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  1. #21
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    To be perfectly fair, I don't necessarily think tie downs are always a substitution for bad training.
    No...but MY opinion is that they are a substitution for better training.

    My opinion (as well as that of Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, Buck Brannaman, Dr. Deb Bennett, etc as far as what I have interpreted from their writings, instructional dvds and/or live at a clinic) is that a horse can make a faster, more athletic move if it is not braced against a tie-down. whether this is a rope horse, open jumper, polo pony, barrel horse, event horse, does not matter.
    Now, if said horse has years and years of moving athletically, braced against a martingale or tie down, you can't just take off the device and get some magic fantastic performance. The horse has to develop his athletic turns, stops, jumps, etc without any devices. So a horse whose muscle memory and athletic patterns have developed with a device on, may very well be better off, if the device is left on. Retraining a horse to go without, is not simple or for the faint of heart.
    Again, my undies are NOT in a bunch about folks trail riding a horse around in a loosely adjusted tie down, unless said horse will be asked to go through water crossings or up/down steep hills or through questionable footing.
    My point is, there is a better way to do it, and it is NOT easy to find someone who can help you learn to do it, and there are excellent horsemen/olympic medalists/NFR finals winners who do not know how to help a horse go without AND perform up to 'world class' standards.

    Buck Brannaman has not only played polo in a plain snaffle, but has re-trained 'ruined' polo ponies to play in a plain snaffle.
    Yes, it can be done.

    Too many people don't believe it, haven't seen it, may never believe it. I'm not going to save the world, here. I'm offering my opinion.

    I wouldn't have believed it, unless I had both seen Buck, and had another of Ray Hunt's students help me get complete control of a spoiled OTTB in a plain snaffle, no noseband.



  2. #22
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    Jan. 26, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arab_Mare View Post
    There is no reason why a trail horse should need a tie-down. .
    some riders may require a Mai-tai to be comfortable on the trail



  3. #23
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    Jun. 18, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley View Post
    If a horse requires a martingale to keep from breaking my nose or knocking me out, that for me outweighs the remote possibility of drowning in a stream (though I can always disconnect the thing when crossing a stream if there's any question of depth).
    I'm having trouble understanding why anyone who has/rides a head tosser wouldn't try to find the source of the problem and fix it instead of covering it up with a piece of (in some situations like trail riding, potentially dangerous) equipment?

    Call me crazy but if I've got a head tosser the first thing I'd think to do is have the horse's teeth checked, have the horse looked over for pain issues I may be missing and reevaluating the bit I'm using-not restrict his movement so I can keep riding while he's potentially uncomfortable or in pain.



  4. #24
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    I'm having trouble understanding why anyone who has/rides a head tosser wouldn't try to find the source of the problem and fix it instead of covering it up with a piece of (in some situations like trail riding, potentially dangerous) equipment?

    Call me crazy but if I've got a head tosser the first thing I'd think to do is have the horse's teeth checked, have the horse looked over for pain issues I may be missing and reevaluating the bit I'm using-not restrict his movement so I can keep riding while he's potentially uncomfortable or in pain.
    Exactly!

    This reminds me of listening to Buck at the last clinic I went to. He said that if your 'check engine' light went on, you would hopefully go figure out what the problem was, rather than reaching through the steering wheel and punching the little light out.
    I about fell over laughing, but seriously, people do tend to try to cover up training or pain problems with gadgets rather than try to find and fix the real problem.



  5. #25
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    Jul. 3, 2012
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    A lot of the tie-downs that I see on gamers around here are actually steel cable (like a bike lock cable).

    I won't start to describe the bits they are using.



  6. #26
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaitedGloryRider View Post
    I'm having trouble understanding why anyone who has/rides a head tosser wouldn't try to find the source of the problem and fix it instead of covering it up with a piece of (in some situations like trail riding, potentially dangerous) equipment?

    Call me crazy but if I've got a head tosser the first thing I'd think to do is have the horse's teeth checked, have the horse looked over for pain issues I may be missing and reevaluating the bit I'm using-not restrict his movement so I can keep riding while he's potentially uncomfortable or in pain.
    Because, GaitedGloryRider, sometimes, when you are borrowing or renting a horse, and it 'comes' with a tie down or martingale, you just don't have time to do all of that. You get on and go participate in whatever you borrowed or rented the horse for. Has not been a cause for concern for me yet.

