How to Teach Your Horse to Behave in Cross-Ties

Does your horse refuse to stand still in the cross-ties? An equine behavior expert shares how to instill good grooming manners in a young horse or curb existing rude behavior in the cross-ties.

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Teaching Cross-Tie Manners
Well-timed small food rewards can help reinforce desirable behavior on cross-ties. | Photo: The Horse Staff

Q. How do I get my horse to be polite in the cross-ties, be it starting young to instill good ground manners or curbing existing rude behavior?

Carolyn Arnold, Colorado

A. When introducing a young horse to cross-ties, I like to try to have a calm companion nearby whenever possible—preferably tethered or cross-tied, as well. This is what behaviorists often call a “helper companion.” I find it best to have the helper settled in and comfortable before bringing the young horse to the cross-ties

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Written by:

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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