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Re: RC: Re: Use of restraint
Heidi, I'm with you on the leg rope restraint. I have always taught all
my horses to hobble. Having to use restraint is, in many cases, a lack
of ground manners. You will hardly EVER have to use restraint if you
have taught proper ground manners: Things you can teach:
1. Ride in a confined area dragging a rope, all over the horse until he
doesn't care. Let him step in a loop and pick it up to his hip.
Progress to having the rope around a pastern and picking up the foot
from the saddle.
2. Teach your horse to drop his head with pressure on his poll and
pressure on the halter and LEAVE it there. Can't practice this too much
or too often. I go out in the pasture when I'm noodling around and
practice this every chance I get. This not only prevents broken bridles,
but is an instinctive "calm down" to a horse. This can prevent many
3. Teach your horse to "ground tie". Stand quietly wherever you leave
him with the lead line on the ground.. He can look around, but can't
move his feet. Don't beat on him...just go "whoa" and put him back when
he moves. Be patient. After a while, he'll figure it out. I have
progressed to the point where I don't need a halter to tack up or bathe
Sunny. Just park him somewhere with a "whoa" and walk away. He also
"chin leads" without a halter.
It's kinda impressive when someone comes over to ride and you walk out
in the pasture and call your horse and he comes tooling over. You grab
him by the chin, walk over to the gate, park him and say "whoa". Open
the gate, repeat and close the gate. Chin lead him over to the barn and
park him whereever your tack is and saddle up, just totally ignoring
him. (Gee, where did you get such a nice Arabian? Unfortunately, they
don't come that way) I once tacked up, climbed in the saddle and
realized I had not put on the bridle! <grin>
4. Do "head huggies". Ask your horse to drop his head, then put your
arm over his poll and "hug" his head gently while you stroke his ears
and muzzle. This helps with head shyness and is also a calmative. (Don't
get your armpit over his poll so he can lift you off the ground) Be
sure you have taught "head down" well first. While you're doing this,
gently play around with his nose and in his mouth (where the bit goes)
with your fingers. (Helps train for worming and electrolytes) I also
like to open his mouth, grab his tongue and gently pull it out to the
side so he gets used to me handling it without throwing up his head and
yanking it away. Be gentle here, and start slow with just a little
pulling till he get used to that.
5. Have a friend pick up a front....just a little...while you pick up
the alternate hind. A horse can easily do this.
6. Get him used to clippers, heat guns, electric drills, compressors,
etc. I can blow Sunny's feet out with the compressor hose, drill holes
in all that plastic I have to put in his feet, and dry it with a heat
gun... he will stand right there and ignore it. Help your farrier by
pounding on his feet with anything you can find that makes noise.
7. Put each foot in a bucket one at a time and ask him to stand
quietly. Once he will do it, add water so he will get used to the
sensation. If you Endurance ride long enough, you will use this...I
8. Tug on his tail, lean back and pull. Good preamble to teaching
"tailing" up a hill. Intro this by scratching just to the left and right
beside his tail dock. Never met a horse who didn't love this...he can't
reach that spot. He'll raise his tail in pleasure and it gets him used
to you playing around back there. I also practice tying things to
Sunny's tail and leading him around dragging it. (Small things...a
cement block is not appropriate <grin>) Helps when he gets a limb or
something caught in his tail....won't spook over that.
9. Lastly, teach him to lie down on command and only get up when you
ask him to. This is a "trust" issue. Sadly, this is also useful on his
last day on earth. Whoof....don't want to think about that. Will your
horse, when he's lying down in the pasture, let you walk over and feed
him an apple while he continues to lie there?
Hmmm...Like Angie, I'm posting too often and to verbosely....gotta quit
procrastinating and get to work.
Jim and Sun of Dimanche
> Personally, I think leg ropes are one of the most under-taught restraints going--not that they need to be used all that much, but because teaching a horse not to panic when a leg is trapped can be very vital to his well-being as a trail horse. Once the horse is broke to tie, one can start with leg ropes by using a long cotton rope with a bowline around the neck, and just getting the horse to step over it with one hind foot so that the rope is between the legs. One starts by gently touching the inner hind legs with the rope and eventually progresses to controlling each hind foot with it. I like to teach about hobbles on the front legs for the same reason. As for twitches and lip chains--if a young horse will let you hold his nose firmly without fighting you, you will be able to apply a twitch if need be. And if he will let you handle his mouth, you can apply a lip chain. I don't think you need to "teach" a horse about them by repeated use in routine situations--but you do!
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