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do any dressage folks tie all their horses in the arena?

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  • do any dressage folks tie all their horses in the arena?

    I'm talking to those trainers without grooms. I know some western folks bring all the horses out into the arena at once and tie them up, work them one by one and leave them all tied/standing until the day's work is done.

    I'm starting to think this is a great idea for someone like me with limited energy and time. Cuts out the walking back/forth to barn and pasture, teach the horses to stand quietly (hope), and would only take up a small portion of arena space. Keep all the boots and tack in a corner, a cell phone, water, treats...so once you and the horses are in the arena it's a straight work block until it's over for everyone.

    does anyone do this? any ideas why it may or may not be a good idea?

  • #2
    that's awful

    I would never do that to a horse - I will bring two in from the pasture at the same time - put one in a stall, work the one and then do the other.

    How can you properly cool out, untack, stretch and groom them all.

    I would hate to have the others in the way while I am working - and what happens if one horse freaks out while you are riding one - your whole ride would be interrupted.

    Just my opinion - I wouldn't do it.

    I guess if you run your training like an assembly line it might be an idea.


    • #3
      It is a very good idea. Personally, I have never seen a dressage, or strictly English rider, do this, but it is a good idea. Just make sure your horse knows how to tie and stand fairly quiet.

      The biggest problem I see is a horse taking exception to being tied while another horse is 'running around', but that is where the herd mentality works in your favor. He is going to want to do what the majority is doing and if the majority is standing, he is likely going to want to stand.

      So, as long as the horses know how to tie, I say have at it.


      • #4
        So they would be tied most of the day? Maybe I am missunderstanding? If this is the case, what about water and hay? Also, when would they get turnout? The thought of working a horse and then keeping it tied up right after for hours to me seems very unfair and unhealthy for the horses.

        "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


        • #5
          It's ok.

          We do something similiar at some of the search and rescue training days. If someone has a young/inexperienced horse, they will tie them in the corner of the arena very strongly and leave them there for the 3 hours of working/training of the other horses. 3 hours isn't going to hurt them, and they get to watch all the horses going over and through all the obstacles. They hear the sirens and airhorns and watch the beach ball flying around. We sort of "play ball" on horseback where we throw a football to each other. When it comes time for the youngster to start doing the obstacles himself, he is far more likely to accept it without much hesitation because he's already seen all the others doing it 100 times.

          Not to mention, horses NEED to know how to tie. And I mean really TIE. Not just loop a leadrope over a stall wall and hope they stand still for 10 minutes. You might need to tie your patrol horse to a tree while you go do something and they have to know to stand there.

          I think we baby our horses way too much. Last year I would tie my youngster to the trailer in the yard and let her stand there for an hour or two. Of course she DID have a water bucket and a haybag and shade. It would be cruel to leave the poor beast baking in the sun all day with nothing to eat or drink. I remember when she'd throw a royal hissy after 20 minutes or so but now that mare could tie anywhere to anything for as long as you want and she'd never move. I also used to put her in the crossties while I did barn chores. Sometimes she'd be in the crossties for 45 min. There's nothing I hate more than a hore that pulls back. I would think tying them in the arena while the other horses work would be good.

          The one thing that worries me though is dust. Your arena would have to be really well watered or made of some substrate that doesn't get dusty. I wouldn't want horses standing in a dust cloud for hours on end.

          If you wanted to give them something to eat that doesn't make such a mess like hay, you could do soaked beet pulp shreds in a bucket hung on the wall.

          What I do NOT like is tying horses up in the stall so they don't roll or so you don't have to untack. Sure every now and then for a short time isn't so bad. But I think the horse's stall is their own personal space - their downtime. They associate it with eating, drinking, relaxing. I hate going to shows and seeing horses standing tied up in the corner of their stall for hours. They start pawing and chewing the wood because they get so frustrated. At least the arena is something a horse generally associates with work.


          • #6
            I would never do that to a horse I owned. Ever. I see no reason why they have to 'learn to be tied up'. I never tie them up - at a show, clinic or anywhere else. They are in their stalls, a pasture, someone is holding on to them, or they are being ridden. I absolutely do not want their brains that numb. I'm not saying anyone else shouldn't - only that I ain't a gonna.

            The practical issues are just impossible. How much of your already probably not regulation arena space are you going to give up to go around tied up horses far enough away to guarantee your horse doesn't get kicked. The horses can get tangled up, kick eachother, or kick the person riding.

            Sorry, the whole thing bothers me. I absolutely do NOT want my horses taught to stand tied for 1-4 hrs. That is just not the kind of thing I want for my horses.


