Purpose of, and Proper Use of, Tiedowns

Does your tiedown ever get a bad rap? Tiedowns, also called nosebands with tiedown straps, are used to help horses maintain their balance during quick, powerful maneuvers in speed events like roping and barrel racing. While it’s easy to assume a tiedown is used only to keep a horse’s head down, the purpose of a properly adjusted tiedown is to provide your horse with a piece of equipment to brace on for balance.

Follow along in the video as Dennis Moreland visits with PRCA calf roper Ryan Thibodeaux of Stephenville, TX about the benefits of using tiedowns on calf horses. Ryan will also discuss how to know what kind of tiedown to use.

“My purpose for putting a tiedown on a calf horse is all for balance” says Ryan. “When we are in the corner of the box, that tiedown balances my horse so his head isn’t up, but it’s not pulled down too far either. I want him looking right through the chute at the calf,” explains Ryan. “When we stop, I want balance in our stop, that way when he stops and puts his head out, he can get into his stop and brace for himself.”

Look at any calf roper’s tack room and you’ll find there are many options available when it comes to selecting a tiedown. Ryan recommends if you have a young horse, or you aren’t familiar with tiedowns, to start with a leather noseband. “I like to start out with the soft, leather nose, especially on a young horse, because we don’t want to discourage that horse from putting his head out, but we also want them to learn how to push into a tiedown,” says Ryan.

Once your horse has progressed in training and gains more confidence, it may be time to step up to a more solid option, such as a latigo-laced or rawhide-wrapped tie down. However, Ryan describes how it’s important to find a balance between having one that’s strong enough for the horse to brace into but not too strong that they don’t want to push into it.

“We don’t want a horse to always be backed off of his tiedown, we want him to be able to brace into it and he can’t brace into it if he is not pushing into it,” says Ryan. “You always want that balance, so not too much one way and not too much the other. Since everything is timed in PRCA calf roping the faster you can have the calf on his feet the better your time will be. You want your horse to slide enough to keep the calf on his feet but not too much because it wastes time. You want to choose the tiedown that’s going to help your horse be balanced and right in the middle of where he needs to be when he’s running and stopping.”

Dennis Moreland Tack offers a variety of nosebands and tiedown straps for every stage of training and preference of your horse. To find out more about what kind of tiedown would work well for you, give Dennis a call at 817-312-5305 or email dmtack@vrfmail.com.

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