Teaching a horse to tie (part 2)
Published 01-27-2010 11:28 AM
I want to continue on the topic of teaching a horse to tie, as this seems to be something that not all people know how to teach.
Like I said, I keep my horse at a trainer, who is an excellent horseman, and routinely ties the horses in their stalls after a training session. His technique to teach a horse who doesn't already know how to tie, is to tie the horses (young and old) to donkeys. Yes, you read it right! Tie them to donkeys.
Here is how it works: You tie the horse by it's halter to a cotton cinch that wraps around the donkey's neck. Donkeys are, generally, stronger than horses. They are also more determined than horses. So that horse gets to be a donkey buddy for the next 2 weeks or so. That donkey will teach the horse how to stand patiently, how to yield to pressure and how to do what the donkey (and later on, you) wants to do. For example, if the donkey wants to eat some hay, he pulls the horse to the hay manger and they both get to eat. If the donkey is done eating, he will take the horse some place else. And that will go on for everything: eating, drinking, being patted, coming to the gate, etc. If the donkey feels like coming to the fence to greet you, but the horse feels like continuing to graze, that will not bother the donkey, he will simply pull the horse to the fence. The horse will move with the donkey, whether he likes it or not. Also, horses that are aggressive, will be taught some lessons by the donkey as well. Donkeys won't accept nuisance from horses. Pretty soon the horse will figure out that they'd better follow whoever is leading their halter. They will also figure out that they can fight all they want, but if the donkey (and later on you) wants them in a certain spot, they will be on that spot until further notice from the donkey.
My trainer said that he has never had to teach a donkey about being tied to a horse. The donkeys take upon their jobs as pros. He said that so far, every single donkey he's owned performs their duties with excellence.
Another technique I heard is to tie the horse to a tractor tire (300 lbs or more) and leave him in the paddock. He will be able to move the tire around a bit, and if he does pull, the tire will come his way. But soon he will learn that pulling the tire is pretty heavy and not worth it. Leave him tied to the tire for 1 or 2 weeks. You can feed and water them while they are still tied to the tire. I am still wanting to know how long of a lead rope you leave for the horse, because if you leave it too short the horse won't be able to keep his head up, and that will cause his head to swell. But if you leave too much slack, the horse can get tangled in it. I have never seen a horse tied to a tire before, but this technique I heard at Equine Affaire, from one of the horse trainers.
If you have other techniques, shoot me an email so I can add them to the list.