Be a Better Horseman - Curt Pate
Curt Pate - Ranch Horsemanship
A highline is a chain stretched between two upright poles that are well-anchored in the ground. A swivel is attached to the chain, and a lead rope and snap are attached to hang down from the swivel. A cowboy snaps the rope to his horse’s halter to tie him to the highline. The great thing about a highline is that nothing’s in front of the horse, so he can move his feet and even turn around completely, but he can’t get tangled or hurt because the highline swivels overhead.
Using a highline is an effective way to teach a horse about standing tied, and the highline also softens a horse’s jaw so that he won’t be resistant when a person picks up the lead or even a bridle rein. When a horse tied to a highline moves around and reaches the end of the lead, he has a choice. He can continue to feel pressure from the lead, or he can bend at the jaw, moving the lower part of his head to find relief. When he does the latter, the pressure is released, and because his feet can move, the horse can then straighten his spine completely.
…Tying to the stirrup, even though the horse learns to bend his neck and arc his body to put slack into the rein, never allows him the complete straightness he needs to feel comfortable, which is what a good release should offer.
- Curt Pate
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