Everything I am reading and hearing on instructional videos says to NEVER leave a horse put to a vehicle. That sounds like they mean even if haltered and tied.
I know lots of things can happen, but in the real world, do people not ever leave their horses tied? I'm talking about *using* hroses mainly, I guess.
There's a horse friendly town north of us, made to look like a frontier town with bars, restaurants, gift shops, etc. People take their riding horses and teams put to wagons, etc. drive the roads, then tie up and go in the establishments to eat or shop. I saw 2 teams of 4 mules at the hitching rails, just standing there nicely waiting for their people to return. I never thought to look at how they were tied - if they even were, because I didn't know then that you're NEVER supposed to leave them.
What is the deal? We know horses can be trained well enough to stand patiently because it's been done for centuries before us when all their horses were *using* horses.
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx
The Amish around here park their horses and buggies at hitching posts or line them up and tied to fences ALL THE TIME. The work horses are parked hitched to wagons or implements and are generally not tied at all. I did see one unattended big team that was parked next to the barn walk out just far enough to be able to catch the breeze.
When their work is done the horses are unhitched and turned loose in the barn yard. The horse will then take himself over to the trough for a drink and then into the barn.
I'm sure in the pre-car era if you unhitched your horse at every stop you would have been laughed out of town.
If you train your horse to stand tied and you park in a safe area I don't see the need to unhitch when parking.
The obvious solution is to just have your servants head the horses while you are being entertained with your diversions away from the carriage. <cough>
We all know the reasons to not tie to a bit, and sure, we all know folks who have.
We all know that one of the cardinal rules in driving in never to remove the bridle when the horse is hitched.
So that would leave putting a halter over or under the bridle to tie to and I have seen that done.
Personally, it is easy enought if I'm stopping for lunch and going to drive some more, to unhitch and rehitch. That way Poppy can move around a little, eat some hay, pee and poop without having to stand in it, etc. even ties to the trailer.
Well, this brought to mind an incident I saw while on vacation in Vienna (Austria) several years ago. The home of the Spanish Riding School is still quite the horsey town, at least in the old part, where tourists like to see that sort of thing and hop a ride in lovely old carriages - we're not talking your Central Park deal, this is coach and four, usually, and they go amidst the flow of traffic just like everybody else. However, one morning I saw a team of four standing (more or less, sort of shuffling) unattended by the curb on a not too busy street; however, it was becoming apparent that they were about to be on their merry way without their driver. The biggest problem was the huge city bus coming the other way down the narrow street. One other lady on the opposite side of the street saw this too; she and I kept pantomining back and forth, craning our necks back and forth, like, "Where's the driver? What to do?" The horses kept edging farther and farther out in the road; the bus kept getting closer and closer; I kept seeing deeper and deeper shades of crimson. I finally went over and caught one guy by the bridle and steered them back to the curb. The driver came out of the coffeehouse then with his cruller, and said, "Ja, danke," while I pointed frantically at the disappearing bus and strained my limited German vocabulary for the word for "parking brake." Never came up with it, so I just shook my head, gave the horses a pat, and walked away. Suffice it to say, THIS is what I think about when I hear "leaving a horse put to a vehicle..." !!
The amish usually use some kind of rope halter under the bridle, that has a neck collar type part, at least as I've noticed. Maybe some use regular halters.
If I were in an old stagecoach town with a well trained horse I might tie up that way to grab a coffee. Maybe. But I never do at home. I just call someone to come hold the horse.
But most shows forbid it, in part because there are usually a fair number of horse there whose training is less than ideal, plus if someone else gets loose all the tied up horses with vehicles attached are at risk of some major wreckage.
Sure, in the "horse & buggy days" horses were left tied all the time, HOWEVER, these horses got more mileage in a day than most "recreational" horses get in a week (or more). They were more than happy to take a break & just stand. Same goes for working draft horses -- I don't think you'd want to do this with a modern "show ring" draft with a bit more spunk.
Bottom line -- each horse is an individual, and YMMV.
Well... in the US... you would be eliminated from competition for leaving that horse hitched and unattended. This safety rule was put into the rules many years ago.
Yes, working horses in many various situations are left tied, but even for them it isn't the best idea. Witness the comment above. I've also seen a driver/trainer leave a pair outside the barn at a show while going back for something forgotten. Only gone for a 'minute' but her horses were almost creamed by a car who didn't see them when backing out of a parking space. The horses were trained to stay put and weren't going to move. IMO the driver wasn't there for them. Fortunately others were to stop the car driver before anything happened.
Seen working Amish horses moving around a bit on the tie and almost getting clipped by passing cars when they backed up too far. And another who decided to get out of Dodge for some reason who backed up and decided to keep going, breaking the tie and backing into a stack of wheels
Most of us don't do enough work at the halt or walking none the less standing tied. I'd do the training to get my horse to that point, but I don't think I'd leave them completely alone. I don't think I'd be doing my part as part of the team to leave them. Its not yesterday's world. Drivers on the road are much more self-centered and lack any real knowledge of horses so can pose a danger to a horse/vehicle parked along the side of the road. And for a laugh, I'm guessing you could equate this to leaving the keys in your open car with the engine on while you just step into the 7-11 for a soda. Everything will probably go alright but...
1. Neck ropes or Halters for tieing hitched, never to the bit. Don't ask for more trouble.
2. Leave your horse hitched and tied every drive and they will learn.
3. Be safe. If the environment is busy, unhitch. If not, tie them up.
4. Time and experience teaches a horse not to fidget in the shafts. Many great driving horses view their shafts as an extension of their stalls. They stay between them, not looking for ways to test them.
