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How best to stop a bolt?

This is a discussion on How best to stop a bolt? within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How to handle when your horse tries to bolt
  • Horse has no forward then bolts

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    11-01-2011, 08:10 PM
  #11
Foal
What I do when a horse bolts varies quite a bit. If I am in an arena and the horse is still responsive to my aids then I will make them go in a circle and squeeze the reins every stride till they calm down (using a calm or strong voice is good, but if your voice is nervous or scared it makes the situation worse). If the horse is responsive but I am not in the arena then I try to have a little of a restricting seat and squeeze on the reins. If I am in the arena and the horse isn't responsive I have had to use the pulley rein to steer them into walls so I wouldn't possibly injure the other horses and riders with me. If I'm not in the arena and the horse isn't responsive then I just ride it out and keep the horse out of way of objects until the horse is responsive and I can ask them to stop. That is how I handle it after a horse I owned that loved to bolt. :)
     
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    11-01-2011, 08:13 PM
  #12
Trained
Any horse I ride that tries to bolt had better stop in about 2 strides because if it takes longer than that I'm going to stop trying to stop the horse and go to spurring. The runaway doesn't last long after that and rarely happens again. There is possibly nothing I hate worse than a runaway.
Walkamile and Tianimalz like this.
     
    11-01-2011, 08:29 PM
  #13
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
Any horse I ride that tries to bolt had better stop in about 2 strides because if it takes longer than that I'm going to stop trying to stop the horse and go to spurring.
I had a friend do that once! She got sick of trying to stop his bolts and decided to make him keep running. Every time he tried to slow down, she made him gallop again. I think the horse thought she was nuts, but he never tried it again after that.
     
    11-01-2011, 09:41 PM
  #14
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
Any horse I ride that tries to bolt had better stop in about 2 strides because if it takes longer than that I'm going to stop trying to stop the horse and go to spurring. The runaway doesn't last long after that and rarely happens again. There is possibly nothing I hate worse than a runaway.
I bet that's effective! I don't know if I'd have the guts to do that yet... or that much space to run. Lucky for me none of the horses I've been on that bolted got more than 50-100 yards, and half of that is me getting myself under control and convincing my legs to relax before actually doing anything about the horse.

ETA: That's in the wide open, never had a horse try to actually bolt in an arena or pasture with me.
     
    11-01-2011, 10:06 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck    
I had a friend do that once! She got sick of trying to stop his bolts and decided to make him keep running. Every time he tried to slow down, she made him gallop again. I think the horse thought she was nuts, but he never tried it again after that.
Walka took off with me.....once. Like Kevin, I made his idea the worst one ever, and when I finally asked him to stop, he couldn't do it fast enough. I was on a very narrow trail at the time and felt it was the only safe choice. He has never done this since that day.
     
    11-02-2011, 07:05 AM
  #16
Started
There are several long threads on the forum which discuss how to handle a horse which is bolting. I suggest you do a search and look them up.

A western rider will utilise the one rein stop - the English rider will pull back on the reins and try to bend the horse's neck onto its supple side. But neither is a good answer.

Far more important is for the rider to be in full control of the horse throughout the ride. Even an otherwise calm horse being ridden in a string of horses is prone to the mood and atmosphere of the group of horses. If one bolts then there is a good change that the other horses will be tempted to follow.

So the proper answer to your question is : don't allow yourself to be in a situation where the horse can take off, stretch its neck and snatch the reins from your hands. By all means talk to your companions but don't relax your concentration of steering and controlling the horse. And as for riding on a long loose rein rather than collected with a light contact with the horse's mouth - well you are asking for trouble - going out or coming home.

A horse which learns to bolt - out of gross disobedience is a danger to the rider and itself. It must be re-schooled and the rider must be taught how to keep the horse under control.

A horse which runs out of fear must be desensitised to whatever caused the fear, be it dogs, geese, pigs, donkeys - whatever.

Ambling along on a bright sunny day with a few companions is a delight, but that is just when a mischievious horse knows when to have some fun. If you come off at the bolt after being thrown off guard you'll hit the ground with force.

If you want to learn how to keep an excited horse under control - I suggest you talk with some local riders who go fox hunting. They will show you the tips - they have the problem from the moment the huntsman first blows his horn.
BCtazzie likes this.
     
    11-02-2011, 08:00 AM
  #17
Weanling
^^ YES! I remember a few people that still owe their hunt club a jug of port due to passing the Hunts master at full speed..
     
    11-02-2011, 08:02 AM
  #18
Trained
My horse gets strong and over-forward and then bolts when I get scared. He is anglo-arab so very sensitive to my emotions, fear especially. My coach is teaching me how to shut him down and what we do is kind of similar to the pulley rein but it's not constant pressure on the free hand... as it is an EMERGENCY stop (and we use a snaffle) firm on-off-on-off pressure works much better. You don't yank, you don't give the horse anything to fight against. The release is the most important part. I'm still working on that!!

