Tying up and leading ex-racehorses

Welcome to our new series focussing on retraining ex-racehorses, up every Wednesday!

Last year, Your Horse went to HEROS, a charity who retrain racers. Here we have their tips on leading and tying up ex-racehorses...

It may be second nature for us to walk into a stable and tie a horse up, but for most racehorses they’ve never been tied up before.

“Often racehorses are loose in the stable for grooming or tacking-up, so don’t understand the concept of being tied-up as they feel restricted,” says Sue Jannaway, who helps with the retraining at HEROS.

It’s important for them to learn this concept as it’s essential not only for grooming and tacking-up, but for the blacksmith and clipping.

How to tie up an ex-racehorse

Sue provides her four easy steps to teaching your ex-racer to tie up.

Step 1  Use a quick-release bungee or a safe mechanism to avoid injury should the horse panic and pull back

Step 2  Never leave him alone when retraining to tie-up, and always have the stable door closed

Step 3 Gradually walk away from him and stand at the door

Step 4  Use your voice to reassure him

How to lead an ex-racehorse

Racehorses are taught as youngster to lead in preparation for the yearling sales or stud parades, so are generally well-behaved walking in-hand.

However, some can be strong as they’re fit straight from training.

“It’s a good idea to use a Chifney bridle (anti-rearing bit) over the top of a headcollar for extra control,” says Sue.

“Although it can be severe if used incorrectly, if the leadrope’s attached to the lower ring of the Chifney and the ring on the back of the headcollar it’s less severe, yet you still have control.”

See what the Your Horse team got up to when they visited HEROS horse charity in Oxfordshire last year.