How to respond to a bolting horse - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 23 Old 09-09-2009, 12:56 PM
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Sultan (in my avatar) bolted 3 times in my lesson on Monday. I completely forgot about the one rein stop. :P
Instead, I sat deep and used my seat to make him go in small circles, and he listened well. He is still only 7 years old and gets quit jumpy, and I doubt he would have known what a one rein stop is.
Maestro (who I used to ride) bolted also (at the same time) and his rider fell because she just pulled on the reins, which made him stronger and faster... :/
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post #22 of 23 Old 09-10-2009, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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How to stop a bolting horse
At the time of posting this note, 777 visits had been made to the thread - that’s quite a few riders looking at what to do if the horse bolts. Riding a bolting horse can be a terrifying experience and one which might lead to a painful fall. So the real question must be what to do to avoid sitting on a bolting horse. Firstly it is very important to think about what to do before it actually happens - what would you do in the circumstances? Don’t necessarily practice, just give the whole question serious consideration after all it might happen to you. Consider the options, devise a plan and commit it to memory. Horses, except for my Joe, don’t usually bolt as an evasion, but they will bolt through fear. So, consider seriously what might make your horse bolt. Work to reduce the horse’s fears. The horse when bolting may well hurt itself - a torn ligament is a very likely possibility. So stopping the animal from bolting is in everyone’s interest not least the horse‘s.
A frightened horse, generally looks to its rider for confidence. The rider will have to calm the horse before the bolt starts, once it has started and immediately after the bolt has come to a stop - regardless of the outcome. So learn about your horse’s psyche and get to know what calms your horse down. Whips don’t work well in such scenarios - pain increases fear. Neither does a bit which crushes a horse’s mouth. Pain doesn’t reduce fear it just makes fear painful. Calm words, soft hands help to soothe a horse - if it will listen. Trouble is that a frightened horse does not hear too well. So somehow, to prevent your horse from bolting, you’ve got to get it to trust you. Work on it.
What I am trying to say is that prevention is better than cure. To survive a ride on a bolting horse is as much a matter of luck as judgement, but a trip to the A&E in a hospital is nearly always a painful experience. From all the advice posted on this thread, work out what you might do in the circumstances and think of a back up plan. As I wrote before, don’t practice as there is a good chance it won’t ever happen to you.
But one thing to consider very seriously is the preparation for any ride
Never ride out without wearing a riding hat.
Consider seriously wearing a body protector and even a day-glo jacket
Connect to the horse’s bridle a tag marked with the address and telephone number of the stable.
Keep in the pocket, a card with the name and home address of the rider together with at least two emergency telephone numbers
Carry a mobile phone
And finally always tell someone where you are going and how long for
Oh and seriously think of riding out with a friend.
There is no best way to survive a bolt. You will have to keep your calm for a minute or two which will seem like an hour or so. Sit the ride out, keep your seat, steer the horse away from dangerous obstacles. Transmit to the horse your confidence and competence. Don’t shout. Bring the horse down from bolt, to gallop, to canter, to trot, to walk. Remember that the biggest risk to the rider of a bolting horse is that the horse loses its footing. Don’t do anything to unbalance the horse.
Oh, one other thing, don’t fall off.
Be lucky.
Barry G
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post #23 of 23 Old 09-29-2009, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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How to stop a bolting horse. - POSTCRIPT.

This thread at the time of writing, has attracted over 1000 readers. It is the most well read thread that I have started or have contributed to, which is a bit of a worry to me. It would seem that the bolt is a serious concern for many riders both experienced and novice. In the olden days ‘bolters’ were classified as “lawless” and many were put down. Whirlers+bolters are especially dangerous since the rider is thrown off balance at the beginning of the evasion by the whirl.

As I have written elsewhere the only real defence against a determined bolter is not to allow the bolt to develop in the first place. Arguably known bolters should
not be ridden out in the community. However many horses spook and some become seriously frightened when out on a ride and any frightened horse can become a runaway. The description “bolter” suggests the horse has the intent to run off as an evasion.

One should never ever practice by invoking a bolt but one can develop skills which might come in handy in the event of having to ride out a bolting horse ie:
learning to sit the gallop and to direct the horse
knowing the inherent dangers in galloping.
understanding the principle behind disengaging the horse.
the importance of controlling the head and neck of the horse.
realizing that one can’t stop a horse galloping/cantering downhill until the ground levels out particularly if the terrain is hard surfaced.
These are all topics to sit and discuss with experienced riders and knowledgeable tutors.

It seems to me that most rider training takes place on the horse in the arena; far too little theoretical work takes place in the classroom. Every horse rider should have in mind a course of action should one be unlucky enough to experience a defiant runaway horse

When learning to fly then the sequence of tuition is
1/ A briefing for the coming flight
2/ The flight and the hands on tuition therein
3/ The debriefing of the flight during which what went well and what went wrong is discussed.
We riders would do well to devise a similar procedure.

Luckily most folks survive a runaway horse event with no more outcome than a rush of adrenaline and a lifelong memory. However for some other folks the outcome can be far more serious.

Barry G
xxBarry Godden is offline  

bolting , fear

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