What are your emergency strategies? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 49 Old 02-19-2012, 11:20 PM
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Really, the goal is to prevent this situation from happening. There are going to be signs of an impending rear, but there aren't always warning signs before a buck.

The trick is for most "bad" behavior (besides bolting) is to move forward. Horses have to plant their feet to buck or rear. So making them move forward will prevent a rear and diminish the bucking capacity. The next trick, for a buck is to get the head up, so they can't continue bucking, but KEEP GOING forward. If you teach them that bad behavior means stop they might continue said bad behavior to get out of work.

As for bolting generally a "pully rein" will work or aiming them at a fence or trees we have a 21 year old bolter at the barn whose a blast to ride most of the time but occasionally just has to go lol. 99% of horses are smart enough not to run into the trees or the fence and the 1% that aren't, are not worth keeping (they're what I call "stupidly dangerous" and will get you {and itself} hurt).

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post #22 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 02:04 PM
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Something mechanical is not anything like the real thing!

The Emergency Dismount is the most illogical and unsafe thing to try and teach anyone, young or old! With this the rider is taught to lean forward, wrap their arms around the horse's neck and throw a leg clear and land on their feet.
OK so what do you wrap your arms around if the horse has its head down bucking, or has stumbled badly? There is no neck to wrap your arms around!
Even if the rider gets their arms around the neck and the horse then dives its head down and bucks then the rider is going to be open to landing straight on their head.
I was taught, as a child to stay on as long as you could! Often didn't work. LOL

The one thing that all those that learnt to ride did and that was to play gymkhana games, this taught us to jump on and off at a fast canter/gallop and land running alongside the pony.
We also fell off a lot! not so much in lessons but when we were messing about on the ponies bareback. That teaches you how to land when you do fall.

Several things are very different to when I was first starting out.
First off, there were no back protectors.
Riding helmets were made of cork and then many years later, fibreglass. The lining was a slippery silk like material and the hat was held on with an elastic strap under the chin.
Saddles had no knee rolls so there was nothing to keep you securely in place, if you were going to fall then you did, and fell clear.
I am sure that many rotational falls are so bad is because the knee rolls keep the rider in the plate for to long.

I always taught my rider to lean back if anything happened, to shove their lower leg forward and brace against the stirrups. That way, if the horse was bucking or stumbled badly, the rider had to go through the upright position before going over the horse's head.

When it comes to jump jockeys falling it is a different matter. They usually only fall because the horse makes a bad mistake and is going to fall itself. Then the horse is on the way to the ground so less distance to fall. They learn to hit the ground and roll into a ball. This gets them away from their own horse, makes a smaller target for any following horses to miss and if they do get hit by another horse they roll with the force of the kick.
It still makes it a risky sport and I have yet to decide whether the UK Jump Jockeys or the Bull Riders are most insane!

The only time I would bail out from a horse is if it was rearing to the point of going over backwards or if it was bolting - and by bolting I do not mean just running faster than I wish but in a blind panic going straight through anything ahead of it.
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post #23 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 02:29 PM
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Foxhunter, I'm in entire agreement with you on that.
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post #24 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 02:49 PM
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I am a fan of the one rein emergency stop. I reach down my right rein, hold on to the neck with my left hand, and pull the head around. I don't YANK it, I just do a graceful, smooth pull around until we are circling. It disengages the hind end so that can't continue bolting and it makes it difficult to buck.

Warning, if you yank too hard too suddenly your horse could fall over, I've done this once LOL
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post #25 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 02:56 PM
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Rearing - Lean forward, do NOT pull back on the reins, grab some mane or the saddle. If the horse starts to try and flip over, drop your stirrups and jump. Selena is a rearer, and I just wait her out and when she touches the ground again she gets her butt kicked because there is nothing I hate more than a horse who gets "lifty" in the front end.

Bucking - Push the horse through it. If I absolutely cannot stay on, try and slide off and then grab the whip/reins/crop and punish the hip by smacking him and making the hip move around, with the "If-you-let-me-anywhere-near-that-hip-it's-going-to-hurt!!" attitude. You're still punishing but by then you are pretty safe.

