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Tying Two year old question

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  • Tying Two year old question

    My two year old colt has just started being ridden by his trainer (who is really doing a very nice job with him). My colt knows how to tie in his stall (obviously with a quick release and someone supervising). However, my colt does have a bit of an attitude (not mean and nasty, just very bold) and the trainer suggested tying him to a hitching post for an hour or so (supervised, of course). I'm just not willing to allow that with him at this stage. He does need to learn to tie and be patient, but I just think that should come a little later and be done more gradually and not just leaving him tied up (even supervised) where he may end up hurting himself if he decides to have a tantrum. Any thoughts on this? I've made it clear to the trainer that this is not going to be done with my colt, but am I over-reacting? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I'd do it sooner rather than later. Have done this with many horses. Haven't had any issues. *Knocks on wood*
    \"In all manners of opinion, our adversaries are insane.\" Mark Twain


    • #3
      I think all young hroses should be taught to tie at an early age. Yes they should be supervised and tied in a way that if necessary, they can be freed quickly, but there is nothign wrong with tying a youngster to a "patience pole" and they learn quickly that they can chill out and stand. I expect my horses to stand patiently when tied, at home, beside a trailer at a show, or in the trailer if it's a situation where they cannot stand tied to side of trailer.


      • #4
        Agree with the others -- 2 is way too old to not know how to tie. My horses learn to tie as weanlings. My yearling is an old hand at tying -- he stands tied for baths, for the farrier, and to get regular grooming. Your horse needs to learn ASAP, and the only way to do that is to actually tie it. With quick release (but not too quick -- don't want him to learn to break things) and supervised. An hour is not at all excessive.

        No horse should ever be tied without quick release, no matter how old or good at tying. You never know when something is going to happen, even to an old, old hand. All my horses wear leather halters or breakaway halters as well. Just in case.


        • Original Poster

          Well, maybe I'll give the trainer the ok to try this for a short time, carefully supervised. It does worry me though. I really don't want my colt hurt.

          ETA: He does know how to tie in the stall, so it's not like he's never been tied before.


          • #6
            Don't pamper him too much or handle him with kid gloves. He might in fact throw a tantrum -- usually any 2 year old who is that "bold" is a bit spoiled or untouched, one or the other. He's likely not going to give up getting to do what he wants without a little fight at some point, better now than later when he is bigger, stronger and more wily.

            Horses need firm but fair boundaries. They thrive under them, like kids.


            • #7
              I think you may be a little late to the party. Standing tied like your trainer is advocating teaches a horse a lot more than just accepting being tied. All of mine will stand tied to something until I choose to untie them and they learn that as weanlings.

              If you're worried about it, perhaps have the trainer tie him in his stall as a compromise until you are more comfortable with his level of training. We used to tie a lot of ours to the arena wall when we were cutting - standing tied next to other horses helped and all the activity desensitized them to a lot of things.

              One of the most annoying things to me is a horse that will not stand tied, and one that must be constantly supervised because you don't trust them.


              • Original Poster

                He's definitely not untouched and not spoiled. We handle him every day - grooming, leading, all his daily care. We were also the ones who taught him to wear all of his tack and lunge.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                  I think you may be a little late to the party. Standing tied like your trainer is advocating teaches a horse a lot more than just accepting being tied. All of mine will stand tied to something until I choose to untie them and they learn that as weanlings.

                  If you're worried about it, perhaps have the trainer tie him in his stall as a compromise until you are more comfortable with his level of training. We used to tie a lot of ours to the arena wall when we were cutting - standing tied next to other horses helped and all the activity desensitized them to a lot of things.

                  One of the most annoying things to me is a horse that will not stand tied, and one that must be constantly supervised because you don't trust them.
                  Well, I'm always learning. He's really a very nice colt and I'm just trying to do what's right for him. Unfortunately, there are always so many different opinions on what is "right" for young horses. Being that I am inexperienced with this aspect of the horse world, I'm just trying to see what others have had success with. Some say do it, others professionals I respect say don't. Hard to tell what's best.


                  • #10
                    Well, I agree that a two year old SHOULD know how to tie. That being said, we all know that young horses don't always do what they are supposed to do. I teach tying gradually starting in the stall. If a flighty two year old had a problem with tying, I'd probably just use patience. I would not tie a two year old alone outside for an hour (unless it was in a round pen), that does not set a young horse up for success, that's a setup for a fight. It might work out where the horse struggles and accepts that he is tied and learns a good lesson...or he might panic and hurt himself or might break away and learn that he can get away, or he might develop a complex about tying. It also depends on the horse. Not to sound "breedist" but I'd be a lot more likely to tie a 2 yo QH up outside and let them figure it out over a 2 yo TB. Anyway, the setting Go Fish describes with the cutting horses is a great way to teach patience while tied.


