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throwing head when hitching

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  • throwing head when hitching

    Working with an ( in progress) 4 in hand.

    Single mare is 4ish and likely started at 2. Basically a good horsey but greenish. Aside from some jigging (which is partially a physical stiffness maturity issue). The 4 yr tends to really throw the head around when hitching and be impatient to stand once header walks off. We have played with having header be
    indistinct with move off. kind Of a shuffle the around,come and go, so horse doesn't get a "go" flag. Which has been mostly successful. But the swinging around of the head we haven't been able to address.

    We we do both singles and pairs on a regular basis.
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  • #2
    Does she also throw her head when cross-tied? Is she ever tied for any reason?

    We groom, harness and hitch Singles, Pair, Four, in cross-ties in the wide aisle. A header helps the very green horse stand still when we start training, then gradually is not heading anymore as horse gains experience standing. Header holds horse lead for over-the-head stuff like putting on or taking off collar/breast collar, then clips cross-ties back on and moves away.

    Many folks have no second person to help harness and hitch, so horse must learn to stand well for the process. Being cross-tied and standing is a safety step, horse can't walk off.

    Being young, moving thru her training steps, perhaps horse has never learned to stand well yet because there were lots of grooms to hold her before. A lot of horses get trained this way.

    Our horses spend a LOT of time tied up, learning they can't walk off when they please. Patience is a virtue, useful in many places. Head tossing or other signs of nerves, impatience, seem to quit when they get tired of doing this with no change about being tied or human reaction. There are often only one or two of us humans to hitch them all up, so they need to wait as we get things done in the proper order. It is not a speedy process hitching a Pair or Four, acting silly won't change anything, so they learn to wait quietly as the process is repeated many times.

    Out in public we do have the required extra groom to hold horses doing the Four. We follow the proper SAFE hitching steps and procedures when putting to in an open space, with any amount of horses


    • Original Poster

      Thanks. Actually At this time we don't really have a proper barn for the horses. Have a few stalls in the indoor ring. No cross ties. 2 hitching rails outside, but those are useful according to weather and how much barn traffic there is in large vehicles coming and going.

      I will attempt to suggest we tie them out there for periods of time.

      We have had horses leave.... and still sorting out a firm way to get them attach to the rails.
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      • #4
        I do not like hitching rails (style seen in old Western movies) for tying or training to tie horses to.

        Many are too short, horses try to go over them. Horse can move to get around the end, pull off center to take them apart, fall to get caught under the rail part.

        For tying you can use a tall pole, 10ft in the air, with 4 or 5ft in the ground. Rearing horse will not go up over it, can wind and unwind their tie rope without getting tangled. You are able to tie the rope up "eye high" to the horse for safety. Horse has to pull uphill if he really sits back, he loses leverage power with rope so high. Not likely to get a leg over a rope that high. I give my horse enough length his nose will reach the top of his leg, no more. He can be comfortable dropping his head a bit, but not too low. A reliable (won't pull loose) tie location higher up on a barn wall can work too. He won't want to hit a big wooden wall jumping forward. Pole barn metal siding wall is not recommended, too many sharp edges.

        If you think horse will do much pulling, I recommend a thicker cotton neck rope or cow collar, both used in conjunction with his nylon halter to keep his head and neck aligned during a pull back. Using either will move the pull point back to a more muscled area of the neck, away from the more delicate area of spine and skull joint which is where halter crown falls. My cotton neck rope has a welded 3" steel ring to fasten the snap to, then run the tail of rope thru halter chin ring forward to use for tying horse. Rope tail needs to go thru chin ring so rope stays under his chin in a pull. Make sure the snap and rope can take the weight and force of an angry horse. "Jerk weight" of a fighting horse is at least double the force of his body weight, so add that in. Bull snaps for me, steel, no brass because it is weaker metal. He is not leaving once tied. Cotton rope because horse is unlikely to get burned when rope is pulled,. Nylon rope can burn the skin in a hard pull.

        I never use those movable devices that come on rope to turn them into neckropes. One has a square piece of tube with a screw eye bolt, the other is a 3-hole piece of metal where the rope goes thru 2 holes, leaving the third hole to snap ointo. They usually come on thin, junky nylon ropes with a dog leash snap and won't hold a horse at all. Snaps break easily and so do the devices.

        Practice your quick release knots in case you have to get him loose. Have adjustable pliers handy, sometimes the rope will bind up with force of the pull, or you can just cut the rope if needed. Don't leave tied horse unsupervised the first several days. And when horse stands quietly a few minutes, not just catching their breath again, zip over and untie!! Reward that good moment!!

        This may sound a bit harsh, big rope, big snap, nylon halter, but you don't want horse breaking loose. Trying to tie after that escape will be a bigger, longer fight because horse "won" before. He just needs to try harder to get loose again. Horse may not argue at all, which will be wonderful!! Horse just will need practice tying with longer and longer sessions. I add another 5 minutes about every third day until we reach an hour. Then I increase tie time by 15 minutes every third day. We use tie stalls daily, so our horses are fine being tied hours a day. No big deal. We do consider tie stall to be wonderful training tools. Lots of food coming from the rear, get over, let it in! Hose rubbing hooves while filling bucket in front. Tickles are not exciting as food person rubs horse sides coming in. Don't need to kick as horses pass behind in the aisle, or tractor drives by.

        A horse can spend a bunch of time tied in trailers, on the side of trailers, so they need to be experienced at "waiting around" tied, without being silly. We consider it a big part of their education toward being a good horse.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks. I do not own the property and the hitching rails were only recently installed at the direction of someone over my head. I will have to see if i can make them work. The metal snaps on the ropes have already proven to yield readily. So that will have to be addressed as well.
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