How to Use Horse Tie-Downs

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Training horses is a complex process that can involved many tools and methods. Knowing what tools are available and their purpose can be important to the overall success of your horse's training. A common tool used for training is the "tie-down." While using this training gear can be helpful in some cases, using it improperly can cause more harm than good.

Things You'll Need

  • Tie-down
  • Saddle
  • Rider
  • Longe line
  • Round pen

Using a Tie-Down

  • Start with a horse that is already trained for saddle. A tie-down is not for use in training the basics. Rather it is a tool used on a horse that likes to throw its head or one that carries its head too high at various gaits.

  • Attach the tie-down to the girth of your saddle and then to the nose band of your bridle. Do not ask for the horse to "give" its head by breaking at the poll or flexing the neck. Simply attach the tie-down so that if the horse tosses its head or lifts it at speed it will be checked by the rein.

  • Work the horse at all gaits in the round pen or on the longe line, or using both at the same time. Accustom the animal to his new restraint. It is important to do this before riding him with the tie-down to avoid any blowups that might happen when the horse tests the new restraint.

  • Ride the horse at all gaits in the round pen until the horse is used to both rider and tie-down. Then move outside the pen.

  • Tighten the tie-down gradually over a period of several days until the horse's head is where it needs to be for control and balance. Remember, the horse must develop new muscles to carry itself in a new framework, so give it time to work up to the task.

Tips & Warnings

  • Using a tie-down with some "give" to it as an introduction is helpful. Some have rubber tubing to assist in the learning process.
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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