Concerned that my horse ran away with me and I was unable to stop him... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
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Wink Concerned that my horse ran away with me and I was unable to stop him...

Hello... I am new to the "Forum" but I thought I would go ahead and ask for some of ya'll's advice. I have been riding literally all of my life and I am very confidant in my abilities as a rider. I like to ride horses with a lot of spirit and a lot of fire. For the past two years I have owned a beautiful 16.3 hand Dapple gray thoroughbred gelding, who is now about six years old. He is everything that I have ever wanted in a horse and we have a beautiful connection. However, before I had him he was a race horse (I rescued him from slaughter after his old owner sold him for not making enough money on the track). I was able to train the track out of him and we have been riding beautifully together ever since. Just yesterday my sister and I were out riding together over by the Stockyards in Fort Worth. We came to a long stretch of empty field by the river and we decided it might be fun to go for a quick race. In the back of my head I knew that my horse still had that intense competitive streak in him but I thought I would be able to keep it under control. No such luck... As soon as the word "GO" was shouted I had lost complete control over him within the first stride. I was blown away by his sheer speed. I thought that I had galloped him at his fastest before this time but he picked up a whole new gear when another horse was involved in a competitive way. I was surprised that I lost complete control over him this time because we had been loping and going for gallops together (and with other horses) for years before this. When I was about 14 years old I had a little quarter horse who would literally run away with me every time I moved him into a quick canter. This never phased me however because I knew the techniques to regain control: put pressure on the mouth in a sawing motion, turn the head, move with the horse, try and get their attention etc. I am only 5'1 and weigh about 100 IBS and when my thoroughbred decided to take off this way there was just absolutely nothing I could do. He had never behaved this way, even as a four year old fresh off the track. No amount of pulling, pressure or anything would slow him in the slightest. We flew past the finish line and galloped on. I was terrified he would lose his footing (something at that speed would probably have killed us both), careen into the river, or run right into the busy highway we were quickly approaching about 3.5 miles away from the starting point. Finally, I was able to gain control enough to slow him to a canter but it was too close a call for my liking. I understand he was not being a 'bad horse'. He was only doing what he had been trained to do years ago. What I want to know is how to keep control and/or regain it if it is ever lost again. A battle of strength I just cannot win... If anyone is going to suggest a certain bit or something I would prefer to not use one. I currently use a Quick-Stop on him (a certain kind of hackamore) and that seems to work best. I tried several bits with him but he preformed poorly with every one. The moment I tried the Quick-Stop he responded to me like a dream... up until this point... What I want is certain techniques that have worked for others in the past to maintain control over a competitive animal at that speed and, if the control is lost, how to quickly regain it. I donít want to be in a situation where I have a horse I canít use in a friendly race now and again with friends. I appreciate everyone's help!!!
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post #2 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 04:46 PM
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I've never worked with OTTB, but I have worked with flighty horses that were taught to race.

The only thing that has ever stopped one for me was the one rein stop, taught at a w/t/c, and then moved up to a gallop. When you teach it correctly, it uses all 3 cues, rein, leg, and seat to direct the horse in a tight circle and get them to slow down fast. The only problem with this at a full gallop is the obvious: tight circles are hard to hold onto at that speed, but it can be done with practice.

** Don't be the rider who gallops all night and never sees the horse that is beneath him **
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post #3 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 07:55 PM
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Well, the easy answer would be to make the decision not to engage in friendly races.

Other than that, maybe use a bit when you feel like racing? Isn't the quickstop supposed to be kind of harsh? Not criticizing, just curious. I have never actually seen one used?
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post #4 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:08 PM
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I've seen two techniques used in person to stop runaways. One was during the XC phase of World Equestrian Games. The rider was coming down the galloping lane when suddenly her horse ramped up a few gears into an all out bolt. She regained control by riding him on a very large circle until he came back to her. She sat tall, deep, massaged the reins and just maintained the circle. It was very impressive.

The other time was runaway TB after a race. He didn't have room for a large circle, so he used the pulley rein. It involves using on rein held tight in a fist and burying it into the horses neck and then rhythmically pulling back and up on the other rein. This techique should only be used for true emergencies since it is very harsh on the horse's mouth. The jockey had the horse under control very quickly and again it was very impressive.

I would not use ORS for your situation. The ORS only works to prevent a bolt. As much as I like it for a preventive technique, if you're already in high gear, it's too late for that manuever.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #5 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:21 PM
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One thing to always remember when riding an OTTB is that when we exercise them and ride them on the track,the harder you pull ,the harder they will pull,putting theirselves onto the pilphrim .The thing we do to stop them is whistle.Start the tone at one point lowering the tone.doing this over and over,while release a little tension on the reins off and on,gently touching the mouth /Standing helps as well..They dont not stop as you are used to,so let him slow down slowly.It might scare the heck out of you,because this isnt done in the normal riding scenario,but this is how they are trained and you will get used to it until you retrain him..It is the same whistle we use after a race to encourage urination and relax them.Thing is,if you are going to run him like a racehorse,ride him like a racehorse and you should be fine.Otherwise,refrain from running him like that until you put brakes on him.That takes untraining,then retraining and time. Good luck!!

Last edited by oceanne; 04-13-2012 at 08:30 PM.
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post #6 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:25 PM
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Stopping your horse has nothing to do with how tall you are or how much you weigh or how strong you are. It has everything to do with how strong of a position you have, how secure you are in the saddle with an independent seat, not dependent on the reins for security and how well you can control your own emotions and breathing. You need to stay calm and focus on a plan to begin slowing your horse down gradually. This will depend on the space you are in at the moment, if there is room to start onto a very large turn or circle then that would be my first choice. It is important that you don't pull back on the reins and that you don't take a solid heavy contact, it is best to give squeezes on the reins every few seconds.
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post #7 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:35 PM
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Great advice Passion,but I would like to point out that racehorses arent easily turned when running on the bullet.They are taught to go straight and circle turns dont work with them like they do horses that arent raced.This is why you will see some go into or come over the rail at high speed...they just dont respond like normal broke horses do.Until you fix em,that is.One thing that is very true though,you do need to remain calm.
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Last edited by oceanne; 04-13-2012 at 08:37 PM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:46 PM
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That's cool about the whistling oceanne. I know to do it for peeing, but I never heard about it for slowing down. I'll have to try next time my horse and I are out acting like idiots.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 09:06 PM
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I don't know what was done with my TB in the past...I think they raced him for a bit and then he was injured, but he does the same thing you're describing. And holy goodness, is he fast! We raced a barrel horse and my horse completely smoked her. Well now, he's got it in his head that when we lope, he can ease his way into a full on sprint. When I try to restrain him, he bucks. Luckily, I've stayed on each time but it's scary and aggravating. I do the one reign stop but it's also scary to perform at that speed. I definitely do NOT race other horses anymore- it's just not worth it. And I make him work his butt off after he acts like that. Other than that, I have no advice so I'm curious for the other responses.
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post #10 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 09:14 PM
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Awesome Puck,then you have heard the whistle I tried to describe then?

@AshleyCL,when he does that,take the reins in both hands,do a cross hitch and set then down on his withers .Im not sure how long its been since your horse raced,but dont let your reins slip at all and you should feel him pull back as he gets onto the pilphrim.(his is what he has been taught)to let him know that is the speed you want to go..then work your way back into your normal riding position slowly, and only if he holds his gait.I almost forgot to tell you..when you raise your hands off an OTTBs withers,it means RUN! And RUN like the wind.Keep them low and you should see a big difference.Use the race track training to YOUR benefit.

Last edited by oceanne; 04-13-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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