How to Fit Horse Hobbles

Written by juliet harrison
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How to Fit Horse Hobbles
Well-fitted hobbles safely restrict a horse's movement. (horse image by Oleg Tarasov from

Hobbles are used to limit a horse's movement. They are convenient when there is nowhere to tether, and can help teach him to stand still if he's caught up in barbed wire or thicket. Hobbles are usually fitted around the forelegs of the horse. If the horse has never worn hobbles, he needs some training before fitting is attempted. These instructions may be followed once the horse has become used to the idea of wearing figure-eight hobbles. Figure-eight hobble are widely available from tack shops.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hobbles
  • Short length lead rope
  • Halter
  • Sharp knife

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  1. 1

    Choose a day for the first fitting when your horse is physically fit, but tired from some exercise.

  2. 2

    Tack the horse up in his usual halter, with short lead rope attached.

  3. 3

    Lead the horse to a large, enclosed area with soft ground. If the horse spooks you have the space to get away from each other, and if he falls the chance of him getting hurt is reduced.

  4. 4

    Position yourself at the horse's front near side (left), and stand him square with his front hooves parallel.

  5. 5

    Make the horse lift his off side (right) foot, then slip the hobble loop around the horse's pastern.

  6. 6

    Check the horse is still standing square then buckle the hobble strap securely, but not too tightly around the near side pastern. Keep 2 inches of slack between the two nooses.

  7. 7

    Calm the horse as he tests the hobbles until he stands still.

Tips and warnings

  • Consider enlisting the help of another experienced person until confident to perform the task.
  • Always carry a sharp knife. If necessary, you can release the horse quickly from the hobbles.
  • Fitting hobbles can cause injury to yourself and the horse. Use extreme caution.
  • Even with hobbles fitted a horse can still kick.

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