The Power of Patience: How to teach your horse to stand tied in 5 easy steps!
Unpopular opinion: Tie your horse up daily. One day, their life and safety depends on their ability to stand tied, to be patient, and to wait willingly until asked otherwise.
This is the same as children learning to sit and wait in a car, or stand where they are told to stay so they don’t run out in front of a car while mom gets their younger brother or sister out of the carseat. This is not just a behavior, but it actually keeps your horse safe.
Let’s explore this. If your horse can not quietly stand tied, either in cross ties or hard tied to a rail, wall, or trailer, there are a few things going on.
First, this is a confidence issue. Horses are born claustrophobic by nature as prey animals, so anything that prevents them from having the ability to save their life by escaping by flight can create a fear based response in horses. This shows itself by horses pawing, jigging, diggings, pacing back and forth, tossing their head, ect. These are all symptoms of frustration, which are innately based in fear.
Teaching your horse to stand tied quietly for hours does not mean you just go out and tie your horse to your trailer and leave them there! So let’s go over some skills your horse can learn to prepare them to stand tied.
This is incredibly important whether you cross tie or hard tie your horse because if they do move, they need to know that the pressure on their halter does not need to be associated with the need to flee. There is an answer to make the pressure go away! Following a feel needs to connect to your horses feet.
***TIP: When you ask your horse to follow a feel down and forward, make sure forward always gets the HIND FOOT to step forward, not just the front!
Back your horse to the end of your line and be able to “move” your feet without your horse moving!
***TIP: Start short and build. Keep your duration short at first and build when you have more consistency! Try to build duration without crossing your horses threshold of the “learning zone” and release them from the tie when they are showing signs of relaxation and quietness!
Learn steps 3-5 in my process to teaching your horse to tie in the VIP Membership Video Library! Here I go over problem solving, the finishing steps, and leveling up your tying skills for experience horses. Also gain access to bi-monthly Q&A’s, technical instructional videos, members only challenges and community.
I hope this brought you value and jump started the process to get your thinking about giving your horse the gift of patience.