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Pull Back Problems

Why Horses Pull Back
There are three things to consider when tying a horse: 1) Horses are claustrophobic by nature. 2) Horses have a fight-or-flight instinct. 3)Horses have a very strong survival instinct.

When a horse realizes he is tied solid and feels trapped, he panics. His fight-or-flight instinct kicks in and he tries to get away and pulls back. The Blocker Tie Ring allows the horse to pull enough slack through the tie ring to relieve his source of panic or sense of claustrophobia.

Release is the Solution
The Blocker Tie Ring is an excellent tool for re-schooling a horse with a pull back problem. When working with your horse that has pull back problems, you need to overcome your horse’s pre-existing psychological aversion to being tied. When your horse starts to panic and pull back, the Blocker Tie Ring allows your horse to pull the lead rope through the tie ring, preventing your horse from building up enough pressure to break tack or whatever he is tied to. The moment your horse stops pulling back, the pressure on his poll, neck and withers is released. This lets the horse figure out for himself that he isn’t trapped and that once he stops pulling back, the pressure is gone.

What You Need
Before you begin, you need the following:
1 1. A properly-installed Blocker Tie Ring in a controlled environment, such as an arena or round pen.
2. A long lead rope, between 10-12 feet long.
3. A good understanding of how to use the Blocker Tie Ring and tie the three different tying levels.
4. Confidence in your horse to properly lead and stop with a good concept of “Whoa.” It is important that he understand how to give to pressure when asked.

Developing Confidence
Start by tying your horse at the Basic Tying Level 1. Stand aside. Plan on your horse to panic and pull back once you have him tied, but allow him to pull enough slack through so that he no longer feels trapped or claustrophobic. Most often, a horse will only need to pull back about 4 or 5 feet until he realizes he isn’t trapped and there’s no danger. Try not to interfere and let him figure it out on his own. Once he’s settled down a bit, pull the slack back through the tie ring and reassure your horse. Wait for your horse to pull back again and repeat this process. It may take several sessions for your horse to accept being tied, but it is important that you don’t rush his progress. Time and patience are in order for he has to re-learn everything he knows about being tied.

Moving on to More Hold
If your horse casually pulls the rope through the tie ring at Level 1 without any fear or nervousness, you can tie your horse at Level 2. Your horse may still pull back on the Tie Ring, but he’ll find that there is more resistance. He can still pull free, but it will require more effort to do so. If he should become frantic, return to tying at Level 1 to regain his confidence.

Should your horse still need more hold, repeat these steps to train your horse to tie at Level 3 only when your horse accepts being tied at Level 2 without fear or resistance. Again, reduce the amount of hold should your horse become panicky.

Take Your Time
Pull-back problems erode your horse’s confidence. Be patient with your horse and reassure him that he’s okay so that he can build his confidence back up. With time, your horse should begin to accept being tied and realize that he’s not trapped or in any danger. It is also helpful to go to the basics of your ground work. Work on leading, backing and stopping your horse and asking him to give to pressure. Re-establishing that foundation works directly with re-schooling him to tie.

NOTE: Never leave your horse unattended when you are training him to tie.

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