Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Note on Tying

A short, unrelated note tonight, as a blog of today's events would, I'm confident, bore you to tears.

Recently, a lively discussion has come up on the Parelli Forum about the subject of tying horses. There seems to be a bit of rift--most Parelli students have been taught the benefits of tying. Pat encourages everyone to teach their horses to tie for up to 6 hours at a time. Reasoning being it's a builder of patience, emotional fitness, a high level porcupine game, and sometimes is a convenience, too. But, on the other side, someone actually went so far as to suggest I was condoning animal cruelty for stating that I've tied Prin and Crest for 4+ hours at a time.

So, for tonight's blog, I thought I'd just share with you what I wrote in response to the person who said I was being cruel. I don't take it to heart, by any means. I know that my horses are happy. This is meant to be purely informational.

A Note on Tying:

Pat's definition of respect is "the appropriate application of pressure, and the appropriate response to the application of that pressure"... it seems to me that teaching a horse naturally to stand tied for an indefinite amount of time is just that. I'm not going to FORCE my horse to stand there for hours right off the bat (That IS unfair, and goes against all things Parelli, not to mention sets the situation up for complete failure)...I am, however, going to help my horse learn and understand how to respond appropriately to both the porcupine game and extreme friendly game, and slowly and gradually increase both the amounts of time he/she can stand, as well as the level of commotion he/she can tolerate while being tied. There's a process, just like with everything else we teach our partners to do. To me, that indicates high levels of communication in both porcupine and friendly game. That's all it breaks down to.

There is no malice, no cruel intent in asking my horse to stand still on my terms. As long as my horse knows his/her responsibilities in the partnership (mine do), and I understand mine (I do), and the situation has been set up for success, then it's not unfair or wrong.

My horses stand tied willingly because they never learned tying to be something UNCOMFORTABLE. They get fed off and on to keep them busy, almost ALWAYS have access a bucket of water. And it's not like I just up and leave, either...most of the tying situations they've been in have been at clinics in which I was assisting and/or hosting, or some other situation in which I could not physically be there with them all the time, but was close enough that I could keep an eye on them They're usually tied near, or, in some circumstances, even IN the arena that the event is being presented.

I hope that provided some insight on what I think is an interesting topic. Questions, requests for clarification and/or specification, and feedback are, as always, very welcome. Let me know your thoughts!


Lisa said...

I think too many Parelli people - especially neophytes - underestimate the value of really teaching a horse to tie. A huge benefit is the convenience but the true value is the emotional fitness the horse develops. That your horses stand tied, relaxed and patient, for hours at a time is a testament to the partnership you've developed with them. KUDOS!

Sarah said...

Yup, it's definitely really a good requirement for horses to know how to tie for a long time...for the vet, for shows, the farrier, trail rides, etc. Tying them to something sturdy and leaving them there for several hours, with no preparation? That's cruel, for sure. But building up to it is good.