Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
Carry a dressage whip when you lead him. You may not need to use it, but it's there in case you do need it. By carrying a dressage whip, you're adding that much more length to your arm and if he decides to try running over you again, you have a little more umph to keep him off you and put him back in his place.
My three-year-old was becoming pushy while on the ground, which isn't a good thing when you have a 16hh, 1500lbs three-year-old. So I bought a dressage whip and carried it with me when I led him. All it took was one time getting whacked across the chest for trying to get ahead of me and be pushy. He used to buck and rear a little when I'd go to turn him out, as well, and try to break away before I had the halter completely off him. Took the dressage whip with me and as soon as he tried to get too frisky, I smacked him once with the dressage whip and he realized I meant business.
Is he really spooky on the ground or was him running over you a one-time thing? Looking at it objectively, are his ground manners overall good, or does he take advantage of you (I'm not asking what you think he's doing when you're leading him, but if you stepped back and were assessing him as a horse you'd never met before, how are his manners)? If his running over you was a one-time deal, I'd say you need to start repeating a mantra to yourself when you're leading him. Something like "He's fine. He's fine. He's fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine." Anticipating negative actions has a nasty way of making those negative actions happen, because the horse starts feeding off your negative energy.
Last year, I was thrown from a black and white pinto mare. She completely rodeo bucked me and I came off hard. Blacked out for a few seconds (during which time the mare came after me while I was out of it on the ground...only my friend's timely intervention saved me) and ended up screwing up my ankle (ER said it was fractured, ortho said it was sprained...a year later it still gives me serious issues, so I'm beginning to think it was actually fractured). After I was cleared to ride, I found I was terrified to ride my own horse (who is also a black and white pinto) because I started imagining all the things he COULD do to me. He has never offered to buck or do anything stupid under saddle...ever. But, I would still have panic attacks at the mere thought of climbing up into the saddle. If he even twitched, I would scream and try to curl up into the fetal position in my saddle (yay for poleys!). It took making riding a game before I could seriously even think about getting on my horse without feeling like I was going to cry.
So, I can honestly say I know how you feel.
Do not tell me I can't...because I will show
you that I can.