Horse running/bolting problem - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kentucky
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Horse running/bolting problem

So I have a very frustrating, potentially dangerous problem. My horse, Ace, is very well mannered and laid back 98% of the time. He'll just go along with whatever you want him to do. It's the 2% that worries me. He is herd bound; he's gotten much better since I got him, and he truly does enjoy spending time with me, but sometimes his herdboundness shows through, severely. Today, for example. I was getting my senior pictures done, so I groomed him about 2 hours before then put him in a stall. The other four horses were out in the pasture. I went back out to get him; he was a little nervous, but not too bad. He did alright for the pictures, but he tossed his head a lot and pranced around. (He usually doesn't bat an eye and stands like a rock, except maybe wanting to eat grass.) I then took him to a soft, grassy spot, and before I knew he was down and rolling. The rope got away from me, and when he got up, before I could get him, he took off tearing across the yard to get to the others. Well then they all got running, and he was running outside of the pasture alongside the others along the highway. Cars were slowing and stopping everywhere; thankfully he never got in the road, but he was close. He came racing back, then made it back to the barn where my sister caught him and he was fine after that, but it scared us all. This was not the first incident like this. Back when I made the stupid mistake (and I have learned from it) of lunging him in a not enclosed area, whenever I would toss the rope at him to go faster, sometimes it would freak him out and he would get away from me and go running, always to get to the others. That happened about three times. Also when he spooks he has a tendency to bolt (which thankfully doesn't happen very often) and he runs to be with another horse. All of this actually really surprises me. Like I said, normally he's nothing like this, but certain situations just set him off, and it's hard for me to tell when it's coming. It all just happens so fast and then he's gone, and I can't control him. I really have no idea how to fix this, if it even can be fixed. I don't want him or anyone getting hurt. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-07-2013, 10:54 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Missouri
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You need to learn to read horses better, that is the only thing that will help.

All of the hints/tips and training will do nothing if handler does not understand the things they are seeing.

You should have been picking up on the fact your horse was going down. Head down looking, legs coming close together in bucket stance, tail dropping, all of those would have been going on. Horses don't just drop like they have been shot, they have to contort to go down.

As for the bolting, again, you are missing the signs that horse is giving out. Lightness in step, one ear forward/one ear back means horse is thinking about doing something and is checking to see if you are paying attention. That is the time to tighten calf muscles, pick up on reins, cluck or anything to let horse know you are on it.

You also need to tighten up on your skills when you have a lead rope in your hand.

Horses make me a better person.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-08-2013, 03:39 AM
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The horse has you taped and does it because he can and has got away with it and will continue to do so unless you learn to (as said) read his body language and stop this happening before it starts.

The fact that you had hold of him when he decided to roll - which you should have stopped. Horses do not 'all of a sudden' get down and roll, it takes several seconds for them to buckle their knees and then go down, you should have jerked his rope, yelled at him and made him get up before he got down.
Once down you should have still held the rope and moved to the front of him so that A) the rope didn't get tangled in his legs and B) been in front of him so that when he got up you were acting as a block preventing him from taking off.

Get someone to help you understand how to handle a horse so that you can correct something before it happens.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-08-2013, 08:23 AM
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You need to keep this horse's mind busy. Don't give him a chance to think. When you lunge keep it to a trot as cantering sets him up to brace against your hand and pull away. Skip doing circles, do halfs with a change of direction. Expand or reduce the distance you allow him to travel before changing direction to mix it up so he doesn't know when it's going to happen. His behaviour in the barn was his old instincts kicking in; the horse outside of the herd is the one that becomes dinner. His running up and down outside the field denotes how desperate he was to be safe amongst the others. When you ride do the same, as you walk add some side-passing, bending, stopping, whatever you can do to keep his mind occupied. You may only have to do this as you approach known trouble spots.
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-08-2013, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kentucky
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You guys are right. If I had not been doing pictures I would have circled him, backed him, etc to get him focused on me, I usually do, but I couldn't at the time. Next time I will try to be more prepared. I don't want him thinking he can get away with this stuff, which he now thinks he can.
You're going to kill me for admitting this, but I have actually let him lay down in that spot before after he had a bath and I figured better there then in the dusty pasture (he did not run away afterwards thought), but I'm NOT going to let him do that anymore or even give him the opportunity to. So yes, this thing was mainly my fault. He is herd bound, but I let him get away with it. Thanks everyone. I have learned my lesson!
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