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 Horse Questions (and Answers)

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Penski
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Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Northern California

PostSubject: Horse Questions (and Answers)   Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:28 pm

I've read about hobbling a horse in lots of stories, but actually googled it and was surprised at what I found and saw.

So now I'm asking my horse-loving writer friends... How do you hobble a horse & why and how would Heyes and Curry might have done it?

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Maz

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PostSubject: Re: Horse Questions (and Answers)   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:34 pm

I just always assumed you tied two of their hooves together with a bit of rope so they didn't go galloping off

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InsideOutlaw

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PostSubject: Re: Horse Questions (and Answers)   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:41 pm

Hi Penski,

Hobbles are like hand-cuffs for horses. They are commonly used to keep horses from wandering off during the night. Usually, you hobble a horse and you put a bell on them so you can locate them at a distance. A horse has to be trained to accept them, you can't just slap them on any horse; but once they are comfortable in them, they allow the horse the freedom to graze relatively freely. Horses soon learn to move around using a three-beat step (their front legs are hobble together about a foot apart) and they can get around quite well in them. A horse trained to them is not distressed by them at all.

Hobbles can be sheep-skin lined, plain leather, rope, chain (which is awful), or pretty much anything you can tie together as a hobble as long as it is strong enough and won't chafe the horse (even a ripped up shirt from the ever present magic saddlebag). I have a really cool antique set of braided leather hobbles a friend left to me. Each side has a loop on one end and a knot on the other which close around the horse's leg.

The other alternative is to use a high-line which is essentially a line strung between two trees a couple of feet above the horses' ears. You then clip or tie (using a very specialized knot) the horse's lead rope to it. The lead cannot slide side to side and it needs to be long enough to allow the horse to reach the ground but not so long they'll put a leg over it. And, remember, a tied or high-lined horse must be kept fed and watered; a hobbled horse can feed and drink for itself as it wishes.

Here in Colorado, you mostly see the cowboys and outfitters using hobbles. My buddy, who has cowboyed here in the high country for over 40 years, says that hobbles are safer, because if a bear or mountain lion should enter camp, the horses have a chance to escape. A high-lined or tied horse would have no chance at all; and there are a lot of bears and lions around here. We had one visiting up the street just last week--just like Tahoe!
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