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Stopping a horse from pulling back when tied

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  • Stopping a horse from pulling back when tied

    New horse sometimes pulls back when tied. Usually until something breaks. Or is released.

    Has anyone worked with a horse and been successful in stopping this behavior?

    Please advise.

  • #2
    In desperation I tried one of those blocker tie ring things even though I was sure all the hype was just a bunch of BS. It really worked on an aged sort-of-rescue mare I had. I was told that no one had been able to tie her up for years.


    (turn your speaker down before you go to the web site, there is an annoying Clinton Anderson sales pitch that starts automatically)

    Don't try and use it on a mule, though. Mine are too smart and sneaky. They figured out very quickly how to gradually pull the rope loose without me noticing.
    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
    that's even remotely true."

    Homer Simpson


    • #3
      Generally horses who do this continue to do it until they are tied hard and fast and try and fail several times to get free.

      If you're not willing to set that up, then don't tie her hard and fast ever. Use something like the blocker ring or just wrap the lead around the post.


      • #4
        I have a blind horse that is a puller. Had him for about 9 years now. I haven't tied him in years, I just wrap the rope a few times around the hitching post. He moves his head, it gives some and he's cool. If he moves and it pulls (like when tied) he loses. His. Mind. and flips out till the halter breaks! So wrapping a couple of loops and he's good. If he does walk off, he can't go far, he's blind, so very easy to catch, though it's funny as it looks like he's trying to be "invisible" and sneak off. I just quietly trot up beside him and pick up the lead, then he's like "Oh hey! No, I wasn't...no, just standing here...yep. Not wandering, nope..."
        I want a signature but I have nothing original to say except: "STHU and RIDE!!!

        Wonderful COTHER's I've met: belleellis, stefffic, snkstacres and janedoe726.


        • #5
          Is he being scared or maybe untrained or is he being a stinker?
          What I would do is tie the horse in a stall with a stretchy tie, or run a longe line through the tie ring . The if tied with something stretchy, you want it to be long enough to let the horse get right into the back of the stall with the tie being taut but not stretched to breaking, so that he is getting pulled on when he's gone as far as he can, and only can get the pressure off by stepping forward. If you opt to hold the line, your job is to let the line run some and then when the horse gets as far back, cluck to him and move him forward, keeping the line fairly taut until the horse is back up where he should be. I'm more likely to go with holding a line on the horse instead of elastic cross ties, etc.... because those can snap under pressure, snapping the heck out of the horse (right in the face too) and definitely make the situation even worse than if the horse had just broken free of a plain cross tie, plus you have control over the timing of the release, and if the horse needs to be rewarded for a single step forward to get the lesson across, you have that option, where the elastic ties don't have feel or judgment.
          Your attitude in this will differ if he's just been badly trained to tie so is panicky vs a horse who has just learned to get away with murder. If he's a scared horse, you need to be calm but firm, clucking him forward, praising when he works it out and steps up where he belongs.
          If he's learned that he can break things and is just doing it for no reason at all, I would have no problem being ready to get after him the second he even THINKS of pulling back. Just unleash the wrath of god on him, and don't let up on him until he's stepped up where he belongs.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Simkie View Post
            Generally horses who do this continue to do it until they are tied hard and fast and try and fail several times to get free.

            If you're not willing to set that up, then don't tie her hard and fast ever. Use something like the blocker ring or just wrap the lead around the post.
            ^^ good advice


            • #7
              The Blocker Tie Ring has performed miracles with my friend's horse. My ex owned him for years and he was of the loses his damn mind variety if he was hard tied to something and he happened to hit the end of it. He wouldn't quit pulling and freaking out until something gave. Usually the snap on the lead rope gave first, but sometimes it was a trailer tie (very obnoxious!) or a part of his halter.

              My friend bought him and started working with him on the tie ring. First she started with a longe line through it so there was resistance, but she could feed out the line to keep him from completely losing it and still not let him get loose. He'd hit it, start to back up and freak out, but there was nothing solid to hit so he'd just keep backing. Usually he'd get about 10-15ft before pausing to think about what he was doing. She'd then reel him in and start over. The freak out to thinking distance got shorter and shorter. When he quit actually freaking out on the longe line, she moved to a long lead rope that she held the end of.

              Then she put it on the ring and walked a few feet away. Then out of sight.

              Now he's figured out he can actually stealthily pull his rope all the way through the tie ring if he's sneaky enough about it. It has a couple different ways you can put the rope in it so it there is more resistance, but still *some* play in it if they really pull. So now he's tied a different way. He's still not all the way to the point of being 100% reliable being tied, but he's come a very long way and is just about there.

