Quit Rewarding Your Horse for Sitting Back When Tied

Ace-bear-trap
Trapped is trapped, whether caused by a halter and lead rope or the jaws of a mountain lion. Pulling back when hard-tied can be a life and death issue for your horse. What surprises some folks is that horses pull back because they get rewarded for it.
 

The reward is freedom. Every time a horse sits back and escapes the trap, he wins. In his mind he beat death. That’s a huge incentive to pull back the next time. If it’s more difficult to get away because of stouter equipment the horse fights harder because he perceives a bigger threat.

The Bigger the Fight the Greater the Reward

If the horse gets away again, the reward is huge. The bigger the fight the bigger the reward.

You always get more of what you reward.

If you have a horse who occasionally pulls back but isn’t 100% committed, REMOVE his reward before he’s too far gone to bring back. That doesn’t mean using a logging chain and a gag halter, but it does mean changing something.

3 Ways to Manage Horses that Pull Back When Tied

The difference between horses who pull back and those who don’t (in relatively normal circumstances) is the human who cares for them. Sitting back is a powerful habit forged in a flood of emotional hormones released by fear.

Every Horse is Capable of Pulling Back

No one can guarantee that a particular horse will NEVER sit back when tied, but most horses happily live without the trauma of straining at the end of a locked restraint in hysterical fear for their lives. 

Once your horse begins fighting for freedom, his pain receptors fail to register because fear triggers the God-given flight response. Fear is often more powerful than pain.

Which begs the question, “Why is pain even part of the equation?”

Hangman’s Knot

After a three-day biomechanics class I have a new appreciation for the anatomy of a horse’s head and neck (and everything else.) Proper movement and what’s possible in higher-level training begins at the poll (AO joint) where the skull and atlas (C1) meet. 

Mess this up and you may live with the consequences the rest of your horse’s life. Take a moment to ponder your goal before putting a rope or web halter on that joint and snubbing him up. Think Hangman’s Knot…

Some horse can be “fixed” and some can’t. However, horses who have the flight pathway when hitched set in concrete can be managed. Here are three options to consider…

3 Ways to Manage Horses that Pull Back When Tied


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Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling Christian author, speaker, and coach who helps people accomplish God's unique purpose for them and advance His kingdom on earth. She's also a retired World and National Champion horse trainer and breeder.

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber

Lynn Baber is a best-selling Christian author, speaker, and coach who helps people accomplish God's unique purpose for them and advance His kingdom on earth. She's also a retired World and National Champion horse trainer and breeder.

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