If a horse wants to look at something it's scared of, do you let him? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 02:31 PM
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It's important to be able to feel the tension (or no tension) in your horse if they stop or go to stop.
That's what makes the difference in a horse that stops and then panic bolts and one that stops, looks, processes the information and moves on
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post #42 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 03:05 PM
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I agree with Textan
I also ride where anything can happen/ appear, besides the arena and showing aspect
That is why I also agree that one has to differentiate between just looking, and freezing up, ready to go into flight mode
I have been on horses that both whirled around and ran backwards, and believe me, in the mountains those horses are no fun to ride.
The horse that spun, reared and shied a lot was the Appaloosa mare that I bought off the track . She was running App bred /TB cross. When I bought her, she was a serious halter puller, and also would rear and go over backwards
I did get her over those things, but she really never got over spinning around, an dif you rode through a bog, forget trying to guide her, as she would plunge blindly ahead.
That was many, many years ago, and I now realize that I perhaps never truly got her trust of people back.
The horse that ran backwards, was stud I had started, and who was going really well, I then got pregnant, thus decided to send him out for some reining training. AGAIN, this was many years ago, and I would never send that trianer a horse now, but unfortunately one usually learns this info through the school of experience, becoming part of the horse community
Anyway, found out afterwards that this so called 'trainer', had blown the minds of many horses, and crippled some
Thus, Classy, if he saw something scary, would run backwards,and of course, such a horse does not care where he is backing. Luckily, I did fix it with time, and the only time he suceeded in running backwards with me, he just ran into a road ditch and went down, instead of over a cliff!
Nope, my horses now maybe look, stop for a sec, then proceed forward, spooking in place at times. I've had three muley bucks jump out right in front of me, with Smilie just stopping, doing a little spook in place, then continuing on
Was riding down at the little Elbow in K country, where there are both equestrian trails and general use. Mounatin bikes often com eup suddenly, ahead , o na crest of a steep hill, or up behind you, and you better be on a horse that trusts you!
Once, came across several mountain bikers with bright objects over their handle bars, in the middle of July. Even I was wondering 'what the heck' Seems they had snow boards, and were going to hike up to a basin and snow board!
Naturally, horses are going to look at stuff, unless you ride with blinders, but that is way different from freezing up and staring. You are also not going to ride up to an elk, or a bear, or every other object along the way, so your horse can have a smell
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post #43 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post

So, maybe you can approach Hondo's freezing up by getting him started moving his feet as soon as you feel him getting worried and starting to mentally leave you.


.
I must have misstated somewhere because Hondo does not freeze. Never has. If I see the trouble coming, I think I've got a pretty good handle on him.

Once I kept him within 10 feet while his herd of 22 who was nearby stampeded and went running on both sides of us. Yes he was turning back, turning forward, looking and saying, "Harold!! We need to get outta here. Something is gonna get us!!"

But he listened to me until the herd was well away and grazing quietly in a different pasture. We then rode over and grazed a little with them before moving on.

The spin and bolt I'm concerned about comes from a relaxed step and them bam!! No warning or else I missed it.

So when I read that a balky horse could become a bolter, I wondered if letting him stop and look at the deer, cow, whatever, on the hillside qualified as balking and could lead to the spin/bolt out of the blue.

Otherwise he's perfect. Pure mountain goat.

I will add that 10 months or so ago when I first started riding him he would side pass at around 40 MPH from a cow behind a bush, flock of rising quail, and once from a large yellow butterfly. But he hasn't done the side pass blow up for months. But he did unload me kinda hard not long ago on a spin bolt. I led him a long ways after that and he remained extremely nervous. It was twilight after sundown. I've wondered if he caught a whiff of a cougar. There's been a few killed on the ranch.

Because of that I've gone to riding with a helmet on solo rides. Plus a backpack with a spine protector.

A gal up the road just the other day was airlifted with two broken ribs on her back. Spitting up blood and all. She's ok now. Horse went down and rolled on top of her. Very experienced.

