"Trust in God but tie up your horse" - Arab proverb
On Tying Your Horse
If you have a horse that pulls back, what do you do about it?
If a horse has the habit of pulling back and has been doing it successfully for some time it can take a long, long time to get him over that habit. In fact some horses will never truly get over it. But for that matter, any horse will pull back to escape if the stimulus is great enough. Survival is the strongest 'habit' of them all.
The first thing you can do is never again tie him to or with something that he can break. Most halters will fail at the ring where the lead connects. Most lead ropes have flimsy snap hooks that break easily. Get a good quality knotted rope halter and a strong lead rope with a stout bullsnap as in Photos 1 & 7. Tie your horse to something that will not break and make sure that he cannot hurt himself if he should pull back and struggle. The broad neck strap in Photo 7 is a preferred option if the horse is a violent puller or in teaching the very young.
Avoid tying him to a fence. Not only may the fence not be strong enough but the horse can get his legs between/under the rails or the wire and hurt himself.
Avoid tying him to the side of the float. He can easily cut himself on the sharp edges there .to say nothing about the damage a struggling horse can do to your float.
Avoid tying him next to or within reach of other horses. If your horse pulls back there is good chance it will set the other horses off and cause a wreck.
Tie your horse to a solid point with no protrusions or places where a leg can get hung up. The tie point should be no lower than his wither and leave just enough slack so that the horse can move his head about comfortably but not enough to allow him to get his head below his chest. Any more slack than that and you risk the horse getting a leg over the rope.(Photos 1 & 7) Tying your horse with enough slack to allow him to eat may seem kind but you could be setting him up for a real wreck. (Photos 8 & 9)
How do you teach a young horse to stand quietly while tied and
not pull back?
When he no longer feels he has to move you can then back him off the tie point a bit and using pressure on the lead, through the tie point, to ask him to walk up to the tie point. You should be standing off to the side for this so that it is clear that he is to answer only pressure on the lead and not react to your 'presence'. Back him off and repeat until he immediately gives to the pressure of the lead towards the tie point.
When, and only when all this is happening smoothly and without fuss should you think about tying him hard and fast. If you have done all of the above correctly, the horse may still have a bit of a 'try' but, if so, it will usually be only a half-hearted attempt. You will have taught him that to yield to the rope is the easiest thing to do. Don't leave him tied for ages. Once he has stood for a few minutes, quietly, let him go. Repeat the excercises tomorrow and then leave him tied a little longer each day. Find varied places and situations to tie him in.
Provided you first address the three points above, this technique will also work to varied extent with horses that already pull back, depending on the strength/length of their habit.
If you are unsure about any of this or have any doubts about any aspect, please don't hesitate to give me a call. If your technique and timing is off and you release pressure at the wrong time, you can easily create a problem where none existed before.