Tying a horse is keeping a horse where you left him. Most horses learn to "tie" simply because they find it easier to stand quietly than to fight (if they DO NOT get away). A key point is "IF THEY DO NOT GET AWAY". All horses should be taught to stand tied and should not be considered trained until they can do so. Being tied uncomfortably or in an unsafe area can teach a horse to be a puller or have a fear being tied. If a horse is tied properly and comfortably, they will find comfort and calmness when tied. They learn to relax, drop their heads and even take a nap.
You can help prevent halter pulling with a lariat rope or other soft rope. This is considered teaching a horse to give to pressure and learn not to pull. Not pulling is AGAINST a horse's natural instincts. A rope can be placed around the girth of a horse with the standing part (end of rope) of the rope extending forward to the halter ring from between the front legs of the horse. The end of the lariat is then tied to the same fixed object as your original tie point. As the horse backs up, the lariat loop or soft rope tightens around the horse's middle and the rope through the halter pulls the head down in a straight line, without injuring the neck. NOTE: A horse needs to know how to give to pressure like this before you use this on a tie point, if you try this before you teach the horse to accept this pressure and give to this pressure, it could flip over and kill itself. It usually takes only a few short sessions before the horse learns to stand quietly (If done correctly and not rushed).
Another option is to place a soft rope around the neck, behind the ears, through the halter and tie with original tie point. This will take some pressure off your halter but will still apply pressure to behind the ears, if the horse pulls. It is important to keep the horse from dropping its head down and stepping over the rope in his initial training. The horse MUST be able to hold its head at a normal height where it is comfortable when tied, when he is not putting pressure on himself. Sacking out a horse while tied helps train him to stand even when spooked or scared. This process is more advanced after a horse knows how to be tied and give to pressure.
Cross Ties for Tying
I mention this in some of my videos and still get questions about cross ties. I do not like them, do not use them and think they are used by those who DO NOT understand horses and who cannot train their horse to tie properly without them. They are a cheat, over restrictive, makes a horse feel trapped and fearful. They use buckles/snaps that break, they use cheap straps that stretch and break and will teach a horse to pull back and break free.
I know there are many people that use them, love them and think they are needed and better. I disagree. Many of these people cannot tie their horse without cross-ties - that is a clue. A horse taught to tie properly can any way, a horse that is trained by fearful unknowing owners can only tie ONE way.
Most people that use cross-ties are scared of a horse and do not know how to control a horse, so they lock the head up making the horse more fearful and less comfortable when being tied. In my opinion; cross-ties = Lack of Horsemanship.
Can cross-ties work and can they be effective, sure, but it takes time, effort and it should NOT be the only way. If a horse does not know how to give to pressure and how NOT to pull when tied, then using cross ties only sets the horse up to fail and dislike being tied.
When a horse pulls enough with cross ties they normally get free, (especially if the people are using the stupid break-away halters or ropes) this teaches the horse to pull in order to get free (release). This teaches a horse to pull when tied. It can cause a horse to flip over and get hurt or bang his brain on the ground or roof when rearing. Unless you use these all the time and know your horse does not pull and stands tied without resistance, then I would NOT use cross ties. Here is an answer to a question about this topic. If I sound sarcastic in my answer, I am. I get hundreds of people telling me how much they know and then tell me how they screwed up their horse and want me to be nice. I speak for the horse - it that offends you, then you are not here to learn you are for your ego and feelings and that is not what I am here for.
Cross Ties - Rick Gore Horsemanship Question:
Hello, I am a new horse owner, and yes I do have my big girl panties on lol so give me all you got. I value honesty for me and my horse so if I am doing something wrong please tell me before I hurt my self or my horse. First I love your videos and your site. I think I have gotten through Just about all of them. The horse I just purchased is a lead horse and reminds me of MR.T. Right now we are working on learning that I am the lead horse and it is going very well. I took your advice and got established that bond right from the beginning and never let him now that there was any other way.
I was reading your site about tying a horse and watching the video where you talked about pressure and release and it just so happens that same night I had the fierier over to do Nick's feet ( that's my horse) and he got spooked in the cross ties. it caused him to break his halter. Now from watching your video I understand that because of him getting a release he is apt to try and pull every time he is put in the cross ties. I generally do not cross tie but I do not want him to be afraid of the cross times if we need to put him in them. How should I start the posses of putting him back in it? I want to make sure I do this right for him and not make a stupid human mistake. He deserves better them that. But I also want to help him face his fear of this. Any advice on the next proper step would be great. I have searched your video's but I was not able to come up with one on cross tieing. If you tell me that you have one. I will continue to watch them. I enjoy watching them anyway.
