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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2009
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    Texas Hill Country
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    628

    Default "Thinking Tree": Training the spoiled pasture puff Arab mare to tie once and for all

    My last BO (before I went all-Dreadful, all the time) was a warmblood breeder. She employed a full-time ground manners trainer to whup those big-ass youngsters into shape.

    Regarding tying, one of the things this trainer did was, she'd take a two-year-old and clip it to a rope (or maybe it was a chain?) that was permanently affixed to a high, stout tree branch. The rope had a swivel. Under the rope was cushy sand footing. The two-year-olds would sass the rope, but no matter what they did they stayed tied. Neither, she claimed, was it possible for them to hurt themselves. She called it "The Thinkin' Tree." Unlike some of the tales I've heard about this technique, where some cowboy just leaves the horse there with a haynet and a water bucket for 2 weeks or something, this warmblood trainer only staked'em out for an hour or so at a time.

    Anyone ever use this tree method of "stand tied or else" training? Is it recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists? If so, can anyone recommend any tips, and/or the proper hardware to rig it up? If not, lard help me, somehow I've gotta teach my nutty Arabian to stand if I'm gonna win my endurance ride bet.
    Last edited by The Crone of Cottonmouth County; Apr. 9, 2013 at 01:51 PM. Reason: clarification
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


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  2. #2
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    Feb. 19, 2013
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    Alabama
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    754

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    I prefer to do this in a stall where they can't bounce around too much and hurt themselves... the key is leverage, equipment that won't break, and a rope halter. Tie them high so they can't get the leverage to pull back. Babies are ideal as they typically wear themselves out before they do any serious damage. The tree scenario is 'ok' but horses are flight animals and tying them in the open space sometimes can make them try to 'escape' and pull harder.

    Now I have an old mare that has some human created mental issues and would rather die than tie, I can only imagine the abuse she had to go through to have a mental 'break'. She cross ties (with twine) and ground ties and will tie on a tie line but panics when tied to something (wall, trailer, tie rail, etc) with one lead rope. To me it isn't worth killing her so I deal with it... but she's retired now.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    15,547

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    Meh, the "in practice" techniques of the Euro-A$$ Whupper and the Guy With The Nice A$$ in Wranglers aren't different.

    A tree, a deeply seated pole with a rotating cap, a tie ring in a stall-- all at the horse's eye or higher-- are good enough. You need to be out of the horse's sight but within earshot. Have a knife on you for the horse who decided to go kamikaze in his warfare.

    You can teach horses a lot by leaving them alone. In fancy psychological terms, they are learning "self-soothing." IMO, this is the point. Just staying tied (while full of resentment or fear or whatever) isn't it. I think any horse can learn this.... if you have enough time to do these sessions.

    Each time, you are waiting for the horse to Just Chill. Leave him/her a bit longer and then call it a day. The horse who has gotten all he/she can from this training is the one who gets calm when he's tied up. He understands that you just put him in "park" and that, as sh!tty horse jobs go, this one really isn't too bad.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2010
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    I call it 'soaking'. Tie them up and let them 'soak' in the idea of staying tied and four hoofies on the ground. No pawing or acting up.

    I have a tree right now, right outside my home which I tie my BIG Sammy up. The branch is above his head and he can twirl and swirl all he wants. Then, he's over it. Also, I have a smaller tree, right outside the barn, I tie him to that. It gives and when he gives, it's back to upright. I'm not as fond of that because sometimes he goes too far around, but has never gotten too far to get himself in trouble. The horse has a brain.

    My fave is tied to the fence post where they can't go round and round. Always tie to the post, not the fencing 'slats' so to speak.

    I try to tie in the shade, never direct, hot sun. "Back in the day", if I were busy with several horses, didn't bother me if they had to stand several hours. As long as they could move around, not like in a straight load trailer.

    Something about tying makes they way more tractable, if a horse is too fractious. Someone once told me it's akin to crate training for a dog. I don't know what crate training is, but, hey, tying a horse works for me.