    Fillabeana, sure, I'm a fan of Buck's, too, and my horses don't happen to need tie downs or martingales. But y'all are all sure unduly tsk tsking. In the world of possible bad things that can happen to horses, the OP's friend riding her horse on a trail with a tie down is simply Not A Problem. No doubt the horse could be retrained to do anything and everything without a tie down. But the particular owner has not sought advice- and so your collective good advice doesn't have an audience. But truly, far worse things could be happening to that horse. Simply not a Big Deal.

    And before you continue to castigate anyone who uses a tie down or martingale, remember that 'any' piece of equipment, including a plain snaffle, can cause pain and abuse of a horse. The issue is not that the equipment is being used, it is HOW the equipment is being used.



  7. #27
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    Aug. 19, 2010
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    Southern California
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    I know of a mule that drowned in ankle deep water because he fell and coudn't get his head out of the water because of a tie down.

    Witnessed, and then pulled a rider out from under, a horse that fell after not being able to balance on a narrow, steep trail because of a tie down.

    For flat-landers that never cross water a tie down is just fine.



  8. #28
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    Oct. 12, 2001
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    In the world of possible bad things that can happen to horses, the OP's friend riding her horse on a trail with a tie down is simply Not A Problem.
    but it's dangerous. Why risk death? the easiest way to get killed by your horse is to have the horse fall down on top of you. Anything you can do to prevent your horse from falling down dramatically improves your safety. Riding on a trail in a tie-down increases the risk of your horse falling down, and since there is no reason why a horse needs a tie-down on a trail, just take it off. Easy low-effort way to improve your safety.



  9. #29
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    Beverly, I was trying to say above that I wasn't getting my undies in a bunch about a quiet trail ride on a horse that has been wearing a tie-down most of its life

    Also, Beverly, you have a great point about not being asked for advice. I am not trying to change the world, and there are more important things to get involved in than a horse/rider that is getting along fine, thanks.

    I completely agree about borrowing a horse in equipment that is not 'ideal'.

    I borrowed a horse at a branding last spring, the saddle had rubber on its horn and that is not something I agree with- but the appropriate 'answer' to the 'conundrum' of inappropriate tack that CURRENTLY the horse is getting along with, is "Thank you so much for loaning me Mr. Spotty Rope Horse, we had a great ride and I'm so glad we could help you get the calves branded" and not "Thou Shalt Not Wrap a Saddle Horn With Rubber, For It Stops the Calf Too Fast With A Jerk and can Hurt the Calf and Puts More Force/Load on the Rope Horse, A Rope Must Be Able To Slide on the Saddle Horn."

    Assuming the horse/rider are 'getting along', I view the tie-down thing much as I would a full-cheek snaffle without bit loops- a horse can flip and kill somebody or break its neck if it goes to bite a fly and gets hooked on the stirrup. Likewise, a tie-down (or running martingale without rein/ring stops) can trap a horse and cause a deadly accident. So if there is a nice way to tell someone, or if the ASK you, definitely help them ride in safe equipment.

    There's also a difference between a horse in pain, having head-flipping fits, rears, runaways, etc, and a horse and rider who are pretty much getting along as-is.

    And before you continue to castigate anyone who uses a tie down or martingale
    I am not trying to castigate anyone. I am not trying to put them down. I am trying to inform anyone who is interested, that it can be done without a tiedown. If they want to know how, it probably won't be easy to find someone to help them, or perhaps easy to teach their particular horse themselves. If it were easy to train a horse to do a lot of these things without tie-downs, you would hardly ever see them, and Anybody Who Is A World Class Trainer would surely know how to do without.

    The point I'm trying to make, is that many people put tie-downs and martingales on because they don't know how to do a better job.
    I don't think there is ANYONE (and that includes Ray or Buck or whoever) that has an area of their own horsemanship in which they could be doing something better. Many of the people who are at the top of their particular horse discipline, are doing their best (and coming home with $$$ from winning at their chosen discipline) and they don't know how to do it without a tie-down or martingale either. So, I'm trying to say, that it IS POSSIBLE to ride a horse in athletic endeavors (calf roping, barrel racing, open jumpers, polo ponies) without a martingale/tie down but it likewise can be very hard to find someone who can help you get to the top levels, who understands how to do it without the extra hardware/strap goods.



