My horse, Preen, bolts for just a few feet or so. Maybe she would go farther but I stop her immediately -- and she DOES stop.
I have been stopping her by holding a rein in each hand -- in fact, this is how I've been riding and I hate it since I ride western -- and pulling straight back. When she bolts it takes more strength to stop her than when I am simply riding her and she is calm, which is when it takes almost no pressure at all. Even when she bolts it doesn't take a tremendous amount of strength to stop her, but definitely more that usual.
When I first broke her she learned the ORS. I -- and she -- have gotten away from it, however. I am planning to renew her acquaintance with it tomorrow when I will also do some work on flexion, etc.
She usually only bolts once per 3 or 4 hour ride. Last time out, however, she bolted twice, which wasn't good. The SECOND time she bolted -- scared of some nearby horses in a pasture that were nowhere near the fence separating her from them -- I stopped her and THEN made her circle in place.
So, do you think I should first use the ORS and THEN circle her?
I know circling has been very effective in the past. I have gotten her through quite a lot just by circling. But should I halt her first and then circle? Or simply pull her into a circle, space permitting? (Her usual place for bolting is on the side of a road, but not when vehicles are nearby. Her most recent bolts seem to have been in response to cattle leaping over a nearby berm (this one is sort of understandable), excited horses in a nearby pasture (not so understandable since she has passed those horses probably 40 times to date), the same horses but not even close to where Preen was walking, and in the middle of a field when she stepped onto a wet spot where no wet spot had existed previously (wet weather spring).
Now, mind you, Preen will plow right through mud and creeks, so the wet spot has me bumfuzzled. And yet it most definitely was the wet spot because after I'd stopped her I made her walk through the wet spot and she was plenty perturbed about it, shaking her head and not really wanting to go but she did.
Anyway, I like the idea of the 10 minute ride to start. I think I will work on her flexion, ORS and yielding before I leave and then just have her walk down the road and take another road back again. That would be a 10 minute circle.
The next time perhaps I will take her into a nearby pasture where the people I board with have a herd of cattle. I might make her get up close and personal with those cattle since she seems to be having such a hissy fit when they appear. There is a big bull, however, but he usually pays no mind to us when we ride past but I will have to watch him.
There is a very steep hill where I board and I was thinking about possibly urging her to canter up that hill to see if she will buck. I think it is more difficult for a horse to buck when they are going up steep hills. I mean, they may buck but a lot of the 'oomph' is missing (which is a good thing, right?)!
About the arena -- my neighbor has a corral; would that do? We do have an arena but I would have to trailer her over there since it is about 15 miles distant.
THANK YOU for all the help and suggestions! All of you are simply great for taking the time to respond to my problem with an otherwise wonderful horse.