I've never owned a youngin and have never had to teach a horse to tie. In fact, i've never really had to tie very often. (Barns always had cross ties, I dont do any real trail riding and havent shown or trailered a lot in the past few years).
I moved my horse recently to where there are no cross ties. I tied my gelding to the tie post (is that what its called?!) and he was very shifty, didnt want to hold still, pulled back etc.
I didnt really have a problem with not tying til I got here and now I want to fix this problem the right way. How did you teach your horse to tie? OR How did you re-teach your horse to tie? I would LOVE for this guy to be as quiet as my SO's QH's who will stay tied quietly for as long as you need!
I've never owned a youngin and have never had to teach a horse to tie. I would LOVE for this guy to be as quiet as my SO's QH's who will stay tied quietly for as long as you need!
There are half a dozen or more ways to teach to tie. The easiest for me is to teach the horse to ALWAYS give to any pressure from a halter....this is basic ground work for foals here so older horses may take a bit more time and energy (they are bigger and by the time they are grown they are also accustomed to not being tied except for perhaps in cross ties).
I personally like the Blocker Tie Ring as a training tool....it allows for a horse to learn that being confined is not harmful to him while not allowing him to get away. There are 4 ways to use this with each providing different levels of resistance to the horse that pulls back....you start with the lightest resistance level so that the horse is able to move and feel safe and not trapped. Used correctly it is a great tool and you can hardly spook a horse into pulling. You don't use the strongest resistance until the horse is barely pulling...the next step is a "hard tie".....what this teaches is that the horse has no real reason to pull since he doesn't feel trapped...it increases his tolerance for being tied at the same time it increases his understanding that being tied is a safe place for him. Another way to do this is simply to have a long (35-50 feet) smooth lead rope and something like a welded pipe tie rail that the rope won't grab onto...take a couple wraps so that the horse is pulling against the pipe as the lead slides around the pipe and not you and your hands and allow the horse to pull if he wants to....you just provide enough traction that there is drag that he will decide means he's not trapped. You can also use a body rope but unless you have some good experience with this or have someone who knows exactly how to use it without hurting the horse I wouldn't recommend it. It does work very well but not a lot of people know how to do it safely or have the proper equipment. Another way is what is called a "patience tree" or "patience pole". It involves a high stout tree branch or a pole with a swivel action arm at the top. In each case the horse is tied with a lead that has a heavy duty swivel on it and at a level where he can carry his head at a natural level but not lower than that. Sometimes these have a "bumper" in the setup...usually a small tire inner tube tied to the tree branch and then the tie rope attached to that (or tied to the swivel arm and then the lead tied to it)...this prevents sharp jerks should the horse get angry or panicky and pull back hard. The horse is tied to either the tree branch or the pole arm and is left there with a watchful eye on him from a distance. He may just stand there or he may decide he wants to leave and join his buddies or just that he doesn't want to be there. Due to the heavy swivel he can't twist the rope or the halter and damage himself (without this swivel it is possible for them to turn around enough to tighten the halter to the point of choking or even hanging the horse...it has happened when not done correctly). He will often scream and holler, pull (but with the fairly high tie and the bumper he can't damage his neck or get a lot of traction for pulling), jump forward, twirl like a mad dervish and generally be entirely upset. He gets no attention, not even getting yelled at to knock that off, for any of these antics. He only gets attention when he is quietly standing. He's taken off every couple hours for food, water, walk around etc. This can be disturbing to owners who have never seen it and who don't want their horse upset by anything so it isn't for everyone to do. I will say though that a good many western horses do get taught to tie this way (if not taught as a foal) and they will not pull back and will stand quietly when tied...including stallions tied next to mares etc. Chances are good that your BO's QH was either taught tying as a foal (which is the case for most) or by using one of these methods as an older than weanling age horse.
I'd tie whenever I had the chance, whenever I was just piddling around, to teach patience, and untie and hand-graze or groom or do something else rewarding, when the horse was relaxed (or at least *tried* in that direction).
