How to respond to a bolting horse - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 23 Old 07-20-2009, 08:31 PM
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I love the one rein stop. One time I had a horse buck then take off, making both reins go on one side. Since I knew the one rein emergency stop, I was able to stop the horse

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post #12 of 23 Old 07-20-2009, 09:31 PM
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I HATE the one rein stop. I use the principle to flex my horses neck at a halt, but that's it. I see it as dangerous and would never attempt it on a horse going any faster than a trot.

My horse bolts? They are gaing to haul that butt into a stop quick smart. There are more appropriate ways to express fear that I teach all my horses. I have a good whoah button and secure seat and have never found a horse yet I couldn't stop. I also don't steer toward fences/hedges etc. as one horse I owned had no sense of self preservation and would attempt to jump/crash through anything you pointed him at. Great trait for an eventer, not so much for safety!

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post #13 of 23 Old 07-20-2009, 11:06 PM
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I kind of liked the article, and agree, a novice rider in an english saddle is not going to survive the one rein stop because of the complete lack of horn to hold onto when spinning. I would use both principals depending on the situation. If I'm with a group, I would one rein as long as I'm on steady ground, no concrete, so I preserved the herd and didn't cause others to bolt after me. But if I really wanted to teach a bolting horse a lesson, I might just let him run, and when he wants to quit, we keep going. For a novice, knowing to stay calm and that horses instinct isn't to run forever, they might actually realize they could really rise to the challenge, not bail, and sit it out. Terrain is a good thing to know to look for when bolting. I know I have employeed hills, walls, fences, in my stopping technique, that way he heard it from himself that he should have stopped, not me. Also I've found to much one rein stopping teaches them that turning means slow down and then when you want to just circle at the trot your horse breaks to a walk.

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post #14 of 23 Old 08-15-2009, 06:22 PM
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I think that a one rein stop is one of the first things a novice should learn. It should be used before a great deal of speed has built up.

We'd teach them how to turn them in a large circle, getting smaller as the horse slowed so we could get them to safely stop without cranking the head around and getting them too off balance.

Some of you have said not to ride out the bolt if the horse is going too fast for a one rein stop. What do you advise people to do? Bail off????

Some riders get so frightened that they do not react quickly enough. That fear goes right to the horse and the horse takes advantage of that fear.

We used to teach young riders how to stop in a small arena. We helped them work on reaction time. Then when we were riding out in the open pastures, we could be relatively sure that if something popped out from behind a bush and a horse took off, they'd have the skills to quickly remedy the situation.

Most youngsters have a quicker reaction time than we old people do (just look at those computer games and all) so they can be taught from the beginning to be quick and effective.
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post #15 of 23 Old 08-17-2009, 06:53 PM
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Good article. Guess I've officially made it out of novice land because my whirler/bolter and I do text book emergency stops. A few weeks ago, my OTTB and I were out trail riding with some others. We got lost in the woods and had to come out onto a road to get back to the trailer. My horse made it safely past cars, dogs, lawn mowers and kids running around in their yards. Then we stumbled across, of all things, a llama. A big, ugly, hairy, spitting llama. My horse stopped dead in his tracks, tensed up like nothing I've ever felt before, let out a shriek, spun around and got at about 4 very strong gallop strides in (right in the middle of the road) before I was able to pull him up with a one rein stop. (probably more the pulley rein variety, more leverage than bending). We never did get past the llama. We had to back track many miles to get to the trailer, but better safe than get killed in the middle of the road. If he had succeeded in getting into a full bolt, I would have been so screwed.

Anyway, my point is this. I don't think any rider, regardless of skill level, has a chance in hell of addressing a bolt if they have not previously prepared for it. I do agree that once the horse gets past the initial few strides of bolting, you're best bet probably is just to ride it out and try to talk him down, but if you're in the middle of a road as I was, prevention is the far better option. My horse and I practiced both the one rein stop and pulley rein stop at all gaits within the confines of the ring before we ever attempted riding in open spaces. Both have saved my butt again and again. As long as I can sit out the initial spin, I know that 100% I can pull him up within a few strides. I have the luxury of only riding one horse and knowing how he reacts to various situations. If I were teaching other riders, I would drill both emergency moves into their brains until all they are doing it in their sleep. I cannot believe how many riders venture out onto trails without any training in the area of emergency stops.

