Help! My horse can’t stand tied!

 

Unfortunately we’ve heard this cry for help many times already. Over the years I’ve met a lot of horses that had the habit of hanging in their halters or breaking loose… whether it was because of fear…or just because they knew they could. If you’ve experienced this you know how frustrating and dangerous it can be!

In this article I’d like to share 5 Tips that have helped me, time and time again, to solve these problems. If you start using them I can guarantee that they’ll help. Even if your horse doesn’t have these horrible habits it would do you both good to practice the exercises to make yourselves more allround within the theme of ‘be prepared for anything’.

Tip 1.
Use the right equipment. Usually we tie horses with regular stable halters. This is relatively safe because these halters can break in an emergency (you’ll find more info about halters in the article …….).
There are certain situations where you might want to consider using a rope halter to tie your horse for a certain period of time. One of these circumstances might be if your horse has learned how to start hanging in the halter; here you might need a halter that won’t break so that he’ll learn that hanging in the halter doesn’t bring him a solution.
The other aspect I want to talk about is the rope you use for tying. The thicker and heavier the rope, the harder it would be to get into trouble with tying. And the longer…. The easier and safer you can help him discover that hanging in the rope doesn’t work.

Tip 2.
Teach your horse to yield from constant pressure, or follow a feel. (What I mean by this is described in the article …..).
The fact that your horse is hanging in the halter means that he doesn’t really understand that YIELDING from pressure is the solution, instead of pushing against it (or leaning into it). The better he’ll understand this, the less problems you’ll have.

Tip 3.
Practice helping your horse to deal with different things in his direct surroundings. If the breaking loose or hanging in the halter has something to do with fear or his nervousness it’s important to help your horse develop confidence in lots of different things that he might encounter while standing tied.
So just start practicing!
While he’s standing still you can help him be okay with waving plastic bags, tarps floating by, other horses passing behind him, music or wheelbarrows.
Just remember that horses are flight animals, which means they’re claustrophobic, and some things might not be scary when they’re just happy in the pasture, but might look life threatening to them when they’re tied up because there’s no way to flee.
Help your horse deal with this in an effective, friendly manor (and at the same time you’ll even improve his confidence in you!). You can find more about improving your horses confidence in the article Relax & Chill with me………

Tip 4.
Help your horse grow his patience. When you’ve come to the point where you can safely and calmly tie your horse for a little while, it’s time to start teaching him to stand quietly for longer periods of time. At the same time this will be a good exercise for future trailerloading.
Find a safe spot to tie him for a while where he can’t get himself into trouble and practice with him to stand tied for longer periods of time: first time 5 minutes before
you untie him, then 10 minutes, then 20 etc. for example. (Remember: You dogs low to the ground, and horses up HIGH!)
You could also stay close by and time him: just leave him tied for a little while, even though he might paw or turn a bit. The moment that he stands quietly for a little longer, you untie him and take him away to do something else.

—> Read Part 2 of this article here