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  • Hobbles?

    I have never used hobbles before, but would like to train my horses to do it safely. Any recommendations for the best hobbles to purchase? What material is best for avoiding rubs and irritation?

  • #2
    I personally prefer the leather hobbles but you'll get a wide range of opinions on that!


    Before ever hobbling, though, you want to use a soft cotton rope (long enough to not get kicked while working w/horse in round pen) and teach the horse to come to a halt with rope pressure on each individual leg (including the back legs, because they might as well learn the full picture and it saves lots of ugly incidents when horses get hung up in wire or anything else). Once they've got that, then I put the hobbles on the front legs in the round pen and let 'em figure it out. They do, quickly. And mine all absolutely endorse and embrace the concept of being able to graze when we stop for lunch, as opposed to being tied up and watching the humans eat.


    • #3
      I make my hobbles from burlap fabric, purchased at the fabric store! I use a yard and a half, rolled up diagonally. I haven't found the purchased hobbles to be wide enough most of the time for any older horses. Purchased ones tend to pull the front legs together, which can be painful for the wide-chested horses.

      My burlap hobbles can be adjusted to fit any width, just add a twist between the legs as needed.

      I got the design from Western Horseman years ago, but since you can't get burlap feed sacks like they did, you have to buy decorator burlap fabric these days. Mine are pink, EASY to locate hanging in the barn! I have not had any issues with rubs or burns using the burlap.

      I take a different approach than Beverly to getting horse wearing hobbles, though her method is common and works. I don't EVER let my horse loose with the hobbles, because for us they are a restraining device, not for free grazing as originally designed. Horse is haltered with a long lead, told to stand which he knows already. Hobbles are fit snug, but the burlap allows lifting a leg, moving it a bit. Horse figures out what hobbles allow in a QUIET, relaxed way. The stand command is reinforced with voice, lead rope. We work up to horse standing well with hobbles, while we walk around him, groom on him, do some sacking out with towels, he accepts it all quietly. We do this over several days, get him solid in standing, quits trying to walk off.

      WE WANT our horse just standing still, accepting the limitations of the hobbles, while hobbles are on them. No attempt to run, not that hobbles will REALLY slow down a horse who wants to go. I have seen them canter with front hobbles on and cover LOTS of ground.

      I think hobble training is a great step in learning for a horse, with great benefits. Have had a couple horses get tangled in fences when wires broke. Those horses were hobble broke, and they just stood until we found them. Both got some wire small cuts, but they healed up VERY well, no damage. Good minded horses accepted the restraint of wire, just like they did the hobbles, waited to be rescued. We figured they had been snagged at least 4 hours by the look of the cuts. Husband quit laughing about time wasted on hobble training that day!


      • #4
        Clinton Anderson has a little known, but excellent, very detailed video on how to progressively hobble train your horse. In it, he is also very clear about the skills that both you and your horse should have (to minimize the stress and potential for injury to both of you) before attempting hobble training, as well as the best place to do it. It is a pretty impressive video, considering that many trainers would not have the --- to make such a "risky" training video. Made me like him more.