That said, I wouldn't put the horse either in a situation where it is going to become too flustered tied - lathered, pulling back, etc, without properly preparing them to stand tied. Reason being, then you simply create a horse who is establishing patterns and habits of anxiety while tied, which is sub-optimal As a prey animal, the horse's first instinct is to move his feet (flee), so that's what your horse is *trying* to do. He is not relaxed and is not comfortable tied (ie, he does not feel safe), so he tries to move his feet and becomes increasingly reactive. He does not feel safe because he knows he is essentially *trapped*... prey animals are of course very claustrophobic, for good reason! If I have a horse who is not in a position to be tied, I don't tie, or I tie as little as possible, and instead prepare the horse for being tied - ie, teach them to be calmer, more relaxed, more confident, and to think situations through as opposed to becoming reactive (ie, pulling back), *then* I can return to tying for increasingly longer periods of time, playing with the horse's threshold and increasing it over time. I do this through a variety of on-line and off-line exercises (mostly on-line, but some horses *really* respond to off-line work (ie, working at liberty in a roundpen, doing much of the same exercises you do on-line, but at liberty). Personally I do this through the 7 Games, but there are a ton of ground exercises out there that will achieve the same.
- desensitization will target the horse's confidence level (ie, placing him in challenging situations he can overcome) as well as his confidence in my ability to lead and ensure his safety
- teaching the horse to move off or increasingly lighter pressure and to be responsive
- teaching the horse to respect and move out of my space without touching him (using body cues) - sideways, back, turns on the fore and hind
- teaching the horse to longe and incorporating a number of exercises such as spirals, changes of direction and changes in pace and gait, asking the horse to go over (jumps, bridges, tarps), through (trailers, gaits, etc), etc things by himself (ie, I direct off to the side and "send" or "drive" - I guide at an increasingly larger distance, which earns the horse's confidence in my leadership and builds confidence in the horse itself), asking the horse to maintain gait no matter what I do (whether that be stand there idle, or walk up and down the arena with said horse circling me). This can be expanded upon by sending the horse through patterns (figure-8, serpentines, etc) also, on-line.
Any exercises that instill confidence in the horse and teaches the horse to *think* will solve the root issue and thus affect its ability to stand still tied, to feel comfortable and relaxed while tied. Usually I simply work on all the above and voila, ultimately have a horse who ties well
....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.
The most important thing about teaching a horse to tie is to make sure the horse will give to pressure. This means when you apply pressure to the halter, your horse must lower his head and step forward without any hesitation at all. No raising the head, no hesitation.
It can be difficult to retrain a horse that has a history of pulling back because of the pain and fear involved. Horses often injure their necks when they pull back and any pressure then will hurt and they will panic and pull harder which hurts more and creates more panic.
I agree that the tie ring that applies pressure while giving can help retrain some horses. I have seen it used but haven't used it myself. Instead, I always work a lot on teaching my horses to lower their heads to pressure the TTEAM training way and then use the leading exercise called Ding-go to teach them to step forward from pressure.
I learned the pony club way and always tie to a bailing twine loop even though I do the above exercises too.
Basic "patience tree" but with a few things I don't do and lacking one I do......the lack of a swivel to keep Dobbin from twisting the inner tube and tie rope and eventually the halter is important....lack of it can cause a horse that wants to walk (or spin) circles to tighten things up to the point he can strangle himself. And I don't leave them on the tree for days...usually takes no more than a day or two and I always take them off for the night (into their stall for dinner and breakfast) and for water and a bit of walking several times during the day. I also tie at a level that limits the possibility of getting a leg over the rope and ending up upside down. I have seen a few that did manage (fortunately not mine as I would probably have panicked at that point) to do so and they did manage to get back up on tehir own. I don't ignore the horse that is tied to a patience tree....I keep an eye on him so that IF trouble develops I can get it fixed AND I can reward him for standing quietly with a moment or two of attention and brushing.