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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2002
    Location
    Cave Creek, AZ
    Posts
    7,896

    Default Can we talk about untacking / deharnessing / whatever you call it?

    In what order do you remove the various harness parts, and how do you restrain your horse(s) while doing this?

    I've been tying the pony to the trailer (where he can eat hay) while grooming & harnessing him, and then when I'm done, I put the halter around his neck (trying to avoid getting it tangled in the bridle or overcheck), and then in some order:
    • undo the lines
    • undo the overcheck
    • undo the crupper
    • undo the girth
    • remove all the stuff
    • remove the bridle
    • put the halter on his face


    While all this is going on, he's not attached to anything, which I realize is not a good idea.

    So... how do the real people do it?

    Thanks!
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2007
    Location
    ....in a classroom in Fl, by the ocean
    Posts
    3,929

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Risk-Averse Rider View Post
    In what order do you remove the various harness parts, and how do you restrain your horse(s) while doing this?

    I've been tying the pony to the trailer (where he can eat hay) while grooming & harnessing him, and then when I'm done, I put the halter around his neck (trying to avoid getting it tangled in the bridle or overcheck), and then in some order:
    • undo the lines
    • undo the overcheck
    • undo the crupper
    • undo the girth
    • remove all the stuff
    • remove the bridle
    • put the halter on his face


    While all this is going on, he's not attached to anything, which I realize is not a good idea.

    So... how do the real people do it?

    Thanks!
    I do the the bridle and then halter to trailer, post, where ever then I start with the;
    - undo lines from bridle, and remove bridle and halter pony
    - lines
    - crupper
    - girth
    - breast collar/traces
    Doing the bridle first will stop you from having to fight with the lines and overcheck.


    its basically the last thing I do while harnessing, I do first unharnessing.

    Does pony have bridle on while you are getting him harnessed?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 6, 2006
    Location
    Plainview, MN
    Posts
    3,568

    Default

    Bridle and breastcollar come off over the head, halter goes on and horse is cross tied. Undo girth and slide everything off the back. No need to undo the crupper. Lines stay on backpad, traces stay on cart.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 14, 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    106

    Default

    I can tell you how NOT to do it. I was driving my mini mule and when I got back to the trailer I didn't tie him securely. Long dumb story. I stupidly assumed that he knew it was time to undo everything and go home. Something spooked him and off he went with his cart. I had one long line on his halter but it became apparent fairly quickly that I could not keep up with him, nor stop him. I let the line go, it flipped around my left leg and yanked me off my feet.

    It tore a ligament in my knee and kept me from riding or driving for months. Here we are over a year later and my knee is still slightly larger than the other.

    At home I had a third post put in the ground at the back of my wash rack, brackets put in it and the opposite post, and a board that slides into the brackets. Mule is cross tied between the posts, board in front of his chest. When he is all hooked up, I slide the board out, take him off the cross ties and get in-----after a fervent prayer!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 23, 2004
    Location
    Sisters, Oregon
    Posts
    1,919

    Default

    Well....

    What I do at home and what I do on the road at shows are a little different.

    At home: I drive in to the barn alley. Get off the carriage. Undo traces, undo quick release shaft loops, put shafts up. While I'm back there I undo the crupper. Unbuckle reins. Take off bridle. Unbuckle girth. Take breast collar over head. Slide saddle off. I have it all on one arm while horse stands in aisle naked waiting for his head to be toweled off. Do that, put the halter on, turn him around and rub him down with cactus cloth.

    At shows: Drive up to the trailer. Get off carriage. Undo traces and quick release shaft loops. Put shaft up. Undo crupper. Put halter around neck. Unbuckle reins. Take off bridle. Put on halter and tie. Then I unbuckle the girth. Take the neck strap over his head, unsnap lead rope the re-snap it. Then I slide the saddle off and take it all in to the trailer. Then he gets his head toweled off.
    Kanoe Godby
    www.dyrkgodby.com
    See, I was raised by wolves and am really behind the 8-ball on diplomatic issue resolution.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2012
    Posts
    68

    Default

    I hang up the lines, undo overcheck, release shafts, bridle off and halter on, undo breastcollar, release girth and push harness back to loosen up the crupper and remove crupper, strip harness, and start cooling out horse.

