How do you handle a spooked horse??

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How do you handle a spooked horse??

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    11-26-2012, 09:10 PM
How do you handle a spooked horse??

Hi I am a novice rider and on Sunday I had my first quite bad fall (not my first fall :P) on a horse that spooked. Basically I was riding along a grass verge with a ditch on one side and a wire fence on the other. I was busy watching the ditch as my horse likes to jump them for fun and being young he is more of a leaper than a dignified jumper. My foot touched the wire fence and it made a sound like an electric fence would. Long story short my horse leaped away from it then gave a big buck as apparently I was hindering his escape plan.
My question is that how do you react fast enough to stop a horse that suddenly spooks to prevent this kind of thing happening. Or is just a matter of having balance good enough that you do not come off??
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    11-26-2012, 09:24 PM
It's instinct lol. Ride young horses long enuf and you just kinda stick in the saddle. My colt will crow hop occasionally without warning. And sometimes jump sideways. It's been our biggest issue since day one. Now I just ride it out and put him into a flat spin or tight head to boot circles. Can't really tell ya how I ride it out or how to sit, I just do it. Sorry if I'm not much help.....
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corgi likes this.
    11-26-2012, 09:42 PM
It's balance and muscle memory from riding experience. Each time you ride, your muscles remember. When your horse spooks or something goes wrong that built up instinct and muscle memory works to try to "save" you. Some times it works and you stay on - sometimes not. The fortunate ones don't fall the same way often if even more than once because their muscles and brains learn what didn't work last time.

The more you ride the more you develop balance and learn how to stay on. It won't mean you'll never fall but the experience helps!
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corgi likes this.
    11-26-2012, 09:46 PM
My horse rarely spooks but yesterday we were riding along the road, ditch on one side, fence on the other and all of a sudden she spooked...BIG TIME. Have no idea why. My husband was in front of us on his horse and Isabella had no where to go so she pretty much freaked out, in place, with lots of dancing and a small buck or two.

6 months ago, I would have come off. The more I ride, the more balanced I become. I find myself relaxing when it happens, instead of tensing up. I just rode
It out, made sure I had control of the reins, and urged her to walk forward.

We both recovered nicely and had a wonderful relaxing ride in the fields across the street.

I am guessing it just gets easier the more experience you get. I have been thrown twice before (different horses) and I know for a fact I would have come off yesterday as well if it been a year ago. I think you just become more balanced and for me, really getting to know my horse and the way she moves..helps a lot.
EvilHorseOfDoom likes this.
    11-26-2012, 09:59 PM
I was riding on a long pleasure rein. Is there a trick to riding with the horse having a loose rein but still maintaining control for this sort of situation?
    11-26-2012, 10:04 PM
I ride with a totally loose rein, but it is not dangling down to her knees. On trails, I actually use a single gaming rein. It is basically not even touching her as far as contact to her mouth, but it is short enough that I can pull back and set her down into a stop immediately. She has a good solid whoa because she was trained pretty well to stop before she ever hit her first trail.
bsms likes this.
    11-26-2012, 10:08 PM
I've practiced this a lot with my mare. FWIW: I use an Australian saddle instead of an English one. Feels the same to my butt, but the poleys in the front help a lot when she spins as well as jumps. I use long stirrups, because I don't do jumping over obstacles. Most of our jumps are the "6 feet sideways" sort, and long legs wrapped around the horse seems to help. I try to monitor her tension level and keep it from reaching the melting point, although I don't always guess right. I try to slowly expand her horizons, rather than pushing her for fast progress. For reins, I do it like Celeste.

Good luck! If need be, don't hesitate to take a break and spend some time working on your balance with a calmer horse. There is no shame in that. I took an 8 MONTH break from riding my "perfect for a beginner" mare () so I could improve my riding to make riding her less dangerous. Just a warning: I took a fall off of her shortly after I started riding, and nearly 4 years later my lower right back is aching after our ride this evening...
    11-26-2012, 10:10 PM
Originally Posted by bsms    
Most of our jumps are the "6 feet sideways" sort...
This is an Arabian specialty gait.
Druydess, BBBCrone and LisaG like this.
    11-26-2012, 10:11 PM
Ride with your hands in the "box". Loose reign but not sloppy loose. Not trying to sound like a butthead, but a long loose reign is dangerous when on questionable horses. I ride split reigns, if you don't find them comfortable in your hands, there are rope split reigns that should feel better. You need to be able to pull a one reign stop without adjusting your reigns in your Hands, you won't have time. And riding in barrel style or tied leather reigns makes one reign stops and hard tight circles harder to do correctly when needed. All in my opinion and experience.
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    11-26-2012, 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by Liligirl    
I was riding on a long pleasure rein. Is there a trick to riding with the horse having a loose rein but still maintaining control for this sort of situation?
The biggest "trick" for me in that situation is keeping myself together while I gather up the reins and regain control. If you can't ride without reins you're in for a bad time in that situation.
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