  10. #30
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    Feb. 9, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaitedGloryRider View Post
    I'm having trouble understanding why anyone who has/rides a head tosser wouldn't try to find the source of the problem and fix it instead of covering it up with a piece of (in some situations like trail riding, potentially dangerous) equipment?

    There are people who want to be horsemen.

    And then there are those that want to ride and have fun and not spend time and money fixin' what ain't broke. If a piece of equipment helps get the job done, than nothing is 'broke' in their view.

    And as long as the horse is taken care of, both views are fine.

    Head-tossing can be a PITA anyway. Long after any physical issues are resolved it lives on as a purely behavioral issues, and not everyone has the skill and timing to deal with it, or the inclination.

    My Mom's old appy always wore a tie-down. He knew when it was on, and he'd never touch it. Take it off and he'd break your nose. She rode him maybe 4x a year, and I'd borrow him here and there when I had a baby that needed to be ponied out who was big enough to pull my smaller mare over.

    Really not that big of a deal to unsnap the tie-down and stick it on a breastcollar dee while crossing deep water, and he proved himself perfectly capable of recovering from trips and stumbles with it on.



  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beverley View Post
    Because, GaitedGloryRider, sometimes, when you are borrowing or renting a horse, and it 'comes' with a tie down or martingale, you just don't have time to do all of that. You get on and go participate in whatever you borrowed or rented the horse for. Has not been a cause for concern for me yet.
    Beverly, Before you get your panties all twisted up and bite my friggin' head off why don't you read for content?

    I said "if you have a horse..." not "if you rent a horse" or "if you borrow a horse". My issue re:tie-downs is with the owners that slap it on there as a fix-all for what could very well be a pain or training issue that a little common sense and time could fix *if* they could be arsed to bother with it. Which is a big reason many of the horses that are in tie-downs are wearing them in the first place.

    If you think it's fine to go plodding down the trail on a horse with it's head tied knowing full good and well it's not the safest way to ride in natural terrain more power to ya. God looks after fools and all that crap.

    Speaking as a trail rider, not a gamer or speed eventer, personally if I had a horse that needed a tie-down (and I sincerely think that'll never happen because I'd rather FIX whatever is wrong with my horses rather than cover it up) I sure as hell wouldn't be loaning it out for use on a trail ride putting my horse and another human at risk. No matter how small, the risk IS there. I've got higher standards for my horses and higher standards for my own training and quality of care.



  12. #32
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    Mar. 10, 2007
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    We've borrowed and rented a lot of horses but if one came with a tie down I'd use it for a pack horse and not much else.

    I was always taught, by knowledgeable people and experience, that the less on the horse's head the better. I won't ride with the halter/lead rope attached and I won't ride with roping reins. Simple headstall and two split reins, that's it.



  13. #33
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    Thanks everyone for your opinions. The majority confirm what I had always thought. And for your information, these are not flat, open trails. These are single-track trails in the mountains, often maneuvering over fallen logs with nowhere to go on either side, and crossing plenty of creeks and streams, too. That's why I asked. That's why I tried to tactfully question my friend as to why she used it.

    Another thing: I don't know that he needs it. She only said it's what they always use, and I don't think she knows if he really needs it on the trail or not.

    How would you all proceed? Ignore it? Address it?



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddleup View Post
    Thanks everyone for your opinions. The majority confirm what I had always thought. And for your information, these are not flat, open trails. These are single-track trails in the mountains, often maneuvering over fallen logs with nowhere to go on either side, and crossing plenty of creeks and streams, too. That's why I asked. That's why I tried to tactfully question my friend as to why she used it.

    Another thing: I don't know that he needs it. She only said it's what they always use, and I don't think she knows if he really needs it on the trail or not.

    How would you all proceed? Ignore it? Address it?
    Well if you don't want to get into a pissing match over training theories and what-not ignore. If you want to take a stab at seeing if she's open to trying the horse without one, something along the lines of "hey, have you ever tried taking that thing off? I've heard they can be dangerous if the horse falls since it hinders their movement. Wonder if he'd go fine without one?"