            • #7
              I am good friends with a western trainer who does it that way, and her horses certainly don't suffer for it. They're tied all day and turned out at night, and they're some of the most beautiful, happy, and well-mannered horses I've ever seen. I only knew of one english rider who did it, an old h/j trainer, and his horses were fine too. It's certainly not "awful," just different from what most english riders are used to. It's pretty common out west.
              exploring the relationship between horse and human


              • #8
                It works. I don't like to run through a whole day's worth of horses that are being trained (depending on what you are doing). That's how I start my yearlings.. they stand tied to the arena wall, and one by one, come out and learn stuff, then get tied up again and on to the next one. I keep the lessons short (about 10 minutes each), so in an hour, I can work with 4 or 5 of them. I wouldn't go more than about an hour for the yearlings or 2yo.

                For the older horses, I wouldnt' go more than about 2 hours. Otherwise, it's just pointless for them. But, if you are riding for about 20 minutes/horse, then I'd say you could bring in 4, tie them, and then rotate them for working.
                If it takes longer, then just adjust the number you bring in at any given time.

                At first, it may take a little work, as most horses aren't taught to tie for any real amount of time anymore, but once you get one that can.. it's great.

                I know one person who actually could get her horses to stand like that just ground tied. It was amazing. But, I wouldn't try that right away.
                "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).


                • #9
                  Back in the day I worked for a trainer that did things similarly. I was a groom/rider and when I arrived in the am the horses had already been fed. I went down the barn aisle like an assembly line grooming and saddling each horse (some english, some western) and tied each one to a ring in their stall. The trainer would start at the same end I had started on getting horses ridden. They were stalled in order of riding, some owners would come for lesson, etc, but it was scheduled in accordance with the stalls. As each horse was finished, they would be tied in there stalls to await the next shift groom. There were so many people coming and going that worked there, none of the horses stood for more than an hour at a time. They were all taken out of there stalls several times a day, the after ride groom took them to the wash racks cleaned them up, then back to the stalls (tied again). Once they were at the end of the barn row, they would start back at the front hand walking/grazing. Then back to the stalls (loose) or turned out depending on the arrangement, until dinner time. We would start at 6 am and be done with a 24 stall barn by 6 pm.
                  Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


                  • #10
                    Well I see the value of learning to tie. I don't always have the luxury of having someone hold my horse for me or a temp stall when I trailer out to a new place or a trail ride. From what I've been told, they tie horses in brazil so my horse came being super good about tying.

                    That being said, I'd never ever do the OP's sanario. When I tie my horse I am always with him and it's only for the duration of tacking up at the trailer or bathing him etc. So not very long. Really, if you don't have the time to go and get each horse individually, groom and get ready, untack and cool out maybe you just don't have the time for that many horses.

                    What I have seen someone do that wasn't so bad was after riding she would untack and of course the horse was cooled out but she wouldn't brush or bathe the horse. She'd turn it back out. Then at the end of the day she would go through the barn and brush every horse or wash them as they came in.

                    I have seen a western person try to teach a horse IDK what by tying it up in the indoor all day in full tack no less, w/o food or water. I could never do that to a horse.


                    • #11
                      Just to throw this out there...

                      I'm not sure if the TBs and WBs used in dressage would be able to handle being tied the way you mention. Like I said, I'm not sure. The majority of QHs definitely have a different way of looking at the world then the majority of TBs and WBs.

                      I do think the more "things" horses are used to, the better. You never know when knowing how to stand quietly will be needed - at the vet clinic, at a show, etc. And, a lot of what horses will tolerate is learned, not genetic disposition.

                      Hey, in this day and age, anything that can cut your time and not harm the horses (and may even help) isn't bad.

                      Good luck.


                      • #12
                        think any horse is capable of it, just depends on their up bringing. Start them young and you will have a well mannered patient adult horse.
                        "To my Gub... Godspeed my friend, till we meet again." 1996-2007.
                        Runway (Sasha) 2009 Zweibrucker filly by Redwine.

                        "Silence is golden...and duct tape is silver."


                        • #13
                          Horses learning patience and good behavior is wonderful for them. Any and all of mine are capable of spending the day under the "patience trees" regardless of how well trained or age. Depending on the circumstances, they could be hung under the "patience trees" for a few hours or as many as 10 hours. It is cooler in the shade and they certainly won't die from not having free-choice water or grass.
                          Too bad more horse people don't teach their horse's patience or boundaries of what is acceptable behavior. With my horses, if they dig while being tied, they get hobbled. Soon they learn to stand quietly and not be destructive - to some else's property or themselves. If they are stalled and start kicking -hobbles on front to a hobble on a hind leg that is attached to the front hobbles with a chain.


                          • #14
                            I don't do this as a way to teach a horse a lesson or to teach it patience; however from time to time I do it for short-term and practical reasons (ex.: horse is still damp and I don't want it to roll, they can tie to a ring in the stall til dry; or, crossties are unavailable and horse needs to be tacked up while not eating and walking all over the place while you're trying to do so). So far I haven't needed to tie them to teach them to tie - once or twice one will question it but in my experience they've always given in to being tied pretty quickly. If I was at the racetrack and there was a particularly rank TB who made it obvious to all that tying would possibly lead to the horse freaking out beyond repair and break its neck, I just wouldn't go there. That said, many TB's at the track get accustomed to being tied in the stall at a very early age anyway.