Thank you for what you do for the horse.
Answer: Your fault and no horse problems here. First he did not break his halter, you bought some cheap halter with buckles and probably used snaps, nylon halter, cheap rope and cheap cross ties and YOU set the horse up to fail from your lack of knowledge and preparation. So now, YOU taught your horse that if he pulls, he can get free. Obviously you did not read my Rope Halter Page.
On top of that you said yourself that you normally don't cross tie??? Hello..... so in all your knowledge you decide to do something that traps a horse more than he is used to, that you have not practiced and worked with the horse on, you have not spent time teaching the horse it is ok to be cross tied and then on top of that you decide to do this when you have a stranger (Farrier) come and start further restricting the horse by picking up his feet and making the horse more insecure. Don't write me back and tell me how the Farrier is not a stranger and the horse knows him, he is not around the horse and handling the horse all the time so it is new, different and strange to the horse.
You may have watched my videos but you either do not get it, did not learn much or missed the boat. You are not thinking like a horse and considering the horse before you are act.
Here is what your horse was thinking since you obviously can't figure it out or just too busy or too lazy to try.
Horse Talking: what the hell is going on, why am I being tied here today, why do I have two tie ropes instead of one on my face that I normally have, why is my head restricted, why can't I turn my head and see behind me, I feel trapped, what is going on, I am nervous, this is new, I don't know what to expect, why is this happening, what is going to happen next, NO wait, NOW WHAT, who is this strange guy, why is he here, what is he going to do, I feel trapped, I am nervous, why is this guy wanting me to pick my feet up, what is going on, is he going to trap me more, I already feel trapped, why is this happening, I don't trust either of these idiots for putting me in this situation without preparing me, I am getting out here before these idiots get me killed, I have to get free, I am going to fight to survive and not just stand here trapped so these two idiots can kill me..... (now horse rears, goes into opposition reflex, fights to get away and does). Now horse says: Whew that was close, good thing I fought to get free or these idiots would have killed me, obviously these two are weak dumb humans that don't understand me so I better not trust them in the future and the next time I get trapped or tied I better fight and pull to get free other wise no telling what these idiots will do to me. I better be more alert now (stupid humans will call this spooky), I better not follow these idiots without being sure I am able to get free, now I have learned to watch out and protect myself, if I let these idiots do what they want I could die.
Congratulations, you are now an official horse trainer, hope you can see all the lessons you taught this horse. Since you are trying to teach your horse to pull and get away, and are off to a pretty good start, here are some tips to advance his pulling training, tie him with a hay string so when he pulls he gets free, tie him to things that he can pull like a plastic lawn chair or a water bucket, and anytime he rears or pulls when you are leading him, let go of the rope and let him run off, if do these things, along with your previous training, your horse will be an expert puller in no time.
Save the email about how this did not help you fix this and all I did was be mean to you. If you did this and caused this and can't see what you did or how bad it was, then nothing I tell you will matter since you don't get it and are looking for fast and easy, just like the cross tying, instead of teaching, taking the time it takes to prepare and do it right, you in your grand wisdom decide to just try and see if it works and now the horse has learned many bad lessons that it did not know before. Now you want me to fix it over an email. You have not watched all my videos and have not read my web site or you would not be asking this. Probably just too busy and don't have the time. Like many, no one has the time to do it right, but they always have the time to do wrong and do it over and over again.
And another thing, cross ties are for idiots, they are some English BS that dummies use since they can't control their horse or teach their horse how to tie and stand where they want them to without using a trapping and restricting the head device like cross ties. No Horseman will need or use cross ties since they understand a horse and know that they would not like to be trapped like that if they were a horse, another concept that has obviously escaped you.
And if you think I am being too hard, Tough! Your horse had to pay for your actions and if you get your feelings hurt too bad. What you did to your horse was a lot worse and did much more damage than what I am saying to you. I don't care about how your feelings and neither does your horse. Suck it up, you screwed up and let your horse down, learn from it, fix it, educate yourself, accept what you did and how bad it was, don't repeat it and next time you want to take a short cut of do something without thinking, perhaps you will remember this lesson and be grateful that you or your horse did not get hurt THIS TIME, and maybe it will cause you stop, slow down, think and listen to your horse. I assure you your horse was telling you and yelling he was not ready for this and was about to blow, but you either do not know how to listen or were too busy being the smarter dumb animal.
