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Horsecraszy

Tying The Head To The Side

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Okay, so I'm trying to get help finishing my horse, and I'm looking for a western pleasure trainer, which is difficult to find in my area...I found one and had an introductory lesson today. The trainer had me working on bending my horse by holding my inside rein and pushing with my inside leg. She said my horse has to learn to not be held and is very stiff (which I sort of knew). We worked on true bending and counter bending. I liked her, but one thing bothers me, but it might be because I don't know a lot about it...She wants to tie my horses head to the side and get her moving forward from the ground to teach her to go forward with her head still bent and lifting the shoulders? is this a decent and safe training method, or is it seen as inhumane...I do not think she wants to do this for an extended period of time, nor at a standstill...from what I understand as soon as my horse begins to walk straight we will switch sides.

I just don't know what to think of all of it...is she a good trainer because she uses this method...She said we could do it all in the saddle but it would be longer and harder especially with me riding my horse..I also am trying to get to states and my district show is in a month, so I don't know if shes trying to rush for that...It is hard to find a good western pleasure trainer in my area and she showed me videos of her horses and all seem very well behaved trained...Also she spur trains her horses and they have a spur stop..is this respectable...I am not around true western pleasure trainers enough to know really what is out there.

Any comments are appreciated.

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Well, not my type of western pleasure trainer.

Tying the head to the side has some purpose, done correctly short term. It teaches ahorse to give his head laterally and to respond to the direct rein. One encourages them to follow their nose, and not just stand there by moving them into the direction of turn their head is tied to

I have never heard of it being used as a shoulder elevating technique, as that is more effectively done riding. If you hold the snaffle reins straight up in front of the whithers while driving with your legs until your horse softens, you are making them elevate their shoulders. Jogging and loping over poles also does this, as well as jogging and loping squares instead of circles. Can't drop a shoulder on a square turn, as the horse has to move his shoulders and cross over with his front feet

If you are lunging a horse, one can tie the inside rein back slightly more than the outside, to prevent a horse from dropping that inside shoulder

Far as I'm concerned, shoulder elevation, collection and other body control excercises are best taught riding, as to truly get the horse using his body correctly, you have to use the right combination of hands and legs, always riding with more legs than hands (about 80% legs versus 20% hands )

Can't do that from the ground

You also need to work on shoulder control, as a stiff horse will be bracy in the shoulders-thus lots of turn over the haunches, esp when the horse is leaning his shoulder in either direction (you move those shoulders into the opposite direction the horse is leaning. If a horse leans on a shoulder, he has also dropped that shoulder

I ride with spurs, but have no use for the spur stop. My horses are rated off of legs and seat, not spurs stuck against them constantly. I will go tot he spur if the horse is not responding to light leg, as a secondary re -inforcement to leg

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From personal experience, "tying" the head to the side isn't as crazy as it sounds - as long as you do it the right way. I've never literally "tied" my horses head around, however to teach her to bend I have started on the ground and have taught her to bend the same way, just without the actual tying part. Once she learned to bend and was more loosened up, I then taught her to bend undersaddle once she had the general idea. It did help alot, but again, I don't necessarily agree with literally tying their head around.

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Truthfully the way she described it it didn't sound too bad, not like the old cowboy was of tying crazily...idk tho. I just don't want to loose a good wp trainer because most here are Hunterjumper, but I don't want to get into a situation i don't like...I mean i guess i could see it and see if I find it humane and helpful at all....There is one more trainer I could try to that emailed me so I might check that one too.

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its like a loose'n up thing,but ONLY to be used, to use JUST before you ride, and only just 5 mins!!!! each side! Jackie does this and it REMINDS her to not fight ME.And it loose'ns up her neck to do circles AFTER I'm in the saddle. it should only be use's a flexing exercise. Jackie can do like 7 ft circles from the ground,with me one the ground,making her Collect ,and not dropping her shoulder. its a ground work(bitt'ing up) exercise. and it does help. for a stiff horse (which I have)

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ok, so GlowingTrickPony, if the trainer is using it to loosen up a stiff horse, then plans to get me in the saddle right after (which I'm pretty sure she is), you don't think it's too bad of an idea?

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To me this is a slippery slope, your TRAINER should be loosening her up by getting on and teaching her to give and be supple. I think its a nasty shortcut, makes it easier on the trainer for sure, but will it stick? what is the purpose of FORCING flexibility? A horse should flex and be supple because it is conditioned, happy and released from pressure when it gives in. Sorry to me this is a LAZY training.

Now, that being said, if this is just one thing your trainer thinks might work, but otherwise you agree with her philosophy, give her a try, but I would keep an eye out for other 'shortcuts' that will give you an empty wallet and an improperly trained horse.

eta: just a thought, but you would be fined or banned if you did this at an AQHA show - it is 'illegal' by their rules, if you couldn't do it in public, do you want to do it at home?