                            Interestingly, with regard specifically to stall-walkers: if you tie a stall-walker in such a way that the horse can hang his/her head out their gate/door, and eat hay from a hay net next to the door, and drink from their water bucket, it's amazing how relieved the stall-walkers become once they're tied. It's almost like OCD for them - they can't stop walking and the tie provides the relief they crave. So many immediately get a mellow, happy eye, become relaxed, and happily munch their hay and look out at the activities going on. I would never however leave any horse tied for hours and hours on end. Yikes.

                            Other than the two examples above, I don't think much of tying horses as a regular thing. But to each his and her own.
                            "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain


                            • #15
                              Well, I'm not a trainer and I only have two horses, but they are big WBs and I do ride dressage. I must say it never occurred to me not to train my horses to tie. For me it is a necessity as I travel with my horses every time I ride and I am mostly alone. I am 62, 5'4", and my horses are 16.3 and 17.2 so you are probably getting the picture

                              IMO the horses need to behave as I see fit since I am the one taking very good care of them; and part of my enjoyment of my horses is that they are patient and stand tied while I do what I need to do.

                              I raised two lovely daughters and I now have three grandsons and I truly believe kids and horses are very similar in that they appreciate/need to know their boundaries. Sometimes it's a pain enforcing the rules, but in the end it is definitely worth it
                              "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." --author unknown


                              • #16
                                I wish I had a meditation wall in my arena...there is a lovely large unmoveable oak tree right outside the arena...


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by QHDQ View Post
                                  Just to throw this out there...

                                  I'm not sure if the TBs and WBs used in dressage would be able to handle being tied the way you mention. Like I said, I'm not sure. The majority of QHs definitely have a different way of looking at the world then the majority of TBs and WBs.

                                  I do think the more "things" horses are used to, the better. You never know when knowing how to stand quietly will be needed - at the vet clinic, at a show, etc. And, a lot of what horses will tolerate is learned, not genetic disposition.

                                  Hey, in this day and age, anything that can cut your time and not harm the horses (and may even help) isn't bad.

                                  Good luck.
                                  I had an OTTB mare (amoung other horses and ponies) that would stand tied all day at the trailer, even when she was eventing fit and we were parked by a road - so yes even very fit TBs can learn to stand tied. All horses can and IMO SHOULD learn to stand tied anytime, anywhere. You never know when it might be absolutly necessary.

                                  This doesn't mean you need to leave them tied every day, anymore than they need to stand in a trailer every day once they learn it, but it is something they should learn to at least tolerate at some point in thier life.



                                  • #18
                                    As someone who has had to share an arena with someone who does this, it is beyond a complete pain in the butt. They were just ALWAYS in the way.


                                    • #19
                                      Guess what, Auventura 2. I don't have to agree with you. It's not required for me to agree with you to give me validity or value as a person. Further, disagreeing with you does not make me stupid.

                                      I see it differently from you, and until further notice, according to the constitution of the United States, people are, at this moment, allowed to disagree with you, and that would include me.

                                      No. I don't tie my horses up for hours in the indoor arena while I ride other horses. I don't want my horses to get used to being tied up for hours. I dislike the idea of tying my horse up for hours. I don't want to tie them up that long. I want them to be loose, in their stall, in a paddock, in the pasture. I don't want them tied up for periods of time.

                                      You'll just have to accept that people are allowed to believe that, and that it's not a part of your duty in life to make me agree with you that tieing up horses for hours builds their character or is good for them or whatever.

                                      And no. No cross ties as much as possible. I hate them.

                                      How do I go to the vet clinic. I put my horse in the trailer. I drive there. I unload the horse, and he goes into a stall at the vet clinic. The vet brings the horse out, works on him, and puts him back in the stall. Then I go get the horse, put it in the trailer and go home. How do I clip my horse. I put the lead shank on his neck, say 'Whoa' and he stands there for 2 hrs while I clip him. If he does move, I say whoa, and he stands still. How do I tack up my horse. I go into the stall or paddock with the tack, I say whoa, I put the tack on the horse, and lead it out to the arena, trail, track or whatever.

                                      Yes, occasionally I tie my horse up. With a quick release tie, and not for two hours, and not on concrete, and not to a trailer. All my horses tie just fine. I just don't tie them up for hours.

                                      I don't think tying them up for hours builds their character. I don't think it makes them better horses. Different strokes for different folks. Deal with it.


                                      • #20
                                        That really wasn't the point of my post. I asked what you would do in that situation. So...what would you do?