Horse constantly spooks in cross ties

This topic contains 19 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  jsmith2005 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • adrahmsn Original Poster
    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 4

    My 9yo mare is very sweet natured and not usally face shy. For some reason she has been spooking and rearing in the cross ties lately with no reason to do so. Im not sure why she is doing this but i need help! Any suggetions for training or anything? Need help ASAP!!

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    Is this a new problem, so that she used to be fine in cross ties and now is spooking, or has this always been a problem? Did she recently have a bad experience in the cross ties? Some horses just don’t do well in cross ties. I’ve always preferred grooming & tacking up in the stall, teaching the horse to stand quietly for both grooming and tacking up.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    I agree with G&S, but your horse should behave in crossties, just in case for some reason you absolutely need to put her there. Are these in the same place they have always been? Is there something new near them of which she might be afraid? Try to look at everything from her visual perspective, to check. Mine will be just fine facing in one direction, and edgy facing the other way (I have decided they do not like to have their backs to the door). One thing you could try is to stand here there with just a leadline and no crossties, to see how she is. It is difficult to change a behavior without knowing the cause.

    She does have a reason – you just need to figure out what it is.

    Good luck!

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 2 months ago by Joe-Joe Joe-Joe. Reason: forgot something important

    It is never the horse's fault

    adrahmsn Original Poster
    Topics Started: 6Replies Posted: 4

    Ok thankyou G&S and Joe Joe.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    If this is a new behavior, you should check her teeth, eyes and ears to make sure there is no infection or that her teeth need to be floated. It could also be that her vision has changed somewhat. If you cannot find a psychological reason, then you should ask your vet to check your horse. Horses don’t just get face shy for no reason. If it is a psychological reason, you will have to work through it with her in a patient manner to discover what is going on. Good luck with her.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Head shyness can be a result of pain in the poll region. You may want to consult with your vet or chiropractor or anyone certified in equine bodywork.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    My main question is also – is this a new behavior? If it is new and out of character you may want to have her checked for lyme disease. There are so many strange displays with lyme. This happened with my mare. Out of the blue she started backing and yanking off the crossties. Turned out she did have lyme and once treated the behavior stopped. I had a prior horse that all of a sudden started dancing around when he was being tacked up. For him it turned out to be lyme also. Once treated behavior went away. You know what is normal for your horse – so again, if this is totally abnormal for your horse think about having her checked for lyme.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Agree, since this appears to be new behavior, I would definitely have her checked for Lyme disease as behavior extremes may occur, being highly reactive, painful, etc. Another thought is chiropractic in case something is out in her neck, spine, etc. Good luck!


    The Horse Lady
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    It makes no difference why or how she got this behavior, she needs a reason to change. More than likely, she spooked in the cross ties one day and broke free.

    The solution is simple.Take a long rope, place the middle over her barrel, cross the ends under and through her front legs and feed them up through her halter. Tie the ends as a cross tie. When she pulls back, the rope will tighten around her middle and she will jump forward and find release. The horse learns on her own that rearing and pulling back does not make her comfortable.

    for more common sense tips, visit me on FaceBook at The Horse Lady. Feel free to send mor3 questions.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I had a similar situation happen to me years ago after we had moved to a new stable. Out of the blue my horse became dramatically shy of her ears for no apparent reason, she never minded having her ears messed with before. Then one day I saw the barn owner walk past her stall and grab for her ears as he walked by and naturally she threw her head up and ran out into her run. He knew I saw what he did and tried to explained that he was “helping” me get her over her ear shying. Which did not exist prior to his “help” which I never asked for. I train and handle my own horses, so I put a stop to it and the ear shying was gone in a couple of days, no reoccurrence. Some good intentioned people, or people lacking good horse sense, can inadvertently cause a behavior issue. I am not saying this is your situation, but it does happen.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 11

    I think everyone had very good points for you to consider. Start by eliminating physical probelms. I personally don’t care for cross ties as they can be dangerous when a horse is acting like yours is. They can flip themselves over and break their neck/back. Use a rope halter to ground tie your horse using an attached lead line. Have a few treats in your pocket. Ask her to stand still and not move. When she moves give a downward tug, not hard, and tell her whoa. As soon as she stands quietly or even gives a good try give her a treat. Tell her good girl. My mare when I bought her didn’t know how to do anything. I started her with a rope halter and taught her the word whoa. When she moved I gave a downward tug on her halter. When she stood still and focused on me she received a treat. She caught on very quickly. She now ground ties and stands for long periods of time no matter where we are.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    It appears that something happened to your mare to cause this. If it is not some physical problem, then it may be a stable problem. My mare went through a situation somewhat similar. She was never a problem to lead in and remove her halter, and touch her head until one day. I went to put my hand on her head and she flew back. This was a barn management problem. From what I figured out, someone had flicked or threw the lead at her head.
    I recently purchased a “dually halter” from Monty Roberts. You can contact him on line. He is located in California and is noted for his humane training methods. His halter is safe and amazing. I use it on both of my Arabian horses. I do not want to have my animals hurt and this halter will release. The principal is simple and the horses respond very well.
    I would not leave the horse alone to figure things out. This is where injuries occur, especially when you know there is a problem.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 10

    First you need to work with the horse in the barn in the crosstie area to give to pressure. Give to left and right pressure and forward and backward pressure. The horse should not be tied until this is mastered and giving to pressure is immediate. When re training a spooky horse on the ties I use two ropes attached to bailing twine so they break easy. then when they break horse is returned to the ties immediately. You should have a back up pair on standby so you can fix the ones that just broke. The problem could be how you reacted to the how they broke the first time. If the horse got any type of reward like not having to stand back on ties immediately he or she may have just been trained to break them. Also the horse should be worked regularly and not have excessive energy that would cause him her to be on guard.

    riding for Christ riding for Christ
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 118

    Let her be in the cross ties for a while. Just watch her if she gets hurt or is seriously fixing to. Don’t mess with her. Let her figure out that raring is not going to do anything.

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2

    I strongly agree that it DOES matter why your horse is behaving this way. I appreciate the very systematic suggestions you’ve received to get to the bottom of the behavior, including eliminating all medical causes first and foremost. I also experienced Lyme disease as a cause. And I’ve found that ill-fitting tack can be a cause. (The horse tolerates the discomfort for a long while, but each rides builds reluctance to the point of “I can’t do this anymore.”) Once all physical causes are eliminated, a positive approach to retraining that includes rewarding good behavior can make her comfortable and confident in the cross ties again. Without eliminating the cause, a quick fix using discomfort to dissuade her puts more pressure on her and will create a more dangerous situation. Very best of luck.

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