View Full Version : Tips for serial headcollar breaker
20th May 2011, 10:23 PM
Well, we seem to have discovered a flaw with our seemingly perfect new horse - he breaks headcollars. He broke one when he was tied up in the stable the first day we had him. When the seller rang to find out how he was going on I told her about it and she said he's broken one that afternoon as they had him tied up getting him ready to come to us. Since then (a week and 2 days ago) he's come close by suddenly pulling back when he's been tied up and tonight he broke another - my OH had just got him tied up and for no apparent reason he pulled back, headcollar snapped and he trotted back to the field.
The first time we gave him the benefit of the doubt - he was very new and it was easy to assume something had worried him. But tonight, there really didn't seem to be any reason for it at all. YO thinks he has just learned that he can break his headcollars and bugger off!
Question is, what can we do about it? Anyone got any tips?
20th May 2011, 10:44 PM
I've lost around seven leadropes and three headcollars to Flip realising he could pull back when he wasn't happy about something. I started off using bailing twine but he'd only have to tug and it broke. Then I just tied directly to the ring and thats how I lost so many flamin leadropes (and on the odd occasion when that didn't snap, the headcollar went instead).
I guess I've found I can tell when he's in one of those annoying moods - usually if its a bit windy or something slightly spooky is around and he's up for some pretend 'oh mum thats scary, I'm off' behaviour. He gets a very loud 'OIH' from me and usually he settles but I will untie and hold him if a tractor comes past or he starts to pull back.I now use one of those £2 bungee tie things which buys me valuable seconds to get to him and get him untied before it snaps or the leadrope/headcollar gives way. I just don't tend to leave him alone when he's tied up so I can shout and stop him if he tries to do something, or get him undone quickly otherwise.
I would love to tie up to hose him down but in reality know he'll just snap and run. Will be interested in what others suggest.
I wonder if it might just seem thats there's no reason - you may get wise to his tendency and work out when he's likely to do it with a little bit of time! Good luck.
Sorry, thats probably not much help but the only other thing I thought of, and tbh not too sure if its just a bit gimmicky, is this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evul8o7AHyE.
21st May 2011, 05:55 AM
Does he have hay to eat or anything and is he just coming in for riding and going out again?
I think this is a behaviour that they learn and often for no reason mote than boredom or "cause I can!"
21st May 2011, 06:58 AM
There's always something! If his demeanour is calm then it sounds like something he's learnt to do, especially if he trotted to the field after. I agree about making being where he is attractive, make sure he has a nice haynet when he's tied up. I'd also invest in one of those elastic rubber ties, our YO uses one for one of her horses that pulls back and it will certainly save you more headcollars, and possibly help break the habit.
It might be something that diminishes as he settles in, hope so. What is he like to handle? Does he give well to pressure when leading or generally? I don't know if a bit of clicker training, rewarding him when he stops pulling, might be worth trying.
21st May 2011, 07:00 AM
I'd tie him onto a bungee rather than bale twine. That way he will have nothing substantial to suddenly pull against.
21st May 2011, 07:01 AM
Bum, I cross posted with Yann!
21st May 2011, 07:22 AM
My daughters pony can pull back, snapping string, we use just a few strands.
Did use the quick release ties for a while but pony soon worked out how much fun they are.:wink:
We always have a haynet, everything is got out ready, tack, grooming kit, hat and he is never left alone. He hardly ever does it now.
Our pony never goes anywhere, just knows he can.
21st May 2011, 07:48 AM
To teach him not to pull back you just need him to find out it doesn't work anymore.
I would re-teach him to tie like you would a youngster. Slip a long rope through a the tie ring (not ties to it) you hold one end the other end is attatched to the headcollar. Horse pulls back you keep hold (being through the tie will give more leverage to you) then when he thinks about stop pulling you relax the length too.
If you think it is just manners then i would use a thinner headcollar/rope headcollar with the above method so he learns it is uncomfy to pull back.
Also agree with learning curve another method is to - tie three loops of baler twine to a ring at slightly different lengths tie your lead rope as normal to them then once he has snapped one piece of twine he realised he is still tied so has to put the effort into snapping the second and then the third etc...the hope is it ends up being more work then it's bother for.
21st May 2011, 08:41 AM
My old TB used to pull back, silly old sod that he was, if he felt the pressure around his poll he would panic and snap the twine. Once he felt the ping of release he would just stand there, so it wasn't that he wanted to be somewhere else *rolls eyes*
Firstly I would swap to a rope halter rather than a standard headcollar.... they all have a little more respect for these. Jack pulled back two or three times in his standard headcollar (was tied to a few strands of baler twine and so this just snapped) but he hasn't tried it in the rope halter. I think they suss quite quickly that this hurts!
However, as I'm DEFINITELY not advocating hurting your horse, I would also use a baler twine loop for tying your boy to. Split the twine by pulling some of the strands because some of it is thick and strong and you really want to make the release as easy as possible to prevent him getting panicking completely and potentially damaging his poll. You can buy rubber tie ring things but these are quite expensive and once they're snapped, they're useless so if your boy is a serial puller-backer, I wouldn't waste your money!
The other thing you could try is to have him at the tie ring with a lunge line through the ring and you holding the end of it whilst you work around him. That way, if he panics, you can "give" some line and hopefully get him calmed down without actually releasing him.... in time he may realise that he doesn't need to panic. This option is only useful if you have everything you need to hand though! Heaven forbid you need to get your saddle from the tack room - a logistical nightmare! :biggrin:
21st May 2011, 08:45 AM
How about a long rope with a weight on the end. Pass it though the tie ring and when he pulls back nothing happens and he keeps going back, he might soon realize that ropes don't break anymore and he can't get away.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.