Thank you +Nobilis Reed for the question.
So, your hero is trying to get out of a sticky situation. He steals one horse from a big stable.
How does he stop the bad guys from grabbing another horse and chasing him? Or at least slow them down?
The first cliche is to set fire to the stable, but this is the hero, we don't want him doing something like that.
The second is to run the horses out - the problem with this is that half of them would just go back to the stalls. (Including, horses sometimes being quite, quite determined to wreck their own survival if he then sets fire to the stable).
So, what could he do?
1. He could sabotage the tack. Most tack in a stable is kept in a tack or harness room. Slashing through the cheek pieces on every bridle in the place would force any pursuer to ride in a halter - a much more challenging proposition. For good measure, he could do the girths as well. (Reins are too easy to jury rig with rope, etc).
2. In a more modern setting, he could run the horses out into a pasture and then padlock the gate and make off with the key. (Many people padlock horse pasture gates on both the latch and hinges end to prevent rustling).
3. He could use a drug, potion, or spell on the remaining horses to make them sluggish, lethargic, or alternatively aggressive and unwilling to be handled.
4. He could feed the horses extra grain - then anyone who rode after him immediately would risk killing the horse. (Of course, this would only work if the bad guys cared about that...)