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When it comes to horse-tying situations gone badly, nothing is as scary as a horse reacting in cross-ties. Because of the way cross-ties are set up and how they apply pressure to the horse, if a horse reacts and resists being in cross-ties, it can result in him rearing in an attempt to escape the pressure, which causes him to lose his footing or flip over backwards.
The first thing you must understand about tying your horse up – no matter in what manner he’s being tied – is that he is a prey animal with a flight or fight response. He would always rather run from anything that frightens him rather than hanging around and fighting the danger. Mother Nature says, “Run! Don’t hang around and think. Thinking is what got your uncle killed by the lions 3,000 years ago.” If he can’t escape, his only option is to fight. He’ll kick, bite, strike or do whatever he can to survive the situation.
Because he is a prey animal, your horse is also claustrophobic by nature. He hates being in tight, narrow spaces or in situations where he can’t move his feet and he feels trapped and confined. He prefers to be in wide, open spaces where he can easily see danger approaching and then have room to run from it. These two things – fear of tight, narrow spaces and the flight instinct – can make teaching a horse to tie a challenge.
Keep in mind that horses by nature aren’t bred to yield to pressure. They’re bred to push into pressure, pull against it and fight it. It’s your job to teach your horse how to yield to pressure and use the thinking side of his brain.
If you’re dealing with a horse that fidgets in cross-ties or acts dangerously, Clinton shares tips on how to correct your horse’s behavior in the Problem Solving section of the Downunder Horsemanship app. Learn how to solve a cross-tie problem in the FREE video: Cross-Tie Problems
To access the video, download the Downunder Horsemanship app. When the app opens, scroll down to the Problem Solving section. Select the video, “Cross-Tie Problems.”
The Downunder Horsemanship app is a free download from the App Store and Google Play as well as AppleTV, Roku, Amazon Fire and Android TV. Learn more about the Downunder Horsemanship app and adding it to your device on our website.