                    • #11
                      I am going to disagree with the majority, and agree with the OP's gut instinct that this is not a good idea.

                      At two, their spine is nowhere near fully developed, and they are at higher risk of nerve damage from pulling back. This type of nerve damage shows itself down the road as more than normal crookedness or TMJ.

                      Young horses learn to tie as part of learning to give to contact. They learn to stand as they accept the concept that they don't always get to do what they want.

                      LEaving them tied to a pole to teach patience never made sense to me...what part of equine evolution would have put patience in their knowledge base? Patience is a trait of a predator, not pray. Tying them does teach them that resistence is futile, but that is not the same as patience.

                      That type of training is not something I would ever do, nor would I allow it done with one of my horses. That said, my horses (when older) do stand quietly in the barn or at shows if I need them to. The youngsters get tied to bailing twine while I do stuff with them, and are only left to their own devices for short periods of time (still supervised). This helps them learning that tying time is good time.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                        We used to tie a lot of ours to the arena wall when we were cutting - standing tied next to other horses helped and all the activity desensitized them to a lot of things.
                        Another one to recommend Go Fish's approach of tying in the arena (where they've got 'buddies' yet are challenged whilst desensitized and supervised). In such an environment (assuming the horse has all the 'skills' and 'tools' instilled prior), the horse is set up for success.

                        I do tie youngsters and I disagree with CHT I think that horses do not have the capacity for, or ability to learn, patience ("bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint").

                        That said, it is very important to properly prepare any horse for whatever challenge or task or exercise you put to them, beforehand. This means teaching the horse to be relaxed, to think as opposed to react, and to have confidence (calmer, braver, smarter) - making them a better horse and 'balancing' their emotions. This also includes teaching them to move off pressure in a variety of ways (back-up, sideways, turns on the fore and hind, etc) - to be very light and responsive and soft. Proper preparation is what will prevent his pulling back and what will set him up for success. Then introducing tying in incremental phases. He already knows how to tie well in his stall, which is a great first step. I think he could - and should - be tied for progressively longer increments, somewhere safe (preferably in or near the arena while your trainer works with other horses). Optimally, it would be done after he's been worked and is in a good and relaxed state of mind, and not necessarily for an hour at first (depending on your horse).

                        I don't think it should have anything to do with his age - he is where he is. So long as he has all the proper skills to tie, then there is no reason he can or should not be tied. Preferably in such a way that he can pull back and not injure himself (ie, to a tire or bungee of sorts, or using a tie-blocker ring or just wrapping the lead around a horizontal pole a number of times so the lead gives but he can't walk off).
                        ....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.


                        • #13
                          I wouldn't have any problem if the trainer was using a properly set up high-line (little chance of injury). Not so thrilled about tied to a post.
                          ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....


                          • #14
                            I teach mine that don't know how to tie using a post and the leadrope attached through a deflated inner tube, wearing a leather halter. The tube gives just enough.
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                            • #15
                              I would prefer to teach ground tying first, then tying is easy -- To teach ground tying, I like to give the horse the opportunity to stand -- As soon as they move a foot, pick a spot on the ground where you want that foot to stand still, and move the horse up/back/left/right until they stand on that spot (in other words, make them work) -- Then give them an opportunity to stand there -- When they move, work them until they stand on the spot -- They will learn it's easier to stand where you ask -- When they're good at ground tying, you can hook the horse up to a tie or pair of crossties, and the horse will not test them --
                              "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


                              • #16
                                He does know how to tie in the stall, so it's not like he's never been tied before.
                                Tying in the stall is "easy", standing tied out in the big world with everything clamouring for his attention is a completely different lesson

                                BUT go with what feels right to you - he's your horse & assuming you've had him the last year or so & the trainer has had him a couple months ...

                                You can certainly go through some versions of the ground tying before going with something more solid.


                                • #17
                                  I agree with the others saying that if you don't want him tied to a post outside somewhere that's fine, but he needs to be tied up somewhere and left there. By left there I mean not having someone by his side comforting or entertaining him, but within eyesight should any trouble start. Maybe tie him in the aisle while the trainer grooms a horse in a stall or something?
                                  Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
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