Edited by exes blue eyed devil

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here's a thought. why don't YOU tie your head to one side for 60 seconds and see how flexible and supple you feel afterwards. or better yet tie your trainer's head to the side for five minutes and see what she has to say.

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Personally, I do not like these quick-fix training methods. They seem cruel to me. Whose idea is it to get you on the show circuit so quickly with this horse? It takes time to train a horse correctly. I've been following the clinicians - especially Clinton Anderson's methods, and my horse is doing great. You have to get the horse to want to do what you ask, not force him into it by tying the horse's head around. A horse needs to respect you and listen to what he's asked to do. Bullying a horse into what YOU want is not my idea of good horse training. There are lots of tools out there to help you. I'd definitely get rid of this trainer. [bang Head]

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Blue eyed...

That's interesting that you said that about the AQHA shows. I went to an Appaloosa show a few years back and I was appauled when I saw three horses in their stalls with their heads tied to the side. I know the OP is about tying their heads while moving but it brought up how uncool it looks from an outsider's point of view.

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exactly Kashmir, we have enough problems in the horse industry, these old "break them fast and forceful" tricks just DONT produce good show horses, they produce sour, lame unwilling horses.

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my old mare magic had her head tied to the side when she was at findley. BAD BIG mistake. they had her bending so much that everytime you touched her reins she would actually touch her tail. it was awful. took another trainer to fix her and she was my barrel horse. I don't like tieing heads around. when i lounge they get tied shorter on one side, but only for a few mins.

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ok, so I have another random question that just came to mind...how do you get a horse to have a bend on the lungeline? And I don't mean using the lunge line to teach it (though if someone has an idea on that) but I mean after your horse knows it in the saddle and say your lunging because for some reason you cant ride...will your horse transfer the bend to the lunge line or do you have to teach it?

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ok, so I have another random question that just came to mind...how do you get a horse to have a bend on the lungeline? And I don't mean using the lunge line to teach it (though if someone has an idea on that) but I mean after your horse knows it in the saddle and say your lunging because for some reason you cant ride...will your horse transfer the bend to the lunge line or do you have to teach it?

Not sure what you are asking?

Flexing, like bringing the nose around and stretching the neck? Or bending the body? Or both?

When I get on my colt Jake, I always do a little flexing from side to side, making sure all is well and the little turd is paying attention. He reaches around and touches my boot in the stirrup on each side. If he is stiff in one direction or the other, I will work on that side when riding.

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Kashmir, I show Appaloosas and have never seen a horse tied around in astall., his head hung, or other short cut .

Far as trying the head around slighty on agreen horse during trianing, no probelm with that, as long as you do it short term and encourage the horse to move in the direction his head is tied

THe OP asked about having the horse's head tied around, and making the horse move foreward, as a shoulder elevation technique, and that is what I have a probelm with

Shoulder elevation is taught riding, using legs effectively along with reins and far as I;m concerned, isn't taught on the ground by tying a head around

Far as NH trainers many get their followers overflexing horses at a standstill, giving hteir head and neck , but not their shoulders. This teaches horse to rubber neck. I do shoulder control and suppling excercises in routines that get that entire body control and aleignment

There is not one riding manover where a horse has to put his nose on your stirrup

So often people concentrate on controling that neck and face, completely forgetting about the shoulders

See horse running off to the right with his face cranked to the left? A horse follows his shoulders, until he is taught to follow his nose with his entire body

You need legs to drive that hind end up, causing the horse to round, shift weight back, lighten front end and thus hold shoulders up

When you get a resistant stiff horse, if you truly get control of those shoulders, moving therm around, not allowing the horse to lean on them or be bracy, you are well on your way to getting a soft horse. Once you get that drive from behind and that shoulder control, the face and neck falls easily into place

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Ok, Smilie, what are the best ways to get shoulder control...I started bending and counterbending a little in the saddle, but how exactly do you go about teaching it?

Anyone else is more than welcome to say how they get shoulder control

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Riding counter bend circle is one excercise for shoulder control.

Turn on the haunches is another

Ride squares instead of circles. Try it first at the walk and trot before the lope. In oder to make those square corners, a horse has to have that inside shoulder up, as her also mores those shoulders into a few cross over steps

Half passing and side passing also has a horse moving his shoulder off of the outside rein

Shoulder elevation is helped by moving collected, driving from behind and staying light in your hands

You can also jog and lope over ground poles

At the trot you can also do this excercise-hold snaffle reins straight up in front of the whithers and drive the horse with your legs. When he feels light in your hands, return hands to normal riding position

All the riding principles that have a horse stay off of his front end, help the horse keep shoulders up

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Smilie, It was at one of the Blackhawk shows down here in Rantual, Illinois. Sure as poop..Those horses heads were tied to the side. I'll never forget it. No disrespect to you or the App Club. My inlaws breed and raise Appys and I own one. We go to lots of breed shows. It was just one of those things that showed how stupid the lady was to do it in front of respectable people and think it is acceptable.

