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Horse Rearing in Cross Ties

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  • Horse Rearing in Cross Ties

    I own a lovely pony who would just about fall asleep in the cross ties. We moved barns, which started well, but slowly she started developing awful behaviour in the cross ties. This was an outdoor board situation and when she'd come in, she'd become very impatient when away from the other horses. Her impatience started with pawing and eventually she started rearing in the cross ties. I do NOT put up with rearing, ever. She was immediately scolded for any impatient behaviour and I assumed the rearing would quickly go away. By the end of our month there, she'd rear even when she was in the cross ties beside her best friend. The problem just kept getting worse.

    For whatever reason, that barn did not work for my horse, so we moved at the end of our month there. After a week at the new barn, I decided to see what would happen if we attempted the cross ties again. She reared, was told off immediately, but I decided to avoid using the cross ties for a while, let her settle in more and then tackle the issue again.

    What do you do for a horse who rears in the cross ties? How do I tackle this issue when its time to use the cross ties again?

  • #2
    If I had a horse that reared in the cross ties he would not be cross tied. It sounds more like herd bound than a cross tie problem in your horse's case. Fix that and I imagine the cross tie thing takes care of itself.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      Are the cross ties in an aisle? Or in a grooming stall?

      What happens if you tie her in her stall and groom her there instead? Can you rig up cross ties in her stall so if she tries to back up her bum is going to hit the wall and she cant go any further?

      I agree that she sounds like she is throwing a hissy fit because you have taken her away from her friends and the rearing isnt because of being in crossties as much as the herd bounded-ness ...
      www.TrueColoursFarm.com
      www.truecoloursproducts.com

      True Colours Farm on Facebook

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I'm sure it was just a hissy fit. She's entirely settled and chilled in her new barn now, so, we need to reattempt the cross ties. The cross ties were in a grooming stall, both the old cross ties and the new cross ties. If I tied her up in the stall, I'm sure she'd stand without any issues. She currently is tacked up in her stall without being tied and doesn't move a muscle.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello,

          We had a young unhanded horse here this summer that exhibited some similar behaviors when he was learning about cross ties.

          We were told to tie a soft cotton lead around his heart girth and up through his front legs (like a standing martingale). This took away his ability to rear in the cross ties and eventually become settled.
          “The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”

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          • #6
            We get lots of green horses new to cross ties. I always start them in the wash stall/grooming stall, so they can't back up. I keep a lead rope on the halter (chain sometimes). I don't attempt to do anything but teach them to stand in the cross ties. Sounds like you might have to go back to basics for a while.

            For a really bonkers horse, I tie snaps to the cross tie with twine. I'd much rather break the twine and release the horse than break my cross ties. I always have a firm hold of the lead rope.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by forthebirds View Post
              We were told to tie a soft cotton lead around his heart girth and up through his front legs (like a standing martingale). This took away his ability to rear in the cross ties and eventually become settled.
              Well, it took away his ability to rear, but not to flip himself over. If this mare is throwing a herd bound hissy, I would worry that a tie down would do just that.

              Personally, I'd be inclined to find a low ceiling and let nature take it's course. And have the vet's emergency number half dialed .... depending on how fed up I was.
              Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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              • #8
                Originally posted by forthebirds View Post
                We were told to tie a soft cotton lead around his heart girth and up through his front legs (like a standing martingale). This took away his ability to rear in the cross ties and eventually become settled.
                I've read about this, except with the rope having a loop at one end & then passing the other end of the rope through it; this way, when the horse rears/pulls back, the rope tightens around the horse's body.

                Here's the explanation: http://community.equisearch.com/forums/t/85767.aspx
                Topline Leather -- Bespoke, handwoven browbands & accessories customized with Swarovski crystals, gemstones, & glass seed beads. The original crystal braid & crystal spike browbands!

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                • #9
                  Wondering what "telling off the horse" constitutes?

                  Crossties with fuses, a shank over the nose, and a low ceiling works for me.... at least in cases of 'hissy fit' vs. 'actually scared or confused'.

                  Jennifer
                  Third Charm Event Team

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                  • #10
                    well, if it were me and as luck would have it, it's not...

                    Pony needs to be re-educated on who is her herd when she's out of the pasture. You are the herd and that is all she should be focused on. Get a rope halter or do a chain over the nose. Stand her in the tie area but not tied. She should stand feet not moving. If not, correct and put her exactly where you want her. Only let this go on for a few minutes. If she doesn't settle, take her to a bigger area where you can work on Go and Whoa. Work her on a lead longer than a lead line but shorter than a lunge line, about 15 feet. She will have to work and get her mind tuned into you in order to see standing in the ties as a good thing, not something to stress over. Do lots of Go, Whoa and Reverse without crowding you. Reinstate in her mind that whoa means whoa.