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post #44 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 05:47 PM
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Interesting to see the different sides here!

I don't let my horse investigate. She may get snorty at a corner or a jump or something, but I ask her to go passed or over it. Once I ask her to move her feet, she gets over the fear.

This technique may totally depend on the horse though. Some horses can really build things up in their mind, like some people, so investigating could be detrimental. For more relaxed horses though, I'm sure it's a benefit!
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post #45 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Ok, here's the deal with Hondo. He does stop occasionally to look. I will often look to where he's looking and see some deer or cattle. Sometimes not. In either case I'll say, "It's ok buddy, lets go". He accepts and goes on. He doesn't really balk.

But here's the problem. A few times, unexpectedly and out of the blue, he has done an instantaneous 180 degree turn and bolted into a full out run. All of the times were when walking along except once when he was drinking from a stream.

I always got him stopped within 50-100 feet and never fell off except once when bareback. He stopped that time and hid behind a large bush and was peeking out from behind it at me. He allowed me to walk right up.

So when I read about a connection between balking/stopping and bolting my ears went up. I am an inexperienced rider and his flights of terror are potentially dangerous to m. I have never known what caused them except once when two horses in front of me braced when three dogs jumped into the middle of a bunch of geese. Rather than brace Hondo said I'm outta here. Stopped him, turned him, hey buddy it's just birds, and we were on our way.

Comments on Hondo's flights?
I have been on a bolter once. I let him stare and some briar bushes waaaay to long without moving those feet. I can only wish it was for 100 or 200 hundred yards. That horse bolted for 2/3s of a mile before I bailed as he was heading straight for a road. He gave me signs I totally ignored. Never again. I also came to realize this particular horse knew nothing about following its nose, disengaging a hip, or giving to pressure.

As others have said, and I whole heartedly agree with, the only way to control a horse is through his feet. A horse that stops and stares, will start getting bad ideas in the walnut size brain.

I have a little Arab. He would love to be reactive, and would be so, if allowed. When we are out trail riding he can turn his head or point an ear at something as long as he does not stop. My barometer of what is going on in his little head are those ears. If they are pointed ahead but relaxed and he swivels one back and forth between me and the scenery, all is right with the world. When those little pointy Arab ears touch, literally the tips touch, and those feet aren't doing something, as Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood sing, "something bad about to happen."

As for your riding partner, there probably are forewarnings of his anxiety (for lack of a better word). Maybe his ears become to alert; or maybe his stride becomes more braced with shorter quicker strides and not walking out free through the neck, back, and hips. You can just feel a bad energy coming up through his feet into your body. Might be he only is giving you a second or two to pick up on these things.

When I say I push my horse past an object that he is objecting too, I don't whip and spur and kick, kick, kick. I also, as someone stated, counterbend him ever so slightly and leg yield him towards the offensive object. He doesn't see it so he doesn't get spooky. Their minds aren't that big.
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post #46 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 07:04 PM
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HOndo,
I am sure you are much more experienced than I am. I am in the not so brave camp, that's why I offered my feeling that unless you feel confident that you can move the horse past the scary thing, that an approach of allowing them some time to process is not such a bad alternative, IMO.

as for the sudden no warning spinning, that was Mac's issue, too. I thought i'd be able to make him too busy to think about that, but he must have found places where I wasn't keeping him busy enough . He just wasn't honest enough about his anxiety that I could read it and address it before it went balistic. and in between, he was pretty easy to ride, so you'd grow complacent.
in fact, in many ways he was not an "honest" horse. no, he did not lie, but he was a feeling "stuffer", and so it was hard to guage him.

is Hondo a horse who stuffs down his anxiety? know what I mean?
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post #47 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
HOndo,
I am sure you are much more experienced than I am. I am in the not so brave camp, that's why I offered my feeling that unless you feel confident that you can move the horse past the scary thing, that an approach of allowing them some time to process is not such a bad alternative, IMO.

