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Opinions on when to teach to tie

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  • Opinions on when to teach to tie

    There seems to be an argument going on in my barn right now as to the proper age to teach a young horse to tie. Half say the earlier the better, the other half say wait as injury is possible when teaching a very young horse (say weanling) to tie.

    Thoughts? Is there a "normal" time to teach a baby to tie?

  • #2
    Use a blocker tie ring! It teaches any horse to tie safely even horses that are chronic bad fear pullers.


    • #3
      For me it's a clear cut answer. The younger the better because they don't have the strength to really injure themselves. Now, obviously, I don't just go tying them up and let them fight it out but keep ahold of the end of the rope around the post. When they pull back, I hold them steady until they quit pulling then ask them to step forward. I like to do it when they're small because I'm strong enough to control them. When they're a year or two... forget it.
      I would never cross tie a foal. I wait until they 100% understand tying and how to submit to pressure. This is usually not until they're a year or two. There is no wall behind my cross tie area so it's riskier for me to cross tie them young. If there was a wall, I'd probably try it a little earlier on.


      • #4
        I start them by putting a leadrope through a loop of baling twine and holding the end in my hand. That way I control the pressure if any. You need to be very careful about a foal's neck so I don't actually tie solid until after they are weaned but they don't know that. I like to tie Mom and groom her while "tying" baby at the same time so they get the idea of standing to be worked on and around.
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        • #5
          I too like to start them young to tie. I like to tie them when they are eating their grain and/or during grooming sessions. I prefer to do this while they are still with their moms and like to make it part of their routine. I always put the leadrope through bailer twine and hold the rope the first few times just in case they pannic. I find that it teaches them very early that if they feel pressure they should step forward to release it; rather then pannic and pull backwards. I use to tie my youngsters all the time, but because of my lack of time I only do once in a while, and they don't forget how to be tied which is nice! (I also only start out tying them in their stalls) I would be hesitant to tie them in cross ties until they completely understand the concept of tying. Also, like "About Time" said the three walls really does help when trying to teach them the concept of crossties.
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          • #6
            We teach our young horses to do both. We do have a set up where there are 3 walls, well 2 walls and a huge sliding door behind. I think what has made all of our attempts at teaching so successful, is working with them from day one to listen to our voice and body language. If one takes just a tiny step back, they are asked to move forward and give a hand signal (raising the hand closest to the butt). Since this is what has been done from day one in our in hand lessons with the foals the move right up. The next thing they all learn is to ground tie. Once they have that down we can move on to other tying lessons. Ours all cross tie for grooming, showers and other daily activities. I however never cross tie them for first experiences like clipping or blanketing, till they are solid citizens with that lesson. We also tie through bailing twine, with quick release clips. When first being introduced we do nothing more then pull the lead rope through the bailing twine and give it one or two wraps around itself. It only gives the slightest amount of pressure before pulling though, just enough time to say, move up and signal them. All of our have learned well before this to give and release to pressure themselves. We want to set them up for success. Another thing we do, is use an area rug under them when teaching how to cross tie. It slips and moves much less than a mat or concrete bare floors. So far we have never had any of our foals or client foals not take to tying/cross tying like champs. It is all about how you lay the foundation for what will become another layer to their life training program
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            • #7
              We always started teaching the TBs to tie as weanlings - they would come in every morning and while they were eating breakfast, we would temp them and pick feet so it was a great way to start teaching them to tie - we would start by just wrapping the lead around a bar by their feed tub and gradually work up to being able to tie them. We then translated that to tying to the tie ring for grooming. By the time they went to the yearling sale, they would stand tied for a long period of time (we would groom them for 45 mins - 1 hr every single day) and could be tied for stall cleaning if needed.


              • #8
                They absolutely do have the strength to seriously injure and kill themselves - young necks are so fragile, and you get 200lb or so flinging around at the end of one at the wrong angle, which doesn't take much, and it's broken.

                The process of teaching to tie starts from about Day 1 when you start the process of teaching them to lead. A horse who TRULY leads - isn't just following - pretty much automatically ties because he had truly learned to move such that pressure is released. Getting there is the problem for some people

                I'd never tie a horse, no matter the age, without him knowing how to give to pretty on the lead rope from all directions, and to my hand on his poll.

                Granted, my direct experience teaching youngsters to tie is limited to 2, but I've also taught several uneducated adults to tie, and the process is just the same.

                My weanling was tied in his stall for grooming and hoof picking. He graduated to a straight tie outside his stall, and then to cross ties. The rope was always such that it was in easy reach for me and could be undone by me but not him.

                Not truly getting the giving to pressure, and learning to move forward, is where most people set the horse up for failure, IMHO. Most horses WILL startle and maybe hit the end of the ties at some point, and maybe even somewhat "forget" how to move forward into that again, but if they truly know how to move forward at your request, you kick-start their brain again and all is good.
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JB View Post

                  Not truly getting the giving to pressure, and learning to move forward, is where most people set the horse up for failure, IMHO. Most horses WILL startle and maybe hit the end of the ties at some point, and maybe even somewhat "forget" how to move forward into that again, but if they truly know how to move forward at your request, you kick-start their brain again and all is good.
                  I agree completely!
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                  • #10
                    Having witnessed a couple of foals dislocate their necks as weanling while tied, we never teach foals to tie. It is just not worth the risk. They learn when they come up for training as a 3 year old starting by being tied in their stall and we have never had an issue.


                    • #11
                      I teach then young as well, but they are never left in attended. When they have learned the concepts of leading, stopping, responding to pressure. The way I start is just putting he rope around the tie ring or post and holding the end. When they back away apply pressure, ask them to step forward, when they do release pressure. Eventually they understand and the pressure does not scare them and they learn to step forward when tied and feel the pressure. Once they are well trained to tie, I begin cross ties, my weanling and yearling both cross tie great. I do not walk more then 10 feet away from my weanling when cross tied, as she is still new to it, but she understands the pressure and how to move back.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MightyLove View Post
                        There seems to be an argument going on in my barn right now as to the proper age to teach a young horse to tie. Half say the earlier the better, the other half say wait as injury is possible when teaching a very young horse (say weanling) to tie.

                        Thoughts? Is there a "normal" time to teach a baby to tie?
                        as weaners I "half tie". I clip one side ontoa breakaway cross tie and have the kid on a lead rope on the other side. At first they dance all over the place and I can move with them with one side on the lead. I brush them on the tie area. When they dance off I just lead them back to the grooming area and the brushing resumes. It does not take em long to realize standing there on that spot means they get brushed and fed cookies. The need to learn to lead and give to pressure before they can learn to tie. I don't really tie em until they are yearlings and have a stronger neck in case something freaks em out.
                        Providence Farm


                        • #13
                          I teach my horses to stand. I stopped using crossties 25 years ago. The probability of my horses getting hurt by using crossties is now zero. I like those odds....a lot.