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"Thinking Tree": Training the spoiled pasture puff Arab mare to tie once and for all

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Ground tying! In my dreams! The first thing any of my horses does when I drop the rope is dive for grass. The second thing they do is, they step on the rope. You can guess the third thing.

    Once I was horse shopping at a big H/J barn. The seller, listing the horse's virtues, mentioned that he ground ties. One of the passing hunter ladies declaimed, "of course he ground ties, he's a quarter horse."

    It's a few years since I've been around quarter horses, I said. Who knew they're breeding'em pre-trained now?

    This talk of tie stalls reminds me of my carefree youth. My very first barn employed them to feed the pasture herd. Every morning they'd open the gate and 10 otherwise uncatchable quarter horses (who didn't ground-tie, incidentally) would stampede into their tie stalls, each horse into the same one every time. They weren't tied, however; a 2x4 butt-board locked'em in. Which is probably why they were forever turning around in there and getting stuck halfway.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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    • #22
      I think the best way to train a horse to tie is to START with ground-tying. Have you ever trained a dog to do a stand-stay? just do the same thing with your horse. If you have a clicker, that's the clearest way to communicate to the horse when the horse is doing the desired behavior.
      Once you have a horse who will "Stay where put", he will tie perfectly because he knows he's not supposed to move after you park him.
      In conjunction with "Stay" training, you also work on training the horse to yield to rope pressure, so if he does move against the tie and feels it tighten, he knows to yield instead of pull harder.
      I think the old-fashioned "just tie him up for long time" method is not only somewhat cruel, but not very effective- any reasonably intelligent horse can quickly figure out there is a big difference between being tied at the special training place and being tied up somewhere else where there are, say, twine that breaks easily if the horse decides to leave.

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      • #23
        Wendy, I can't tell if you're advocating the use of twine or not, but if you are, isn't that a little counter-productive to what the OP is trying to teach the horse? If the horse knows it can just snap the twine when it decides to leave, it will and won't learn to stand tied. However, if the horse is tied safely where he can't just leave when he wants, and done in increments, that's the only true way he's going to learn. Check on him periodically, provide food and water, and before to long he'll learn to put it in park.

        I never actually taught my horses to ground tie but I'll be gol danged if they didn't pick it up by themselves. I needed to dismount on the trail and didn't have anything handy to tie to so just let him/her stand there and he/she didn't move a muscle even though his/her friend was way up the trail and he/she wanted to catch up.
        Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

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        • #24
          Yes. like a bungee...but the heavy duty truck tube has minimal stretch. It's just enough to prevent breaking anything.

          Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
          So in this scenario the inner tube is like a bungee? That actually sounds like it might work for my wackaloon mare. I was intrigued by the tree branch notion because this horse likes to swing around when she panics, thereby banging herself up on walls, fences, etc. With the tree branch method, the tie post is cantilevered out above eye level, so she can't bonk into anything. Theoretically.
          "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
          -Richard S. Bach

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          • #25
            We use several different tying methods.
            They have several purposes, first, we ride about 20 horses a day. They come from various fields and several barns on the property. They're brought 6-8 at to the indoor and either tied to a "pulley," (rope suspended from the rafters in the indoor, tied in a temp stall in the corner of the indoor, or clipped onto a pole with a spinning cap that they can walk around.

            Being able to tie a bunch up at a time before they're ridden makes it easier for us as we don't have to take a ton of trips bak and forth.

            So they stand tied while waiting to be ridden.

            After we ride we throw a cooler on them and they get tied back up again to cool off. Keeps them from rolling in their cooler and from gulping water.

            And lastly it teaches patience. if you are impatient, we have no problem tying them for an hour or two.

            And they're expected to have manners. Some are tied within nose distance of each other. They aren't allowed to squeal or kick.

            Heck, our 4y/o stud was tied next to a mare for an hour today....He was half aslerp the whole time! He knows better than to get weird about the women.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by TheHunterKid90 View Post
              And they're expected to have manners. Some are tied within nose distance of each other. They aren't allowed to squeal or kick.

              Heck, our 4y/o stud was tied next to a mare for an hour today....He was half aslerp the whole time! He knows better than to get weird about the women.
              so how does the "no kicking" rule get taught?

