The time has come to introduce the hobbles
to Tempest. Her body has matured greatly since the month of May.
Her attitude is somewhat like a teenager. That kind of sums it
The daily ritual of being saddled and standing tied for at least
an hour before the ride has paid off greatly. She stands still
while mounting and doesn't move while I position my legs and
reins. She understands that she is to wait. But, my saddling
area is tight so it doesn't allow for much movement of the horse.
The problem is that she moves around when I place the saddle
pad and saddle. Its inconvenient for me, wastes time and its
a bad habit.
Solution: Hobbles. I will put hobbles on her first in a controlled
situation. She will have just a halter on and in either a grassy
or soft dirt area.
I have seen other people put hobbles on the horse and turn them
loose in a corral or arena. Wrong!
I am sure you have seen what happens. The horse usually will
almost immediately learn how to run with them or they stumble
into a leap. I cringe when I see this. Answer. I position the
hobbles, step back and hold the lead rope. I don't let them get
into a storm. They will leap, stumble and lurch. I pull them
to me and say, Whoa! You have to be careful because they can
come straight to you and land in your pocket. So, agility on
my part, is real important. But, I can keep them from getting
up speed and crashing.
Once they stop I allow them to settle. What they have learned
is that no movement is safe. At this point I extend the no movement
by keeping slack in the rope and pat them on both sides. Cool,
maybe three to four minutes. Watch for a sigh, relaxing and licking
Now I can get on the end of the rope to one side. By gently pulling
on the rope, her head will come but not her feet. She wants to
be comfortable and stumbling around is uncomfortable. What she
will do is step with her hips to enable her to keep facing me.
She will also take tiny steps with her front feet so that she
doesn't have to tighten the hobbles and start a storm. She has
it figured out now.
Every time that I saddle or unsaddle her from now on, I will
hobble her which will teach her to stand still. This could save
her life some day should she get her front feet in wire or branches
she will know still is safe.
When I was a kid, just the other day, grin, I had an old albino
gelding. He didn't come as usual one night for feed so I went
over to him. He was standing like a statue because his feet were
stuck in some box wire fencing. I cut him out with some cutters
and he sauntered to the barn to eat.
The main thing that I do when I hobble one for the first time
is to make sure that I can be in control. I also don't put myself
in a place that the horse can get me by mistake. If you do this
with care and use your head, you should be able to stay in good
shape. The horse will get into a storm but you can minimize it.
Stay in control.