when standing in the correct place.


It also helps to tie them up higher than the horse's head, as it is harder for them to pull back. The High-tie system for trailers works this way.


I always use bungies to tie in the trailer, so the horses can shift if needed.
 

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I am not disagreeing with you , @AnitaAnne, but I do not understand why this works. I would think it would literally be just the opposite in terms of teaching a hrose to give to pressure.
Yes, I agree, to some extent, I think your way of seeing it is right Tiny. I think any form of punishment, if the horse is truly reacting in fear, is likely to make matters worse. Especially something like a bungee that doesn't let up the instant the horse does, but keeps 'pulling'. But I have seen this sort of thing - actually horses tied to inner car tyre tubes - used very successfully, when horses had learned to *calmly* pull back & get loose.
 

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Yes, I agree, to some extent, I think your way of seeing it is right Tiny. I think any form of punishment, if the horse is truly reacting in fear, is likely to make matters worse. Especially something like a bungee that doesn't let up the instant the horse does, but keeps 'pulling'. But I have seen this sort of thing - actually horses tied to inner car tyre tubes - used very successfully, when horses had learned to *calmly* pull back & get loose.
I find it hard to understand your reasoning if as you state you have seen this practice used very successfully.

Having a bungie cord stretch is in no way a punishment, it is the opposite of punishment. The horse is not stopped in his backwards movement due to the elasticity.

I had a mare, TB/Appy cross that could snap a triple thick halter before you could take three steps towards her! Very dangerous when metal buckles come flying at a person...the minute she was free, she relaxed.
 

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^I don't believe it's a good move to punish/discipline/put further pressure on(whatever you want to call it or specifically use) a fear reaction. I don't think it's fair or generally effective. And the horse is effectively already being 'punished' by being in that situation. The exception would be in 'emergency' type situations, when the horse's attitude takes low second place to doing whatever is necessary for safety - of horse or handler. So the diff in successful use, IME has been when a horse isn't actually or significantly afraid of the situation - he's not pulling out of fear of being trapped.

And perhaps it was because I was thinking of 'punishment' in behavioural terms, not whacking the horse or whatever, but just anything that is an undesirable stimuli to a horse. Eg. in this case, putting significant pressure on the lead. Esp when, due to elasticity, that pressure will not cease the moment the horse stops pulling back - they have to not only stop pulling but come forward before they 'release' the pressure.
 

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^I don't believe it's a good move to punish/discipline/put further pressure on(whatever you want to call it or specifically use) a fear reaction. I don't think it's fair or generally effective. And the horse is effectively already being 'punished' by being in that situation. The exception would be in 'emergency' type situations, when the horse's attitude takes low second place to doing whatever is necessary for safety - of horse or handler. So the diff in successful use, IME has been when a horse isn't actually or significantly afraid of the situation - he's not pulling out of fear of being trapped.

And perhaps it was because I was thinking of 'punishment' in behavioural terms, not whacking the horse or whatever, but just anything that is an undesirable stimuli to a horse. Eg. in this case, putting significant pressure on the lead. Esp when, due to elasticity, that pressure will not cease the moment the horse stops pulling back - they have to not only stop pulling but come forward before they 'release' the pressure.
Just a case of terminology then. I consider it much less restrictive than hitting the end of a fixed object. Nor do I consider it a punishment, no more than learning to be tied could be a punishment. Its just a different type of lead rope...

If you consider training that teaches the horse to release from pressure a punishment, then nearly everything we do with a horse would be punishment.

Horses used to be tied to a pole in the ground, outside, with the tire inner tube attached. They were left to figure it out for themselves, and most never had a problem after that being tied. It was the first step of saddle training. I prefer standing right next to the horse and teaching him what to do, for the horse's safety.


The horse quickly learns to step forward, so has a lot of control over the situation. Anytime we turn the control over to the horse, the horse has the opportunity to make their own decisions, which is a confidence booster.


IMO "tying" the horse to one of those rings that allow the rope to just slip though is just teaching the horse how to break free. Not something I want to teach my horse!

Horses do not like pressure on their poll, and naturally will fight to resist it, but giving to the pressure is something that they need to learn how to do.

I've been riding/working with horses for almost 50 years now, and have seen a lot of training methods come and go. Some methods I am still using from back when I was first learning to drive and ride from a very experienced older man. Back then we loaded the horses in the back of a truck to take them to the fair. I and my friend rode back there, standing up, with them :smile:


As I frequently say, everyone has their own methods that work for them, and the OP will need to learn her way around all the advice to discover what works for her and her horse.

