Help with Bolting
So I got a new horse about a month ago. He is 5 and trail broke (or so I was told). I have not taken on trail yet, I want to really be able to read him before that.
I have ridden him 3 times since bringing him home. Once on the road and 2 times in the arena. Tonight's ride in the arena was a disaster. He spooked at everything and kept bolting. He was un responsive to my seat and hands asking him to stop, the one rein stop didnt work...the third time he bolted I just bailed off. He broke through the gate and ran back to his stall, got his leg caught in his reins and had to stand there til I rescued him.
Needless to say I wont be riding for a while, now that I have two different sized knees (thank God for big bags of frozen peas), so any suggestions on fixing this from the ground? I know I should go back to basics but not sure where to start.
Do you do any ground work before you ride? This can sometimes give you a huge indication of what state of mind the horse is in before you get on, and that in itself can keep you out of danger, by keeping you out of the saddle for a little while in order to gain his attention back. If a horse is nervous or anzty before you even get on, then that is how he is going to be when you get on, and his reactions could be even more exaggerated.
You might want to do some longing, and desensitization exercises with him, using flags, and ropes so he will calm down, relax, and stay intune with you from the ground up. Being you and him are new to each other, as someone who trains horses 'for a living' now, I can not stress enough how important ground work is, especially when you are new.
You may also want to find a personal trainer who can help you learn and remain calm through situations like the bolting; even if you don't realize it, you may be contributing to the problem by subconsciously anticipating the bolt, which is why he got continually worse through out the ride; having a trainer who can help you work on your 'stuff' can greatly help your horse, especially if, when you tried him out before you bought him, and he was fine.
I do do ground work everytime before he is ridden. I lunge him beforehand in both ends of the arena, I ground drive him there from the stable and we do desensetizing everyday. Today's focus was on velcro and flapping fabric, both of which he did very well accepting.
Im not actually a new rider (going on 20 years now) or new to training myself, I have been working with OTTBs for a while now (just sold my first retread last week).
I think what really scared me was not that sitting deep didnt work nor did the one rein stop (which I was told he knows and he will perform at the walk and trot so far) but neither did turning him into the fence. The fence is at the top of a drop off and if he jumped it, it would be straight down the hill to the asphalt driveway for us, I just picked landing in the dirt in case he went over. When I bailed, he kept going and slammed right into the fence before turning for the gate.
I have a trainer onsite if I absolutely need her. I wont be riding for a while since the ground won today so I am really looking for ground exercises. And I suppose we also really need to work on trusting each other.
Thanks mom2pride for your advice. :o)
I am wondering if you have acess to a round pen?? If you do I suggest going into the round pen and start their on the ground.
Another thing to remember is when a horse arrives in a new place they are likely to be a bit spooky and not well adjusted.
I suspect that if you gain the horses respect in the round pen, then start to introduce the horse to his/her new surroundings.
This is what I have done with some wonderful success.
In the past when I took horses from the track I have done similar things...before Round penning was popular.
Some horses do not have the issue of getting spooky when they arrive to a new place and some do. So taking things a little at a time and being consistent and persistent are good things to remember...If you have been around horses for 20 yrs, I figure your going to be able to get this one whipped into shape pretty quickly! Congrats on selling your first re-tread...
Good for you.
I would also make certain that all of your horses tack fits properly, and that any health and or foot issues are taken into account.
It took about 2-3 or more weeks for my horse to acclimate from his prior residence to his new home.
Also did this horse just come right from the track to you? Some that I have had right off the track tend to need a bit of settling down before they are atune to new ideas and a new way of doing things....it all started on the ground tho...
Best of luck, and feel free to PM me anytime..
For sure, start training the one rein stop first and foremost. Its a simple thing to teach, I'm sure your trainer can help you out. Reaching down and bringing the horses head in needs to be 2nd nature to you. When something spooks your horse, that needs to be the first thing you do.
So many times when a horse spooks and bolts, the first reaction is to pull back on both reins. Instead you need to make the first reaction to pull back on one rein and disengage the hind quarters. Practice it over and over and over then practice it some more :lol:
Even on my old faithful mare, if its been a few days or weeks since we've been out. I spend a few minutes with her, getting her to bend and give vertically and at the front and rear. I think that teaches more than any amount of lunging can do.
As far as teaching a horse not to spook, thats something that only lots of riding time can cure. The more the horse is exposed to the less afraid it is.
Here is a Clinton Anderson video that explains the one rein stop for a horse that wants to take off.
Did you get to ride him at all before you bought him? I would definitely want to ride a horse at least twice before I bought him.
Once, when I went with my neighbors when they went to pick up their new horse, the gal there had an interesting way of desensitizing horses - she hung everything from plastic sacks, to boots, to bottles in a stall and put the horse in there for a week or two. That seemed to work. . .
Kinda off topic, but she also put the horse in a stall with its halter and leadrope on for a few days to teach it not to step on the reins/leadrope! :)
I wouldn't necessarily leave them there over night, but definitely during the day while people are in and out of the barn.
I have done this as well. Most of the horse trainers I know do it to young foals. I let mine walk around with a lead rope when they were babies.
I also tie stuff to the fences when they are young as well. Plastic bags, bottles, boots just anything you can think of.
Just FYI from past experience. When they start trying to eat the bags and bottles its time to take them down. They aren't afraid of them anymore :lol:
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