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Bad Tie-er Help?

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  • Bad Tie-er Help?

    I must admit, I'm slightly embarrassed to be asking this question, but... I have a teenaged OTTB gelding that I recently acquired that simply will-not-tie. He's not scared, he doesn't pull back, he doesn't dance around. He simply and very calmly pulls with his head until the quick-release knot gives and then meanders around for a walk. I board at a rather busy facility so this is definitely not a good habit. There really aren't cross-ties and I'd rather not *have* to use them, if you know what I mean. Just rails. I've tried a regular halter and a rope halter, makes no difference to him. He just would rather not stand around doing nothing, he wants to be loose and investigating everything. But I'm scared to tie him fast in case there were an actual event that spooked him. Any ideas? I can't keep him with me the whole time if I want to nip over to the tack room or out to my car, etc. Otherwise he's pretty well behaved except that he's a little pushy and is refusing to get in the wash rack. Any good way to get across to him I mean business without playing with 'vegetable sticks'?

  • #2
    Look up Clinton Anderson's stuff on youtube about the Blocker Tie Ring.

    I think Clinton's too rough on a horse, but this particular set of work, works.


    • #3
      Well, he didn't invent the ring so you don't have to give him credit for that either.

      The quick release knot doesn't really do what it's supposed to--my horse recently flipped while tied (has an eye problem that is getting worse... sigh.) and there was NO WAY I was going to pull the 'quick release' (Tried--was. not. budging.). So I'm not sure what the point of it is, because that's a situation in where it should have helped.

      I bought the blocker tie ring and haven't looked back. Tie your horse with it on the second setting, and i would watch him several times before leaving him. When he sees he doesn't get 'loose loose' he should be good.

      The other way, of course, is the more western way of tying him with things that don't break and leaving him there for a few hours. If he continued to test the BTR, that's probably what I would do..


      • #4
        A properly done quick release knot shouldn't when being pulled by the end attached to the halter. It should be the loose end that can be pulled to release the tie. You might want to check on how you are doing your QR knot.

        And for the love of God, tie him fast (with a proper QR knot) with a rope and halter that won't break to a solid post or tree that won't break, and let him struggle a bit. If it is not a panic reaction that causes him to pull, then there should be no danger of him really hurting himself.
        The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


        • Original Poster

          Wow, thanks for the fast replies! I'm not sure the BO would be happy with me installing a Blocker ring, but that WAS my first thought, actually. We'll see if there's a good place for it. The tie rails are horizontal and probably only about four/four and a half feet off the ground so not sure they're even the best setup for it. There IS a chance I'm not doing the QR knot properly, but it's the same way the other girls do it, so Probably doesn't help that my lead on the rope halter is that stiff rope material so it doesn't hold that kind of knot well. So basic consensus is if I can't get a good situation to use the Blocker to tie him fast and let him relearn he doesn't get to do as he pleases? Just wanted to make sure I wasn't being horrible horse owner of the year for tying my horse fast since *they* say to NEVER do that. I'll make sure I keep my pocketknife on me when I do it. He's basically a very good boy, he's just got a new person and I feel he's 'taking the p*ss' so to speak.


          • #6
            Blocker Ring, and a pretty long rope so he get's tired of pulling before he runs out of rope. The ring snaps onto an eyebolt, so if you don't have a place you can install an eyebolt, all you need is a few wraps of twine to tie the blocker to whatever you would normally be tying the rope to. But, you will need the right material rope to tie with. If you are using one of those slippery shipping halter/rope in one deals, it might be A. too short, or B. wrong diameter.
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              With him being so old, still not tying well, you might want to use a neckrope or cow collar, so he is not pulling on the halter itself, or even a belly rope if you want to start from scratch. The neckrope and cow collar move the pull location behind where the skull and spine attach, a very delicate location. With pull being further back on neck, you are on more muscled neck, not bone. Lots less likely to hurt the horse if he does fight.

              If horse can get the rope loose with pulling, it does not sound like you have made a correct quick-release knot. However some kinds of rope, will bind or easily release, so you need to consider rope types as part of your problem.

              I always use the heavy, 3/4" twisted cotton for ropes when tying a horse. Not likely to burn if pulled, but they can bind if wet or pulled REALLY hard. I never use nylon ropes. The cotton is easy on my hands, cuts quickly if needed. I buy expensive snaps that will quick release with any amount of pull on them, but they don't release accidently or with rubbing. I just get the snaps at the local tack store, but this photo shows what snap looks like.


              I am a firm believer in tying "hard and fast", all my equines go thru tie-up school to learn how to manage this. Takes a while to get everything clear to them, give to pressure, being calm about the whole deal, before they are trusted to be tied for long times in all kinds of places. My horses know that being tied is a good place to be, you are GOOD when you are tied up. I ALWAYS want them waiting for me when I return. Probably some "cowboy movie proverb" I absorbed as a child, always having your horse faithfully waiting for you to escape on or chase someone with.

              I have had a lot of success with the Highwayman's Hitch, as a quick release knot. Have not been able to get it to bind up no matter how hard we tried.
              Here are a couple sites, that show how, one pics, one video.