              Just generally desensitizing him to things did a lot of good also. He was, in a lot of ways, very jumpy and suspicious of people. He always acted very convinced people were out to get him. Just tossing a saddle pad onto his back was cause for great alarm in his book. You had to gently slide it up his shoulder and onto his back. Silly. So she spent hours just making him deal with stuff like that. Oh you're going to spook because I took off a jacket? Here I'll put it on and take it off and then flap it around you until you get over yourself. A year later and he's a much calmer, happier horse who just kind of looks at us like oh, the silly humans are doing silly human things again rather than his prior panicked fear responses to normal activities.

              The last thing that helped was teaching him to yield to poll pressure. I don't believe he had ever been taught that. Poll pressure = take a step forward not freak out and lose your mind. Its a self rewarding activity. He pulls, puts pressure on his poll, steps forward and gets the release. Once he figured out that he had another option to release the pressure other than freaking out and breaking something, he actually started to take that option. I genuinely don't think he knew just stepping forward would also stop the pressure.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                Generally horses who do this continue to do it until they are tied hard and fast and try and fail several times to get free.

                If you're not willing to set that up, then don't tie her hard and fast ever. Use something like the blocker ring or just wrap the lead around the post.
                That is what I have sean as well. I worked at a barn where they simply tied the horse up, nylon halter, no quick release or anything. And they were left to pull until they got tied of it. Never saw one of those horses pull back after that.
                "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline


                • #9
                  Back in the day we had this big, old tree that had the inner tube of a tire lashed around it. The "I Will NOT Be Tied" horses were tied to that tree wearing a super heavy duty nylon halter with a lead line that was permanently attached to it - no snaps to break, etc. Even the toughest customers gave in after seeing a giant tree trunk coming towards them at Mach 3. FWIW, no horses were ever harmed at the Tying Tree. Not saying this would work for everyone but it sure cured a few stubborn hides.


                  • #10
                    It's a tough call. I train my horses to give to pressure. I learned a method from a trainer. It involved tying high with unbreakable materials, then encouraging the horse to MOVE (via a training flag) until pressure was felt. The horses usually started by pulling when they got to the literal end of their rope, but ended up turning when they started to feel the pressure. When it worked really well, the horse would eventually turn as soon as the rope started to become taut, not even waiting for actual pressure on their head. Really cool to see.

                    I'm not actually suggesting doing this, especially without the trainer present. And it may be too "NH" for some folks here. But it is instrumental in teaching a horse not to pull. If I were trying to re-train a puller with more conventional means, I probably would arrange to tie the horse in a place where I could be behind him at a safe distance. When he started to pull, I would growl and encourage him to move forward again. And then reward with praise and a pat when he moved forward and released the pressure.

                    Personally I would much prefer to have a horse that ties reliably, rather than relying on the blocker tie ring or other such gimmicks. I suppose if that works for you and you will never have a situation where you want to tie fast, then it will prevent injury. You have to know your own horse and your own needs.
                    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                    • #11
                      Tie hard and fast and you set the horse up for serious injury. In Ray Hunt's book he explains about teaching a horse to give to the rope. Then once they are tied it isn't a problem. Please look at trainers like John Lyons or Craig Cameron.
                      Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.


                      • #12
                        I've always done the inner tube around the post thing and never had a horse even tink themselves. The inner tube takes all the energy and not the neck. Every horse I've ever WILL tie and STAY put whether they like it or not. Usually, it's only a few pulls and if they go for too long, it's a half-hearted pull after while. I always had a knife with me for 'just in case' and the only time I used it was because I tied a bit too long and horse got his hoof over. He'd have prolly figured it out but I cut it before it went too far.

                        Also, I've had a few ranch broke horses who only understand looping the lead around a post or rail, you bring the lead/rein (if western with split reins), around under the bottom to the top, take the end you're holding and set it on top of the part which goes from the rail to the halter, sort of locking the bottom rein place. A lot of times if you just loop like a candy cane and the horse moves closer to the rail, the lead/rein can shorten because of the bight weight hanging down...so horse just keep getting closer and closer with his nose to the rail. Some ranch horses will set back if they think it's hard and tight tied but will stand all day with it looped and locked on itself.
                        GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


                        • #13
                          Okay, let me try this again... when you loop the lead over the TOP of the rail, goes around the back of the rail and forward underneath then up back over the top of the rail, on top of the lead which goes back to the horse.

                          It's so easy to do IRL and explaining it is the hardest thing!!
                          GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


                          • #14
                            Until you have something that won't break, they will pull back. Tie with a bull snap and a strong halter. If you're afraid they'll hurt themselves, use the inner tube and the tree.

                            People who are afraid they'll get hurt if you tie hard and fast create dangerous horses that get loose and run around and get hurt all of the time.

                            I got a horse someone let pull back. He did it one time, snapped the rope, flipped over, and crushed his withers. He was sore for awhile, but never pulled back after that. Luckily he didn't kill himself.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
                              Until you have something that won't break, they will pull back. Tie with a bull snap and a strong halter. If you're afraid they'll hurt themselves, use the inner tube and the tree.