Click Here to view the second Reply to this question.
Bad Horsemanship and Foolish Women Scaring the Crap out of a Horse:
In this video these so called horse owners, horse lovers and horse trainers, teach a horse how to get his mouth tore up with pain bit; how to get hit with a whip, how to put a horse in a position to be fearful of his life, making a think it was trapped and being chased by a huge thing that was going to eat or kill him, teaches a horse to rear, to kick and NOT trust humans. So in this great lesson and training, the horse has learned many life long lessons like do not trust people, pain and fear equals humans, when trapped I need to run, kick and rear to stay alive. What a horrible example so called "Horse Women that know and love their horse". After you watch the video I discuss it more below the video. Click on the Picture below to PLAY video.
So many things to see wrong in this. The horse was never prepared for this, it probably never saw this carriage move or pulled, it was never allowed to walk next to it when it was moving, the horse had never pulled or dragged anything else before, there was not a quick release consideration in case the horse panicked (as it did) or got into trouble, the horse probably was never driven from behind with reins and a bit, so it did not know how to be driven and controlled by reins and people behind it, every time the horse kicked and hurt itself the fear and pain increased, then this caused the brilliant people to pull harder and create more pain in the mouth, so the horse was feeling pain from kicking wood, it was feeling trapped, it was getting pulled and pain in his mouth, it was totally put in a dangerous and horrible situation.
This could have very easily gone much worse, this horse could have impaled itself with a wood pole, it could have broken a leg from kicking solid objects, it could have flipped over backwards and broke it's neck, it could have jumped up and came down on sharp wood and stabbed itself, it could have taken off into a full blind run and killed itself, it could have pulled the dumb asses hanging on to the reins, out of the carriage hurt or killed them and so many other bad things. Then the horse would have been called names and labeled like: the horse was crazy, the horse was not trainable, the horse was too spooky, the horse was abused BEFORE, the horse was abandoned as a baby, the horse has bad breeding, and so many other excuses for "stupid human's actions." This horse had NO choices in any of the things done to him, and yet horses always get all the blame and responsibility when things go Wrong. Remember: It is Never the horse's fault.
This was so unfair to this horse and the damage they did coupled with the bad lessons they taught this horse, that now this horse has just become "a horse with a past and no future". Very sad life experience for this horse. I can bet that these dumb ass owners are now telling everyone that this horse is crazy, this horse is dangerous, this horse freaked out for "no reason", this horse tied to kill them for no reason, this horse has issues with bucking and kicking, this horse is a "stupid" horse, this horse can't be trusted, this horse must have had bad previous owners, this horse must have been abused, this horse has something wrong with his brain....and the list goes on. All WRONG and all bullshit. This horse, like most horses, are a reflection of the owners and only did what it did, because of what his owners did. For those that either see or hear all the horror stories about bad horses, this is a perfect example of how to screw up a horse, how to teach a horse bad lessons, how to teach a horse to be dangerous, how to teach a horse not to trust people. Seeing this is so sad, a good, loving, trying horse who was set up to fail and never had a chance because of "know-it-all" horse people wanting to do it their way, fast and easy, thinking they know it all and too stupid to stop even when they see it going bad and not working. I hope this horse gets some payback, but if he does, he will labeled dangerous and mean and probably put to sleep or sold to meat buyers. Very sad situation for this horse and many others.
The Snaps on halters and ropes will always break first, so by using a rope halter and ropes without a snap you ensure the horse will not get away once tied, provided you tied him to a strong tie point. Horses have also been injured when a buckle breaks and snaps back. It can take out an eye or cut the horse. Make sure you tie the horse to a solid pole that will not give or break. The worst thing that can happen is to tie a horse, and then when they pull, fight or get scared, they get away and learn pulling is the right answer. Always use a proper slipknot (that unties under load) in case of an emergency or if the horse gets into real trouble. Tying short means that you only leave about two or three feet of rope from knot to horse. I only leave enough rope so the horse can hang his head comfortably and look side to side. Tying is about keeping the horse where you leave it. In order to have a good tie you three things; A good strong rope halter (or other halter that will not break), a good strong lead rope with NO BUCKLE, and a strong tie point that will not pull free. If any of these three things are weak, the horse will get free and he will learn to pull and fight being tied. Once YOU teach a horse to pull, I say you since bad tying can teach a horse to pull, you cause the horse pain and set him up for failure. Do not do this. Do not allow others to tie your horse wrong. The photo on the right shows a new tough steel tie ring that clips on. The problem is the horse is still only being held by the 29 cents snap on his halter. So no matter how good your tie point, your tie is only as good as the weakest point, so your halter, rope and tie point are critical. If any break, your horse is free, and learns if he pulls he gets free.