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I was not doubting what you saw, Kashmir, just wanted to point out it cerainly is not abreed thing, and one can see less that stellar trainers in any breed show using warmup techniques that are questionable, long as they can get away from it

It is up to show committees to police the warm up and barn areas

In NSBA events I have gone to, there were rules that ban you from using anything in warm up other than what you could show in, and this included things like draw reins

Saw an AQHA trainer show an Apploosa for someone on our circuit. SHe must have mis calculated her dosage, as several knowlegable people, including another AQHA trainer, pointed out to the show committeee that there was a drugged horse in the ring. I have an actual video, as I was showing HUS in the same class and had a friend video the class for me.

AT one reining show, a trainer was banned, as in the warm up, he got his horse to stop with that low head set now popular in that event, by hitting the horse on the poll with a bat.

Ultimately, it is up to the show committeee to enforce the standards at their venue, esp outside of the show ring. Alao, like anything else, apathy is useless. If you see something being done that is abusive, then it is your duty to report it tot he show committeee, and not just complain about it to fellow members. Thats how these things get cleaned up

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I know someone that ties everythings head around. He would leave them for hours with their head tied to the saddle or to their tail. I always hated getting on the horses afterwards because they could run straight foreward with their heads plastered on their shoulders.

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Horsecrazy,

I don't think you ever mentioned how old your horse is and how much training he has actually had. My horse is 5 and nowhere near ready for big breed shows (although I have gone in a few, I didn't expect much). Physically, it takes soo much for a horse to travel correctly. I am sure you know that. Obviously, there are dozens of ways to force it and people do it everyday. I think you should decide what's right for you and your horse. Is it right or wrong? Who knows? Things we don't like happen regardless of what we think. Your probably gonna get dogged by someone either way. I look at it this way.. (It's my horse, my mistake) Even big trainers have made them. That's how we learn. You are on this board so that means you are TRYING to do the right thing. More power to ya.

Bottom line I would think is... it is a shortcut or an aide to help achieve something that we as riders either don't have the time, ability or an actual trainer to achieve the results for us. I personally don't have 5 days a week to take a horse that far that quickly so me and my horse a cruizin at a level far behind most. I think we all want training a horse to be easy, and most of us are trying to find something to help us get results fast.

My horse is not physically athletic (Neither am I for that matter) and it makes it very hard to do the required excercises to strengthen him to round, collect and drive from behind. He has a long neck and of course tries to rubber band his way through getting out of work and it took a long time to teach him different. He still tries it cuz he's lazy. Once I get him using his hind end he can elevate his shoulders and quit fallin on his front end. Granted it doesn't last as long as I would like, but the more longer he can hold that position himself is how I know we are progressing. It's been both time consuming and rewarding.

Maybe re-think showing in a class at the show. Or even lowering your expectations of winning. I have gone to lots of shows and just schooled. Theres lots of good excercises and ideas here...Whatever you decide it's your choice.

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My horse is five years old, I broke her when she was 2 and a halfish, but very slowly, just a lot of walking and trotting till she was 3...she is a small horse and quit growing early (hasn't grown much since her original owners bought her at the auction at 1). She is very stocky tho, I actually thought she was very overweight but the vet said she is fine shes just big....When I was training her I made the mistake of teachign her to lower hear head off of my hands, so now I am stuck holding her to keep her in somewhat of a frame, and I need to get her to push more from her hind and lift her shoulders so she can carry herself without me holding her babysitting her (this is how the trainer explained it too me and i realize how much i do have to hold her).....She is more trained as a trail horse then a show horse, but she knows she what her job is in the ring, but when it comes to the canter she just misbehaves a shows, she isn't nearly as bad in our home ring (she does have her days though, but she is still young) and I admit I do not have the time to work her as much as she needs (full time high school student, 3 jobs, and softball)...but she is turned out 24/7 in a very hilly pasture (helps her keep her butt nice and big lol :winking:)

And i realize that she is not going to be a finished show horse, but I want to get her there and I do not have the knowledge to do it (never took real lessons except for some last year, just kinda learned from watching and reading and riding the "crazy" horses, typical teenager). Which is why I am looking for a trainer to help me finish her...

If you need any other background on my horse and her training to help me with some exercies please just ask.

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