    I keep the same routine that I use for my Standardbred racing horses, I have such a love/hate relationship with quick hitches!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2010
    Posts
    99

    Default

    I was taught to have my horse 'wait', basically ground tie, under all kinds of situations, eventually even being out of sight. Took lots of time, baby steps and patience but now it's a routine. Wait means wait, when I'm in or out of the cart. I don't tie him when harnessing at home but in new places I find someone or something to hold/tie, safety first. For safety the bridle is the last on and first off so I can have a halter and 12' lead on him while working with the rest of the harness, going on or coming off. I also stay with the same order all the time, reversing for removal, that way there is less chance to forget something.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Posts
    4,384

    Default

    Absolutely first thing is to get the horse OFF the cart before you worry about any other order of removal

    1) holdback straps
    2) traces

    then I usually unbuckle the overgirth so its less pull on the horse to back the cart off

    my next step is to buckle a halter around the neck and either cross tie in the barn or tie to the trailer

    that way he is restrained and I can work without holding on to him

    undo reins and pull out of terrets

    Im not fanatic about getting the bridle off first - if he is rubbing it and will scratch it - it comes off
    but sometimes if he is being bad about it I'll leave it on and make him keep his head "still"

    what ever way you choose - develop a pattern BOTH for hitching and un-hitching
    And for hitching - make it a pattern to walk around and check all your connections before you start - especially if you have someone helping
    Then YOU know its all done up the way you want

    and handy pice of equipment (if you have not run into them before) is the nose-buckle halter
    You can have it around the horses neck then just pull up and buckle on the nose to finish the connection - WITHOUT ever removing it while nothing else is attached
    Also you can bridle over it then undo the nose and throat buckles and pull out from under the bridle

    her is one place that sells them - and you can get colors
    http://www.camptownharness.com/index.php?pg=Other stuff you need&i=55



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2009
    Posts
    8,814

    Default THIS ``` EXACTLY ~

    THIS EXACTLY ~

    Quote Originally Posted by Renae View Post
    Bridle and breastcollar come off over the head, halter goes on and horse is cross tied. Undo girth and slide everything off the back. No need to undo the crupper. Lines stay on backpad, traces stay on cart.
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2002
    Location
    Cave Creek, AZ
    Posts
    7,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Drive NJ View Post
    and handy pice of equipment (if you have not run into them before) is the nose-buckle halter
    You can have it around the horses neck then just pull up and buckle on the nose to finish the connection - WITHOUT ever removing it while nothing else is attached
    Also you can bridle over it then undo the nose and throat buckles and pull out from under the bridle

    her is one place that sells them - and you can get colors
    http://www.camptownharness.com/index.php?pg=Other stuff you need&i=55
    Very cool! Thanks. No, I had not heard of those before. I think Mr. Panda-chan definitely needs something like that!
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,050

    Default

    What a great question, so neat to read how others do it.

    I drive alone, and hitch and unhitch in a fenced, but open area where I park my truck. Gate to the trails we drive.

    After a drive, first thing I do is unhitch my horse from my 4wheeler. I have independent shafts, so I undo one side (kicking strap, holdback, trace (shackle), then quick release tug... in that order), then the other side in the same order. We do this "on the spot", I expect him to stand like a rock, but the reins are *always* in my hands. When I cross from one side to the other, I always keep contact on the reins by his face as I walk around. Once completely unhitched I loosen his girth.

    I then walk my horse to his tying spot, which at the moment is a tree. I put his halter around his neck so he is tied in case he should startle. I undo the reins and stow them safely on the neck terrets. Then slip off his bridle and he gets his favorite treat, a vigorous rub with a towel on his face, and a great big "attaboy!"

