Gear Horse Care Tips

5 Best Hobbles for Helping Horses & Mules Stay Put

best horse hobbles
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Written by Natasha D.

Horse with wanderlust? Hobbles can help.

Unless you spend time on a working ranch, you may not have had direct experience using hobbles on your horse. Hobbles come in various designs and are most commonly made of either leather or rope.

Hobbles are used to keep your horse from straying from an area when there are no fences or places for them to be safely tied. Not only will they keep your horse from running away, they provide an excellent training tool for desensitizing around your horse’s legs.

Although they seem like something from the past, hobbles are still used today and considered to be valuable training equipment.

Name Key Features Price Range
Tory Buckle Leather Hobbles
  • Durable Leather
  • Easy to fasten buckle system
  • Chain connector
$
Weaver Latigo Leather Utah Hobbles
  • Adjustable Figure 8 Design
  • Doubled Leather for durability
  • Metal Hardware
$
Al Dunning by Pro Choice Angle Hobbles
  • Fleece Wrapped
  • Adjustable Buckle
  • Heavy Harness Leather
$$
Martin Saddlery Hobble w/ Rawhide Button
  • Button Attachment
  • Twisted Rope Design
  • Easy to use
$
Tough 1 Economy Breeding Hobbles
  • Nylon Web material
  • Padded adjustable neck strap
  • Quick release panic snaps
$$

Hobble Basics

Hobbles come in various styles and designs. Some are made out of smooth leather and have buckle closures, whereas others are made of braided rope and have a simple loop and button tie. Depending on the style, hobbles are placed around the cannon bone or pastern area of your horse’s front legs.

Why might you want to hobble a horse?

  1. To keep your horse in one place when there is nowhere to tie them
  2. To train them to give to pressure
  3. To teach your horse not to panic if they ever get their leg caught in something
  4. While camping or during long distance rides
  5. To teach your horse to accept handling of their feet and legs

Best Horse Hobbles

Tory Buckle Leather Hobbles

These heavy duty leather hobbles are perfect for overnight camping trips and trail rides. With long-lasting stitched leather and weighted chains, these hobbles will keep your horses where you need them to be.

Thanks to their strength and ease of use putting on, these can double as training hobbles.

hobbles

Click to see them at State Line Tack

PROS:

  • Buckle fastener allows for hobbles to fit various sizes of horses
  • Leather material is easy to clean
  • Long lasting and durable

CONS:

Leather material needs to be maintained and conditioned over time

See it at State Line Tack

horse rookie guide to jumping

Weaver Latigo Leather Utah Hobbles

Weaver leather is known for their long lasting and high quality leather products. These leather hobbles are easy to use due to the sliding opening and buckle. They also attach to your saddle or pack in order for quick access.

These hobbles are made from burgundy latigo leather and have the option of brass or nickel plated hardware.

hobbles for horses

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Roller buckle on one side for easy removal
  • Doubled leather creates increased strength and durability
  • Sliding rings allow straps to give and release based on pressure from the horse

CONS:

  • Latigo leather can stretch over time
  • Can be stiff at first and requires conditioning to soften

See it at State Line Tack

Al Dunning by Pro Choice Ankle Hobbles

These fleece-wrapped hobbles are a great choice for the more sensitive horses. The fleece material gently pads the ankle area of your horse while the leather base creates stability and strength. These hobbles are sold in pairs that are not connected together.

This allows the user to use them together or as a single hobble.

horse hobbles

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Fleece material adds comfort and padding
  • Nickel plated hardware will not break
  • Since they are sold in pairs, they are more customizable in usage

CONS:

  • Fleece needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid rubs
  • Sold without connectors
  • Higher price tag

See it at Amazon

Martin Saddlery Hobble w/ Rawhide Button

These rope hobbles are a great option for the horseman/horsewoman that wants a little more flexibility with their hobbles. The rope material is soft enough to not cause rope burns and the rawhide button allows for easy on and off.

These are the perfect training tool for teaching patience and standing still.

horse hobbles

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Rope material is soft on the skin but flexible, so it doesn’t cause pain or discomfort
  • Twisted design allows for slack in the hobble when your horse is standing square
  • No-fuss rawhide button closure

CONS:

  • Can sometimes be hard to fit due to the lack of adjustability
  • Will show dirt due to the light rope color

See it at Amazon

Tough-1 Economy Nylon Breeding Hobbles

No hobble list is complete without a set of breeding hobbles. This set, made by Tough-1, is essential for the breeding barn. Made out of nylon, this hobble set will withstand wear and tear, as well as prevent any chaffing common with rope or leather hobbles.

The neck strap is padded with a soft neoprene-like material that will add extra comfort to the mare that wears it. In addition, the hock portions of the set are equipped with panic snaps for quick removal (if necessary).

horse hobbles

Click to see it at Amazon

PROS:

  • Easy to put on and use
  • Nylon material is easy to clean
  • Keeps breeding mare from kicking

CONS:

  • Quick release snaps can sometimes come undone
  • Hock portion can slip down legs if not fitted correctly

See it at Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

horse rookie guide to jumping

Q: Are hobbles dangerous to horses?

When used correctly, hobbles are designed to be safe for horses. However, when used in the wrong hands, or in an incorrect manner, hobbles can quickly become a safety risk. If you’re not sure how to use them (or train your horse), consult an expert.

Q: How do you hobble a horse?

To hobble a horse, you will loosely tie a connected piece of material around the front two legs. Be sure to only use hobbles designed specifically for horses. 

Q: What does hobble broke mean?

Horses that are hobble-broke will stand relaxed and quiet when their front legs are bound. They are trained to accept pressure and to not panic when restrained around their legs.

Q: How do you teach a horse to hobble?

Teaching a horse to hobble should always be done by someone that has previous hobble training experience. Begin the training session in an area that has soft footing and is free of anything the horse could get tangled in.

Most people start the training by using a cotton lead rope that can easily be released. Once the horse accepts the cotton lead rope, leather hobbles can be introduced.

Parting Thoughts

Training your horse to accept hobbles not only gives you the tool to be able to keep your horses from straying, it also teaches horses to give in to pressure and stay calm in confined situations. By researching the best hobble for your needs, you can buy right the first time and set your horse up for success.

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:

horse rookie guide to jumping

Sources

https://www.quarterhorsenews.com/2018/06/a-hobble-broke-horse-is-a-safer-horse/
https://ker.com/equinews/using-hobbles-horse/

 
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About the author

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Natasha D.

Natasha is a Certified equine massage therapist with experience showing in western pleasure, hunter under saddle, horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She now focuses on reining horses, but dabbles in dressage training when time allows.