Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What do you mean I have to STAND?

We have run in to a little blip. A very fixable blip, but one that always scares me to work through.

Gabe DOES NOT like to stand tied. Not at all. Racehorses aren't tied to a fixed post on the track, they are generally held or cross-tied, which is a very different feeling than tied to a post. I figured he'd have some tying issues, but failed to realize how very big and very strong he is when he's in Oh-my-God-I'm-Going-To-DIE!!! mode.

I have (had?) a 4X4 post sunk into the ground in concrete with a tie ring that I use to tie the horses up. It's pretty solid and sturdy. Well, I THOUGHT it was until I tied Gabe up and he went ape-shit when I fly sprayed him. He was fine when I sprayed his right side and since we've been working on spraying the left side, I thought he'd be okay as long as I went slowly and gave him enough time to think about it.

Wrong! He went straight backwards, hard and fast. Thank goodness he didn't go up! Star used to go up and back from time to time when I first got her...she also did not like to stand tied to a fixed object. She busted the snaps on about five lead ropes before we finally got that issue sorted through. Because she liked to go up and back, I used a lariat around her girth, through the halter ring and snubbed to a tree and let her just stand there. If she pulled back, she punished herself. She did pull a few times, figured out it hurt and we never had another issue.

Gabe did not bust the snap. Instead, he busted and shifted my post. Robert (my husband) and I both heard the thing CRAAACKK! when he went backwards and he bent the tie ring, which, by the way, is rated for 5,000# of pressure. For the record, quick release knots DO NOT come loose very easily when a horse has had a panic attack on the end of it and tightened that sucker up good and snug.

Scary stuff! I wasn't scared for myself, because I know how to move out of the way when I need to...I was worried about him breaking his neck or busting that post entirely off and taking off with it beating the crap out of his legs and scaring him even more. Nothing good can happen when a horse his size decides he doesn't want to stand tied any more.

But, he's smart and learns fast. Once he realized that stepping forward was the ONLY way to stop the pressure of the rope halter digging into his face, he stepped forward. I untied him, led him around for a few minutes, and tied him back up. He went back again, but without quite the same amount of enthusiasm as the first time. Going backwards HURTS! I told him to "WHOAH!" in my lowest "do it NOW or pay the price!" voice and he stopped pulling and stepped forward to relieve the pressure on his head again.

He did not figure out that he is big and strong by being able to get away...he learned the rope and the halter are bigger and stronger than he is, so I will consider this a lesson well-learned.

I tied him up again last night, fully prepared for a repeat of the first experience. Not once did he make a move to pull back and act like an idiot. Is he fixed? Nope, not yet. I'm sure he has a few more moron moments at the post in him, I just have to be ready for it. But until Robert digs the out current, cracked post and replaces it with a bigger one set even deeper, I'm not going to push it. I don't think I'll have to resort to the lariat with him, but I am prepared to use it if needed.


  1. Got any little trees that need to be removed? Take advantage of his horsey strength while he is still stupid about being tied up. Make him earn his hay!! Maybe having a tree attacking him will convince him not to pull...
    Can't you just see it though...tree comes out, horse panics and runs...tree keeps following horse...horse keeps running...yeah, that might be bad.

  2. Amy...I do have several trees around the place that need to be removed, however, trees banging him about the legs and belly while he gallops like an insane beast around the property would probably be a BAD thing. I'd rather not have an emergency vet bill!

  3. It sounds like you may have your hands full, at a few of these new lessons. But he does sound rather smart and fast learner.
    Good luck.

    Take care