Horse Tip - Fixing the Spooky Horse
Sacking Out - The Next Level
My horse was a problem that I had to fix. His background was that he was raised for his first year in the wild where he had real predators which, I believe, made his flight instinct stronger and harder to fix. The following is how I fixed this problem along with a lot of patience and hard work.
Making Your Horse "Tie Safe"
Get a long strong rope, 100 feet in length and if you have a corral, arena or round pen would be the best location. If you don’t have these areas available, get a very strong post to tie to. Attach a ring to the post, or best of all purchase a special tie ring through “Clinton Anderson” (his special tie ring is the best thing since sliced bread). Whichever ring you have, make sure you securely attach it to the post, with very long strong screws. Attach the rope to a regular nylon halter on your horse and run it though the ring, do not tie it. Feed all the rope through the ring up to where you would normally tie your horse and take the long end in hand. Stand back, well out of striking distance from your horse (remember that your horse can kick a little over 6 feet). Start slow, and as your horse gets used to one stimulation, start to increase the intensity. I start with the rope touching his legs and work my way up the horse’s body until I am able to flip it over his back. Once my horse is accepting this movement without jumping or showing reaction I then move to the other side of the horse.
Horse Pulls Back When Tied
If your horse pulls back in reaction to the rope, don’t try to hold him or stop him, just let your horse pull back until he stops, while the rope slides through the ring and your hand (make sure the rope is loose in your hand at this point so you don’t get rope burns). Once the horse comes to a stop and is not pulling back, pull the rope back through the ring to the position the horse would be in if he were tied. Repeat the action that made him pull back until he stands still unbothered by the rope. When you switch to the other side of the horse you will be back to the beginning. Just because you achieved success on one side, it will not transfer to the other side. You will be working with the horses other eye and you will be beginning over. Repeat what you did on the first side, again starting slow and increasing in intensity, working your way up the horse. Don’t try to be gentle so your horse won’t pull back, you want them to pull back. The more you repeat this exercise, your horse will eventually realize that it is easier to stand still and that the rope will not hurt him. Make sure you work the rope a lot around the horse’s legs, even making a loop around his hind leg at the pastern and pick it up and set it down. Working his legs a lot will help to prevent panic and a fight in the case he ever gets a rope or wire around his legs. This exercise could save your horse from getting severely hurt if he were to get tangled in the future.
Don't Tie Your Horse Tight
Once you have your horse to the point he is standing quiet on both sides, no matter what you do with the rope, then and only then are you ready to move to the next step. (the time it takes to get your horse at this point will vary per animal, don’t give up, even the most difficult horse will eventually give in and stand quiet) Here you want to kind of tie him to the ring. You are not going to tie it securely, you want it to slip if your horse pulls back but you want that slip to be harder. If you have a special tie ring as described above, this is easy to do, if not, once the rope is through the ring wrap it over itself a number of times so that it will be harder to slip if the horse pulls back.
Have Fun With Your Horses Training
Now is when your training gets fun. Go into your house and barn and gather all of the scariest things you can come up with. This could be a trap, sheet of plastic, plastic bag, umbrella, ball, to name a few. Something that hisses or squeaks is good. (my horse was terrified of hissing, there was rattle snakes where he lived his first year) He was very scared of the hose or even the rope running through the ring quickly would make a hissing noise and he would pull back. Start with the least scary things and work your way to the harder ones, each item you will begin slowly and work up in intensity. Remember to do the same thing to the other side. I even worked my horse to the point I took a large sheet of plastic, tied it to a tall fence, supported the other side so that it formed a tent over him. I placed his head end under the plastic with his rear end out. I then got a sprinkler, the type that goes up and slowly goes to the right or left, which ever you adjust it to. I put the sprinkler on and let it drip on the plastic making a lot of noise over his head, when the sprinkler came out the other side it would hit his rear end. You can set something like this up and work in the yard or something, where you can keep an eye on your horse should any trouble arise.
Horse Training or Torture?
This may sound like I am suggesting you torture your horse. You don’t want to hurt him in anyway you just want to challenge his mind and his flight reaction. You don’t want to go too fast or start with an item that is difficult or an area of his body that is more sensitive than another. Always start slow and easy and build with difficulty and intensity. I’m sure I have neighbors that think, poor horse, she’s out there torturing him again. But in reality you are being good to your horse and being a responsible horse owner. You are correcting a problem that could actually kill your horse or someone around your horse. You are training your horse to be a predictable safe animal.
Horse and Handler Safety
Remember: In all of these exercises your safety and the safety of your horse is always the primary concern. Don't ever put you or your horse in harms way.