    Also, there are some horses, usually ranch horses, who will tie and stay put if you only loop the lead/rein over the fence but don't tie hard. They will stay put. If you tie hard, they will set back and try to leave. But just looping the lead around and then back over the top of the lead, where it won't slide, they'll stand there till the cows come home.
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2002
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    NJ, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by goneriding24 View Post
    My fave is tied to the fence post where they can't go round and round. Always tie to the post, not the fencing 'slats' so to speak.
    Just witnessed a near tragedy when a horse snapped the 4x4 post they were tied to in half (normally a good tyer, another horse nearby pulled down a gate & scared the heck out of her). The normally level headed mare lost it when she found the 4x4 chasing her, smacking her all over as she galloped away in pure panic, straight onto a busy highway.

    Fortunately she didn't have an accident with a car & is now healing from all the cuts & bruises from being beat up by a 4x4, but I would make sure that post you tie to is sturdier than your average 4x4 fencing post.


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  6. #6
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    Jan. 8, 2006
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    B.C. Canada
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    I'm not against tying a horse to a sturdy something something to let them work it out for themselves. However for me it depends on how bad the horse is with tying before I plan on the approach.
    Some horses do quite literally go head over heels into full panic mode - and that sturdy hard tie is a disaster from the word go.
    If they are just spoilt and fussy - then it works.

    I have one horse (endurance gelding) who was a second away from panic flight/fight mode with a tie. He was a flip over backwards when tied kinda dude.

    I had to play him another way - everytime I handled him I would loop his leadrope several times around whatever - but not hard tie it. -- When he started to freak, the friction was there - but he couldn't come up hard against a solid 'no'. the trick with this method sadly - is you have to be around ALL the time - because it's not the leadrope that needs to stop the horse from pulling back - the second they do it, you grab the rope and stop them in person - but because you are a moveable object - and the horse understands the concept of person on end of my leadrope.. it works. but it requires patience.

    I guess the best decription is over time - they learn to associate being tied to be tied to you. Took me about a month or so to instill being tied is 'the safety zone' in this particular horse. - he ties like a dream to this day.
    Quote Originally Posted by ExJumper View Post
    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 27, 2005
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    511

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    I prefer a heavy cotton lead, tied to a doubled over heavy duty truck inner-tube, which in turn is tied to a tree, very stout post (like a light pole sized post, not a fence post or 4 x 4, wall, etc. That allows just enough "give" that it's hard for a horse to set back and break anything.


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2002
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    Suffolk, VA
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    16,684

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    Check out blocker tie rings. They can really help with the panicky sort of non tiers. I use them to train my youngsters to tie initially. No risk of injury with them. Use a LONG Rope so if they do jump back and it feeds out, they are not instantly loose.


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  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2009
    Location
    Texas Hill Country
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    628

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unfforgettable View Post
    I prefer a heavy cotton lead, tied to a doubled over heavy duty truck inner-tube, which in turn is tied to a tree, very stout post (like a light pole sized post, not a fence post or 4 x 4, wall, etc. That allows just enough "give" that it's hard for a horse to set back and break anything.
    So in this scenario the inner tube is like a bungee? That actually sounds like it might work for my wackaloon mare. I was intrigued by the tree branch notion because this horse likes to swing around when she panics, thereby banging herself up on walls, fences, etc. With the tree branch method, the tie post is cantilevered out above eye level, so she can't bonk into anything. Theoretically.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    My last BO (before I went all-Dreadful, all the time) was a warmblood breeder. She employed a full-time ground manners trainer to whup those big-ass youngsters into shape.

    Regarding tying, one of the things this trainer did was, she'd take a two-year-old and clip it to a rope (or maybe it was a chain?) that was permanently affixed to a high, stout tree branch. The rope had a swivel. Under the rope was cushy sand footing. The two-year-olds would sass the rope, but no matter what they did they stayed tied. Neither, she claimed, was it possible for them to hurt themselves. She called it "The Thinkin' Tree." .
    it works I however not wanting to spoil good trees use 8x8 and bigger timbers in my main barn...

    check your touchy feeley at the door with this one however....big stout naughty 800lbers can, if not taught earlier in life to stand still,and do raise quite a fuss about themselves....they will live

    I have also (on grown ones who had taught Massa to "come a running every time they squealed),sat out of range with a book and a lunge whip and perfected my fly fishing techniques on that hip,or shoulder,which ever was in range

    Tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2012
    Posts
    1,434

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    I put tie stalls in my barn (and some box stalls too) I really believe in this very old fashioned method of developing a horse's patience and ability to deal with restrictions. The fact that the tie stall is an experience "on their own time" rather than one I have to impose on them- I think just makes everything go so much easier than if life is all Liberty and rushing wind until I show up. I love opening my pasture gate and having the horses canter into their tie stall spaces to eat their hay and grain.

