Tying A Horse To A Lawn Chair And Other Not So Great Ideas

| 10/20/2014 10:34:00 AM

horse tied to lawn chair

Karrie SteelyLately there’s been a photograph circulating on the Internet that makes me cringe every time I see it. Having been a horsewoman most of my life, I can state that one of the cardinal rules is never tie a horse to something that could move. I guess people think it is kind of cute and funny that such a big, powerful animal is so dumb that it assumes it can’t move if it’s tied to a chair. Horses are trusting, gentle animals. They are often more than willing to oblige what is asked of them, until something triggers their flight instinct. A loud noise, sudden movement, even leaves blowing on a windy day might be enough. A horse is a prey animal. I don’t care how well trained it is. If something spooks it, it will pull back. If the object it’s tied to follows it, it will assume that it’s being chased.

I’ve heard about and witnessed injuries (physical and psychological) from many similar incidents. Just recently a friend told me that a boarder at his stable tied her horse to a trampoline. A trampoline? Really? The subsequent damage to the horse and the trampoline was blamed on the property owner for leaving a trampoline where someone might tie a horse to it. (Forehead slap.) I knew another woman who, when she bought her first horse, tied her to a swing set. Aside from severe lacerations, the mare was never able to stand tied again. She had an overwhelming fear of being tied that couldn’t be trained out of her.

horse loosely tied 

If a horse has been well trained, it will stop pulling back or will move forward, and then relax when it meets resistance. I won’t go into the details of how to train a horse to stand tied, but it's obviously important. In addition to standing tied, I trained my horses to ground tie (stand still and wait with the rope dropped to the ground or over its back) or to stand with a rope thrown over a post. I usually didn’t bother tying them unless they were wiggly or if we were somewhere that if they did pull back they could run away, such as a trailhead or an event.

Jamie standing quietly

10/21/2014 8:20:35 AM

Karrie, excellent post. I could not agree more. Lets hope that awareness has been raised on this issue and that many horses are helped through your efforts. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being a great horseman! Jamie www.jamiecearley.com

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