Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
I am very, very sorry to hear of your loss, and I agree with you on the lessons.
I've just spent 3 months working with a professional to retrain my mare. She's been prone to bolting, and we have done a ton of work on her. The goal has been to teach her to stand still when scared, and to teach me the warning signs - because my mare HAS warning signs. And yes, I know some horses do not. I also know I could NOT have done it on my own. I simply am not good enough with horses.
We're hoping to start work riding her off my property in a week or so. Just across the street from me, there is a 3-4 m (10-12 foot) wash that can't be seen until you are within a few feet of it. A bolting horse could hit the wash before it had any idea it was there.
I think the horse world tends to encourage folks to just 'tough it out', or to 'face their fears'. But fears can be very real and based on fact. If someone is feeling afraid of their horse - even if it really seems like Ol' Bombproof - I think they should listen to their fears. That doesn't mean you stop all riding, but it may mean lessons, it may mean hiring a trainer, and it may mean getting rid of a horse. And it can mean not riding.
I was pretty fearless when young. Age, and the funerals of friends and squadron-mates killed flying have taught me that fear can be a good thing. A fear can be rational even if you cannot state the reason for it.
Again, I'm very sorry. I'm sure it is a very painful time for all involved.
"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."