                              People who are afraid they'll get hurt if you tie hard and fast create dangerous horses that get loose and run around and get hurt all of the time.

                              I got a horse someone let pull back. He did it one time, snapped the rope, flipped over, and crushed his withers. He was sore for awhile, but never pulled back after that. Luckily he didn't kill himself.
                              You gave the counter-example right after the "rule" - if you tie a puller hard and fast, they are liable to actually hurt themselves.

                              One thing I would caution people reading this thread is: not every horse will respond the same way to the approaches mentioned here. I had 3 confirmed pullers in a row (all purchased that way) and attempted many of the methods mentioned here, as well as some mentioned in books and videos.

                              One horse was never reliable to tie (and was unreliable in many other ways), and was downright dangerous if she was tied, especially "hard and fast with things that don't break" - because she had learned over the years that eventually, things do break. So she would just pull and pull and pull, until either the materials broke or she hurt herself (which she did).

                              Another horse had the same response ingrained, and also flipped himself over and got rope burns while we tried some of these methods on him to "teach him to tie." That included the inner-tube to a tree method.

                              I feel so bad about following peoples' advice on this subject, and in hindsight, at least I learned. He eventually learned, through the "just loop the rope around the post" method, that if it wasn't hard and fast, he had nothing to panic about. After a few years I was able to tie him, but I never fully trusted him tied and didn't leave him tied and unattended. I preferred having a little piece of string or just looping the rope anyway, since he didn't really go anywhere unless he felt restricted.

                              ETA: of course, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. I believe in teaching them as youngsters to give to pressure, and to be tied. It is invaluable!

                              You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


                              • #16
                                I agree with Ray Hunt's method. Give the horse a long (25') rope that will unroll with him as he backs up (that what the tie rings are good for but you can make your own). Get a chair and a good book. Sit and watch him back up and keep rewinding the lead back up. I also start with a hay bag where he is tied to. Shorten the rope as the day goes on if he keeps pulling it long. He will soon get tired of backing up and if you use the hay bag he may even start to look forward to being tied. Works for me.
                                Groom to trainer: "Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!"


                                • #17
                                  Omg. I cringe at some of the replies. Leaving a horse tied to something that won't give is asking for a serious injury. I'm glad if it worked for some, but I can't imagine doing that.

                                  Example of letting a horse "fight it" out. Saw a horse tied on cross ties in a wash rack to good old posts that were concreted in. Horse fought it, ended up galloping over the property with 2 posts dangling (1 week before Devon). Horse was OK.

                                  Work slowly with them, the hay bag is a good idea.
                                  Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                  • #18
                                    I am shocked at how many people are advocating tying a confirmed puller-back-er with no break-away. Obviously some of you don't care if the horse flips over & crushes his withers?!?!

                                    Safety and health of my horses is paramount. I had a bad puller-back-er and guess what, I NEVER EVER tied her without a break-away twine loop, and I usually tied her only with a solid wall behind her (like a wash stall). If I trailered her somewhere & tied her to the trailer, I got all my stuff out in advance and did not walk away from her - AND I had the twine loop just in case.

                                    Horses are not perfect. They all have idiosyncrasies. If you can't break a horse of a self-destructive habit, work around it. Unless you have 10 other horses in your "string" and you just don't care.
                                    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                                    • #19
                                      I have a horse that is such a confirmed puller that you cannot walk up to him, take his halter and lead him forward. If you are facing him that is. Something happened to him sometime whenhe was young that makes him claustrophobic.

                                      I can tie him. I have given him the "unbreakable" treatment so he is much better now, but basically, I don't just randomly straight tie him to anything without serious pre-planning. Some horses are just like that.

                                      This does not interrupt our routine as I really never have a need to do that to him. I ground tie him, cross tie with blocker rings, or tie him in his stall where he is comfortable.
                                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                                      • #20
                                        Years ago, my mare was standing tied to her trailer at a clinic with me nearby. My friend went inside the trailer to hang a hay bag in preparation for leaving and popped up in the window. Scared the crap out of my mare and she pulled back until the rope broke and she got loose. That started her panic response and she broke a few ropes over time when she felt trapped when tied. I started tying a piece of baling twine to whatever she was tied to so she at least didn't break lead ropes. Then I found a lead rope with a little section of bungie material embedded in the nylon rope. That had just enough give to it that if she pulled back, she didn't encounter fierce resistance...and it is inside the nylon braid, so that if the bungie broke, the rope didn't also break immediately. She figured it out, overcame her panic response and is now trustworthy. I still tie a piece of baling twine so there is a release, but she has shown that she can think through it now. I have accidentally tried to unload her a couple times without releasing her head tie first. She just stands there giving me the, "Have you forgotten something?" look now.

                                        I've tried to find the kind of lead rope again without success. I'd love to have one for my gelding, too.