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Tips For Tying Young Horses

One of the hardest things to fix is a horse that hangs back when tied. It’s almost like trying to cure an addict. It’s always easier when they never learn to hang back in the first place. Sometimes people teach their horses to hang back, although they don’t mean to.

Before I tie a young horse up, I make sure they’re broke to lead pretty good. Make sure they give to pressure. I spend a lot of time petting my young horses with the lead rope hanging over my arm. One of the worst things people do is tie a young horse up, and then do things that scare him. I’ll never work on desensitizing a horse with them tied up. Even an older horse, when I’m introducing something new, I’ll just hang the lead rope over my arm, and move with the horse if he moves.

When I do tie a horse up, I make sure it’s in a safe place. Usually the first few times I’ll just tie him up for a while, and leave him alone, but stay where I can keep an eye on him.

I like to get my horses to where I can tie them to groom, and saddle them, but when they’re young and insecure, I’ll hold the rope for a while.

DSCN0357Here’s a photo of my tie rack I built. I haven’t seen any others like it, but I really like the design. You can use it as cross ties, or use it as a high bar.

I like the high bar for nervous horses that don’t want to stand still, or want to paw. Mine is located where I can tie a horse on it and watch them while I’m riding another one. A horse that doesn’t stand still, I’ll try to leave them tied until they stand. If you untie a horse that’s still pawing, you’ve just rewarded the bad behavior. Sometimes it takes a few sessions before a horse figures out he gets rewarded for standing quietly. If I can I’ll try to untie a horse and put him away for the day when he stands quiet.

It’s always easier to prevent a problem than to fix it.

Be sure to check out my videos, here’s the link:  Practical Horsemanship


  1. I use to try my ponies to a high rope tried between two strong trees. They had enough room to move in a small circle.

    I tweeted this blog post: Tips For Tying Young #Horses http://ow.ly/L9rgd #horsetraining #equines RETWEET

    • I first got this idea from Tom Dorrance. He said they used to tie young horses from a high limb in a tall tree on a long rope. The horse could walk around a little. When he would hit the end of the rope, he would learn to give to it. I don’t have any big trees, so I had to come up with my own version.
      Thanks for your comments.