Setting Up Your Arena for Well-Adjusted Horses with Dakota Kirchenschlager

According to Dakota Kirchenschlager, tying horses up in your arena will result in a well-adjusted horse:

TRJ File Photo

We always have a lot of horses tied up on the right fence at my place. There’s a reason for that—and it’s not just because we run out of room from riding so many every day. 

No Thanks on the Hitching Rails

The horses will sit there and dig holes and you’ve got to clean it up. At least when I’ve got them all tied inside the arena, I can drag the arena and fill in the holes really easily. 

READ MORE: One-on-One with Dakota Kirchenschlager

Hobbles Not Necessary

I have horses of all ages tied in the same place. They all learn that they’ll be there all day, and they might as well stand there. I don’t hobble them if they paw or throw a fit—they’ll learn to get over it because they’ll be standing around tied all day every day before and after they work. (The exception is horses with a ton of white. They sunburn, so they don’t need to stand in the arena all day.)  

READ MORE: The Rundown with Dakota Kirchenschlager

In the Way?

If you watch me rope at the house, you’ll see the horses tied up pulling back as the run comes their way. The steer will step to the right then to the left, and the horse I’m riding better be paying attention to what I’m doing, going to the steer and reacting to what the steer is doing. It makes my horse be able to go by other horses—and it’s even better if I’m on a stud and he’s got to stay focused on me and the steer and go by all those other horses. The head horse needs to react to the steer reacting to those tied-up horses, too. Everybody has an excuse for everything, but you need to learn how to overcome adversity. I want practice on these young horses to be harder than everywhere we go in competition.