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Clinton Anderson from Downunder Horsemanship has a truly unique method for training horses. He believes that getting horses to behave is simple. The real trick is training owners. Join us weekly as Clinton tackles some of the most challenging situations with problem horses and problem owners. In this week’s episode, Clinton continues to share his work with the rescue mare, Cider from Habitat for Horses. Cider has been the star of many episodes and has come a long way during her training.
There are three ways you can control your horse’s mind: through creating movement, redirecting movement, or inhibiting movement. Clinton wants to focus on inhibiting movement by showing us a few techniques to teach a horse to stand quietly hobbled.
The main question people have is, why would you want to tie up your horse’s legs? There are two reasons. The first is to get the horse to be much more submissive and trusting. The second is that it teaches the horse not to endanger themselves or others in cases where they get caught up on something (in a fence, trailer, stall, etc.).
Before getting started, Clinton reminds us that before teaching a horse to hobble, the horse must know all of the Fundamentals level groundwork exercises and not be fearful of you or your tools.
To begin, there are three basic pieces of equipment you need. The first one is a one-legged hobble, which is used to tie up one leg so you can introduce the concept to the horse. You’ll gradually restrict the horse’s movement, which helps give the horse a chance to understand the process. From the one-legged hobble, you’ll move on to using sidelines to connect two of the horse’s legs together at the same time. Next, you’ll utilize the rope hobbles, which connect the front legs together.
Clinton starts with the one-legged hobble. Once the hobble is on Cider, Clinton asks her to move a little bit to show her that she can still move with three legs. When she follows, he stops and waits until she relaxes. He removes the one-legged hobble to show Cider that when she doesn’t panic, she’s rewarded. To see if your horse is relaxing, look for five signs: lowering their head and neck, licking their lips, cocking their hind leg, taking a big breath or sighing, or blinking their eyes.
Clinton continues this process with the other side of Cider’s body. When she is confident in the situation, it’s time to move on to the sideline. Using the sideline, Clinton connects Cider’s front and back leg on the same side of her body. Remember that desensitizing is important and you should continue to work on a step until your horse shows consistent signs of relaxing.
When Cider shows progress using the sideline, it’s time to move on to the front hobbles. The goal of this exercise is to teach a horse that when their legs are tied together, they should stand still and relax. This step helps prepare them for any emergency situations in which they get their legs hung up in something, such as a fence.