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              • #27
                Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                so how does the "no kicking" rule get taught?
                Because they're expected to be decent mannered horses from the first day out of the womb. Any misbehavior is not tolerated. They may be fidgety but they will not be "mean." To horses or otherwise.

                Because its unacceptable to lift a hoof at another horse in the aisle, or when walking closely in the indoor, it carries over to being tied. And they can paw as much as they want, but until they stand quietly, they are not untied. Most learn rather quickly that it's easier to fall asleep for a little while instead of getting worked up.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by TheHunterKid90 View Post
                  Because they're expected to be decent mannered horses from the first day out of the womb. Any misbehavior is not tolerated. They may be fidgety but they will not be "mean." To horses or otherwise.

                  Because its unacceptable to lift a hoof at another horse in the aisle, or when walking closely in the indoor, it carries over to being tied. And they can paw as much as they want, but until they stand quietly, they are not untied. Most learn rather quickly that it's easier to fall asleep for a little while instead of getting worked up.
                  I didn't ask why, I asked how. Let's say you get a horse in from an outside source (so no "from the womb") who isn't good. Do you just stick 'em in the line up and hope for the best? how do you teach this?

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                  • #29
                    What TheHunterKid90 describes is the way lots of western barns train their colts. They are brought in, saddled and all tied in the arena. They get pulled out of the line, ridden and put back, assembly line style. It's great because you teach so much of what you need to-- the tying gets them ready to ride, the riding gets them ready to tie and chill. Also, the colts have the security of other horses around, no matter what they are doing. Sometimes, too, they also have the added distraction of other horses to work through.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat

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                    • #30
                      If you use them often enough (horses, I mean) and they learn a routine, they'll settle into it. Outside horses just get taken into the fold, worked, shown the ropes, and used. They'll learn.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by mvp View Post
                        What TheHunterKid90 describes is the way lots of western barns train their colts. They are brought in, saddled and all tied in the arena. They get pulled out of the line, ridden and put back, assembly line style. It's great because you teach so much of what you need to-- the tying gets them ready to ride, the riding gets them ready to tie and chill. Also, the colts have the security of other horses around, no matter what they are doing. Sometimes, too, they also have the added distraction of other horses to work through.
                        You nailed it. And this is a western barn.
                        Basically the why is the how. So the new horses from another farm may not be tied next to other horses right away, but when they learn to stand quietly, they will then stand with other horses and consequently don't offer a kick. And if they do, we reprimand, rinse, and repeat.

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                        • #32
                          Originally posted by TheHunterKid90 View Post
                          You nailed it. And this is a western barn.
                          Basically the why is the how. So the new horses from another farm may not be tied next to other horses right away, but when they learn to stand quietly, they will then stand with other horses and consequently don't offer a kick. And if they do, we reprimand, rinse, and repeat.
                          this is the how. Thanks. It is what I imagined was done (tied near but not close at first if they are going to kick), and reprimanded if you are close enough to do it.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            My Oldenburg had learned that she could break things before I got her, even busting a set of cross ties and galloping down a busy road.

                            I taught her to tie redneck-style. I didn't have a tree, or a sturdy post, but did have a 10 ton dump truck that I could tie high to. She wasn't a spinner, just a sit-back-and-watch-the stuff-popper, so I felt reasonably confident that she would not commit suicide by dump truck.

                            I tied, walked a bit away, watched her wheels turning. Sure enough, back up, up, up, sit down, and nothing. Boy, was she PISSED. She yanked and pulled and fussed, and after a few minutes, just stood. She is a much nicer citizen now, and ground ties for a bath.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Personal Champ View Post
                              I taught her to tie redneck-style. I didn't have a tree, or a sturdy post, but did have a 10 ton dump truck that I could tie high to. She wasn't a spinner, just a sit-back-and-watch-the stuff-popper, so I felt reasonably confident that she would not commit suicide by dump truck.

                              I tied, walked a bit away, watched her wheels turning. Sure enough, back up, up, up, sit down, and nothing. Boy, was she PISSED. She yanked and pulled and fussed, and after a few minutes, just stood. She is a much nicer citizen now, and ground ties for a bath.
                              This is how I do it. On young ones or ones who are known to set back and try to break, I use the inner tube. Worked every single time. I can honestly say every horse I've ever had, tied and stayed put. Not one injury except for a hoof over the lead rope, because I tied too long. My fault on that one. I cut the rope (always carry a pocket knife), he went backwards, I caught him and tied right back up. He stayed put. No setting back.

