Cloud's Honor Racing

Cloud's Honor Racing

Cloud's Honor Riding

Cloud's Honor Riding

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cross Tying the OTTB

Did you know that Thoroughbred racehorses are never cross tied? They are typically tied in the back of their stall while their grooms work on them.

Introduce cross tying to your new OTTB when there is little or no activity in the barn. He’s used to being tied in his stall where it’s quiet and safe. It’s best to begin cross tying in a grooming stall or stall, since they are used to being tied in the stall they are not accustomed to being tied in an area with traffic or activity around them. Introducing this new way of being tied in an aisle way will make it much harder to avoid mishaps. My advice is if you don’t have a grooming stall, set up cross ties in his stall and begin the lessons there.

At Leighton Farm, I begin by putting the horse in the grooming stall. I tie him with
one cross tie and leave the rope lead shank on.   I have an assistant hold it, standing
in front of the horse. I feed him peppermints or other treats. The goal is for the
horse to understand that this is simply a new place to be groomed and tacked up. I
slowly groom him and put the tack on. If everything goes well—and it usually does,
the second day I put both cross ties on and use an assistant to stand in front of the horse. Inevitably the horse will walk forward and his head will be flinged up at least one time. I want to prevent this
the first couple days until he is comfortable with this new type of tying.

I normally keep the lead rope on the horse for the first week or so, draping
it over his neck. After day two, I no longer need an assistant.

Once he is comfortable with cross tying, I start doing it in the aisle way. I choose a
time when things are quiet the first few times. I have had very few problems doing it
this way and usually have the horse reliably cross ties in about a week to ten days.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. (Sorry for the delete above; "edit thyself" before posting ;o)

    My TB "Huey" stands perfectly still, tied in his stall when the weather is bunk and the shoer doesn't want to work out in it (usually he shoes the horse in the wash rack, with the horse untied and asleep ;o)

    Huey won't tie reliably anywhere else--he panics and pulls back. However, I bought a Blocker Tie Ring and a 12' lead. The Ring is advertised as "RETAINS rather than RESTRAINS," and it works very well. I attach it to the horse trailes U-bolt tie with an anchor bolt. Huey can pull a little so he can make sure he's not "stuck." No damage done--and the lead is long enough that I can either get it and pull him back to the trailer OR catch him if he gets free.

    He took to cross-tying very easily, as you said. Slow and steady (and in my case the wash rack was "the tie place" and he was already used to that, since it resembles a saddling paddock at the track--and he gets bathed there and groomed, clipped, etc. It's a "good" place for him.

    People getting an OTTB need to be aware of the changes they have to teach their new horse; again, slow and steady with lots of rewards and praise. Once the horse "gets it," he usually settles right in.

  3. Wow! Fabulous information! Thank you for sharing.

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