Bolting - One rein stop. As fast as you can within reason. Obviously if you're on slippery terrain or uneven footing it will be best to make a large circle, but in an arena with good footing I will grab that face so fast they will barely even make ground.

All of the above? One rein stop and spurring the hip around in a circle at the same time to disengage the hindquarters.

As for emergency dismounting, I honestly have the best ability to hang on as anybody I've ever met. Because I have quite a distinct fear of falling off and kiling myself, I'd rather sit through anything.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #26 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 03:27 PM
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The older I get, the more I really NEED to stay on. So my strategy-HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE! Why do you think I have switched to western? lol

Emergency dismount is out of the question, I cannot move that fast anymore.

I do pay really close attention to my horse, and am a true subscriber to the philosophy that 9 times out of 10 there is a warning. A tail switch, an arch of the back, an ear pinned. That is the tie to get busy. Agree 1000%. If the horses mind is on YOU, it is less likely to have a problem with whatever imaginary issues are on its mind. I also practice this in the ring, just so I know I can have their attention when I need it.

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post #27 of 49 Old 02-20-2012, 04:17 PM
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Interesting as to how I would react differently to the below

Originally Posted by SorrelHorse View Post
Rearing - Lean forward, do NOT pull back on the reins, grab some mane or the saddle.
I disagree with this, if you grab the mane or the front of the saddle then your bodyweight is going to be to far back, you need to wrap your arms around the horse's neck

If the horse starts to try and flip over, drop your stirrups and jump.
Not only jump but get clear to the side.

Selena is a rearer, and I just wait her out and when she touches the ground again she gets her butt kicked because there is nothing I hate more than a horse who gets "lifty" in the front end.
I do not do anything, I let them go up and just sit when they come down. They are using more energy than me so I just wait, they might go up a few times and then when there is no battle, want to go forward whereby I make them wait some more and then after a few moments ask them to go so it is on my terms.

Bolting - One rein stop. As fast as you can within reason. Obviously if you're on slippery terrain or uneven footing it will be best to make a large circle, but in an arena with good footing I will grab that face so fast they will barely even make ground.

If you have ever been on a horse that is truly bolting then I can promise you that there is no such thing as one rein stop or turning it in a circle!
I have been riding for well over 50 years and my forte was always difficult horses. In all that time I have only ever ridden two horses that would be classed as bolters and they scared the heck out of me when they did.

All of the above? One rein stop and spurring the hip around in a circle at the same time to disengage the hindquarters.
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post #28 of 49 Old 02-21-2012, 06:04 AM
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I can't help thinking that when folks are talking about "bolting" here they're talking a different language.

You can't and won't ever stop a genuine bolt from happening.

What you have to do is once the horse has bolted, hope (or try) to get the horse to "switch back" quicker and recover its composure when its being ridden. When its bolting its in a full fright and flight mode and if you're lucky it's looking after itself - its not at all concerned about anything else. As a rider all you have to do is sit on and try to get it to listen to you and switch back its attention on you and to steer it to safety if at all possible.

Half halting, turning in circles and one rein stops (which in effect just disengage the hind quarters and turn the horse's head) can all be helpful to put the horse off balance and get it to concentrate on something else rather than the true flight and fright bolt.

But don't go thinking that you can stop a true bolt.

I think what is most often being described is a situation where the horse has mistaken the rider's intent or got over-excited and decided to run on faster than wanted. And perhaps even grabbed or taken hold and leant on the bit in order to so do.

A horse that transitions from canter (or walk come to that) to a gallop and is staying in the likes of arena confines and going round in circles is either evading deliberately because its objecting to what is being asked of it, or else its mistaken the intent of the rider.

That's not a bolt though.

If it was a bolt, you'd have been through or over the arena!

If a horse takes hold of the bit and tanks off with you frequently then you really need to take a more holistic approach and review a whole set of circumstances and as described earlier. It's not "emergency strategy" that's needed. It's a management strategy.

It would have to be a dire situation for me to bale out and such that a horse had totally lost it's mind and wasn't looking after itself and was heading to leap over a cliff or off a mountain top for me to bale out.