                    You will have to be consistent with doing this several days in a row for it to stick.

                    I don't generally advocate leaving a rearing horse tied snug as they tend to get so worked up they can flip, get turned around or start breaking halters and leads. You need to go back to square one with this pony so that she learns what is expected of her away from the pasture arrangement.

                    This is the version that takes time and work from a handler. If you want the horse teaches themselves version, you can do this.

                    Tie the horse up snug away from the pasture mates. Make sure she is wearing a stout halter and be sure there is little chance she can break away. Leave her there. For hours.

                    The risks? Injury, strain to the neck from pulling, flipping, pawing, thirst, horse doesn't learn that stand still is a command from you versus the only option, horse may or may not have the brains to work through the problem.

                    We all know that there are different training methods all over the world and this is the go to method for most ranch type horses. They spend long hours standing tied and eventually figure out the this is the scenery so may as well relax when you're in it. I know it works but you have to have a thick skin to leave the horse standing there long enough.
                    ...don't sh** where you eat...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How does she behave when tied in her stall ?

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        The herd bound behaviour has been cleared up, so I've been hoping that the cross tie issue has been cleared up as well. I've just been a bit hesitant to try cross tying again in the case that the issue isn't actually solved. I carried a dressage whip with me at all times around the pony and she was tapped for even pawing as pawing just led to rearing.

                        I'm basically looking for a way to approach putting her in cross ties again. It makes me nervous to see her rear as all I can think about is "what if she flips over?". I think I'll start by having her stand still in the grooming stall for a few days and then attempting the cross ties again with a shank over her nose.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Please look into the blocker tie rings if you are going to discipline her with a shank. I'm not saying that is a bad way of disciplining her. I would worry that she might sit back and break the ties. I have the blocker rings, so if something goes awry, my horse gets enough slack to hit the back of the grooming stall and never has the opportunity to bust things up.
                          Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Clever Pony View Post
                            She reared, was told off immediately, but I decided to avoid using the cross ties for a while, let her settle in more and then tackle the issue again.

                            What do you do for a horse who rears in the cross ties? How do I tackle this issue when its time to use the cross ties again?
                            You "told her off"... but did you address the underlying issue? She is rearing for a reason and while you may "NOT tolerate" it, it is her only form of communication. She is responding to emotions and/or a specific situation.

                            I would address the root issue, whether that be herdboudness (so, exercises earning her trust in my leadership so she felt secure with me as opposed to feeling the need to be with her buddies) or lack of patience and respect (more exercises, but ones that gain her focus and respect), or what. Make the wrong answer hard (ie. have her move her feet, etc) and the right easy (ie. leave her alone). Teach her to have more self-confidence (therefore become calmer, braver, smarter) and to rely on ME for direction.

                            I wouldn't "scold" a horse for rearing in the cross-ties, I would take it as a sign that something needs to be addressed.

                            As for how to re-introduce the cross-ties, I would do as you plan: groom her in the groom stall then slowly re-introduce the cross-ties when she is quietly and patiently ground-tying. Using a chain over her nose or a whip on her legs (etc) could possibly only escalate the situation and it certainly does not address the root issue.
                            ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                            ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tie the horse up snug away from the pasture mates. Make sure she is wearing a stout halter and be sure there is little chance she can break away. Leave her there. For hours.

                              The risks? Injury, strain to the neck from pulling, flipping, pawing, thirst, horse doesn't learn that stand still is a command from you versus the only option, horse may or may not have the brains to work through the problem.

                              We all know that there are different training methods all over the world and this is the go to method for most ranch type horses. They spend long hours standing tied and eventually figure out the this is the scenery so may as well relax when you're in it. I know it works but you have to have a thick skin to leave the horse standing there long enough.
                              Funny you mentioned that ...

