Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Restraints

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Hi, I'm Paula Hitzler, manager of the MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center. Today

we're going to talk about restraints and how to do it

safely. One of the first things that you need to have on your horse

is a halter and a lead rope. And I know that sounds kind of silly, but you would

be amazed at how many people try to restrain their horse with just the halter,

no lead rope, or just without anything on their head

at all. When we look at a halter fit, we want to

make sure that this halter is about two fingers width below this

facial bone right here, that it's not too low on the horse's face, because you

won't have adequate control. And then you want a nice big, long, safe

lead rope. You want to have this halter completely buckled.

So a couple forms of restraint that we can do just with the halter itself,

is if we've got a minor procedure we need to get done, or we need to distract

this horse for a short amount of time. Let's say the

farrier is having a little difficulty with a horse or

the vet needs to give it a shot or something, and you can help do a quick

form of restraint, is we can grab the horse's

skin forward of the shoulder area. We call

this a shoulder roll. You do not want to grab it at the

shoulder blade because you just can't get a big

fold of skin. So you want to find the lay of the shoulder, go a little forward of

it, and grab a nice big chunk of skin in

your hand and kind of roll it over. You can see by this horse's behavior,

she'll actually wince a little bit when you do that.

It's hard to have this form of restraint last very long,

so it's not something you want to do maybe when you're clipping ears or doing

a procedure that the horse really doesn't like.

But it's kind of a quick little fix it there for you.

Another form of restraint that we can do with just the halter on,

is with assistance, you can pick up a horse's leg.

That might work really well, let's say you're bandaging the right leg

and the horse is constantly picking that leg up, is have someone

hold your horse and you can pick up the left leg, and then someone can go

ahead and wrap that. That's a nice quick little one.

A form of restraint that you can do about the horse's head

that is a little bit more intense, is holding on to the horse's ear. Now

the important thing with doing an ear twitch, or holding the

horse's ear, is all about your technique. Because if this is done improperly you

can actually make a horse really head shy, so I do not recommend

this form of restraint unless you've got really good handling skills

and you can practice good technique when you apply this.

I actually like this form of restraint, I can actually

use this form of restraint over and over and over on a horse,

but it's, again, all about the technique, and that you can actually control the

horse if this horse decides to pull away from you really fast.

So how I like to approach this and teach students how to do this,

is I actually like to have this lead rope in my hand, hold the horse at the

halter so if this horse starts to move around you have some control.

Taking my right hand and putting it at the base of the horse's ear -

remember horses are very very sensitive at the tips of their ears, so you don't

want to just go up and start grabbing the tips of their ear

really fast because they'll start to throw their head, and now you've created

a head shyness problem. But by putting your hand at

the base of the ear - and if this horse starts to wiggle around

just go with it - don't clamp down, just go with the horse.

In fact what you've noticed I've just done is kind of move her head from side

to side, and that also will help to get this horse to lower their head. So it's a

good way to get a horse to lower its head.

With my hand on the base of their ear, I'll pull their head

to the left, or to the right, depending on what side of the horse I'm on,

and I'll put my elbow right into the middle of this horse's neck.

And you can kind of see how she's dropped her head, and she's bent around.

This gives me leverage. One of the most important things when restraining a

horse is leverage advantages, especially for old gals like me.

Because these horses are always going to be quicker and stronger than we are, so

we have to use our leverage and know our leverages in order to take

advantage of controlling this horse. So I'm going to hold her at the base, I'm

going to put my hand or my elbow into her neck,

and I'm going to slowly, very slowly, take a hold of this ear. And if we look

at her demeanor, if we look at her expression,

she can feel this, this will hurt, okay?

Again, this is not something I would do for a very long time, it's kind of

something I would apply if I need to get a

procedure done and the horse is being kind of naughty.

It's kind of a quick little restraint. Now just as you've slowly

taken a hold of the ear, you must slowly release the ear,

okay? Because what I want to be able to do

is apply this restraint to this horse over and over and over again

without her getting head shy and bad about her ears. Now, what's going

to create a problem, and I've seen this happen many, many

times, is someone just goes up and just snatches their ear really

quick like that, and you get that pulling back kind of

reaction from the horse. And I can guarantee that that is going

to create a very head shy horse. So if you cannot, whether it's your size

or your horse ability, or even the horse itself,

cannot slowly do this procedure, I would not recommend

that you do the ear for a restraint. Because you can create some problems

that way. But if done properly, it is a nice form of

restraint. It can get a lot of stuff done and even

modify horses behavior when used properly.

And when I talk about modifying horses behavior, what I mean

is that you can take a hold of the ear, in this case, or any restraint

that allows you to release and still have control,

I can maybe release the contact on the ear a little bit when the horse is being

good, I can tighten the contact on the ear

when horse is being bad. And then this allows the horse to make a

choice. Is the procedure worse than her holding my ear or is her

holding my ear worse than the procedure?

Hopefully the holding of the ear is worse than the procedure and we can

actually teach the horse to put up with whatever procedure that we're doing.

The Description of Restraints