    I then put his halter right and undo the reins and traces completely and flip them over one shoulder. Undo the crupper and unclip the back band remove the entire breeching and flip it over my other shoulder. Then the bellyband, false martingale, neckstrap so then the breast collar comes off and goes over my shoulder. Undo the girth and the saddle so then saddle pad go over my left shoulder with the traces & reins. Then it all gets walked to the rack awaiting its wipe down once pony is rubbed down and put up.
    Last edited by buck22; May. 1, 2012 at 01:32 PM.
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
    Click for the ideal stocking stuffer for anyone equine!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2006
    Location
    Ohio!
    Posts
    88

    Default

    I learned to drive on the race track and I carried several things into my life as a pleasure driver. The best is what we called a head halter. It fits under a regular halter so that you can use the cross ties and never have to untie your horse. You can then put the bridle on over the head halter and use it as your caveson. I can always have my horse tied or under my complete control. Which is important as I'm usually doing all of this alone.

    http://www.bigdweb.com/Caveson/products/383/



  13. #13

    Default

    NEVER TAKE THE BRIDLE OFF BEFORE THE HORSE IS COMPLETELY UNHITCHED FROM THE VEHICLE. I don't care how well you know the horse, or how long you've been driving. It is driving 101.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2011
    Posts
    390

    Default

    Interesting all the different systems everyone has.

    For me, when I unhitch, I am almost always out in the open, at home, and really at a show, too. I don't tie. My horses pretty much know "the grass parking spot" at home, and when I am done with a drive, they are allowed to eat grass while I unhitch. Unless I am in the arena, then they just have to stand there and be bored.

    I get out of the cart, undo the breeching/holdback strap on each side, then remove the traces from the single tree, then push the cart back. The horse is still fully harnessed and since they're usually eating grass, the neck strap falls on top of their head at this point, but they don't seem to mind.

    I then proceed into the barn since I am now unhitched, and remove bridle (I leave my reins attached to the bridle always), halter & tie the horse, then remove the rest of the harness. At a show, I have the same process, only they are tied to the trailer before I remove the breast collar & saddle.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,434

    Default

    I am with Drive NJ, this is how we were taught.

    We don't offer options to the horse, he has no "choices" in standing still, or nibbling grass. NOT ALLOWED! They are held with lead ropes or tied in place, for hitching and unhitching.

    With us driving Multiples, it is ESPECIALLY dangerous if one animal should fail to be obedient AT ANY TIME!! The sets of Pairs, Wheelers and Leaders, are used to MOVING TOGETHER. So if one horse moves, 99% of the time his partner and PROBABLY all Four, will follow. This is EXPECTED of them, trained into them, punished if they DON'T follow for smooth starts!!

    They are anchored in their location in the aisle at home for putting to or getting the vehicle off, with an order of doing things. They know the routine, LIKE routine, to understand what is expected of them.

    Our horses at shows are tied with neckropes and halters. There is ALWAYS something around the neck to prevent horse ANY TIME of being loose. Even if he throws his head, drops his head for putting bridle on or off, he IS NOT GOING TO GET LOOSE. No fraction of time where we can lose control of him. The neckrope ends are tied hard-and-fast to the trailer. Again, there is a precise method of leading horses into their place on the vehicle, to be attached. Horses have a groom or holder with their lead ropes while being attached. Same thing in reverse, with ALL horses turned sharply, led away from vehicle at a 90* angle so they are not following anyone. They will follow each other individually, back to the trailer for taking harness off. They know they are no longer "partners" on the vehicle, so moving exactly together is not expected at this time.

    Again, Multiples are DIFFERENT than Singles in how you handle them, put them to the vehicles, unhitch them. Everything is done as a unit for our horses, so they don't worry about their "friends". Kind of a herd mentality, security in being together, safer for everyone. They are not offered the CHANCE to do independent thinking, have to follow directions at all times.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
    Posts
    4,050

    Default

    Your post made me laugh! I am obsessive about my horse standing statue-still and never for even a morsel of a second am I not holding onto the lines either by his back or by his head, or is my horse not tied. I was a rock climber at one point in my life and the mantra was you don't leave a handhold until you have another handhold you trust. My hand never leaves the reins until I'm holding the reins someplace else firmly.

    I get so nervous as I do this all by myself, and I like my horse snorty in the mornings, so I expect perfection from him so we don't get into trouble. He's not even permitted to look around or shuffle his feet, poor pony, I rule with an iron fist. If he even shifts his weight, I'm like STAND!!!

    A fellow boarder watched me hitching up one day and doing my obsessive "hold the reins one place before you leave them go someplace else" multiple times as I went back and forth over my horse and she commented, saying how well behaved his is why be so obsessive, and I was like OMG don't you know? 50% of all disasters happen hitching and unhitching, blah blah blah


    With us driving Multiples, it is ESPECIALLY dangerous if one animal should fail to be obedient AT ANY TIME!! The sets of Pairs, Wheelers and Leaders, are used to MOVING TOGETHER. So if one horse moves, 99% of the time his partner and PROBABLY all Four, will follow. This is EXPECTED of them, trained into them, punished if they DON'T follow for smooth starts!!
    I played with tandem (in hand) for the first time this past Sunday (omg what a circus getting started! I completely underestimated how challenging this is going to be The old man had a HOOT though and if I had the leaders traces adjusted properly - mine were FAR too short - we could have actually had a quite nice school).... anyhow I learned right quick how important to have the horses moving together! What a disaster when you have animals hitched together and they're not in sync
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.
    Click for the ideal stocking stuffer for anyone equine!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 28, 2003
    Posts
    4,384

    Default

    Agree Goodhorse for two reasons

    We learned a lot of horsemenship from an ancient Italian muleskinner guy. We are unable to either leave a horse being worked with for any period of time without something we can trust around his head/neck.

    We are also unable to walk around behind a horse without having a hand on it so it knows where we are.

    Just.can't.do.it

    The other reason is we have draft crosses. Add curious, silly, loving to play with things with their mouth to weight of horse and you WILL have some strap end up under a hoof, raised head or something and POP... you need a new strap.

    When they are working, they are working. No rubbing, eating, bobbing, (knocking over the bucket tower), or otherwise wiggling about until you are unhitched.

    We are lucky though that we normally work together so it is much easier to manage this than when working alone.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2002
    Location
    Cave Creek, AZ
    Posts
    7,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buck22 View Post
    I like my horse snorty in the mornings
    This would be a good sig line

    Pony & I have been working on his ground manners. I can see that 'stand' is going to be a bit of a challenge.

    We're getting better at 'whoa' when I'm leading him (and when ground-driving him), but yesterday I was longeing him - reminding him that he's supposed to stay out at the END of the rope - and when we switched directions, I couldn't get him to stand so I could go back to the middle of the circle. He wanted to follow me.

    Poor little guy - his world has been turned upside down

    In just a few weeks, he's gone from close-to-feral to being expected to... <gasp>... BEHAVE!

    All this is such good information, though - and I can see it leaking over to my interactions with my riding horses.
    Approved helmet: Every time; every ride.
    "When a sport gets to be predictable it ceases to be fun." - RAR's wise brother



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 29, 2006
    Location
    NW Oregon
    Posts
    554

    Default

    At any ADS show or event, you will be kicked off the grounds for taking the bridle off while your horse is still hitched. It is that dangerous.

    I do as Drive NJ and others said -- when unharnessing, I first unhitch the horse from the cart. While unharnessing, I make certain that traces, driving lines and anything dangly is safely tucked under the backband or removed. My horse stands still, but I wouldn't put it past myself to trip over them.

    I never use a check, but if I did I would probably undo that as soon as the horse is unhitched from the cart. I also make a point of massaging him as I take the harness off, just because he loves it. He loves driving and I want to keep it that way.
    They're not miniatures, they're concentrates.

    Born tongue-in-cheek and foot-in-mouth



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2009
    Posts
    611

    Default

    I'm with those who said to undo in reverse order from when the horse was harnessed/hitched. I drive Salt up to his designated post in my saddling/harnessing area, he stands nicely while I get out of the cart, I buckle the halter loosely around his neck and immediately take the cart off. I don't even stop to take my helmet off; the cart comes off first. Then if something happens (unlikely, but you never know), he's not running loose with a vehicle attached. I can deal with him running loose without the cart, not that it's happened while unhitching.

    Next is the bridle, so I can put his halter on properly, then breastcollar/traces, and last is saddle with breeching still attached.

    Salt will stand nicely even if he's not at all secured. I know this because he is an escape artist and is very sneaky, but he never goes anywhere. I have panic snaps attached to all the ropes on my posts (my other pony had a seizure right before I was going to clip him to a post, and would have broken his neck if I hadn't had him in hand when it happened--I immediately bought panic snaps). Salt will very quietly take the panic snap in his mouth and work it around until it opens. I swear he has thumbs in his mouth--there is no other explanation. Once he gets himself loose, he just stands there and looks smug until I notice.

    Rebecca



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