Teaching A Horse To Stand Tied
HORSE QUESTION: My 4 year old gelding is Barn Sour as he hates being away from the other horses. He paws and carries on terrible when I tie him up. So I always get mad at him, untie him and take him back to the other horses. How can I teach him to stand still while tied up?
ANSWER: Your gelding is "Herd Sour". Meaning some horses do not like leaving the company of the other horses. Horses that are "Barn Sour" do not like leaving the barn/pasture/yard.
First, keeping your gelding separate from the other horses may be necessary to nip his being Herd Sour in the butt. Since Herd Sour horses may bond closely even with horses kept directly next to them, it is best to have him completely separate from the others by distance, not just a fence.
For Herd Sour horses and/or horses that have simply never learned to stand tied: Daily, every single day such horse's need to be caught , led out of sight of their pasture mates and tied correctly (above the height of their withers and rope from halter to post about only the length of an adults arm). And to a good stout post with a good strong halter and lead rope. They should remained tied if it takes 2 hours or 2 days until they settle down and basically relax. Then and only then should they be untied, led around and finally returned to their own paddock. The key here is that the horse remains tied no matter how much it fusses until it QUITS and settles down. Even then, the horse must be quiet (totally relaxed from ears to tail) for a minimum of 1/2 hour before untying it. Personally I prefer at least an hour plus but 1/2 hour to start with works also. I want to see that horse basically dozing, resting a hind leg, ears at rest first before untying it!!! This teaches the horse "not only "Manners" but to have "Patience" also. Untying the horse before it settles down defeats the purpose of training it to stand tied by itself in the first place. In fact untying a fussing horse teaches it to act up even more because it soon learns by acting up worse, the owner will go over and untie it.
NOTE: A net bag full of hay can be hung up "high" on the post for horses needing to be tied for long hours until they settle down. A bucket of water can also be fixed to the post or else hand water the horse every few hours.