I have seen my coach employ the emergency stop he is teaching me, using it on a VERY strong and wilful 15hh welsh cob... he could stop that cob every time within the space of a stride.

I disagree with Barry, a long loose rein is not necessarily a recipe for disaster. It depends on the horse, and how fast the rider can shorten their reins. Long reins mean little to no leverage which means little to no stopping power. A skilled rider with a strong position can stop pretty much any horse if they have to (the example my coach used was a 17hh OTTB that thinks it's race day). It's when we have weaknesses in our position that our horses can pull us off balance and get away from us. I have a tendency to slouch a little bit and I definitely have pram hands... causing all the problems I have with Monty, including difficulty getting him to work into the bridle. It's a bit hard for him to work into a contact when that contact is inconsistent.

As a person who has struggled with this issue with three horses now, the best thing you can do is get a good coach and learn how to shut your horse down as soon as the feel changes. As soon as he goes heavy on the forehand, I know that Monty is about to buck, and I know I have to shut him down. He bucks in the canter sometimes, especially the transitions, and that is how he gets away from me. As soon as that head goes down and his forehand is heavier, I have to shut him down and bring him back to a trot.

As soon as he gets heavy in my hands when we're jumping, I have to shut him down. Walk or halt, either works. He gets strong, he is NOT allowed to jump. He has to listen to a 1/10 aid or he doesn't jump. I have had to apply 10/10 to get him to stop!! Didn't really like doing that but it did make him lighter. You give them the option to respond to the light aid and then you get tough on them. With a young or green horse the aids you use progress from the lightest touch upwards until you get a result. SLOWLY. With a horse that KNOWS, it's literally, touch 'pretty please' and if no result 'YOU WILL DO IT NOW'. The trick is knowing how much your individual needs, and it varies according to the horse's energy level on the day.

With a horse that is strong, or a bolter, you have issues in the slower gaits as well as the canter and/or jumping, so the basic flatwork is going to help. Respect is vital. Respect of ALL the aids! You have to have a soft stop, soft forward (CONTROLLED forward with good rhythm at the gait/length of stride you are asking for), and very good soft left and right turns. If those basics aren't there, that's when you have a horse that is difficult. My coach likes me to re-establish the very very basics every time I warm my horse up.

Now, I hate using the 10/10 aid, but it is necessary sometimes! 10/10 is only for emergencies when you can't stop the horse no matter what else you do. It is ALL your strength, coming from a STRONG position, core engaged and heels down. The release and soften from YOU is the most important part of any aid. My coach is always at me to be firm with Monty. FIRM, not harsh, not rough. You don't yank. Ever. Not unless it's a REAL emergency and you really need STOP NOW NO QUESTIONS JUST DO IT.

Boy I wish I'd had the confidence and strength of position to use the 10/10 aid back months ago when I had my bad fall... that fall would never have happened. I firmly believe that had I not been wearing a helmet I would have died that day, or worse, ended up with some degree of brain damage. Long story short, we were galloping, Monty got too forward, and he wouldn't slow up no matter what I did... because I didn't have the strength of position to apply an aid strong enough.

I believe he would have bolted with me (AGAIN. For about the 10th time) today had my coach not been there to help me shut him down. Mind, it's not easy to fall out of my saddle, but even so, being bolted with is terrifying. I have fallen out of my saddle 3 times since I bought it... one of them was silly, I went one way and my horse at the time went the other. The other two, both off Monty, could have been very nasty. One, Monty bucked me off (canter transitions in group lessons SUCK - well, actually, when his energy is up, no matter the circumstance, he wants to buck), and the other was my bad fall.

The only thing that knowing how to shut a horse down won't help is not enough forward! There are different methods that you use for different problems, of course. Bucking and bolting are shut down using pretty similar methods - hands UP and strong but flexible position - whereas if you can feel a rear coming a one rein stop is invaluable. DO NOT turn a horse that is already off the ground in a rear. ONLY use the ORS if you feel it coming and can act in time.

Um. Sorry for the novel!

Edit; forgot something
     
    11-02-2011, 08:26 AM
  #19
Foal
I agree with freedestiny and mn tigerstripes. But it all depends on the situation and the horse what will work the best. Talking to your horse always helps no matter what the situation, just remember to keep your voice calm, and your butt deep in your seat n lean back as you put pressure on their mouth. Most peoples biggest problem is that when they pull back on a bolting horse is they raise their hands always remember to keep them low. If your hands are to high you're just pulling thier head up not asking to slow their movement.
I think that the true key to stoping a bolt is to stay calm, if they feel you getting nurvous it drives them forward, bc it increases their fear responce.
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    11-02-2011, 08:33 AM
  #20
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
There are several long threads on the forum which discuss how to handle a horse which is bolting. I suggest you do a search and look them up.
I tried, but after wading through pages of minimally relevant information, I gave up. The forum search engine isn't exactly perfect... or even very useful, tbh. If you can find any of those threads, I would be happy to read them, but I just didn't have any luck. For the rest of it, I agree, as I said, the real 'solution' is always prevention.
     

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