Hobble (device)

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A hobbled donkey in Sardinia

A hobble is a device that prevents or limits the locomotion of a human or an animal, by tethering one or more legs. Although hobbles are most commonly used on horses, they are sometimes used also on other animals. On dogs, they are used especially during force-fetch training to limit the movement of a dog's front paws when training it to stay still.[1] They are made from leather, rope or synthetic materials such as nylon and Neoprene. There are various designs for breeding, casting and mounting horses.


Hind leg pull up strap
Drovers' and cattle hobbles

Western horse hobbles[edit]

"Western"-style horse hobbles are tied around the pasterns or cannon bones of the front legs of the horse. They comprise three basic types:

The above patterns are unsuitable for training as they can tighten around a leg and cause injury.

Western hobbles are normally used to secure a horse when no tie device, tree or other object is available to secure a horse. When traveling across open lands, if a rider has to dismount for various reasons, the horse can be secured. Hobbles also allow a horse to graze and move short and slow distances, but prevent the horse from running off too far. This is handy at night if the rider has to get some sleep so in the morning he can find his horse, not too far away.

Hobble training a horse is a form of "sacking out" and desensitizing a horse to accept restraints on its legs. This helps a horse accept pressure on its legs in case it ever gets caught up in some barbed wire or fencing. A hobble trained horse is less likely to pull, struggle and cut its legs in a panic, since it has been taught to give to pressure in its legs.

Other hobbles[edit]

Pacing hopples


hobble rope

(a sound in the range of [] to [])

cattle hobble, or yoke

(Egyptian numeral for 10)

Hobbles date at least as far back as Ancient Egypt. Two Egyptian hieroglyphs are believed to depict hobbles.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dog Hobbles, Gun Dogs Online, accessed December 5, 2008.
  2. ^ Solid Hide Belts Retrieved on 11-3-2009
  3. ^ "Nylon Breeding Hobbles". KY Horse. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  1. R. J. Sagely. "The How-To's of the Hobble". Retrieved October 25, 2005.  — A detailed discussion of the various types of Western hobbles
  2. Alan Henderson Gardiner (1957). Egyptian Grammar; Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs. Griffith Institute.