Bolting outside the round pen - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-10-2011, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Nebraska
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Bolting outside the round pen

Ok, first and foremost, Jack IS going to a trainer, just waiting on a spot to open up. I've been working on basic ground manners, giving to pressure, trying to get lounging together, while in the round pen. For the most part, everything IN the pen is going well. The last few weeks, every time we go out of the round pen, he bolts. 75% of the time, he bolts at small birds that are flying around. The rest of the time, I have no clue. He never goes real far, just a sudden jump to the side, sometimes kicks out, goes about 5 feet, then drops his head to graze. I can walk right up to him, grab his lead and everything is fine, until he does it again. After about 30 minutes of this, i'm getting mad, he can tell, he starts getting nervous and I put him up. Any help is welcome!

Cowgirl up!
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-10-2011, 08:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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I'm not sure what you mean when you say he bolts? Does he jerk the lead from your hands, try to run off?
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-10-2011, 09:43 PM
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You have a horse that has learned to respect the perimeter of the round pen and not you. It is not all that uncommon. When a round pen is used to replace training instead of augment it, it frequently turns out this way. It is real common for a horse to run off to a gate or a fence when they are ridden outside of a round pen after too much riding inside the pen. It is also common for a horse to bolt and run when they are longed outside a round pen if they have been worked in one too much without enough attention paid to making the horse work on a short rope. If a horse is allowed to go next to the pen fence all of the time, they just learn to hunt a fence and will do anything to get to one. I have even seen them climb against fences and nearly tear their legs off on a round pen fence. They learn to pull so hard on a longe line or lead-rope that no one is big enough to hold them.

I have re-trained several of these horses and it is not easy. It would have been much easier if they had never seen a round pen in the first place. You will have to start out with a chain over his nose or a Be Nice Halter or something else that will give you enough control to turn his head when he bolts. Then, you start out on a very short rope, let hem go 1/2 of a circle and pull him around and make him face you to stop him. Do this over and over until he learns that he can no longer get away.
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post #4 of 5 Old 05-10-2011, 11:25 PM
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Wow Cherie, that was informative. I've never used a round pen except to help a few people out but only for a short time. Everything you said makes sense. Thanks
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post #5 of 5 Old 05-11-2011, 03:20 AM
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I would definitely put a chain over his halter until he learns to respect the halter/leading more. If you work with him correctly you'll be able to take it off eventually.

I agree with Cherie. Just because he does what he's supposed to in the round pen doesn't mean he respects you. You've basically trained your horse to do certain maneuvers in the round pen. He does it because he's trained to, not because he truly respects you. My mare moves her hindquarters away from me when I walk near her cause she respects my space, not because I trained her to do it, like a trick.

You can tell a gelding. You can ask a stallion. But you must discuss it with a mare. -Unknown
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