I recently helped the woman who owns John Henry, the draft mule, put to at Walnut Hill. She and the mule live out of her rig for the week, no stall. She has him tied to the trailer, harnessed and bridled with halter over. she flags down nice passersby to help her put to only because she can't pull her butcher wagon to, it's too heavy. Then he stands face to the trailer, hitched up. She then gets her final pieces of her outfit on. How does she accomplish this? They do it over and over again, out of neccessity.
I agree with the posters who say, our pleasure horses are somewhat coddled and don't get "real working horse" experience. The association rules and guidelines are for those drivers not experienced to teach this "patience" skill to their horses. Keeps ALL OF US safe. It's not the experienced driver and horses that get hurt, it's the inexperienced ones.
You can't teach a horse to be bomb proof without taking them out on the battle field!
I certainly understand and sgree with the show rules. There are too many people and horses around to take even one little chance.
For me personally, in my backyard, I suppose it would be easy enough to unhitch if I were going to be in the house long enough to eat lunch. Just for a quick refill of water or a potty break, I would want my horse to stand tied for a couple minutes. I have crossties by the tack shed and would use a halter, never the bit.
The neckrope is a good idea. I know Cookie responds to a neckrope when riding. Her halts undersaddle are great, but her *stands* were not. Using the neckrope worked a lot better than nagging her with the bit to stay stopped. She never resisted the neckrope and learned quickly to stay.
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx
My adopted ASB gelding former Amish buggy horse has a SEVERE neck injury due to being neck tied! He has a lot of scar tissue and cannot be ridden or driven for extended periods of time; breathing problems. My Vet said if he ever had to be tubed he would have to use a foal size tube. When I was driving him I carried a halter and lead and took his driving bridle off and hooked to side of harness and tied him with halter and lead. Only did this a few times but worked well.
When I was driving him I carried a halter and lead and took his driving bridle off and hooked to side of harness and tied him with halter and lead. Only did this a few times but worked well.
The way I read this, horse is still hitched when bridle is removed and halter put on. I have to say that taking a bridle off when still hitched is DANGEROUS. Not removing a driving bridle from the hitched horse is almost the FIRST rule in any list of Driving Safety!!
With no bridle or reins on hitched horse, you have NO REAL CONTROL over the equipage. One of the best ways to have a wreck that I know!!
There are lots of ways to do a neck rope, not all safe or secure for the horse. We use neckropes all the time when horses are tied away from home. We actually think they are MUCH safer than halters alone, in preventing tied horse getting himself damaged. Our ropes are thick, cotton, strong, not the purchased types with a loop to clip the dog snap onto that Amish commonly use to tie with. They often do not use a halter in conjunction with neckrope tying, to keep rope straight. Sorry about your horse, but equipment used wrongly, will hurt them.
We do not tie harnessed and hitched horses to stand for periods of time. They have headers or get unhitched. Locally distractions, flies, can get them jigging, which makes it easy to break shafts or a pole, as horse tries to twist around to see or fix problem. No fly spray is fool-proof, so don't put horse/s into that situation.
If I am alone, I put everything needed onto the vehicle. Horse is harnessed, tied to trailer with neckrope and halter over bridle, waiting for me. I get my drinks, use the restroom, whatever, BEFORE hitching the horse up. Having helpful bystanders is great, but not something I can always count on to get hitched, so you prepare like you have no help available. I will hitch to tied horse, but untie him after doing my safety check, before getting into vehicle.
Horse stands quietly waiting for me to get my things arranged, gloves, hat, whip, reins arranged, before asking him to walk off. Standing for odd lengths of time is GOOD practice, he gains patience. WAITS for his directions, not going on auto pilot. At home we sometimes hitch, get into vehicle, sit around a while like 20-30 minutes, get out and unhitch everything. Horse never quite knows what will be asked, gains patience with practice.
Modern horses seldom have ever worked hard enough to be grateful to stand quietly. They don't grab the opportunity to rest quietly when time is offered!! The old cowboy axiom of "It takes a lot of wet saddle blankets to make a good horse" is applicable to Driving animals too. Training time in quiet quantities, is so hard to get put on the animals.
I would not be leaving my animals tied when hitched to a vehicle. Those skinny shafts won't stop sideways movement if they push hard or react to insect bites, even when horse is tired.
NEVER take off a bridle of a horse that is put to a vehicle. We tell the kids that you harness and hook up from the front and unharness and unhook from the rear. That said I leave horses hooked and standing all the time. I harness a team in the morning and leave them hooked all day. I may or may not use them during the day but if they are harnessed they are ready and will get used. During the winter I will harness, hitch and get a load of hay feed part then tie the horses and leave until evening when I feed the rest of the hay. The difference is my horse are shown work and plenty of it. They are looking for an excuse to cock and ankle and rest.
"When I was driving him I carried a halter and lead and took his driving bridle off and hooked to side of harness and tied him with halter and lead" Just following what my Grandpa did with his Mules and Morgans he used in his orange groves in So CA many years ago. But he did tie them at water & feed troughs with shelters (still hitched to wagon) he had throughout his groves when they weren't working. They were his spoiled babies!
I think the warning about never removing the bridle while the horse is put to a vehicle is because a horse without blinkers can freak seeing the vechicle so close behind him.
It seems bizarre that they can pull forever with blinkers, never seeming to realize what's behind them. Once the blinkers are removed, it can frighten the horse badly, causing accidents.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, or if there's more to it.
The other big reason is because there is a moment between taking the bridle off and putting the halter on when the horse has NOTHING on its head that you can really control it with. If in that moment the horse backs up, spooks, or you slip and fall, etc. BAM, you are with a loose bolting horse towing a vehicle and there's no way to stop him.
Surely you've had one of those school-pony moments in your life where you are taking off the halter to put on the bridle, or vice versa, and school-pony decides to wander off or sneak away? I remember it when I was a kid.