    I wouldn't do a tie stall to a horse who can't tie... but I think once you get the tying without flipping/scrambling down- it's a great daily habit. What other horse behavior do you get to work on for hours a day every day without even being there?

    You may consider a piece of hardware called a "snap shackle" I think it's a REALLY bad idea to try to train horses to tie with safety breakage built in... that just teaches horses to break stuff. A snap shackle is a hardware from the sailing world which will release even if under incredible pressure (similar to trailer panic snaps- but better) The snap shackle won't break in a flip out- but if it really came to it- you would still be able to release it. You always want to release on the opposite end from the horse- you don't want to try to reach for a halter is someomne is rearing/flailing.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12

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    I miss my old barn with tie stalls every day.
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 2, 2012
    Location
    In the wilds of Northern Ontario, Canada
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    363

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    The majority of the stalls at the RCMP Musical Ride Centre Barn are tie stalls, with a few box stalls for medical and/or exceptionally large horses.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2010
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    Orygun
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    So in this scenario the inner tube is like a bungee? That actually sounds like it might work for my wackaloon mare. I was intrigued by the tree branch notion because this horse likes to swing around when she panics, thereby banging herself up on walls, fences, etc. With the tree branch method, the tie post is cantilevered out above eye level, so she can't bonk into anything. Theoretically.
    Yeah-up. Fold an inner tube in half, like a "C" and 'wrap' around the post. Tie to that. Be sure to put it up eye level or a bit above. They can set back but the inner tube takes the energy. I've never had one hurt using it. I'm sure there is some horse out there, somewhere, who has, just not one of mine.

    As for tying to a fence post, I meant either a metal post or the, what are they, 8X8's?? I'm talking 'fence posts', not fence posts for a garden.

    Strangely, I hear stories of horses who won't tie but yet, every horse I can remember, all tied and stayed put. They might have set back at first, once or twice but each horse learned to tie and not be a jack-@$$. Never had one hurt either. Actually, I think a lot has to do with my physical actions. I tie and walk away. If horse acts up, pawing, testing the lead, etc., I stand there and look at them, never moving, I'll even walk off. I think a lot of horses know they get a 'rise' out of their hunan, who somewhat panics and runs to save the horse. Not me, unless they are on the ground and can't get up or have a leg over the lead (only happened once to me, I cut the rope, horse wasn't hurt), I just look at them. They can just learn to stand.
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2006
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    Middle of Nowhere, take a right, FL
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    I used the inner tube for my older TB mare. When I got her she went through more halters and leads in a month than I had ever owned in my life! She did set back against that tree/tire and I've never seen a tire tube stretch SO THIN and LONG. She really gave it her all and then it snapped her right back into place. Just as she was still the shank fell off the halter. Thank GOD she didn't realize it and I was standing right there. Next few days she was so sore she could barely move. She could have easily broken her neck and/or done serious damage to her spine. I was afraid she had for the next few days, she was that bad. But it worked and she recovered. But it could have been bad. Before you resort to this do a lot of ground work (pick your guru!) on teaching the horse to give to pressure on its head/nose/face from all directions. It's much safer!

    Have seen horses with ropes tied around their barrels and run up through their front legs ended up with rope rash (if there is such a thing) and one broke a leg. These were TBs and WBs who can really put some force into it. I don't think I'd ever try that with a drafter just seeing what those horses could do.

    But it certainly did work. I left the tire tube on the tree just in case she tried it again but she always respected it after that. Eventually it rotted off.
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.



  16. #16
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    May. 2, 2011
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    Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
    My last BO (before I went all-Dreadful, all the time) was a warmblood breeder. She employed a full-time ground manners trainer to whup those big-ass youngsters into shape.

