Question on Bolting! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Question Question on Bolting!

I am a new horse owner, but I have been around and riding horses for the last three or four years. I just adopted a year old quarterhorse from the Nor Cal Equine Rescue in Oroville.
He responds beautifuly when I am leading him. He'll walk, stop, and trot when I ask him. However, once in a wile he won't. He either won't start walking, or won't start to trot. And in all of my training books on groundwork, they say to hold a 4 foot whip in your left hand and tap the horse to get him moving. So halfway through our work out today, I stopped by a tack shop and got one. Then when I came back, I desencitized him with it by rubbing it all over him and praising him until he got used to it, and then I took it out with him on the second half of our walk. When he started to walk slow, I gently tapped him with it and said "walk on" and he would quicken his step, and when I said "trot trot" and tapped him with it and started to jog, he fell right it step! So I thought it was awesome, and he responded beautifuly with it! And then towards the end of the walk, I said "trot trot" like I had several times before, and he just bolted. So of course I dropped the lead so I wouldn't burn my hands or get dragged, and he just ran down the road a little bit, saw some grass, stopped, and started eating it. And so I just walked right over to him, picked up the lead, said "walk on" and he walked on just as well as before, and then behaved 100% again like nothing happened! So, is there anything I can do to prevent that from happeing again? I mean, if there was no grass there I have no idea how long he would run for, and I was scared he would step on the lead and fall, or worse, hurt somebody. It worked out fine this time, but I'm worried next time it may not end as well. So, any sudgestions would be helpful, and I will talk with my trainer about it. I'm just confuzed on what may have happened that time, and how to prevent it in the future.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 09:31 PM
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I can see why your confused. I started reading this knowing that it was about bolting and when I saw the word "whip" I figured oh well he must be scared of it. But I read on and you did the right thing, you desensitized him to the whip. Do you think maybe something in his surroundings just spooked him, or perhaps you accidently tapped him with the whip. Other then that I have no idea why he would be doing that. Some horses are "insane" and they will randomly do things for no purpose but I dont think this is the case. Good Luck
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Haha, well thanks! It's good to know I'm at least on the right track. Is there anything I can do when he does bolt? Or do I just basicly have to let it happen, and then try to go catch him wherever he decided to stop.
Thanks again!
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 09:43 PM
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I would strongly recommend gloves and maybe use either a rope halter or a stud chain for a while. When we first got our POA pony, he had learned that he could pull away from kids so we had to teach my daughter how to recognize the signs when he would start to pull and how to jerk him to get his attention and respect. Now she just needs the rope halter and he is fine. Your horse could have just spooked or maybe he just felt good and they do that sometimes but you need to have gloves on otherwise he will learn to get away by bolting. I don't think you did anything wrong but maybe work him inside a fenced area until you have got down your reaction to his bolting. Then if he bolts, you can put him to work and he'll rethink the bolting thing. Could've just been a one-time thing. Goodluck!

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post #5 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 09:45 PM
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Are you doing ask, tell demand?
Ask: Ask him to walk with whatever cue you use (Ie Walk on)
Tell: Be a little more forceful with your cue, cluck, etc
Demand: Tap with the whip
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-15-2009, 11:25 PM
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It sounds like it was just a random thing. If the horse does go to spook get down low to the ground. This will give you more leverage when you try to get him to stop. I would suggest getting a rope halter and a lead rope that is at least 12 ft. long.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-16-2009, 06:13 PM
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It sounds to me that he either got spooked for something and it was a random thing.
Or that he got annoyed with you asking too much - did you remember to praise him when he did well and give him some moment off without demands (just letting him walk on in a normal pace without trying to improve it or ask for something new)? Or did you over-use your new toy since you saw the good result and he simply wanted to tell you to give him a break? It might be something like that.

To use gloves is a good idea and a long lead rope can help too, but don't use the stud chain on a well behaved horse. Harsher methods are rarely a good solution anyway. And they feel that the chain is there even if you don't use it.. keep him used to behave in a normal halter. Horses won't notice gloves or think about long leadropes as they would on a chain or sharp bit, but those two are good if he spooks.

It's not strange that you got confused :) But horses does that to us, let us know they're still alive and lighten up our days :P

Always keep your head up, but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.

Last edited by Zab; 03-16-2009 at 06:16 PM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-17-2009, 11:24 AM
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Why? My first response - He's a yearling.

You said he is from a rescue. Why was he there? Is he underweight? Does he have a screw loose? What is is history?

Too many variables.

My guess though is he is a yearling feeling good.

As recommended previously, wear gloves and use a good lead rope. Along with your walk and trot, be sure to add 'back' and a solid whoa.
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