breaking free from being tied up?!


Jan 12, 2008
Hants bordering Surrey
my new rising 5yr cob has learnt last week to break free from being tied . it started with reversing whilst tied in trailer and walking backwards to exit! and today she snapped free from being tied whilst washing hers legs.
tied to bailing twine. she is quite strong willed at times which has been frustrating but we have improved a lot on a few things, mounting , leading and waiting . I have had her for 7 months now. I just knew the second she had broken free in the trailer she had learnt from that. she is very bright. thinking of using stronger rope that will not break so she realises she cannot do it anymore and I think she will not bother again? but concerned as to whether that is dangerous, BUT she is pulling back not in fear or panic, it is very calculated and accurate. never runs off just stands there happy in her achievement!

Star the Fell

Well-Known Member
Jun 14, 2015
My pony did this at a similar age. Just a trick she learnt. Very pleased with herself and just stood there with a grin on her face!
Once she realised it didn’t get her any extra attention and she was just tied up again she stopped doing it.
I certainly wouldn’t use anything that won’t break to tie her to. If she does it again, just catch and tie up. Don’t make it into a drama.


Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2013
As long as you are around to keep an eye you can add extra string at different lengths. All still breakable though. I've had a couple like this and would only do it with one that genuinely isn't panicking but rather has calmly learnt a new trick(my little Shetland being one of them :rolleyes:). Have a short piece then a piece about 30cm longer then another about 30cm longer than that one, so 3 individual pieces on the ring but then loop the leadrope through them all but only tied effectively to the shortest piece. How it works and this is where you need to be sure it's just a learnt trick rather than panic, the 1st snaps then they are stopped by the 2nd, if that snaps they are stopped by the 3rd. It's usually enough to nip it in the bud with a horse that's doing it for s**** and giggles as they don't get "free straight away if it's a panic then it can cause more panic so please judge your horse on that but it sounds very much like a look what I done mum rather than panic :p


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
Definitely don't use something solid that won't break, I have know a horse break its own neck in a panic when tied without a break point.
I really like the sound of @mystiquemalaika idea. I've also seen success with using an old inner tube (from a small bike), the springy stretchiness means they really can't get their weight on it to break it, so for those that have learnt to lean on string it can dissuade them, but you absolutely need to be there to supervise and have a knife handy in case they do panic when it doesn't break (it will eventually but normally goes with quite a thwack so you don't want it getting to that stage)


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
I've done the same as @mystiquemalaika - lots of lengths of thin baler twine so that when he snapped through one he got an inch or so then hit the next one, and the net, and the next . . . I wouldn't use anything unbreakable, though in his case it wouldn't have mattered because he would also break ropes & clips far too easily :rolleyes:. The other thing I'd do if I was handling him t the time was have a second long rope looped through the ring so if he did break away he was still held. Ultimately though he never was one I'd leave tied up unattended for even a few seconds & it was far easier to do everything except shoe in the stable! Shoeing he'd still often untie himself or snap the twine, but then he'd just stand there anyway - it was almost as though it was the principal that he disliked.

My current lad would have been taught to tie as a youngster by being tied to something unbreakable & I must say he will stand quietly tied for ages. I don't think it's a safe way to teach though & would never do it, I know the guy who does & he'll let them through themselves on the ground & have absolute meltdowns about it, only stepping in with a sharp knife to cut them free if they look like they're about to seriously injure themselves - thrashing on the floor is just considered a lesson!!!!

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
Perthshire, Scotland
I tried all of the above as the slightest bit of pressure that he didn’t like and he’d pull back and snap the twine.
I stopped using baling twine as it went too easy. And sometimes it wouldn’t snap at all which was worse. I started to predict him pulling and would quickly release the knot (smoothly because it wasn’t stuck in a bit of twine) and he could pull back all he liked but there would be no give as the knot was undone and he could back up all he wanted but it would be me on the other end. Yes it means for a while you can’t tie up and leave him alone but eventually they lose interest when they don’t get the desired snap release and being able to move away.
  • Like
Reactions: Kite_Rider


Jan 12, 2008
Hants bordering Surrey
smashing ideas, thanks so much, good to know quite a common 'trick' it is definitely not panic , she has tried different methods of getting out of things which no longer happen at all as I managed to outwit her but was stuck with this one, I am very confident that she will stop doing once she realises it isn't a quick way out. I am going to use a lickit when in trailer and tied as well.


Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
One of ours did this too when we first got him. He stopped doing it when he settled in, although carried on doing it for the farrier for quite a while. The farrier used to just put his lead rope through the tie ring and not tie it. If Jack decided to leave he'd just grab him and fetch him back. With Jack it seemed to be a dislike of being 'trapped'. He's the same with small spaces and being in his stable if there's no-one else about. I think that's why he got over it when we'd had him a while and he felt more secure on the yard.
  • Like
Reactions: Flipo's Mum
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
diplomaticandtactful The sound of breaking gates Cafe 8
Twerd Breaking Bad Habits - Advice welcome! Training of the Horse and Rider 3
U Breaking in a horse where do you stand? Cafe 11
tikkitti Breaking to ride/drive or just ride?? Training of the Horse and Rider 9
B Professional horse breaking? Training of the Horse and Rider 13
chunky monkey Breaking the worm cycle Horse Care 1
F Help!! My horse won't stop breaking out of the field Horse Care 8
Bodshi PPID - Breaking my heart Veterinary,Injuries and Therapies 41
C Breaking myself in gently Confidence Club 12
tikkitti Breaking 11.2hh pony. Training of the Horse and Rider 3
jillaroo Argumentative mare just breaking my heart Training of the Horse and Rider 31
Gimp Breaking in a horse Cafe 4
OwnedbyChanter Think I have found my breaking point this week Cafe 11
chunky monkey Breaking a horse to drive. Other Disciplines 7
Jane&Ziggy This is breaking my heart - UPDATE POST TRIMMER Cafe 51
Rubic possibly breaking up Cafe 36
Dizzy Woo Heart breaking Cafe 12
Native Lover Breaking News.... Cafe 10
Sunshine-x First schooling session after breaking my back - Vid Cafe 10
Midnight_Ashes Long reining with a view to breaking to drive.... Other Disciplines 4
F Where to get all this without breaking the bank!! Cafe 9
Dark Storm Reward/token feed..breaking routine Training of the Horse and Rider 10
Miriam Breaking in Training of the Horse and Rider 2
H Help! Horse breaking through fences! Horse Care 11
R breaking youngsters Training of the Horse and Rider 12
LauraGeeGee Rider sues RS for breaking back. Cafe 20
Midnight_Ashes Breaking to drive? Other Disciplines 5
Dark Storm Heart breaking decision :( Cafe 20
Midnight_Ashes Breaking and backing.... Training of the Horse and Rider 4
Cortrasna Breaking in bareback? Long but love some thoughts? Training of the Horse and Rider 15
C Breaking in a 2 yeat old :( Cafe 17
PinkFloyd Breaking cart question with pic Other Disciplines 5
chunky monkey Breaking to drive Training of the Horse and Rider 12
Blackhorse Breaking Training of the Horse and Rider 5
sarchie Breaking - advice please Training of the Horse and Rider 17
E Breaking them in late? Training of the Horse and Rider 16
H breaking in Training of the Horse and Rider 10
N breaking a stallion Training of the Horse and Rider 9
carn77 Training/backing/breaking plan?? Training of the Horse and Rider 7
AengusOg Am I breaking the law? Transport and Travelling 7
J Breaking a horse - experience. Training of the Horse and Rider 12
B Pete ''Progress'' Thread. (Breaking him in) !! Training of the Horse and Rider 17
Method_Acting Breaking out of canter.. Training of the Horse and Rider 15
beki x-x Breaking Mini's Training of the Horse and Rider 18
Skeeder Breaking to Harness/ driving trainer North west Other Disciplines 6
M would you call this breaking in through violance Training of the Horse and Rider 33
V Help-frog breaking apart? :| Hoof Care 27
Lonestar It's breaking in time.. *PICS* Training of the Horse and Rider 14
minihorse **WALLY or exp. breaking person. Training of the Horse and Rider 3
P Breaking-in Youngsters Training of the Horse and Rider 14

Similar threads