Steady Horse Question: What is the best way to teach my horse to ground tie?
Editor Note: The following excerpt is the transcript from a question I answered from my Facebook Live made in the Steady Horse Facebook Group on 5/29/19. Watch the video or read the text below to learn the answer to the question.
Transcript from video:
For anyone who doesn’t understand or know what ground tying is, it’s when you have your lead rope and you just drop it and you have an expectation of your horse to stand there and not walk off.
Now here’s the thing, you’ll see a lot of ground tying in these old western movies where they’ll just drop the reins and walk away and that horse will stand there and that’s all well and great, but it’s also very dangerous to ground tie with your reins. If your horse steps on those reins, it could end up jarring them or bruising their tongue or mouth depending on the type of bit that you have on them.
I never, ever recommend, and I know a lot of people do it, but I never, ever recommend ground tying with your reins. So, if you’re going to ground tie, ground tie with a halter and lead rope and use that lead rope to ground tie. But basically you drop that lead, you walk away, your horse stays there.
When you want to teach your horse to ground tie, you need to take them to that spot where you want them to ground tie. I like to start in a small enclosed area. I work with about a 40 foot round pen cause that gives me and my horse a limited area to be able to move. As long as that horse stands there, I’m going to take a deep breath. I’m going to be relaxed. But the moment that horse starts moving, I’m going to make that horse move out with some purpose, with some drive, with some energy, I’m going to get them moving. So if my horse stands there nice and relaxed, if they start walking off, I’m going to get them moving.
As they’re moving around that round pen, I might have them crossing their hind end underneath to get them really working and I’ll give them another opportunity. I’ll draw my pony in, I’ll grab that lead rope, I’ll drop it, I’ll step back.
So eventually what’s going to happen is your horse is going to be able to associate that, “Hey, when s/he drops that lead rope, that’s my chance to rest. I’m going to stand here and enjoy it.”
You want to get your horse to the point where they’re lowering their head, licking, chewing, cocking that foot where they want it to be where you leave them. You ultimately want your horse to trust that wherever you placed them, that’s a good place for them to be.