I knew we had a problem before, but it's just gotten worse. The last few days I've gone out, I've tied Bijou up to solid tie rails with good footing around them (short grass or rubber mats/dirt). She's wearing a triple thick nylon halter, I've done up the buckle so it can't break, and now she's ripping through 8 ft cotton leads like floss.
Today I 'triggered' her by walking up, picking up a curry, patting her on the neck, and beginning to curry. I got to a spot on her ribs, where I've brushed a hundred times before, no signs of discomfort or anything, and all of a sudden she's ripped through the lead rope and gone spinning the other direction. I calmly go grab her, tie the lead back together, and re-tie her.
Second time, I pull the saddle out of the tack room, walk over and set it on the tie rail about 3-4 ft away from her. She's fine with that part mostly, a little put off by it, I can tell because she leans back and gives it a little of an 'eye' and I stand there and make reassuring sounds at her. The reassuring sounds somehow don't do it for her, she hits the end of the lead, feels trapped? and then YANK off she goes with the other half of the lead dangling. This time she got so caught on her hind end, that when she snapped the lead sideways she slowly fell on her side, sat there for a second like "wow" and then got back up and started eating.
There've been a few times where she didn't pull hard enough to snap anything and ended up finally releasing and 'getting it' that if she just quit there was nothing to be afraid of. I've tried working on the 'head-down' cue but she's really tough. It takes me wrapping the lead under a leg and leaning on it in order for her to respond the first few times. Then she'll do it a few times, and all of a sudden we're back to square one. I release the second she gives in every time, but with this she's just not clueing in.
I'm really worried about this! I don't want to hurt her, or have her hurt herself. I try to give her the best footing I can so she won't flip, fall, slip etc. I don't like using methods that let them get away so I don't want to use baling twine. I've thought about getting a blocker type tie ring, but they're expensive and I don't know if it would work. I'm doing some research, any tips would be great.