                              Years ago I sent a 2 year old TB colt to a WP trainer to be backed and one of the first lessons that he learned, was being tied with a big, thick stout rope to the side of the arena (to one of the thick upright beams) , with the rope threaded through his halter to a thick padded neck collar. And standing on rubber mats. Al said the first day he tried to dig his way out of there with not much luck on the mats, and then he figured he may as well try and pull the arena to where he wanted to go, with no luck there either, and then being a smart colt, he figured out that standing and sleeping was the prefered option while Al was working other horses in the arena around him. Afterwards you could tie him ANYWHERE with any distractions going on around him - it didnt bother him a bit - and he would literally snooze through them

                              Understanding the concept of giving to pressure is absolutely one of the most critical things for them to learn ...
                              www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                              www.truecoloursproducts.com

                              True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                I was going to work through this myself, but decided to get professional help instead. This issue makes me rather nervous as I worry about my horse's safety and would rather know I'm doing the right thing, instead of thinking I am. I had a lovely recommendation for a trainer in the area from a friend and decided to see if she could give me a hand.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My horse was very seriously hurt flipping out in cross ties. I finally learned not to listen to advice from hard asses who don't have to pay the medical bills when their advice causes a major injury. (Avoid people from "the school of hard knocks." They don't pay the medical bills.) My vet told me that he's seen a number of bad accidents with cross ties and I should only use them with a breakable tie (look for something called a ping.). That said, sometimes my horse is just fine and other times not, so I just go with what seems safe to him. If possible I use an Aussie tie ring and I have Pings on all my halters.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I'd just stand her in there using your halter and lead, and correct her if she tries to move, putting her back where you had her. Also work on teaching her to drop her he'd to poll pressure. It's a valuable lesson.

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                                    • #19
                                      Anyone look at the dates, to realize this is a 6 year old thread?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        This may very well be an unpopular opinion but I'm going to throw it out there and put on my flame suit.

                                        I've had pretty much 100% success with that I call "the patience tree". A horse that doesn't respect being tied or just loses his mind when he's away from this friends is basically tied to a tree and allowed to work through their issues.

                                        To be clear, the horse is always tied on a decent legnth of line where he can put his head down and move around a bit, without it being so long he could put a leg over it, and it's VITAL the horse be tied with the actual tie as high as possible and absolutely above the height of the withers. It usually takes about 45 minutes (but I've known horses to take longer) to realize that 1) they're tied, that's the end of it, they can't break away, and 2) absolutely noting is hurting them or making their lives miserable right now except themselves. Usually they eventually realize this and have a bit of a snooze after a while. I've never once had one get hurt in any way, nor have I seen it fail to improve the horse's tying behavior. I've also used it (but much more rarely) with a cross-tie type set up.

                                        Equally importantly is that the horse be left alone. Attempts to comfort the horse while he's upset about being tied only encourage the beahvior, and it goes without saying the tie up should be firm and unbreakable but have a quick release that you, not the horse, can use if needed. I always make sure the horse has had a nice breakfast and a good drink and if possible some turn out before going to the patience tree to put everything in their favor, and if they're not getting the idea after a couple hours they get a break where they're fe, watered, and possibly turned out for a bit, and then it's back to the patience tree. Horses should never be tied all day, over night, or if there's not someone in the vicinity keeping has an eye on them. They should absolutely not be deprived of regular water or food throughout the day, or tied out if they're full of energy which would be better expended in turnout or on a ride, as that's setting them up for a worse session than necessary.

                                        Also most likely the horse has figured out a great trick that never fails. Don't want to be on the cross ties? Well just rear and they fall right away! I once working in a barn that had chain cross ties and used nylon halters, with no breakaways in the system at all (which I don't necessarily condone), and while I saw a couple horses put on a good show of pulling back, the cross ties held them and the horse eventually just settled and realized the whole pulling or rearing this was useless. But again, there's an amount of risk with that especially if the floor is concrete and they could slip.

                                        I always introduction horses to cross ties by trying one side of the cross tie, and then just firmly wrapping the lead rope to the other wall in a way that mimics the other cross tie but will release under firm pressure. However I do that to avoid them learning to rear or pull, and while it's safer to do it that way with a rearer it may also not stop the behavior or may possibly encourage it.

                                        I have a horse who will break the cross ties at any opportunity, because he picked up the habit before I got him. However it looks pretty dramatic when he tries, but when he realizes he can't break free he just kinda gives up on it for the day, and he's never actually putting a full-body panicked effort into it, just a really good try to see if it'll work this time.

                                        Behavior which is no longer brings the desired reward after repeated attempts will cease. If it works, even some of the time, it will continue pretty much foever. It also seems to be the case that horses are much less comfortable being tied in aisles with a lot of space behind them than in a more enclosed area.

                                        Again, a lot of people may disagree with what I've just said, and it should absolutely not be attempted if you don't feel confident in your ability to safely tie or if you refuse to tie without a break away. However as I said when done correctly I've never seen it not work and never seen a horse get hurt.

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