Tying and Hobbling Horses (Book Excerpt)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from Happy Trails by Les Sellnow. This book is available from www.ExclusivelyEquine.com

Whether on a pack trip into the mountains or on a weekend trail ride during which you return to your trailer at night, it is important that your trail horse has been taught to stand quietly when tied, hobbled, or tethered by one foot to a picket pin.

As you start your horse on a training routine, you might ask him to stand tied for only a short period. Tie the horse to a hitching rail or a wooden fence, groom him, and then leave him for a little while before proceeding with the training session. Do the same at the end of the session. Cool down and groom the trainee, and then let him stand tied for a bit. Do not reward the horse with grain or other treats after the end of a session of being tied. If you do, the horse will associate the end of the session with the treat and will learn impatience rather than patience with being tied.

As the training progresses, gradually lengthen the periods the horse must stand tied. You might start with five minutes and progress to an hour or more of the horse's standing unattended.

The goal is to get the horse gradually used to being confined to one spot and to accept this as a routine part of life. The important thing, especially with young horses, is to tie them in a location and in such a manner that they don't get into trouble. If the horse is tied to a post along a barbed-wire or woven-wire fence and begins pawing and extending a foreleg, for example, you are asking for a disaster that can end the horse's career before it begins.

About the Author

Les Sellnow

Les Sellnow is a free-lance writer based near Riverton, Wyo. He specializes in articles on equine research, and operates a ranch where he raises horses and livestock. He has authored several fiction and non-fiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse, published by Eclipse Press and available at www.exclusivelyequine.com or by calling 800/582-5604.

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