Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Training Working Animals › Buck-back rope for first time hitching?
- October 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm #44160
I am anticipating hitching my new horse (http://www.draftanimalpower.com/showthread.php?5667-New-Horse&p=36955#post36955) for the first time to a forecart with a steady, experienced horse in the next week or so. He has been working steadily in harness as a single for the past week, with 2 weeks of driving with just a bridle prior to that. He turns, stops, and backs well and stands ok. Once he becomes more relaxed dragging small logs and other objects, I plan to hitch him to a forecart and wagon to draw small loads of blocked wood.
I had planned on hitching him like any of my other horses and correcting any antics and undue forward movement with the lines. This horse is soft-mouthed and responsive to the bit. In reviewing Lynn Miller’s Training Horses, Training Teamsters book, he recommends using a buck back rope. Does anyone have any experience using this with a green horse and whether to use it or not? Any suggestions/insights on hitching a horse double for the first time?
GeorgeOctober 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm #75410Livewater FarmParticipant
george I would suggest hitching to your scoot or sled the first time I feel it is easier to learn to stop and stand without the forward movement of wheels and if you have a good strong safe horse to hitch with and are confident in his responses I would not consider
buckbacks a good set of hands and confident driver will do the trick
BillOctober 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm #75417carl nyParticipant
I would ground drive with other horse first.once working good then hook to scoot,sled, or my favorite, an old tractor tire. then go to a forecart. JMHO, worth just what you paid for it…
carl nyOctober 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm #75411
Carl and Bill:
Thanks for the responses. Hooking to a non-wheeled implement first makes sense – one less thing to deal with for the new horse (i.e. britchen pressure). Carl, I have a tire off a front end loader that I use as a snow groomer / driveway packer. Here is a picture of the first time I hooked this halflinger as a double – worked well. I’ll keep you posted…
GeorgeOctober 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm #75416carl nyParticipant
I like the bay. My son has a pair.
carl nyOctober 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm #75414RoscoeParticipant
And IF you use buck-back straps, tie them to the noseband of the halter, not to the bit. So it won’t interfere with the commands from the lines.October 25, 2012 at 4:13 am #75415nihiljohnParticipant
OK, here’s what makes a horse race. I started 4 horses this summer, all with a buck rope and a jockey stick as the 3rd horse. AFTER the ground work in lines (in harness) I put them as the 3rd horse on the fore cart with a buck rope and a jockey stick and drive the other 2. If I have ground to work we go to a small harrow. If not, a tire with weights. With in a day or so, I’ll take the jockey stick off and set in the lines for 3. (The worst wrecks I’ve ever been in were with a young horse with something dragging along behind them making a bunch of noise for the first time.) All the green horses this summer went on to work on the cultivator and a lot of miles on the hay rake. 3 of them went to the show ring in harness in the team class and 2 went in the cart. I’m not saying this is THE way to do it, it’s my way. It works for me. If you’ve got a horse working single to the point he’s dragging poles single and doing good, put someone on a lead rope and hitch him with your other horse. It’s the next step. If no one likes my method, that’s OK. It has worked for me for a lot of years and I guess I’ll just keep using it. What ever method you use, if you end up with a broke horse, it was the right way to do it.October 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm #75413Donn HewesKeymaster
hi George, How is it going with the new horse? Hooked to a pole yet? I have worked with buck back straps and other tools. I have used them on the bit and on the halter. Both will work if you hook the buck back so it doesn’t come into play until the offender is already moving ahead of the other horse. In other words you can drive them with out the buck back as long as they stay where they belong. Remember one of the limitations of a buck back is if one horse starts another to running; the buck back does nothing to stop this.
Lately, I have not used this tool that much. Rather I have been focusing on my sense of when an animal is ready for this step. Looking at the body language of the Haflinger in the above picture, she is calm and relaxed, I believe I could use this to hook her to a pole. I will vary my methods based on what the animal is telling me.
I want to hook my donkey to a forecart but I haven’t yet. He has made slow steady progress, and is almost ready. My point is I can afford to wait for him to get ready.October 26, 2012 at 10:59 am #75412
We have had some bumps, but overall things are going very well. I have been having a lot of fun with him. The first time I hooked him to a fence post he was going well until he stopped. I went around the side to stand by his head to help calm him. He pulled away from me while I was holding the halter, swung his but around and faced me (all the while this strange and scary thing was moving and making noise behind him). I pulled him to the right with the lines to get his rear end facing me and he spun 360 degrees. He then had his right line wrapped around his chest and I only had use left line. I ran forward and grabbed the lines under his bit and stopped him. This was all in the space of a few seconds. Like everything in my short history with horses, I can only learn from my mistakes and hope that we all (horses and me) make out ok – both physically and psychologically. In this case we did. My lesson here was to keep lines in hand and ready, especially during a new and stressful situation.
Since then, we went back to driving without a single tree and the fence post and he was pretty much non-stop prancing. He also wasn’t standing well. When I would check his forward movement, he would start backing. When he did this I would tell him “back” and we would back up for a while. This helped. After 3 or 4 days of his prancing about I was becoming discouraged. I decided to hook him back up to the single tree and post with the thought that this added element might focus him. Normally I don’t move onto the next phase until I see the horse relaxed. It turns out this did the trick. He was nervous at first but settled into with head down and long relaxed strides. Interestingly, he stands really well when I am messing around with the single tree and chains. Again, I think it is something for him to focus on. After a few days on the fence post we moved onto a tractor tire weighing about 150 lbs. He pulled that really well and was quite relaxed. He is also standing much better.
I plan on continuing with the tire for a few days. I will start riding the tire today (I made a platform inside the tire), and this will add some weight. If things continue to progress I will hook him with another horse next week to the large tire. Then I will go to a chain drag on a forecart (minimal britchen pressure) and then we will move some blocked wood in a wagon. I do not plan on hooking the buck back rope at this point.
Good luck with your donkey. Any pictures?
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