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 Leg/rope (hobble) training
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1776 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2006 :  2:48:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit tagnrocky's Homepage Send tagnrocky a Private Message
I thought I'd start a new thread about this with its own title.

Stromie wrote:
I thought of something else you teach that would be both a body control thing and a safety thing. Teach he to lead with his legs. You use a fat soft rope like a cotton lead rope, the really fat ones. Get him use to it bumbing his legs and rubbing his legs with it. When he is okay with it touch him like this you can run it around behind is leg so that you can hold both ends but it is not looped all the way around his leg in a complete circle. I normally start with a front leg. Let it hang about his ankle/fetlock area. Put just enough pressure on it to make him want to pick it up like you are pulling the foot forward. Release the pressure as soon as he starts to move it. At first it won't be a step, might not even be picking it up just a shift of weight to get that foot ready to move. Reward the littlest movement and build up. As he gets better at it you can lead him just just asking him to step with his feet when you put pressure on the rope. Do all four feet. This is useful to gain the body control but also is safety because if a horse trained this way gets a foot stuck in wire or a rope they normally don't get as hurt because they know to give to the pressure not pull away. From there you can go to hobble training which is useful and even to a single hobble and teaching him to lay down.

Stormie, I tried the rope around the leg today and he did real good. The first leg I tried, he started pawing with the other leg and then picked up the correct leg and I clicked and rewarded him(Clicker training). Tried all four legs and he caught on real quick. He did not like the rope up very high on the back legs - lifted it up real high like going to kick. Down lower, he was fine. Do you build on this until you can make him take a step with pressure on the rope? Are you supposed to be able to lead him around by a leg eventually?
Also, that made me think of another thing I'd like to teach him, leading by the tail. Can you do that?

Nancy (and Tag & Rocky)
Free & easy down the trail I go......


2194 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2006 :  2:56:11 PM  Show Profile Send hmeyer a Private Message
We did this same thing under Ed Chambers direction with Max. When I first got Max he was a kicker... very handy with his back feet. (I had a big ol' bruise on my backside to prove it.) So we started picking up each foot with a rope. And he would kick for a while, then settle. We worked with him until we were able to pick up the hind foot, pull it out behind him, then set it down so gently and relaxed that he just put his toe down and stayed there. Also led him by the front feet. Now he does great with hoof cleaning and for the farrier. When I sent him out to Ed for 'summer camp' last year, he also hobble trained him. He now stands very still in the hobbles. I think the more you work with their feet the better. I don't think you can do to much of that.

"You learn a thing a day, you store up smart" - Festus Haggen

"A manís soul canít be hidden,
From the creatures in his care." -
Hard Candy Cowboy by Debra Meyer

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1630 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2006 :  8:00:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Stormie's Homepage Send Stormie a Private Message
Yes you do build on it until you can get them to take a step. I would sack him out until he is okay with the rope no matter where it is. Then you build on it by asking and then asking for a little more and a little more.

If you watned to hobble train the next thing would be to use soft cotton hobbles. I do front feet first and then hind once they get the idea of the front.

I guess you could teach a horse to give to pressure on the tail. It might be best to start to the side first. Maybe teach the horse to move off a tap on the hip. Stand to one side and put light pressure towards you on the tail, when the horse shifts their weight release the tail and repeat. If they don't give to that then tap(maybe have someone else) the other hip to ask them to move towards you. Repeat that over and over until just the lightest pull gets the horse to step their butt towards you. Backing might be a little harder. Maybe start with a stop from a walk first. It's not something I would have thought of but I don't see why you can't at least teach them to stop with pressure on the tail.

After you teach them to yeild their legs to the rope you can use that with a single hobble to teach them to lay down. You run the rope from the hobble up around the horn but not looped about it. Teach the horse to raise the leg. Then work on getting them to soften and back(actually I do that first before the leg because I teach that way ahead). Then you put the two together by raising the leg and then asking for the leaning back. At first you only ask for a lean back and then up, lean back and then up. After awhile the horse is going to want to lay down, let them and then give the up cue. DO NOT over work this and do not use it on young horses. Spend only a day or two on this a week, go slow. For the first couple weeks focus more on the lean back then the lay down. The first time the horse lays down, end that part of the lesson and go on to something unrelated. The next time you can ask for it a second time, slowly build up the number of times. Also when they lay down remember to let loose the pressure on the rope so that the horse has the leg free to get up. They have to build up to being able to do this. If you over work them or make them lay down a number of times a lesson when you first start they will get sour to it and could get hurt.
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