If I didn't think this method would help her, I wouldn't have mentioned it. But calling tying up a horse with a different type of lead a "punishment" may lead her to not try something that might help her.


Some old-timey methods are still relevant today...
 

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Discussion Starter #27
@tinyliny Hello!

It is very odd because, once she is loaded onto a trailer and is settled, she is completely fine. She does tend to like a bit of lax in the lead rope so that she is able to move her head and look behind her, but we do the exact same thing when she's in front of a wall and she simply freaks out.

We have considered that she may have either been drugged or very starved when we first got her - which resulted in such a dramatic character change when we got her. I say this because, when we first saw her, she was rather underweight and wasn't phased by anything. Whether it was water being sprayed onto her or her being cross tied. However, we bring her to our stables and after a week or two of proper, regular feeding and plenty of grass, she suddenly switched and became a lot more energetic. (We have made sure her food is as low sugar as possible so we feel as though it is simply a case of that she wasn't fed properly when we got her.)

We are trying her on a new supplement which is meant to help a nervy or anxious horse (because she paces at the fence line when she has her herd with her.) So i am hoping this make ease back the fear she feels when she thinks that she is completely trapped. It is odd that she is fine when someone holds her facing the wall, but hates being tied to the metal ring in the wall.


Thank you x
 

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Hello @SteadyOn

I do understand where you're coming from and, because my mum and I work as team on most things, we rarely find the need to actually tie Sophie (the horse) up. However, my main concern is what will happen if we do need to somehow tie her up but are unable to.

For example, if my mum wants to go to a show but I'm injured so she has to go by herself...because Sophie despises being tied up, my mother would struggle to tack up, get ready and do everything that needs to be done for a show. The same could be said for me if I wanted to go somewhere by myself.

I suppose I would simply like to have the knowledge that I am able to tie sophie up if need be, and that I don't always need to rely on someone holding onto her whenever we go out, have the farrier, have to bathe her ect.

Thank you x
 

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The basic idea still works...
Position the horse facing out...
If the tie is in a stall, face the horse toward the door, face out of a corner...
The butt is what is closest to the wall so when pulling back the horse spanks itself and learns real quick to go forward...
The idea is handler is out of the line of trouble and the horse disciplines itself...
If you have a wall you somehow have a corner...use it to your advantage.

Really?
No cross-ties in UK?
Not even "in the stall" a setup of ties?
Wow..:shock:
:runninghorse2:...
Some people have cross ties, you might see them in yards that have got American style barns, though we had an American style barn at one place where we lived and still tied the horses to a ring on the outside wall of their stables.
The OP could put a tie ring close to the door so the horse could see out. It would have to be trained to stand away from the door and not right up to it and not crowd the door every time the carrier went in and out to his mobile forge.
Not all farriers like to shoe in a stable as the light isn’t very good in some of them

I do think that horses who’ve learnt to break away are better off tied in a confined space where they can’t go far and their efforts just get them taken very quickly, straight back to where they were.
If this horse is stabled regularly then she really should be well used to looking at a wall. I would think that either something bad (in her opinion) has been done to her when she was tied or she was drugged on the dealers yard and wouldn’t cross tie either now.
I think I’d be trying to contact her previous owner (before the dealer) and talk to them about her. That should be easily done as previous owners will be recorded on her passport.
 

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As I said, I am not arguing that it WORKS, because you are not the only one who says it does. And your below description of the gradual application of flexible pressure onto the head as the horse begins to pull back may be the secret. Most likely it is, not the release offered by the stretchy material.



Oh, and the use of a handler, to encourage the horse to step forward off the pressure, is the very thing I would use to help a horse that has set back hard against a rope halter or strong nylon/leather one.





This is a good question. The way a bungie works is a mater of physics or one could say strength of materials.

First lets consider a horse that is tied with a regular lead rope. There is no give in it, and when a horse sets back on it and reaches the end of the rope, a small jerk of the head when the rope is fully extended will break the hardware on any halter. Horses are strong and have a lot of power.

This then, is why rope halters without any hardware can become so dangerous. If a horse is tied with an unbreakable halter, the horse could easily become choked if the rope tightens too much. The halter would need to be cut off the horse.

The other thing that can happen is the horse can suffer damage to the neck, including breaks, if the horse goes into full blown panic mode and continues to fight.

A bungie cord stretches, and a horse can't set back on one because it will not become fixed like a regular rope. The farther a bungie cord is stretched, the more resistance one feels, and the pull to return is great.


