Oops Charlie


Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
Charlie doesn't mind at all going out without Mattie. He minded a lot more when Mattie went out without him.

Carol took Mattie out just for 5 minutes to see how Charlie would behave. He was being groomed when Mattie left, and was fairly relaxed despite clearly being aware of what was going on. After a few minutes I led him out of the shelter and asked him to walk around the track with me.

He came along without much hesitation until, three quarters of the way around, he neighed and one of our neighbours' mares, who was in her shelter being groomed, called back to him. This cued a big tantrum. He pulled at the rope and flourished his feet in every direction. I am feeling pretty cautious as I still have a broken toe, and rather than battle it out I let go. Unfortunately the rope between his feet (a 12ft rope) sent him off careering around the track. He did one full circuit at gallop, bucking and kicking out and whizzing straight past me on the lap. Then he stepped on the rope and the carabiner broke off so the rope fell - I'm glad I hadn't looped it through his halter! He immediately slowed down, and my neighbour Ute, who was watching at her gate, spoke to him as he approached her and he stopped at once and let her catch him. I picked up the rope and walked over and he came to me to be soothed and petted.

I looped the rope through his head collar, so if he pulled back I could just let go of one end, but he didn't object at all. I walked him into the school, took off the rope and rubbed it all over him as you would for desensitisation, and he seemed fine. I took halter off and put it on a couple of times, attached the rope and released it, flicked the rope around his legs. No problems. He was puffed out from the gallop, and his nostrils were red and flared (he looked very handsome) but he was quite calm.

I changed the long rope for a lead rope and we did a little bit of leading over poles and through narrow ways and he was very good. I talked to him a lot in a calm cheerful voice and when he was done I led him through the gate and into the shelter and put on his fly mask, then gave him scratches until he made faces. When I left him he was playing with a feed bucket, grabbing it by the handles and throwing it about - I have to get him one of those ball things.

It's funny, it was quite a dramatic event, but both Ziggy and Mattie have galloped off being scared by their lead rope before now so I don't feel particularly concerned about it. I'm really happy that he doesn't seem to have taken a dislike to anything involved, and delighted that he came to me for comfort after his fright.

The only thing I'm sorry about is that I let go - I hope he doesn't now think that all he has to do if I ask him to do something he doesn't like is throw a tantrum! I don't get that feeling, but you never know.

More leading practice tomorrow methinks...


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
It's all a learning curve and hopefully all he learnt is that you are a good reassuring place :) I purposefully let mine stand on their rope and flick it around their legs so they don't panic about it but that's not to say I don't occasionally chase one after they bugger off with it trailing ;)


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
Good boy for coming back to his 'good' place.

I have let the rope drag around legs etc to allow for such and events. I have found that the only time he did try and get away (leading out of new field from herd before I moved him in with my other two) that as he was in a rope halter on a 12ft lead I managed to hold on.

I am loving that there are a couple of us with youngster at the moment so I can keep seeing how we are getting on and getting info from you all
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Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
Surely you did right to let go? That is what I was taught to do.
As for the rope dangling - Our RI told me the most important lesson was to teach a horse not to panic or struggle with rope around them or hanging from them. As OBC describes. She said later in life a horse might get caught in a fence or in wire and you didnt want them struggling. I guess she wouldnt have trained it quite the way you were forced to? But it sounds fine for educational purposes.
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