              Make sure your tie rope is long enough to do the knots correctly, have a tail end left to poke thru the loop.

              A quick google for "quick release tie knot" brought up a whole lot of methods, and utube videos like this, and more knots off to the side.


              Use good quality equipment in halter, snaps that will hold him on rope. Leather halter and cheap buckles are not going to hold if he fights. Good luck with retraining.


              • Original Poster

                Thank you, goodhors! I DO have a lead with that type of snap and a good rope halter that won't break and I've never seen that type of quick release knot before, now I'm excited to try! I don't think it's that he doesn't know HOW to tie, it's just that he was coddled for quite a bit so now he's of the opinion that we are here to cater to him, of which he needs to be disillusioned I've dealt with one that didn't tie out of fear which is how I can tell this isn't really the same deal. You can watch him think about it and make a decision, he's one of those that watches, thinks, and then decides what he feels like doing. Not gonna fly with the things like this that really need to be "my way or the highway". Thanks everybody!


                • #9
                  I agree with what everybody else posted. Just wanted to add that it also helps to tie a horse high - above his head. The muscles underneath the neck required for pulling UP and BACK are much stronger than the muscles on top of the neck required for pulling DOWN and BACK.

                  My opinion is that hitching rails are really bad news when you're teaching a horse to tie. I wouldn't use one until the horse was well trained to tie hard and fast first. Hitching rails seem to just invite horses to set back against them. The two worst tying disasters I've seen have involved a hitching rail and horses that were not well trained to tie hard and fast.

                  There was an article on the net somewhere (but I can't find it now) mentioning how predators take prey down - they manage to get underneath them and grasp the windpipe and flip them down to the ground. When the horse realizes he can't put his head up, there is a much stronger panic reaction than if he realizes he can't put his head down. By tying high, you aren't fighting that instinctive prey drive that tells him to get his head loose from whatever is holding him down NOW.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mayfieldk View Post
                    The other way, of course, is the more western way of tying him with things that don't break and leaving him there for a few hours. If he continued to test the BTR, that's probably what I would do..
                    My OTTB used to break every tie or cross tie he was put in for years (used to sit back like a dog until it broke , not freaking out, just sitting back with a look of determination on his face). After one particularly scary incident where he bent back a 2x6 rail and snapped it, I had someone with experience tie him one sunny day a few summers ago when he was about 16. He got tied to a telephone pole, high, with some sort of special rope. I couldnt' watch. But you know what? He has never broken a tie since. I can actually now leave him in cross ties in the aisle while I get stuff out of the tack room or trailer. He doesn't even try.

                    Though I have to say at that time if I had know about the blocker ring, I would have tried it. But he's a tenacious and stubborn guy. He might have run it all the way to the end...
                    "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                    <>< I.I.


                    • #11
                      I think the "tie them fast" method is effective - at least I've seen it work many times - BUT I do think it can be quite risky for an amateur to try on their own, especially at a boarding barn where others could be frightened or hurt. I've watched several trainers do it on a dozen different horses, but I would never do it myself.

                      Some things to consider are the fact that some horses will pull for a minute, realize they can't break away anymore, and give up. I'd say of the ones I've seen about 80% are in this group. But others may fight quite hard or have a temper tantrum, throw themselves down, rear, strike, etc. which can be quite emotionally upsetting for the owner or bystanders to see and potentially hurt someone who gets excited and rushes in to "save" the horse at the wrong moment. The human panicking at the wrong moment and letting the horse loose defeats the purpose of the training, too. The person training needs to have the experience and judgment to distinguish between a horse having a temper tantrum and a horse having an emergency problem. And that comes from some experience.

                      Also, it's not uncommon for people misjudge the strength of the thing they are tying the horse to. The OPs barn has "rails" 4 feet off the ground. I would consider that too low, and possibly not strong enough to hold a horse pulling back hard. A horse can take out a barn support post, a 2x4, a fence rail, a car bumper and many other "strong" things you would think are not breakable. Then you have a really, really dire situation.

                      I met a horse recently that had been tied to a fence rail by an unthinking kid the previous year. It took 2 vets all night to get all the wood splinters out of her body after they caught her. Retraining her would have taken a good many sessions, if it would have worked at all. She still cross-tied, so her owner just left it at that.

                      I think for amateurs working on their own, the blocker tie ring solution is safer.


                      • Original Poster

                        All valid concerns, but I thought I'd jump back in and clarify a bit. I call them tie rails but they are actually all at least 4x4's. And I don't really consider myself an amateur (although certainly am not a professional), I've just never really come across this situation before. I will use the tie POST the first few times and tie him high so that I'm sure he doesn't get the wrong idea. I really wish there were better tying options at the barn though.


