increases his panic). In most
instances when you tie the horse,
he’ll eventually revert to what he
knows how to do—stand quietly
If the horse is not trained to stand
tied, he needs to learn the skill. Make
sure to tie him safely in a strong halter and with a quick release knot or
with a clip that is designed to release
if the horse panics.
Have a friend stay near the tied
horse so that there’s help if he pulls
back or gets in trouble. A horse that
is frantic may panic and pull back to
get to his buddy. Put him in a safe
and comfortable place to stand tied—
don’t leave him in the hot sun or
standing on concrete.
Horses should be trained to tie
and should be tied regularly, so that
they know how to stand tied when
it’s required. Tying is a skill that must
be trained to the horse, and for some
horses it may require regular practice.
If he isn’t accustomed to standing
tied, make sure that he is in a confined area without any sharp edges,
The horse is programmed to seek out acceptance from the
herd. When you can get that same kind of seeking acceptance
aimed toward you, you can have amazing, bonded relationships with horses.
When you separate two buddies, the horses can be worried
and act out. Because they are programmed to be part of the
herd, they believe they are in jeopardy if they are left behind.
This panic can be worse if two bonded horses (who are used
to being together all the time) are separated because you want
to work with one and not the other.
Consider the herd dynamics. Keep in mind that within a large herd, there’s one
horse in charge and one horse at the bottom of the pecking order. There are also
sub-relationships between bonded horses.
If a herd is large, horses will have one or two buddies, technically called associates, that he hangs out with most often. If your horse is turned out in a large
group at a boarding barn, you’ll easily see who your horse’s buddies are. He’ll
only mutual-groom with another horse if they have a bonded relationship.
If you get one horse out to ride and leave the buddy horse at the barn, the
horse left behind may run up and down the fenceline, whinny frequently, cause
commotion and even injure himself. It’s most often the horse that is left behind
who causes a problem, not the horse who you’ve chosen to work with first.
What to Do: If I’m trying to work with one horse while another horse is in
such a panic, I’d want to secure that horse to lessen his panic and to keep him
from distracting the horse I’m working with. If the horse left behind is a trained
horse, I’ll take him from the pen and tie him up at a sturdy hitching post.
He may still be upset, but he can’t run up and down the fence (which
If your horse
hurries his step as
he rides toward the
barn or lingers at
the gate, it’s time
to correct him and
make sure he goes
at the speed and in
the direction you