Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Horse Pulls Lead through Tie Ring

Bob wrote me about using my Functional Tie Ring. "I bought one of your tie rings and I like it. My horse who has broke two halter lead snaps in the past, tried to pull back once and got a slow release like you said. However, now he pulls back slowly and pulls the lead through the tie ring. How do I train him not to do this?"

Thanks for buying one of the Functional Tie Rings, Bob. I'm glad it worked for you getting your horse to understand he doesn't need to pull back to get a release. They often have to do something once in order to figure out that they didn't need to do it in the first place - that's the whole deal behind tie rings that give a slower friction enhanced release when horses pull back.

You are not going to be able to train your horse not to pull back gradually and pull the lead through the tie ring.  He's just intelligent enough to have figured it out.  What you can do is to make it more difficult for him to do so. 

When horse's pull back from being hard tied, the pressure of the halter strap, or rope on a rope halter, across their poll (behind the ears) generates a lot of pressure which causes the horse to panic and pull back harder usually breaking the snap on a lead rope. Once a horse pulls back on a lead that is looped through a tie ring and gets a release, albeit slowed because of the friction of the lead rope running through the tie ring, he usually figures out that he doesn't have to pull back, but occasionally a horse learns he can pull slowly and run that lead all the way through the tie ring.  I marvel at their ability to figure out things like this and opening gate latches, etc. 

I had a horse tied to a Functional Tie Ring using a extra long lead line, maybe 18 feet long, and he pulled slowly and continued pulling slowly while turning on his back end and the result was that he wrapped that extra long lead line around his body a few times.  When I saw him all wrapped up but standing still, I wasn't put out my mistake so much as I was happy he just stood there.  It was a good thing that I had sacked him out on ropes across the legs and haunches.

So now I routinely take the running end of the lead line and wrap it a couple of times around the lead rope from the tie ring to the halter, if I am walking away from the horse for any significant amount of time out of my ability to see him. This adds friction to the release. That friction can be a little or a lot based on the type and diameter of lead rope you are using and how many times you wrap it. I generally wrap the running end twice using 1/2 inch yacht braid lead ropes, if I'm going to be bout of sight of a tied horse for a bit. 

   In the pictures above, at left, is a lead rope looped correctly through the Functional Tie Ring - the running end is on the left and the right end of the lead rope is tied to the horse's halter. If the horse pulls back, he'll get a nice release based on the friction of the rope sliding through the tie ring.   In the picture above at right, the running end of the lead rope has been looped around the horse end twice to create that greater or harder friction if the horse pulled back. In both pictures the excess running end of the lead rope is just looped over a rounded hook on the trailer - it just keeps it off the ground.  Hope this helps Bob.  Safe Journey.

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