                        • #13
                          I hate hitching rails. There. I said it. If I have to use them I prefer to just put the rope round it once and be done and get done and go ride. The rails ought to be about 8' off the ground It wouldn't matter if they were made of 8X8s they are low rails in terms of horses with issues. I just don't like 'em. I have a decorative one here and I use it to prop rakes against. Horses get tied to poles- high and happy

                          To teach one to tie it's a rope halter and a tied on stout rope and a tree limb that's quite stout too and higher than the horse's ears. He can't get leverage, so he can't much fight it. He can sit down. He can sull up and lie/lay? down. He can rot for all I care. He's going to stand there tied until I deem it time to untie him.

                          The blocker ring is nice but you need a long rope and longer mental fuse. He's going to toy with it until he cyphers that he's tied and not running out of rope.

                          OP, you could fashion a mobile attachment for the Blocker to your good stout tie rail. So it's only there if you're there, and doesn't bother the BO.

                          I didn't say Clinton invented that ring, but I like how he uses it and the youtubes are good demos of how it's supposed to be used. Even Clinton says he didn't create it


                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by katarine View Post
                            OP, you could fashion a mobile attachment for the Blocker to your good stout tie rail. So it's only there if you're there, and doesn't bother the BO.


                            • #15
                              I don't know, how about a mega-stout dog collar you can clip the carabiner to ? Something along those lines that you can buckle or tie around the 4X4. If you'll learn to tie a bowline knot you could tie a short piece of stout rope 'round the tierail, clip the Blocker onto it...then untie it and chuck it in your tack trunk when you go home.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Dramapony_misty View Post
                                A properly done quick release knot shouldn't when being pulled by the end attached to the halter. It should be the loose end that can be pulled to release the tie. You might want to check on how you are doing your QR knot.

                                And for the love of God, tie him fast (with a proper QR knot) with a rope and halter that won't break to a solid post or tree that won't break, and let him struggle a bit. If it is not a panic reaction that causes him to pull, then there should be no danger of him really hurting himself.
                                echo you matey lol

                                look here always te the horse to a piece of baling twine which should be connected to what ever you intend tieing the horse up to, as 1- the baling twine will break rather than the neddies neck. this may be on stbale ring a horse box ring a trialer ring, or the outside area ring etc



                                • #17
                                  I would like to agree with folks that heavier post is, the better. I would not tie a horse to a 4x4 post, even tied high. Just not that strong a piece of wood. I probably would not use a 4x6 either. Telephone poles of thick diameter is probably a better idea of the size post you want. And you want post up high if only using one post, 8ft so horse can't rear up and pull it out or land on it. He also might pull the rope off the top of short posts, rearing. The posts I like best, have a high up, anchored ring on one side of post, you run the tie rope around post and thru the ring, preventing rope rising or falling while horse is tied.

                                  Have to say I would never use a hitch rail type system for training to tie. Horses I have seen tied to them go over or straddle to cross piece, land on the upright posts when they get to fighting or are scared. Hitch Rail is just a VERY BAD system for actually training a horse to tie with. Something with the cross rail only 4ft high is just asking for trouble unless the whole farm is only ponies under 13H. Any taller of an equine, they tend to try jumping over the cross piece and the fun begins because most hitch rails are NOT constructed as true restraint devices, just are ornamental. Rails break, pull out, fall apart.

                                  We have railroad ties anchoring a solid wall with 6ft high rings to tie onto. I do use a bicycle innertube on the ring for the rope. Has some give, but not going to break. Even a large horse is not going to move that post or wall when tied correctly.

                                  You have to figure the weight of horse is increased when he throws himself around. Can't remember the formula to get the force of body jerking, but his weight is multiplied more than twice. So those kinds of weight are what must be considered when you plan to tie one up that might fight. That is why you need the correct kind of rope and halter that will hold him in spite of his antics.

                                  Tree with springy branch moving, takes up some impact force of horse body and dissapates it down. Same with the bicycle innertube that folks use as the anchor for tie rope on a post. Spreads out the impact to lessen it.


                                  • #18
                                    to goodhors:
                                    Force = Mass times Acceleration

                                    I'm glad that high school physics paid off for something!


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Right on Target View Post
                                      to goodhors:
                                      Force = Mass times Acceleration

                                      I'm glad that high school physics paid off for something!
                                      So how do you calculate the acceleration? 0-20 mph in 2 seconds? x 1200 (edited typo) pounds?


                                      • #20
                                        My mare was like the Ops horse in the fact she would just pull the end I was supposed to and walk off to find me. I tried various knots and she figured out how to undo all of them. (I would pay a heafty price for a man that had that mobile of lips). I resorted to hobbles which I DO NOT reccomend without being very sure of your surroundings. Tie hard and fast method usually works for most. Again did not work for my mare since she wasn't pulling or breaking anything just using her lips in creative ways. When I was not sure of my surroundings I just told her to stand (halter no rope, bridle no reins). When we went camping we used a portable pen so no worries there. For the stand command I started with a halter and leadrope and a set of hobbles. Told her to stand and walked off with the leadrope to the end. She couldn't walk because of the hobbles. Took the hobbles off rinse and repeat. Rewards with rubs and praise voila horse that doesn't need to be tied and if she did spook I wanted her free to get away from whatever it was anyways.
                                        Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                        Originally Posted by alicen:
                                        What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.