Thus as the horse pulls back, the bungie gives but does not put a fixed pressure on the poll. The horse doesn't reach that point of stopping, but the pressure continues to increase. If the handler encourages the horse to step forward, the pressure lessens. The horse is instantly rewarded for walking forward by a lessoning or complete release of pressure.


One must not tie the bungie lead so tight that there is a constant pressure. The horse should have no pressure on the poll when standing in the correct place.


It also helps to tie them up higher than the horse's head, as it is harder for them to pull back. The High-tie system for trailers works this way.


I always use bungies to tie in the trailer, so the horses can shift if needed.
 

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Understanding the way materials work and operate under stress is usually something only engineers concern themselves with.

When it comes to our precious animals though, especially strong ones like our horses, most people do want to understand the How and Why things work.

So consider a person jumping off a bridge for the thrill of it. This is done typically with a bungie system (bungie jumping) as using a regular rope would mean severe injuries or death when the person jumping hit the end of the rope and there was a sudden stop. The force (stress) on the body would be huge.

Please don't ask me for those figures because I certainly do not have those calculations memorized, as there are so many variables. (drop, length of rope, weight of person, etc.)

I would guess that 99.99% of people bungie jumping, would want a gentle bounce when they jump, and not a sudden stop as caused by a firm rope or even worse, the lack of any rope.

This theory then, also applies to horses. A firm rope is unforgiving, unless the hardware breaks. I personally have seen horses fall down after a rope and/or halter breaks. Just not something I want to risk with my horses.

Safety is the first rule for me, and a gentle "bounce" from a bungie rope is safer for me and my horse. The bonus being that the horse learns to step forward with gentle pressure. Win/win situation...

There are many, many horses safely using the Hi-tie trailer system, which was designed with the aid of engineers and experienced horse people. It is based on two main principles; 1) Tie the horse above the level of the head to reduce the horses' ability to brace, and 2) use a bungie cord to avoid pressure and allow the horse to move around.

Of course I didn't design the system, but I can understand how it operates.

@tinyliny thank you for asking questions and listening. I know I am always learning, and I appreciate others desire to learn. I am glad I can impart some knowledge to those who wish for it.
 

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Well put. I can see that in the case of a horse that is apt to panic at the first feeling of being held tight, it is the first part of the equation, the application of the pressure, that is really the key to it's flipping out, so having that 'slow" grab is what makes the difference. I was too focused on the second part of the equation; the release of pressure. In training, usually we are so focused on the release of the pressure, and making sure it is fully felt, and well timed.


I remember taking lessons, years back, on ground manners and my trainer reminding me to NOT take up any slack the horse created by coming forward off of a tug on the line , in the case of leading a horse who lags behind, pulling on the leadline. She said that folks often do this; they bump or pull the horse to step faster (to come off that pressure), and as soon as they do, they take up all the slack, so the horse has lost his 'reward'. Horse soon learns there is no point in coming off the line, since the slack he creates will only by pulled forward again.
 

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Hey AA, not sure if I'm correct, but I think this could be the first time we've had a difference of opinion that I recall! :wow: :cool:

But calling tying up a horse with a different type of lead a "punishment" may lead her to not try something that might help her.
Yeah, I think it is much a case of terminology, calling it 'punishment' but I do think that understanding the behavioural concept behind stuff is helpful myself. To understand how 'a different type of lead' can help or not. And to understand 'punishment' in a behavioural sense is that it is any undesirable stimuli applied to a behaviour to make it less likely to happen in future. So yeah, strictly, that does include any pressure is punishment. And so, it's a matter only of degree - as I agree, that's something that IMO comes into just about everything dealing with horses, unless perhaps you're a 'purist' clicker trainer or such.

Why can I agree with you that a bungee can be a good, effective tool, but also believe it's too 'punishing' for some? A horse that's a bit nervous but not reactive, or a horse that is not nervous - he's just learned to break loose calmly for eg, could be just put in that situation, with a bungee or such and it's great, because it's not too much for them. But I just strongly feel, if it IS more than they can cope with, that they panic & react, I want to do all that I can to avoid putting them in that situation, until they're up to it - which depending on prior experiences, may be... slow. And for horses who are already 'hair trigger', also the lack of immediate release when they do quit pulling can also cause further confusion/panic.

I just really feel minimising punishment is important, as especially with a horse who is already ready to panic - or doing so - that only adds one more 'bad' association to the situation. So, degrees... they need to learn to come off pressure of course, but while one horse may be fine with a bungee(which yes, IMO too, may be better than a hard tie & is less... confronting 'pressure'). But to another that may be far too much pressure, they're still too 'trapped'. So you might start with the long rope thru a ring, whatever 'degree' they can cope with, while avoiding causing any real fear/reactivity.

