Unlike some traditional cowboy horsemanship methods, this one is humane, gentle, and easily done. The photo shows how I teach horses to accept hobbles. A soft burlap sack is cut up to form a large square cloth. It is then folded to make a long multi-layered strip. This then is wrapped around one leg, above the fetlock, twisted several times, and then wrapped around the opposite pastern and, finally, secured with a bow knot (like tieing a shoelace).

The horse may resist the first time it is hobbled this way, but it will not result in friction abrasions or painful pressure lesions.

Once the horse learns to be restrained by hobbles like these, we can replace them with regular hobbles. A variety are available.

Why should we train horses to be hobbled, even if we never use the horse in a way requiring restraint when loose in open country, wilderness, or large ranching pastures?

Because, I believe that every horse, regardless of the discipline it is used for should be “hobble broke”.

Why? For several reasons aside from the fact that we may want to turn the horse loose to graze without being able to abandon us.   For example:

  1. Hobbles can teach a horse to stand still while being worked on or after being mounted. I have even hobbled horses to control pawing in a horse trailer, when I stop for gasoline or for lunch.
  2. If the horse ever gets snared in wire, or rope, it is much less likely to panic, struggle, and injure itself if properly “hobble broke”.
  3. Control of the limbs, and of movement, in horses, leads to submissiveness. So this results in respect for us, calmness, and less reactivity.

Therefore all of my equines are taught to accept any single leg hobbled, or three or four legs simultaneously hobbled. It pays off.