                              Also, it helps not to wig out and show all the high emotions a human can do when you imagine things that might happen to your horse. When he's setting back, just stand there and tell him how silly he is and walk away. I've seen horses 'gauge' how much they can get away with. The more you're excited, the more they pull. The more you stand there and tell them how silly they are, they quit sooner and stand there.
                              GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

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                              • #35
                                I think it depends on what they do. I have one mare that gets a little claustrophobic tied sometimes, so the blocker tie ring works well enough for her. If something freaks her out enough, she'll wiggle a bit and then settle back down...which I suppose I should relocate back out of my trailer, back into the barn.

                                No, neither of my horses stand perfectly still like zombies, but I can take the incessant wiggling and bouncing around, as long as they stand when I need their attention. After all, I am incredibly jittery and the likelihood of myself sitting still longer than a nanosecond is the same odds of winning the lottery, so I don't mind some excess movement sometimes in the critters.
                                Semi Feral

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                                • #36
                                  You'll all get a chuckle over the background of this sale video.

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUTNbP7MFzY
                                  Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                                  www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                                  • #37
                                    Twine is helpful, we have horses at our barn that no matter the amount of good training, experience, or age, are always are tied to looped twine or break away snaps.

                                    I haven't read all the responses but a short tie - say 5 minutes and working daily (or half-day) in 10 min increments up to say 4 hours works well. It's a long process, just don't give up.

                                    Then trailer tying is another topic because they have even less room to move around.

                                    Try tying with a breakaway for timed minutes, increasing each day (or half-day). If the horse can't tie in its stall, don't expect it to high tie or trailer tie in the wide open very easily. They need to feel some amount of safety to relax when being tied so best to take it slow.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      My impatient Arab's solution to having all four feet still while tied was to be busy with his mouth--and learn to untie himself. I need to learn some new knots.

                                      Good luck!
                                      SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
                                      CP Trilogy 2002-2015
                                      My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie

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                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                                        Check out blocker tie rings. They can really help with the panicky sort of non tiers. I use them to train my youngsters to tie initially. No risk of injury with them. Use a LONG Rope so if they do jump back and it feeds out, they are not instantly loose.
                                        Love Blocker rings. Once they get the idea it's on to a CA Patience Pole. Yah yah I know but I got it at a good price and didn't have a convenient tree
                                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                                        Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                                        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                                          it works I however not wanting to spoil good trees use 8x8 and bigger timbers in my main barn...

                                          check your touchy feeley at the door with this one however....big stout naughty 800lbers can, if not taught earlier in life to stand still,and do raise quite a fuss about themselves....they will live

                                          I have also (on grown ones who had taught Massa to "come a running every time they squealed),sat out of range with a book and a lunge whip and perfected my fly fishing techniques on that hip,or shoulder,which ever was in range

                                          Tamara
                                          Ah, yes, the Bad Boy Wall!

                                          The technique is very sound. The "donut" from an innertube is an excellent way to protect the horse, the equipment, and the structure. We make ours out of bicycle innertubes, folded and re-folded to about an 8" diameter (and probably 6-8 layers of rubber). I've never had one fail. Nor have I had any equipment or structural failures after I started using them.

                                          A normal horse will try them a couple of times and then give it up. Horses are not stupid; they do what works and don't do what doesn't. I've had more than one "go down", thrash about, then stand up looking confused. "Road rash" is a common thing; in over 10 years and several dozen uses we've never had more than that.

                                          IMO if a horse tries to "kamakaze" in this situation there's a bigger problem. A horse that will self-destruct vice submit to the rope has a serious temperament issue. Submission to the rider's will is an essential part of training. If there's not submission here will there be submission under saddle? That's a fair and open question. Some horses have stronger, more aggressive temperaments than others. This can be an effective way to begin the process of submission to training. If it fails then questions are raised.

                                          As noted this is not an exercise for "fluffbunnies" or those who think their horse made of porcelain. It is one for effective training of basic manners and submission for a horse with such issues.

                                          G.
                                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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