Unique and Humane Training For Pulling Back While Tied

Hi, I bought a 16 year old Mustang/QH gelding in March on 2000. His pevious owner didn't enforce anything she did with him so I think this is where he gets this problem. He pulls back while tied.As far as I know he didn't do this before, but I think he has ... as he is very good at it and doesn't give up.

Story originally posted by: Maggie FlowersHorseCity.com Training Director

The first few weeks he was fine, then one day while saddling he just pulled back and broke the hitching post and later a lead rope and a halter. I didn’t want him to think he could get away doing this so we ended up cross tying him to two sturdy posts(one a telephone pole) and a 6 ft plus fence post. How can I get him to stand tied as I would like him to and when I’m at a horse show or rodeo I’d like to be able to leave him if needed. Thanks!!


Thank you for your question, it’s a topic in which I have received numerous concerns about. Most of the horse owners asking for a solution to this problem, I have been amazed to find, live in or have horses from the eastern side of the United State ( I will explain the connection following). Also, the problem they are experiencing is in relation to an older horse. I don’t know that you are in this category, but for your sake as well as those others that might be having this problem, where they live, I hope this will helps.

In the years of training that have afforded me experience from all areas as well as the eastern parts of the USA and where horses from those areas have been entrusted to me for their training, the one connection I have noticed is that in 90% of those eastern horse none have been trained to tie hard and fast. I haven’t, however, been able to find trainers from that region to supply an acceptable explanation as to why that is. The theory has been that because of the history of affluence in the eastern population, most horse owners have always had someone in their employ to stand and hold the horses while not being ridden. This became more apparent to me as I began to attend training seminars and hearing some of the instructors make comment to the same observation. Now that brings me to the answer a lot of you seek: How do I get my horse to tie hard and fast, quietly?

Let’s begin by remembering that horses are creatures that have a natural desire to escape restraints of any kind and are quite fearful of anything that restricts their ability to flee. With this in mind, we must find a humane and compassionate way to train these horses by way of reducing not only the risks of injury, but lessening the mental trauma when introducing the loss of mobility.

There are many techniques used, introduced and revised by many trainers throughout the world, with proven results. However, some have been known to be harsh in their methodology. The trick here is to never be in the position to have to take this step when a horse reaches maturity. Older horses tend to run the risk of crippling or killing themselves when forced to deal with this type of submission. This is a worse case scenario which doesn’t happen very often, but the risk of it happening to your horse must be weighed before you decide to undertake this type of retraining, or assure yourself that his usefulness will not diminish without it.

The proper way to avoid this, of course, is to start the training when the horse is still young with the best time being around six to seven months of age. They seem to be able to retain more information about being tied and by the fifth to sixth day of training the progression is so remarkable that they won’t pull back of the rope at all. The risk of bodily harm, the time and energy he compels to commit to escaping, is greatly reduced. Now you ask; how do I achieve this in my horse if he is not young?

The method that has worked best in years of trial and error, and one that was taught to me long ago and re-introduced by an article by ???????, is one that compassionately teaches the horse to tie involving the use of a 30-35 pound bag of sand. The sack is attached to a rope that runs through a good sized ring which is solidly embedded in a wall, preferably a stall wall. At one end of the rope is a bull snap that is attached to the horse’s halter. The length of the rope is specific, it can only be long enough to lift the sand bag up off the floor just to the tie ring (in the wall) as the horse resists and backs up to the opposite stall wall. As he backs up, he lifts the bag and carries the weight of the bag. Because the opposite wall restricts and stops the ability of his backward progression, he must decide to stand there carrying the full load or give to the weight which then returns him back to his original position with slack, no pull and no weight to carry. This method will quickly teach him that the best place to stand is close to the wall. Fighting and pulling back only serves to increase his load. This method has proven to be successful and considerate of the fact that risk of injury is greatly reduced and that the methods work regardless of where a horse is tied and what he is tied to.

Not all horses need to learn to stand tied hard and fast. For some, the risk of learning this lesson far outweigh any benefits that may be derived. Fully grown horses that need to learn to stand tied, using this method, need to be introduced by way of a slow step by step routine. At their age, this is not an easy learning phase for them, they feel they have existed quiet nicely the way they are for all these years. Profession begins at a level the horse can accept, each training session gradually removes more and more freedom in such a way the horse does not fear his loss of mobility and the “fight or flight” response is not triggered. After all this is the goal all of you are striving for in this training situation.

Good luck to you and all those others out there that have or have had this problem.

Maggie Flowers