After posting the blog yesterday on hobbles, a friend of mine posted to the blog and asked this question: morning Mackie! can you dwell a little bit on the purpose of getting a horse used to hobbles, and why you use them at specific times, like after a ride...
You all need to know and meet Patty Clayton. She is a wonderful musician, who I have know for years and have had the honor to pick with her. http://www.pattyclayton.com/Home.html Check out her website and by her records. I promise you will love em.
On to answering her question. Hobbles are a great training tool to teach horses to stand still and wait for you. They typically used when a person is out in the back country and you want to give your horse a chance to graze a bit, but don't what to have to stand there while they do it. Hobbles allow a horse to move, if something was to try to come after them, but makes that process hard enough that they are easy to catch when you go to get them.
Another reason I teach all my horses and horses that come here for training is probably easier to explain if I tell you a story. I was working with a horse back in Kansas and was working with that horse at the owners house. I was going over everyday. The horse would see me up at the barn and would usually come running. He was thinking that there was food in it for him. This particular day when I got to the barn I noticed that the horse did not come up to the barn. I looked and could see, that he was standing in the far corner of the pasture he was in. Just standing there. He would look up toward the barn but would not move. We had been working on hobbling for the past couple of days. Anyway, I started out to see what was going on. When I reached the horse I could see why he had not come to the barn. His front feet were wrapped in wire that someone had left in that corner. I had no wire cutters so I had to go back to the truck and get them. When I got back he was still standing, waiting. I was able to cut the wire off his feet and we walked back to the barn together.
I have seen horses that have gotten caught in wire who fought. It's not a pretty sight, and some, you can never use again. It was his hobble training that taught him, if your feet ever get caught. just stand still. In his mind someone had snuck up on him and slipped them on. He knew to just stand and wait.
Hobbles teach a horse a lot of things, but this story taught me how important it is that all horses know, and understand this skill.
Another part of Patty's question was why I do it "after a ride". The reason I use them after a ride, in the beginning , when teaching this skill, is, after a ride the horse is wanting to stand still. They have been working on that ride and they are looking forward to the chance to just rest. When I apply the hobbles after a ride or a work out, they are more willing to stand in the hobbles without fighting them much. If they do fight the hobbles, and all of them will sooner or later, he figures standing still sounds like a good deal and it just makes it a little easier for them to accept the hobbles.
Great question. Keep em coming.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.