Once in an all out run, I would say sit back, tall and deep to create as much drag as possible. As you said, use the terrain to your advantage.
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post #16 of 23 Old 08-17-2009, 11:48 PM
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I pull back on both reins, or jiggle the reins if I feel the horse has the bit between his teeth. Also, I talk to my horse and he usually becomes intent on listening and naturally slows down
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post #17 of 23 Old 08-21-2009, 04:25 PM
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Pulling on both reins is the worst thing you can do. Most will run through the bridle (brace/bore into the bit and run harder pulling/pitching you completely out of the saddle or rip the reins out of your hands.) One rein stops do work if it is timed correctly and the horse understands it. But if a horse has already straightened out, braced and bolted, you're screwed with the one rein stop. That said, I don't advocate riding it out either. You can shut a horse down with a pulley rein which is nothing like the one rein stop. This is where you take one rein in your strongest hand, shorten it as much as you can, anchor your hand/rein over the center of the neck by grabbing a fist full of mane or boring your knuckles in, slide your other hand down the other rein as far as you can and pull UP and slightly back using ALL of your weight. With the one hand locked/anchored/braced the horse cannot turn it's head, and allows the other rein to create a LOT of pressure. Before I do this though, I try to get the horse to come back to me - to listen to me - by doing three QUICK hard yanks/release on one rein, then pull the other rein around immediately. When you are jerking he cannot lean on you as you release it immediately and by the third yank he's anticipating it, so you pull the other rein around. If that doesn't double him or get him listening, repeat it only reverse the sides. If that still doesn't work, use the pulley rein to shut them down.
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post #18 of 23 Old 08-21-2009, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry Godden View Post
How to stop a bolting horse. I wrote a reply to this problem partly because I used to own a horse prone to whirling & bolting. I had intended that the article be viewed from an English style rider’s point of view. British riders are not usually taught sliding stops in any form – quite simply neither the English bridle set nor the English saddle are designed for such techniques and then there is always the risk to the check ligament. Yes, a spirited horse may be ridden restricted by leather martingales or nose bands but of all the bits available few match the severity of an American levered bit. Yet the need in Britain to control a frightened horse in the narrow country lanes and over crowded highways is much greater than in the wide open spaces of the US. In Britain the majority of horses must be rideable within the community amidst fast moving traffic. Indeed an experienced rider can hire a horse to ride in the very centre of London. A persistent runaway horse cannot be tolerated as they may maim or even kill innocent passers by. Consequently the British approach to horses is different. Persistent bolters become classified as “lawless” and are put to one side. However a severely frightened horse that gallops off through fear needs help in controlling its fear. The application of pain onto a severely frightened horse will merely reinforce the fear. Generally speaking to control a runaway the horseman can either turn or bend the neck or seek obstacles to forward movement or exhaust the horse. The over use of a harsh bit may provoke other additional forms of evasion such as rearing. The present trends in training techniques in Britain, thanks partly to the influence of Monty Roberts, concentrate more on the encouragement of the horse to comply with and trust the rider rather than to submit to and fear the hands of the rider. Barry Godden

Mr. Godden, I do believe that you need to make a trip to the US, or, if you already have, look a little further. The "wide open spaces of the US" are few and far between where I live. Many of my trail rides include major highways, busy bridges over major highways, busy intersections, even the occasional fast food drive through. If a horse is not yet prepared for that, it will not be leaving my property. If a horse does not yet know how to look to me as the leader when it hits a sense of panic, it will not leave the property. If I have not yet learned to manage the fight or flight reflex of a horse, then I have no business being on that horses back.

The only wide open spaces that my horses see is when we are working cows, which we have to trailer them to. Again, they won't do this until they can be attentive to me in a less than perfect situation and not panic at the sound of a gun shot or a bull whip popping over their head. Once the cows are off to market, the horses are right back in dressage training.