I think horses remember stuff on a far more... primal level. Emotions are strongly attached. So when a horse has terrifying experiences, that's what 'hits' them when confronted with the same experience. The more they get to 'practice' this association, the stronger it becomes. Whereas keeping things low stress, progressing only as the horse is ready for, they're 'practicing' being calm & not afraid & confirming that everything is actually alright. And the more practice of that, will overtake the previous fear experiences. Eventually... depending how well ingrained they are.

IMO "tying" the horse to one of those rings that allow the rope to just slip though is just teaching the horse how to break free. Not something I want to teach my horse!
If you were just to put the rope through the tie ring(or round a rail, tree branch, abseilers figure 8, whatever) and leave them to their own devices, yes, that is likely to be what they will learn. But if it is used correctly as a *training tool*, the horse learns nothing of the sort, because they do not break free. You remain on the end of the rope, to reel them back in. As they're able to move their feet *as much as they see fit, without too much(whatever that is, for that horse at that stage) pressure/punishment*, they learn it's all OK & there's no reason to panic, but they also cannot just escape - that doesn't work.
 

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It doesn't teach them to break free. It teaches them they CAN'T break free, and they learn that without panic and without slamming back on a rope with no give and injuring themselves. They can move all they want and they're still 'tied.'

It's training tool. You don't tie them to it and leave. You stay nearby and help them through it. They move, you reel them back in when they stop backing up. You teach them to move left and right without pulling. You never, ever leave a horse tied with one and leave. You are part of the training process. Done right, it DOES work, and it works well.
 

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We will have to agree to disagree. I used to be in engineering, and strength of materials, breaking strength of hardware, and nearly 50 years of observing/interacting with rank horses all factor into my training methods. I'm not interested in forcing my methods on anyone. @tinyliny asked about "why" bungies work, and I answered. If you don't ever want to use one, whatever works for you is what you need to do. For me, safety comes first.

Was at one stable for a while, and they insisted on using hay strings to go between the snap and the cross tie. Absolutely annoying to deal with constant broken hay strings and the horses only stood there as long as you also stood there.


Back to the OP original problem, my RMHA gelding is very similar. I cannot tie him for very long to the outside of the trailer, and he has to have room to move around, and a full hay bag. Otherwise, he will dig a hole in the ground!


Tie him to a tree and he'll stand quietly, even without hay. The horse has to SEE everything :smile:


This then is the main reason I was completely turned off by the NATRC rides. They want to decide how I should contain my own horse, namely tie the horse to a trailer all night so all the horses are "treated the same". Hogwash. Horses aren't the same, why should we treat them the same?


Anyway, I think we have beat this subject to death, and as usual, the subject matter has totally gone off on a tangent.


One tiny piece of advice; don't expect anyone at the other end to hold you up with a tie-blocker if you decide to jump off a bridge....I don't plan on jumping, but if I did I would want a really strong bungie securely bolted at triple the break strength keeping me from splatting :falloff:

G'night to all y'all :ZZZ:
 

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We will have to agree to disagree. ...I'm not interested in forcing my methods on anyone.
Hear hear! :CLAP: Many roads lead to Rome & all... That's what's so great about a world wide forum - we can all consider the vast array of different opinions & knowledge & experience... in order to choose what we think best for us.

Anyway, I think we have beat this subject to death, and as usual, the subject matter has totally gone off on a tangent.
Yeah I think we've about covered it, but I thought we'd managed NOT to go off on a tangent... for a change! ;-)

One tiny piece of advice; don't expect anyone at the other end to hold you up with a tie-blocker if you decide to jump off a bridge....I don't plan on jumping, but if I did I would want a really strong bungie securely bolted at triple the break strength keeping me from splatting :falloff:
:ROFL: :ROFL:
 

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Interesting thoughts and ideas concerning this matter. I'll put my two cents worth. The only time I tie my horses so then can't escape is when we are at a place where other people also have their horses tied. Doesn't happen often. At home, my horses are never tied. I merely loop the lead rope over whatever I'm tying them to. They know that if they pull back, they can break free. Yet, it has been a long time since one of them did that. And on those occasion when something like a good size limb suddenly crashing to the ground has scared them, they break free, run 30 feet and stop. What I have observed is that when a horse is scared by whatever and it tries to break free and can't, that's when things turn dangerous. Mine seem to have learned that if something really threatening comes their way, they can break free. So why worry?
 
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