Will A Horse That Doesn't Tie…Ever Tie?

Goal: To give hope to horse owners that still ask this dreaded question!

The Backstory: When I bought my horse “Phury” at the ripe perfect age of 10… I was aware that he didn’t tie. It didn’t bother me that much at the time, because I thought he was perfect in every other way and on my list of must haves/compromises …I realized you can’t have it all when you have a budget! And to me I was willing to compromise on this element. I was in love! He is 17h of Thoroughbred power with a clever yet gentle temperament yet not overly sensitive on the bit and really allows me to put my leg on. When I had him for trial, and rode him the first time, I felt I could feel his willingness to please, and his potential to excel, should I aspire to take him. His background in cross country didn’t hurt either, for me he was going to be the perfect hunter-jumper.

“Meanwhile, back at the ranch” I don’t regret my purchase. He was, and still is the best 1st horse I could have chosen. But, let me tell me you people! Having a horse that doesn’t tie is very challenging! There are quite a few task that you will find difficult to preform if your horse does tie in some form (straight-tie, cross-tie, ground tie)

Like:  1) Bathing – this now becomes a two-person job for obvious reasons! 2) Tacking up – Let’s just say all of my equipment is within reaching distance for that potential chance he could bolt. 3) Trailering out – I haven’t had any problems yet! Mainly because he is in an enclosed space (inside the trailer) I have been rather lucky in this regard as even if he pulls on his safety harness since he is locked-in from behind, there is nowhere for him to go. With that said…one must remember to un-clip said safety harness before opening the back of the trailer otherwise obviously, you can see the potential for the BIG issue! 4) Tacking up while out with the trailer- this too becomes sticky situation because how does one go back and forth to the trailer tack room if your horse won’t stand still? Answer: very quickly! 5) leasing out your horse to those who aren’t as quick as you are or not as comfortable with a horse that doesn’t tie?  I am sure there many more tasks out there but these are the ones that I face daily! So what was my solution you ask? Truth be told, I don’t have one! To this day Phury still doesn’t tie confidently. My current resolution is to straight tie him with a quick release knot around the hitching post. But I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’ve lost two gold Parelli fasteners (not cheap) to him pulling back. Ground tying was a previous memory and cross-tying is a future dream!

The Real Deal: Circling back to the point... Will a horse that doesn’t tie ever tie?  Answer: The research says yes! But it’s going to take lots of patience on the part of the rider, and consistent training on the part of the horse. There are many techniques out there, but in my research I have found the method that I like the most and am going to try first. I found it on horsechannel.com, and it involves patience, working with ground manners, consistency and timing. The essential steps involve: 1) Dealing with Anxiety – using ground work distractions to keep him calm. 2) Patience -your horse needs to first understand yielding off the halter to comprehend pole pressure. If your horse doesn’t come forward willingly on the halter your horse just may have a strong pull back response and is not ready to be tied. 3) Soft-tying- at the end of a workout maybe with a little bit of hay or snack

Honestly, I think I am halfway there Phury is about 55% comfortable with being soft tied but the issue still remains when do I take the chance to hard-tied? According to the article a sure quick way to find out if your horse is ready to move forward in the training is tie him when he is fresh and ready to go somewhere and assess his demeanor.  I am sure, in fact I’m quite confident any non-tying horse will let you know If he requires more training with the soft-tie with simple pull of his halter and lead rope!

Will keep you abreast of my progress with Phury!
How to tie source: (http://www.horsechannel.com/horse-training/train-your-horse-to-tie.aspx)  

NewsKwase Hjulstrom