I had a Farrier tell me not to tie a horse solid and let the rope just hang so if the horse pulls it would not feel trapped. As I watched her work on the horse, the horse would pull and move back and the rope would slide back. She would stop and pull the rope through the tie ring, move the horse forward and try again. As the horse learned that he could pull away and walk away, he did this more. Then the farrier got frustrated and tied the horse solid and short. The problem was the horse was just taught that he could pull away so when he tried to do this after tied and was trapped, he panicked, reared and broke the snap on the lead rope and got away. I watched a horse be trained to pull in about 10 minutes. To a horse, since he was allowed to pull several times and get release, he thought pulling was the right answer. So when the rules changed, by tying him right (except for the snap), he went into a panic and pulled harder and with more force. Then when the snap broke, the horse was taught again, the right answer is to pull in order to get free. This was a very bad lesson and very confusing to the horse. This horse was NOT set up for success. I happened to know this horse knew how to tie and would stand quietly, without pulling, when tied properly, yet in one Farrier training session, he was taught to be a puller. Fortunately, horses learn fast and this could be fixed by a couple of sessions of proper tying without snaps. Luckily, no one and no horse was hurt by this. Just another example of where trying to be nice to a horse teaches a bad lesson and puts the horse in danger.
The picture below is one of the worst ways to tie a horse:
I ran across an article by a "Woman Trainer" that advocated not to tie a horse where it could not get away. Not sure why you would want to tie a horse for other than the reason for it NOT to get away, but that is another story.
When I saw this I busted up laughing. This woman's solution to tying a horse was this Picture below.
Are you kidding me? I could not stop laughing when I saw this picture. It is hard to believe that someone could be writing a published article about training horses (probably a certified trainer from the idiot site Horseforum.com) and as this person was being portrayed as sort of horse expert and then she would give out such poor and dangerous advice. She suggested that you should tie hay string to a pole and then tie your horse to the string like in the picture. This way if the horse pulled, it could break free without stress. *Barn Witch Alert* - this lady will be running around barns telling everyone they are tying their horse wrong and should use her way. This brilliant theory, like many women in the horse world, who want to be nice and soft and loving to their poor horse, was to be kinder and gentler to the horse, she believes you should not make your horse feel any discomfort if he pulls when tied. This is someone who DOES NOT understand a horse and probably has a horse that will NOT tie. This stupid advice sets a horse up for failure, teaches him to pull for relief and teaches him to test and pull every time he is tied.
Horses that are tied this way will end up being hurt or killed when they break away. I see this all time, people try to be too nice, treat a horse like our other pets and end up doing more damage than good.
NOTE: This is a classic example of someone that has NO clue about pressure and release and does NOT understand how Release of pressure teaches a horse what the right answer is.
Soon, any horse tied this way will learn, and will have been taught by stupid humans, that when I am tied, all I have to do is pull and I can get free. This technique is poor, dumb, ignorant and is being a taught by a so called "Horse Experts" and people wonder why so many people and horses get hurt with advice like this being published. Bad lesson for any horse to learn. This is why I am constantly telling people do not take or ask for advice, instead learn, study, spend time with your horse, that way you will not need others advice and you will know when the difference between bad advice and good advice.
If you want to train your horse to pull, break away and never stand calmly and politely, use the above technique to tie him. And if you choose this technique, I might suggest you use break away reins when riding your horse and use a string to secure all gates that hold your horses so your horse won't get hurt when he pushes on a gate. Make sure you have good running shoes, you will need them to catch your horses frequently. This picture below shows a new fancy type of tie ring that is being sold as kinder and gentle for horses that pull. This is a slip tie and gives the horse release when he pulls. Bad lessons. This tie ring teaches a horse to pull for release so when you tie a horse solid, as it should be, he will pull expecting release and when he does not get it; he will panic, feel trapped and pull harder. When people sell special gimmicks or anything that requires you to only use their way, it is a set up. If your horse only learns to tie with this special NICE tie ring, what happens when you have to tie your horse and do not have one these? This ring sets the horse up for failure. Teach your horse to tie correctly and you will not need new and improved tie rings and other gimmicks.