    I'll tell you what I wouldn't do if I were you though and that's get on the horse myself while he's wearing that thing. Especially on those kind of trails.



  15. #35
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    Nov. 5, 2002
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    Oh, no possibility of that. I decided long ago I won't ride a borrowed horse. Last time I did I came off on the top of a mountain and broke my tailbone. I had weeks of sitting on a pillow, resolving to NEVER doing that again.



  16. #36
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    Lol, sounds like a bad ride. Broken tail bone was some of the worst pain I've ever felt in my life and it was one of my own that did it to me! 100% rider error though I do totally own it.

    Bring it up to her as a curiousity. Who knows, she might just be doing it because that's how she's always done it, that's what so-and-so she bought the horse from told her to do, whatever. She may find she doesn't need it at all. She doesn't even have to try riding a trail without it, she could just podunk around the barn without it for a bit if that's all she's comfortable with.

    Good friend of mine bought a horse, *had* to be ridden with a tie-down. I never questioned her on it, just let her do her thing. One day I finally sucked it up and asked her why and she said he was a head-tosser and she just rode him in exaclty what the old owner told her to (Tom Thumb+tie-down). I asked her if she'd try riding him without it, she did and he tossed his head *bad*. Put it back on. Asked her if she'd ever tried changing his bit, nope. I gave her an old mullen-mouth snaffle I had lying around and she tried it, head-tossing stopped after a few rides. After that she got curious and wound up trying a few other bits, found one he went amazing in no tie-down needed. No hurt feelings, no drama, no big argument over the issue, just two riders bouncing ideas off each other to get a horse going better. Could work for you and your friend too. All in how you approach it.



  17. #37
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    Nov. 12, 2002
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    north carolina
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    I was riding a young horse on a flat open sandy trail and had a lose tie down on because he was throwing his head so much. It really was a training ride and a friend was assisting me. No running ,just going at a slow walk to show him the sights.
    At the trail head there was a water bucket and foolishly I let him have a drink. somehow the tie down (leather) got wrapped around the spigot , horse quickly backed up and pulled the spigot right up from the ground. Water shooting up and facet hanging from his tie down. It ended fine as he just stood there and didn't run off-good boy- only 3 yrs. old. The tie down broke so that helped a lot.
    I told this story to a friend who amazingly had the same thing happen to her only it was her Wintec bridle that got caught and of course it didn't break. She was riding a dead broke older horse but after that she said no more biothane. A friend whois a carriage driver said that though its wonderful to hose off the biothane rigging its so dangerous because a horse can't break it .
    Much to be said for leather
    Tie downs are just plain dangerous.



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fillabeana View Post
    Beverly, I was trying to say above that I wasn't getting my undies in a bunch about a quiet trail ride on a horse that has been wearing a tie-down most of its life
    True, and I got that,what I did not phrase well was that my intent in using 'you' was general, not directed at any one poster.

    GaitedGloryRider, my pants are very comfy, thank you, does not look like one can say the same for yours? My reading skills as regards your post were pretty good, thanks. You might want to read your own post again. What you said, exactly, was 'anyone who has/rides a horse,' not 'anyone who has a horse.' Like Benjamin Franklin said, the difference between lightning and lightning bug. And perhaps re-read mine without your incorrect presumption as to tone. Fillabeana got it, excepting the one point as noted above where I failed to clarify my universal/generic 'you.'



  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddleup View Post
    How would you all proceed? Ignore it? Address it?
    If your opinion is not sought, best to ignore. You'll get nowhere with unsolicited, unwanted advice. And. Really. No Big Deal.



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddleup View Post
    Another thing: I don't know that he needs it. She only said it's what they always use, and I don't think she knows if he really needs it on the trail or not.

    How would you all proceed? Ignore it? Address it?
    Honestly, if I was doing something that was downright dangerous, I would want someone to mention it. I'm sure it's happened before, I don't take things like that personally and I would be more upset that people let me carry on dangerously rather than say something. For example, I wish someone would have told me not to use nylon lead ropes (or always wear gloves) before I lost half the skin on four of my fingers back in my 20s.

    Maybe she truly has not thought about it. But if you mention it and she resists then I would let it drop.



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