Was I stupid?
Today I went to ride the Quarter Horse Appendix I've been riding, and she'd been in her stall all morning and most of yesterday (was out for an hour or so). I knew she had some energy so didn't want to get right on her. So I decided to let her loose in the indoor arena for a bit. I took her out and encouraged her into a trot with the end of my lead rope near her (not hitting her with it of course). She went right up into one and I immediately stopped, but she had so much energy she went right up into a canter and took off around the arena. She did some kicks and then started to gallop. This isn't a huge arena, and I started getting worried at this point. She came skidding to a stop a few times, then took a turn too fast and ended up doing a sliding fall (I was not encouraging her forward at all here, it was all her). The footing is sand/rubber with a cement bottom. She got right back up and took off again seemingly unfazed. I finally got her to stop by going over to the gate to outside where she came up to me.
Now, I know lots of people let their horses loose to let off a little steam, but this was out of control. Was I really stupid to let her loose like that? I don't plan to in the future, or if I do, in the much larger outdoor arena. If I need her to let off some steam I'm planning to let her out in her pasture for a few minutes instead. I'm not skilled enough in lunging her when she has that much energy, and she doesn't have much practice with it yet. I'm working on building my skills.
She needs more turnout!
But I wouldn't worry, it's good for them to have a bit of a play, I turn all of mine out in the arena for a run around occasionally, some get very excited, some just plod round, but if they do insist on spinning and bucking I would rather they were doing it on a surfaced arena than out in the field! I seriously wouldn't think too much of it, she was just enjoying herself! And unless she gets proper turnout you should do it more often. She should be less excited next time.
Make sure you walk her a few laps before you turn her loose. Spending that long in a stall, her muscles are not warmed up and horses don't know what's best for themselves in these circumstances - it's VERY easy for her to pull a muscle racing and bucking because she's excited.
I definitely don't think you're stupid or what you did is wrong, she just needs more turnout time and my filly is EXACTLY the same. Just make sure you walk her a few laps in-hand to warm those muscles up and then let her have fun! Wrapping her legs/putting boots on could be a good idea as well.
I'm not a fan of free longing for that very reason. Just too much can happen that you have zero control over. If I need to let my horse blow off steam, it's at the end of a rope and even then he's required to walk for a bit to warm up his muscles.
Horses love to play, of course you were not stupid! I usually let my mare out in a 50x50 round pen to buck it out, and it has not hurt her any.
I would also say she needs more turnout. I would also caution you against using the outdoor arena for this-at least in the indoor she couldn't get out? I had one get crazy in a round pen....faster...Faster...FASTER.....feeling helpless and knowing that he was on a collision course.....he jumped out! Heart in my throat, as I had JUST bought him, as I examined the scrapes he recieved from getting both inds csught in the fence panel.......I will never forgetr it, and whenever I let my guys lose I am super cautious. I still do it, as long as they are enclosed. I have alsways free schooled, and now that I do NH, it is great for a sort of "bonding"-I think some people call it join up. THey run and run.....until they are ready to come, follow you, etc......just be careful.
Nothing stupid about it. Some horses are more high energy than others, especially when kept stalled for any length of time. I do agree with the others who said they are not big fans of free lunging. I'm not either, I much prefer to have at least some kind of rope on them so that I have a bit of control and I can stop them if they start acting too ridiculous.
Just to be on the safe side, keep a close eye on her legs and attitude for the next few days. Even if she isn't showing any signs of pain now, it may take a bit of time for soreness to show up from her fall.
it was not stupid. next time just give her a little more controled time first. Put her on the lung line and make her work and get some steam out then let her have a few min of free time while you go get your stuff ready. I know that with bad weather sometimes you cant turn out like you want. So lunging becomes your best friend. I even like to let them back out into the indoor free after the work out and cool down while i am putting everything away and getting ready to go home to give them time to role or just walk around befor it is stall time.
I would suggest a lunge line??? Nothing bad here, you're not stupid, I would just have my heart in my throat at the thought of my horse getting hurt, as you said. I would work her on a line first. And I love your comment raywonk ^^^ about letting them role and stuff after work. I wish I had an arena so mine could do that.
I would suggest more turnout to prevent such goofyness...
BUT that said, sometimes turnout is beyond your control, and you just have to deal. Perhaps lungeing her as someone else suggested, may be best for both of you.
If you have access to a round pen you could utilize that instead of the arena to encourage her to move out some before you work her as well.
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