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November 2012 Tip

November 28th, 2012 by admin

 Cross Ties….Hum, a lot of us use them but do we really need too?  The more I work with horses the more they show me.

  A few years ago one of my best lesson horses flipped out in cross ties just because a student’s mother wanted to take a picture of her daughter grooming.  It wasn’t that the horse was camera shy; it was the unexpected flash that triggered the flight response.  Luckily no one got hurt but it made me reevaluate their use.  I began training all my horses to stand quietly while being groomed and saddled with no restraint.  It takes a little time and a lot of persistence but it is well worth it.  It all begins with the “whoa” command, which must always mean STAND STILL AND DON’T MOVE.  If your horse moves after you have said Whoa, then give your horse what they ask for….move their feet and move them fast.  Then bring them back to the same spot and say “whoa” again.  At this point I keep one hand on the horse as I move down their side and around to the other side.  I don’t leave the horse or even bend to pick up a brush until I can get their feet to stay still while I do simple hand grooming.  Build your standing time slowly but expect your horse to stand still.  It takes a good week, working every day, but it is well worth the time.  

One other note about cross ties; if you chose to continue to use them, please don’t leave your horse unattended while you are out of their sight.  This seems like common sense but I see it done all too often.  You just never know what could trigger a flight reaction.