Its falling and coming off that hurts

IF a horse is proper bolting (not a few scuttling strides away) regularly and at comparatively silly things e.g. a car that backfires, a tarpaulin that flaps, a person with an umbrella, then its a training issue without doubt. If a horse bolts because some idiot did something really dangerous and risky, then in my mind, that's a sensible horse just being a horse. The mark of whether its a good and well trained horse and what your relationship with it is like is how quickly you can get its attention and trust back on you and get it calmed down.

It always concerns me when someone asks how to manage a horse that is bolting or breaking out of canter or becoming uncontrollable and yet they're supposedly routinely riding out and sometimes even competing or exercising such horses. IMO the fact that someone's asking anonymous folks on a forum means they're not ready for such activity and need more lessons and practical guidance from an instructor.

There's really only one way and that is sit tight in order to help him maintain his balance and ask him to trust you and break down the flight fright instinct by just riding and asking using your seat and hands quietly.

If you grip and try to pull he'll get worse and no-one has the strength to stop a pony, let alone a horse if he gets strong and excited and determined when you canter in the open.

Rearing: Grip firmily with the knees and weight well forward so your body stays upright in spite of the back ward tilt and it it's VERY high, then arms round the neck if need be. Relax the rein totally.... IF you need something to hold on to then by all means grab the mane if you don't have a neck strap but ensure it's not going to have you too far back. If you happen to tip backwards and try to save yourself with the rein then you will likely over balance the horse and it may fall on top of you. Pulling the head to one side might help because he can twist in the air to land on forefeet. IF the horse goes well up then get your feet out of the stirrups so that as you start to slide you land on your feet.

As you feel a horse about to rear, quickly urge forward with most active leg aids and a totally relaxed rein... he can't go forward and up at the same time!
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post #29 of 49 Old 02-21-2012, 09:39 AM
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I've had ample (for me) experience with bolting with my mare. You cannot prevent a bolt, but you can reduce its length. Horses bolt from fear, but they won't go on forever. A bolting horse, on its own, doesn't run 2 miles.

In the middle of a full fledged bolt, I don't think a horse will respond to a pulley rein or one rein stop. Mine doesn't, at least. But the full up bolt lasts 25-75 yards. Squeezing, screaming, or thrashing with the reins can make it last longer. Settling in the seat, making a conscious effort to move your knees apart, and breathing deep can shorten it.

After the initial fear reaction of the horse, he will start listening to the inputs of a calm rider. It may take much longer to bring the horse all the way down, but the initial fear reaction doesn't last long unless the rider reinforces it.

If you can recognize the growing fear first, then there are several things you can do. Some horses - most horses, I'm told - respond well to being worked. That spins my mare up very fast. She responds better to facing the fearful thing, standing still and having her neck rubbed. It may not calm her down right away, but it doesn't freak her out the way disengaging her does, for example. She can handle being backed away, but not turned away.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #30 of 49 Old 02-21-2012, 11:10 AM
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I've only ever ridden two genuine bolts in my life. Like others have said, there is no stopping an actual bolt.

The first one was terrifying. As a stupid teenager I thought it would be cool to watch a train go by on horseback, like in the old west movies! Well, the horse didn't agree. He full-on bolted as the train passed, and there was no stopping. We were on asphalt and my girth was loose, so I took my feet out of the stirrups so if I fell I wouldn't get caught and be dragged on the road, and then I just waited it out until the horse stopped. I was talking to him softly trying to reassure him, because that was all I could do. We clocked it in the car later that year; we went almost two miles before he stopped. Let me tell you, being on a horse who is literally running for its life is a scary thing.

The second bolt, I bailed. My mare bolted on a dirt road and was headed home. The thing is, to get home we had to go through a very tight trails full of trees. I knew that if I stayed on I would lose a leg, so right when we got to the trail opening I bailed.
When I caught my horse, I saw that my stirrup leather had been ripped off my saddle. That could have been my leg, so I'm glad I bailed.

Point of my rambling; there is no definite answer on what to do in an emergency. It all depends on the situation. If I had bailed on the asphalt, I guarantee I would have had broken bones and probably a concussion (no helmet), if not worse.
If I had tried to stay on my mare, I may have lost a leg.

So just survey your surroundings and make the best decision you can.
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