Tying and Hobbling Horses (Book Excerpt)

Whether on a pack trip into the mountains or on a weekend trail ride during which you return to your trailer at night, it is important that your trail horse has been taught to stand quietly when tied, hobbled, or tethered by one foot to a picket pin.
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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Happy Trails by Les Sellnow.

Whether on a pack trip into the mountains or on a weekend trail ride during which you return to your trailer at night, it is important that your trail horse has been taught to stand quietly when tied, hobbled, or tethered by one foot to a picket pin.

As you start your horse on a training routine, you might ask him to stand tied for only a short period. Tie the horse to a hitching rail or a wooden fence, groom him, and then leave him for a little while before proceeding with the training session. Do the same at the end of the session. Cool down and groom the trainee, and then let him stand tied for a bit. Do not reward the horse with grain or other treats after the end of a session of being tied. If you do, the horse will associate the end of the session with the treat and will learn impatience rather than patience with being tied.

As the training progresses, gradually lengthen the periods the horse must stand tied. You might start with five minutes and progress to an hour or more of the horse’s standing unattended

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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