Now I have heard many people claim that the above tie ring works. For horses that have been taught to pull or have NOT been taught to give to pressure, then this device may help, but it still needs to be used by someone that knows what they are doing. If you buying this ring to teach your horse to tie, you do not know what you are doing or you would not need this to teach your horse to tie. No one that needs gimmicks or special equipment to train a horse if they understand a horse. And anyone selling gimmicks as quick fixes to all horse problems are not true Horsemen and are setting you and your horse up to fail, all while making money off of your ignorance.
The below picture is an easy slip knot that can be used to tie a horse.
Once a horse successfully breaks away from being tied, it will quickly develop a habit of pulling or become frightened of being tied. If your horse pulls back, stay calm and move to the rear of the horse. Urge him to go forward with pressure (clap hands, rope, bag, etc) this will cause him to move forward, away from you and towards his tie point. The horse will move forward to release the pressure you are putting him from behind and he will release the pressure on the rope and tie. I see many people run to the tie point, in front of the horse, so they can untie or try and pull on the horse's head to stop him from pulling. They are only putting more pressure on the head, causing the horse to pull harder and are not helping the horse. This is another clue that a person does not know or understand horses. Any good horseman will never run or put pressure on the head of horse that is pulling.
Tying a horse too low will allow the horse to get the rope wrapped around his leg and cause potential injury. On the other hand, tying a horse too high puts a strain on his neck and encourages him to fight or get free. In this picture, the rope is too long and the horse is already in trouble with his foot over the rope. However, this horse could be such a good tying horse that he is used to stepping on his rope, has learned not to panic, and understands how to calmly release his own pressure when he steps on his rope. Which is why I suggest that you allow your horse to walk about the round pen or other small area with his lead rope dragging? He will learn that when he steps on his rope, it is no reason to panic and will learn to release his own pressure by picking up his foot off of his lead rope (refer to Horses have a Brain video).
This tie is too long. The horse has his leg over the rope and his head under the rope. If this horse gets scared and pulls back, his leg could get broke or he could choke himself with this rope if he falls. Not a good tie for a young or inexperienced horse, but may be fine for an older horse.
After teaching you horse to tie well, they may not know how to move well when their head is securely tied. Make sure you teach him to use his back feet so he knows how to move when tied. He will learn on his own, but you can help him and show him. A good way to do this is tie a second rope to the same tie point that the horse is tied to or to the pole at chest level to the horse. Let this rope hang on the side of the horse, along the side of his body. You stand far enough behind her so you can't be kicked while holding this second rope. Then you use this rope to guide the horse to move away from pressure. If the rope is on the left side of horse, you walk right and use the rope, to lightly pull, (suggest) the hips and body of the horse to the right. Then put the rope on the other side and move the horse to the left. If he kicks at the rope or gets scared, you need
to do more sacking out. If you just keep steady pressure on the rope and his hips, until he moves the right direction (Remember to give release when the horse moves), he should learn to move away from pressure. Do not pull hard, scare him or force him. Let him work it out and figure how to move away from the rope pressure. Remember, once he moves just a little, stop the pressure and let him know that is the right response. If you have taught the horse how to move by other means, then you will not need to use the rope. If you have done your ground work well, you should be able to look and point at his hips and he should move them away you.
When tying two horses, I tie shorter so they do not get into
trouble. I like tying my horses together so they learn to stand together. You have to teach them this slowly so they do not fight and possibly hurt each other with a kick or bite. You can tie them a few feet apart. I stand in between them, since I know they respect me as the leader and will not kick or bite at me. Then I groom them, pick their feet and do some sacking out. That way if they feel the need to show the horse dominance, I can stop it and show them not to do that when tied.
Since I told a bad Farrier story above, I will tell a good Farrier story now. I was helping a Farrier with another horse and I noticed that the rope halter and lead rope on the horse was different from the horse's own halter. I asked the Farrier if the rope halter and lead rope was his or the horse's he was working on. He told me it was his. I did not have to ask why, but he told me. He said he did not want to use the owner’s rope halter since it had a lead rope with a buckle on it. He told me that buckles always break and he does not like using them since he has seen so many break when a horse pulls. I just smiled and gave him his halter back.
This is a bigger picture of a quick release knot: