Laying a horse down

Discussion in 'The Carrot Stick' started by Jen, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Jen

    Jen New Member

    Shannon proposed laying a horse down in a previous thread.

    How is this done?

    When is it appropriate?

    It was said this is not always a popular method, why?
  2. Tbitt

    Tbitt Most beloved member of MW

    I think the reason why most people don't like it is because of the harshness that can go along with it. Not saying that it always does......but the old ways of breaking a horse was harsh, harsh, harsh.

    The first time I ever heard of anyone using a method similar to this, FREAKED me out.

    I was listening to an acquaintance's Dad talk about a horse who'd lay down when ever the cart was brought up to be hooked on to the harness.

    He said, the next time the horse laid down, they sat on that horse's head, held it down, while they hit it with shovels, rakes, ropes and such.......

    I about puked form disgust.

    I think that is why, it has such a bad taste in most people's mouths it was used in the wrong way for way to long.

    Now, if I had a horse as Asuits described, I'd be open to holding it down until it gave up.

    I'd not beat the crap out of it while getting it down or while it was down...........

    Not unlike holding an aggressive dog down by the scruff of its neck until it realizes that you are the leader/dominate one.

    BUT just like dogs, it is not used on a whim, not or animals that are just being a tad bit is for aggressive, unsafe animals, pretty much as a last ditch effort...........

    Horses can kill you if left unchecked.

  3. TwistedWire

    TwistedWire Guest

    I agree.

    IMO, I don't like to use dominance as a training tool-I want to be my horse's partner. That's also why I don't buy into trick training involving a horse to lay down...but that's just me.
  4. asuits

    asuits New Member

    Neither do I for the most part but when they're coming at you and being downright nasty, they need dominance.
  5. Shannon

    Shannon New Member

    Well, its "nice" and all to be your horse's "partner" but really, thats putting human emotions on horses. Horses are herd animals, they have rank. They are not each other's partner. I want my horses to have me as the alpha. If you have any experiance with horses in a herd, you know that Alpha rarely means "mean." Usually the alpha will just Look at one in their heard and get a reaction, they also wont go picking a fight. Thats what I want too. I dont want to be mean, I just want the respect, Im not going to go looking for a fight. I want to be "part" of my horse's herd.

    Anytime We have had a foal who shows the slightest bit of aggression we lay them down and hold them there. I can sometimes do it on my own, but sometimes need help. On a foal I just reach over their back and grab their legs (the two closest to my body) and "roll" them down my body. I keep a knee or my body on the neck and keep a hold of the back leg thats on the ground. Yeah, I have been bruised up pretty well at times.

    Those who know my foals we have raised will say they are all really "good minded." Most of them have gone on to be show horses and are noted for being especially quiet. They have respect for humans. I like to think I have mares with good dispositions I bred to stallions with good dispositions and "nipped in the bud" bad behavior immediately.

    We had one foal who was TERRIFIED of us. From the second he hit the ground. It was the first (and currently only) time we every really just left one alone until he "came around." In about 3 weeks he was a doll. We never tried to catch him, we moved slow, we brushed his mamma, etc. He had an "easy, fearful" disposition from the start, so he really didn't need to "learn" respect, he had it from birth.

    The KEY: They are ALL different, and you need to adjust yourself and your behavior based on the horse/foal.
  6. Shannon

    Shannon New Member

    oh, another time we layed one down and held it was on a rearer. That was a challenge. Horse reared up EVERYTIME you led him, sometimes falling over backwards... We managed to have an oppertune moment, and the horse flipped himself over and my husband was around we both held the SOB down for about 5 minutes (until he quit trying to get up).

    Gosh darn it, the thing never reared again.
  7. PT

    PT New Member

    I'll take whatever advantage I can get with an agressive 1,000-1,200 pound animal, including knocking it's @ss to the ground. :)

    JMHO of course ;)
  8. TwistedWire

    TwistedWire Guest

    Shannon-You must have friendlier alpha's than I do ;D

    No seriously-I'm not opposed to whacking the snot out of them if needed-and to hold them down once they're down is different than knocking them down and then kicking the crap out of them like described above.

    On my alpha note-I'm stealing that from Mark Rashid. I want to be the silent leader-not the "alpha" of the pack that everyone else fears. I have 2 of those alpha's...they stalk and attack just for fun. That makes me unhappy.
  9. Susan

    Susan New Member

    If you watched the Robert Redford "horse wisperer" movie, you can visualize the process. That is the easiest way I can explain the proceedure to you. They tied up a foreleg stood to the side and pulled the horses nose around in the oposite direction until he went down, then held him there by sitting on his neck/head. A youngster would be less wt to haul down, but prepare for a fight - it won't be pretty (like in the movie) and not for the faint of heart. You can't stop in the middle - so if you think AT ALL that you just can't do that to the horse THEN DON'T START. Accept the fact that you will/might get hurt, the horse will/might get hurt, that is the way it is. Have plenty of strong help on hand. BUT the reward is usually a horse that has a much changed attitude toward it's human handlers for the better. An aggressive filly like the one mentioned in the other post will hurt someone badly or kill them and not think a thing of it-just a matter of when. You can google the topic as well. Hope this was some help.
  10. lori

    lori New Member

    Those aren't alphas--they are bitches/assholes, pick the appropriate term. :p Our alpha gelding didn't get there by beating everyone up, though he's definitely capable as the biggest and most experienced gelding, but rather by not backing down, ever. The alpha mare is old and broke down and probably would get trounced in any display of physical power, but instead she rules by the force of her personality. (Oh, heh, heh, but I need to post a video I took this weekend of gathering horses by pony, where that mare was giving THE most evil faces to the pony, so not quite JUST personality. It was hilarious.)

    While we're at it, we're getting close to imprint training--dominating the young foal and establishing that you get to touch them wherever, however. (Can't think of a way to say that where it doesn't sound totally inappropriate...)
  11. MyTeDun

    MyTeDun Senior Member

    I have never used this method of dominance of being alpha but I do agree with it to a point. If it is successful you can impress this into a horses subsconscience and hopefully they will respect it BUT do it wrong or don't follow through and you will definitely have a problem from then on.

    As far as foals go I imprint from the moment of birth--- therefore no need to lay down.

    Would be a great thing for rogue horses but I have had experience with one mare in particular that I would have loved to lay down but we couldn't get close enough to her to get a rope around her much less a leg. I'm not a cowboy with a lasso so I couldn't rope her. She was vicious and would rather kill you then be dominated----- would this have worked on her? I would have liked to try it.
  12. Shannon

    Shannon New Member

    Imprinting at birth is a bunch of baloney. Research say so (Insert little kids voice for sarcasm ;) ).

    Barb, we "handle" all our foals the second they are born and are hands on daily. It doesnt matter for their personality. Some are fearful, some aggressive, some play harder, some are scared of us, etc... Just because they are handled, doesn't mean they dont have a genetic predisposition to be a certian way. The last one we layed down was a kicker. He was SUPER friendly from the second he was born, but the turd would kick the second he had a chance. He is now 5 and had not tried to kick from the time he was a couple months old (well, I can only speak for him up until he was 3, but all I ever hear is how wonderful he is).

    There was some great research on this done with TBs, published, I think, in The Horse. Basically concluded the Imprinted horses were no more different than those who were not imprinted, but the ones who were handles regularly were easier at first, but in the end, they were all equal once they went into training...

    Lori- Im with you on the Alpha. Usually the most agressive one is not the Alpha. I've also noticed that "herd dynamics" can get a little screwy in smaller herds of 2-4 horses, but becomes more clear when there are more than 5. Thats just my observation, no data to back me up that I know of ;)
  13. paige

    paige New Member

    I think the research also shows that more foals are screwed up than helped by "imprinting", because most people do not know what they are doing. God knows I messed up the first one we did, boy howdy.

    I have found that it does not matter if you handle them from birth or wait til weaning (with the exception of worming etc), they figure it out in the same amount of time they would have anyway

    I too agree that the Alpha horse is not usually a bitch--she does not have to be, the others just know. A look, a pinned ear, that is plenty.

    The ones that are agressive occasionally are the ones bucking to be the boss, but even they do not try that crap on the real alpha mare.

    Since we have so many older mares, we have a few alphas, but oddly, they are best friends==and they have taken on a few younger ones that are allowed to boss on their behalf but they would never think of talking to the real alphas like that.

    You learn a lot spending this much time with this many horses
  14. MyTeDun

    MyTeDun Senior Member

    Shannon and Paige---

    I have imprinted several foals over the years. I guess I"m lucky that they turned out ok!
    I would love to watch someone do the laying down with a foal though before I ever tried it-- Sounds like you guys have quite a bit of experience doing this.

    Has it ever back fired on you?
  15. TwistedWire

    TwistedWire Guest

    So are you saying that by me only having a small number of horses I don't understand "herd dynamics?" Sorry, but that sounds a bit rude to me.

    I have a gelding who was imprinted, by the literal definition of the word. (I don't personally imprint). You can't get NEAR his ears with clippers. Nope. No way, no how. I think how a horse behaves has more to do with how consistent the handling is than anything else.

    Something that bothered me about (was it Dr. Robert Miller?) the famous imprinting book is that he stuck is finger in baby's butt. I know it's useful, but that disturbed me.
  16. MyTeDun

    MyTeDun Senior Member

    Twisted Wire--- Are you talking to me?

  17. jjones

    jjones New Member

    Oh I so agree.......
    I want respect and if it entails knocking it's ass to the ground so be it... I think those who haven't dealt with aggressive horses may think it's cruel but just wait till one of those SOB's goes after you....
  18. TwistedWire

    TwistedWire Guest

    Oh good grief. It's not like I'm preaching "resistance free".

    All I said is that I don't want to be dominant, in the traditional definition of the word.

    I didn't say I don't know how to use a chain or a riding crop, a lunge line, hobbles or what have you. Look at my freaking screen name for crying out loud.

    And yeah, I've tied a horse around and left it there for a while. After I clubbed him with a large object for biting and striking at me. Those horses aren't my partner.

    When I say my partner, I mean after they've earned the status.
  19. snaffle

    snaffle Guest



    well .. I found Dollar after the birth.. so it was too late (by the book) to imprint

    Found Janey... after the birth... so it was too late to imprint.

    Was at the birth during Brandies birth...
    got to run the clippers over her ears and I didnt do it right..

    and no I will NOT stick my finger in their a n u s like the book says. good grief!

    I could clip dollar and janeys ears when they were 3 months old..
    at one year.. I could not touch their ears with the clippers.
    at 2 years of age I could clip their ears..

    Brandie.. well... she doesnt want those clippers near her ears.
    maybe next year

    sorry to you believers.. but I think the imprinting thing is bogus

    time.. repetition..

    some of the best behaved horses.. in regards to clipping ears and muzzles..
    have never been imprinted
  20. lori

    lori New Member

    See, we imprint, but we also handle a lot. (We've only had 2 foals! Oh, btw, we imprinted about 3-6 hours after birth.) They come into a stall twice a day to get fed some grain and of course in general we can't leave our hands off babies. I think they grow up with nice personalities--friendly and inquisitive, trusting and not spooky, accepting of whatever, but not like big dogs, and definitely not not not aggressive. (I gotta say though, both of their parents are friendly--2 older racehorses, no clue what their upbringing was like. Their mom is the old broke-down alpha mare I mentioned earlier. Stud has been called too unaggressive to be a superstar racehorse but he did OK.) But that's the expectation for them from day 1 whether we took the time to imprint or not. I wouldn't say that I had any evidence that imprinting helps except:

    On filly #1 my boyfriend considered 1 ear done when she was pretty good about it, and the other ear done when she acted exactly right, like she couldn't care less. (I mostly watch and take pictures, sometimes help him grab a leg or hold on if he needs it.) We weren't really even thinking about how he kind of gave up on the one ear until she got to be about 2 or so and we went to clean up her ears with clippers. One ear--great. The other ear, well she kind of acted whiney about it for a few seconds--you know, just kind of wiggling her head around trying to get away. It took a few short sessions to fix that ear where she'd let it be handled without any fuss. It's not hard to fix or anything, but it was interesting the one ear we conquered at imprinting, she was perfect, the other ear not so much.

    I don't think my bf truly violated either--hand under the tail, between the cheeks in the area... but not inside. They did get fingers in their nostrils, ears, and mouths. The first filly was pretty good about it, the second put up a LOT bigger fight but now that he has a personality he's actually the more laid back of the 2. I don't think 2 is enough to draw a conclusion, but the ear thing is interesting IMO although its just 1. We will be imprinting any future foals born on our place, we know at least 2 we have not hurt by it.