If I am on a horse that bolts, then I obviously did not do the best job training that horse. I would work at it until it did stop, I would then back track in training until I figured out what went wrong.

If a novice were put in the unfortunate event of being on a runaway horse, then their only options would be to pull it together and work to stop, ride it out, or bail and hope for the best. I find that it is much easier to train the horse than to train the people to ride it.

I personally have never met a bolter that was beyond help. I have also never met a horse so spirited that it is incapable of looking to a person as a leader. I have met horses that are spirited because they lack leadership and manners. English and Western are simply saddles between a human and a horses back. Proper mechanical structure and function are the same regardless. Teaching the horse proper posture and self carriage are the same, the horses body doesn't change. Correct frame of mind where true learning is achieved is the same from breed to breed. Different breeds may have different tendencies, but they all have the capabilities to be comfortable in their frame of mind given that they have had the proper instruction. When given a problem, I do not look at how to avoid it or how to stop what I see, I want to know why it is there in the first place. I want to know why that horse thinks that its decision to run is better than my decision to stay. I don't work around my horses, I work with them. That is how I do it in the US anyway.
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post #19 of 23 Old 08-26-2009, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Oh I looked hard and deep to find out why Joe had this vice of whirling and bolting. I could hold him on the flat - he was turned through 360 degrees. I gave him the benefit of the doubt until one day he got me on a steep tarmac lane. I slid forwards onto his neck and hit the tarmac hard - there was no pommel on that Icelandic saddle.
Reasoning? Well before I got him, he'd had a hard life working professionally in a riding centre up in the mountains. He'd taken novices and experienced riders up to the ridge and back down again - twice a day sometimes.
He was eventually expelled from trekking for being "difficult".
His breeding was probably a Galloway (now extinct) - 1/3 rd cart horse, 1/3rd pack horse 1/3rd riding horse. What we Brits call a "cob". He did not suffer fools gladly and he never gave in to a human.
I could trust him implicitly both in the centre of a city and on a hilltop ridge. But towards the end every now and again he would have a turn and go barn sour. On that particular day he tore a check ligament. After 4 months of box rest, when sound again, he had me again in the centre of the village - he wanted me off his back - no doubt. Reluctantly I passed him back to his first owner who lives up in the wild hills of SW Scotland. He lasted just 12 months, half of which time he was lame. They put him down 5 weeks ago.

I miss him. He was a one off horse. If I had kept him, he'd still be alive, eating more and more grass.

But why did he turn on me? - I'll never know. I asked a lot of professional horsey folks as to why but they never came up with an answer I could recognise. With hindsight I wonder if the ligament weakness had been in place for some time. It would fit with his earlier working life. Maybe on somedays his leg played him up and he felt he had a good reason for not going out? But the assumption was usually that he was being cussed.

At the end, he got to weigh about 650 kilos - partly because of the confinement to the stable. But I could no longer trust him in a semi urban environment surrounded by single track country lanes bounded by high hedges - which is exactly why I passed him on.
But when they found he could not work for a living up in Scotland, he was no longer an economic proposition - so they sent him on his way. And as I said I miss him still.

As for stopping a bolting horse - the original subject for this thread - well in Joe's case there were two options - you directed yourself and the horse at something really solid - or you hung on until he changed his mind.

Joe was a throwback to the Knight's Charger - he was born 7 centuries too late - which is perhaps why Galloways are extinct.
Barry G
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post #20 of 23 Old 08-31-2009, 06:39 PM
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I wouldn't take horse out on trail rides that had a habit of bolting or I wasn't sure I could stop very quickly if something did spook them. Gypsum's first line of emergency brakes are saying "ho" loudly and imperatively and using strong seat and reins to stop. If we are just galloping for the craic in a field, the strong voice command alone can bring her skidding to at least a walk. Handy when someone walking their dog suddenly appears. Anyway, should she be so freaked that this fails (rare), the one rein stop does the job. This works in both the US and the UK. We've never had a bolt that lasted for more than three or four strides of gallop.

I'd certainly never ride on a road -- unfortunately the location of a lot of my riding these days -- unless I was ****ed sure I could stop my horse.
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bolting , fear

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