    Regarding tying, one of the things this trainer did was, she'd take a two-year-old and clip it to a rope (or maybe it was a chain?) that was permanently affixed to a high, stout tree branch. The rope had a swivel. Under the rope was cushy sand footing. The two-year-olds would sass the rope, but no matter what they did they stayed tied. Neither, she claimed, was it possible for them to hurt themselves. She called it "The Thinkin' Tree." Unlike some of the tales I've heard about this technique, where some cowboy just leaves the horse there with a haynet and a water bucket for 2 weeks or something, this warmblood trainer only staked'em out for an hour or so at a time.

    Anyone ever use this tree method of "stand tied or else" training? Is it recommended by 4 out of 5 dentists? If so, can anyone recommend any tips, and/or the proper hardware to rig it up? If not, lard help me, somehow I've gotta teach my nutty Arabian to stand if I'm gonna win my endurance ride bet.
    You betcha. I too, live in the Hill Country and like you, own one of those crayze Ay-rabs. I teach my babies patience by starting out tying them for 15 minutes ( please note- they are halter broke and taught to lead within 1 week after birth) and working up to several hours standing tied. I firmly believe it teaches them patience. Case in point; my coming 2 y/o stood tied for 8 hours at a show, with plenty of water/hay.(except for 3 classes)
    Start your mare out with 15 minutes or so. When she stops pawing or exhibiting frustration, reward her. I bought my HA mare when she was 14 and taught her this way. Believe me, she was one frustrated lady.
    "I'm a loner, and a loner's got to be alone." Geiko


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  17. #17
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    Nov. 8, 2012
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    gulf coast
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    There is a halter on the market called a 'Be Nice Halter'. It puts pressure on the nerves at the pole when the horse back on the rope. It works best if you can do a little 'yeild to pressure' schooling first. Tie with solid rope no snaps. It is a good idea to have protective boots on the horse's legs and to stay nearby.
    Clinton Anderson sells a 'Patience Pole'. It is possable to make something simmilar with a ball from a trailer hitch and a strong welded ring.
    It's a good idea to teach a horse to tie to different objects in different places.


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  18. #18
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    Oct. 28, 2007
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    NY
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    Does anyone train to stand on dropped reins? That seems even more useful. And for those who have, how do you teach that?



  19. #19
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    Jan. 4, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chall View Post
    Does anyone train to stand on dropped reins? That seems even more useful. And for those who have, how do you teach that?
    Ground tying is used in some trail classes, but it is not a way you ever want to depend on in open spaces.

    You train that by training first good manners, where a horse will stand there quietly when tied.

    Once your horse is good with standing in one place, you can start just dropping the lead, not reins and working around the horse, close to it and if it moves, putting it back in place.
    Some use also voice, a whoa, to reinforce to stand there, if that has been taught before to mean don't move.

    As you can trust your horse more, you can go further and further, like when unsaddling and the horse is tired and wanting to stand there anyway, go into the tackroom with the saddle, bridle and such.

    Like with any training, the horse will learn best when you set the situation so it can't do wrong and don't trust it too much too soon and teach it it can get away.

    Ranch horses, due to the nature of the work, learn to ground tie practically without specific training, but you also don't trust the horse will stand there when you are miles from headquarters.

    Working in pens, you have to get off at times to do things on foot and your horse, already tired and happy for a break, learns to stand there waiting for you.

    Why should you never trust that a horse will stand there?
    Because the world around you is not 100% predictable, another horse may get loose and run over your horse or something may go "booo!" and really scare your horse out of his space.
    Also, if you ground tie with reins, if the horse were to move and step on them with a bit in it's mouth, that can cut a horse's mouth, I have seen that happen.

    Most horses previously taught to stand in place well learn to ground tie in a few minutes, takes a lifetime of using ground tying properly to get a confirmed ground tying horse.

    Ground tying is very handy, easy to teach, just use in the right place and time.


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2000
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    MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by csaper58 View Post
    There is a halter on the market called a 'Be Nice Halter'. It puts pressure on the nerves at the pole when the horse back on the rope. It works best if you can do a little 'yeild to pressure' schooling first. Tie with solid rope no snaps. It is a good idea to have protective boots on the horse's legs and to stay nearby.
    Clinton Anderson sells a 'Patience Pole'. It is possable to make something simmilar with a ball from a trailer hitch and a strong welded ring.
    It's a good idea to teach a horse to tie to different objects in different places.
    I'd not tie hard and fast with one of those. YMMV.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


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