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This is a discussion on bolting within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Hard mouthed pony who bolts
  • Green horse keeps bolting during group lessons

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    08-12-2008, 11:38 PM

Hey all.
I'm just looking for some advice.
I love my pony Snapple very dealy, but I have a problem with her.
OK, so we have a fenced in arena at our house. It used to have a rope across the entrance, but my dad extended the arena and now there is a huge entranceway, at least a couple metres,
It's an outdoor, non covered arena
When I ride Snapple in the arena, she pulls me over to the entrance, and bolts back to the barn.. I can't stop her, she just keeps walking toward the gate, then she bolts.. what can I do to stop this? She has always done this

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    08-13-2008, 06:50 AM
Do one rein stop. And when you feel she wants to take off - disengage her hindquarters and make 2-3 turns and walk again. As long as you feel she's ready to take off - do it again.
    08-13-2008, 10:04 AM
The one rein stop is an excellent was to stop her but you need some help in training her.

How big is your pony and how big are you? Has she always done this or is it new? How much training have you and your pony had? Will she do this with everyone or just you?

She sounds like she is very barn sour and you don't have the experience to stop her. One of the things I would do with this pony is to first saddle her up and tie her to the arena fence (by a halter of course) for an hour or two. (She needs to learn that she has a job to do and returing to the barn is not an option.) I would then lunge her. Only after all that would I get on. If she is still turning to the barn, then get more assertive and pull her head around while using your outside leg to push her in the direction you want her to go.

You need to be much more assertive with your pony and she needs to learn respect. The longer this has been going on the harder it will be to correct it but you can do it with a little confidence.
    08-13-2008, 12:34 PM
I agree with the person above, you not only need to be able to stop, but also you need her trained so you can conquer her problem. This may sound silly, but I also suggest a gate or a rope. Maybe at the start of every session, you should walk her towrds the gate, and if she tries to bolt, once again do the one rein stop, take her back, and repeat until she doesn't bolt. Repeat a couple of times after she HASN'T bolted, just to make sure. That I all I can really think of, apart from getting a stronger bit. Hope this helped.
    08-13-2008, 03:26 PM
Thank you for the advice everyone

I'll try to answer some of the questions that were posted here

She is 12.3 hands.. not very big, but I am only 5' 4".. I have taken riding lessons for about 3 years, but I stopped about 2 years ago, I took them when I was about 12 years old till about 15 years old. She has always done this with me, no one else in my family have really ridden her.
I tried the turn her in a circle thing, but I can't get her to circle, she just turns her head and keeps going.
I just have a simple Snaffle on her right now, what other bit would someone recommend?

Thanks again everyone!
    08-13-2008, 05:08 PM
Green Broke
I agree with using a one rein stop, but I would first teach her how to do one. (I think it's more effective that way) To do a proper one rein stop, you take your hand and clamp it to the side of your hip, and you do not let go until she releases the pressure. (make sure your other hand is forward so you're only pulling from one side) She will probably walk/spin in a circle for a while, stand still, pull against your hand, poke her nose up, down, etc, and finally start licking and chewing, and release the pressure. Immediately release the rein as soon as she releases! And only then. Practice this on both sides several times every day. Eventually as soon as you bring your hand to your hip she'll stop. Then when you really need to use the one rein stop (like when she's trying to drag you) she'll stop.

When she drags you to the gate, does she point her nose towards it first? Does she start drifting her shoulder towards it? Does she give you any tiny clue before she heads out? Most likely she does! Watch for any signs (even a flick of an ear) so you can get her moving past the gate (cut off that section of the arena if you need to). When she starts going to the gate, point her nose away from it and kick her forward, using a crop if you need to.

Most of all, she needs to learn that leaving the arena does NOT mean her work is done! On barn sour horses, I spend literally hours going out the arena, to the barn, back to the arena, to the barn, etc. Sometimes I get off, tie them up in the barn for a 5 minutes, and then get back on. Sometimes I walk to the barn and trot away, over and over again. (never let her go faster then a walk towards) On really barn sour horses I ONLY leave the arena by backing out of it (make them work for it! And it's harder for them to bolt out). Sometimes I get off at the arena, walk down to the barn, and then give them a good lunge in front of the barn. No matter where she is if you say work, she works! If she bolts back to the barn it is very important to WORK HER BUTT OFF! Never ever ever just get off and untack!

So, this post is a bit of a novel... but I work primarily with ponies and wow, do I get a LOT of barn sour guys in! It might take a while (esp if she's been doing this a while) but keep mixing it up, work her butt off all over the place and eventually she'll get better and better.
    08-13-2008, 06:24 PM
I just take one rein and jab my horse's mouth, as if to say
    08-14-2008, 03:49 PM
Originally Posted by Snapple122
I tried the turn her in a circle thing, but I can't get her to circle, she just turns her head and keeps going.
Everything I need to know about riding I learned from aikido lol... Try to circle her away from the barn and when she pulls in the other direction circle her in that direction. Her momentum will already be going that way and it will be much harder for her to resist you. I've used this technique on hard-mouthed horses before and it worked pretty well.
    08-14-2008, 04:49 PM
I was just admiring the picture of your pony again and failed to notice how small that saddle is on her. I'm not talking about the seat size, which may be fine for you, but I doubt it due to your age and height. The saddle, and especially with you in it is definitely pinching her pretty badly up by her withers. That may be part of the problem you are having.

    08-14-2008, 05:22 PM
A one-rein stop should help, most definitely. Also, turning her in circles while she's acting like that should help you.

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