as for the sudden no warning spinning, that was Mac's issue, too. I thought i'd be able to make him too busy to think about that, but he must have found places where I wasn't keeping him busy enough . He just wasn't honest enough about his anxiety that I could read it and address it before it went balistic. and in between, he was pretty easy to ride, so you'd grow complacent.
in fact, in many ways he was not an "honest" horse. no, he did not lie, but he was a feeling "stuffer", and so it was hard to guage him.

is Hondo a horse who stuffs down his anxiety? know what I mean?
Hondo doesn't really shy at stuff. Once when the D7 Cat was in an unusual location it got his attention for a bit but then, oh it's the dozer, ok. He just doesn't do the shy at the weird rock, stump, or whatever. The only time he stops to look is when there is deer or cattle on a distant hill, at least that's the times when I could see what he was seeing.

His sidepass shying has always been the result of something live jumping out of a bush unexpectedly. A cow, flock of quail, or even a person pop out of nowhere. On those times he is reacting to something real.

I expect on his wheel and bolt times he is also reacting to something. I know what is was on one occasion but don't have a clue on the other times. Like when he was peacefully drinking water and all of a sudden wheeled and bolted.

He's got a reason I'm sure, but I'd just like him to be a little less reactive to whatever it is that he decides to flee first and think later from.

So going back again, my concern was that when I read that a balker (which i read as looker) could become a bolter. But in my case he doesn't do the bolting while looking. He has just done it out of the seemingly blue.

He has only done it about five times in 10 months but still......that's five times too many in my book.

I'm starting to sack him a little with a long flexible shaft and a grocery bag. First time I flicked it about two feet near his head while eating he slid the mat he was standing on about four feet when he left.

It may be that he just hasn't had enough time being sacked out. I've spent the 10 months bonding. So now I need to get to work I reckon.

I also have a bag of air pillows saved for sacking. We met up with a neighbor rancher a while back and his seven dogs and ours went at it and the neighbor fired off a shot to break up the fight. Hondo only went sideways about two feet and stopped. So he's not real bad but boy when he does it's Hang On Charlie!

I've been told to drop one rein if I have to use both hands to bring his head around but have never done that. Just talking and hauling him down.

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post #48 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 11:19 PM
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Bolting without nay warning can very very dangerous!
I don't know if sacking out is the answer, but certainly worth a try
It seems more like a preservation instinct kicking in, where he feels that he has to be the one to take action, and not rely on you.
Thus, probably the answer lies in the circle mentioned in the article on 'bits don't control horses, that I posted.
Trust and respect is what helps a horse to dampen that instant flight reaction
The horse trusts that you won't put him into danger, and respects you enough not to take executive instinctive reaction
Once you betray that trust-it takes along time to get it back.
I should know. Charlie was a green senior horse when she started her show career, due to several life circumstances. She was handling things very well, even placing well in big classes. She trusted me that she was safe with other horses coming up on her, etc
Then, in one crowded warm up, where I was loping just off the rail, the rider ahead of me lost control, and her horse ran backwards, ramming Charlie in the flank, while that rider's sups caught her
It has taken me a long time for her to trust again, that I will keep her safe in a crowded arena, and thus not freak when horses come up on her, or even in the line up, a horse being asked to back, would send her into self preservation mode
Thus, I think your answer lies in that trust and respect, which might take time.
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post #49 of 82 Old 03-16-2015, 11:32 PM
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My mare is not interested in bolting if we're around. It seems to be a mix of looking to us for safety, combined with not leaving us behind. An example of her ground behavior, from just last night. Walking up to the night lot, and she caught a strong whiff of something. Those really deep inhales, with snorty exhales, focusing on the treeline, etc. Well, she does a couple of things she checks with me, it seems to be a bit of "do you smell that?" mixed with "is it ok?(if I'm confident, I'll usually rub her neck and say it's ok)", this is in the form of turning to me, and nosing me before she goes back to watching the spot. But she also will show protective traits, she knows I can't run like her, so she does the darndest thing... she steps in front of me and turns sideways to "block" me from what she is looking at. She has stepped between aggressive horses and me before, and I think she learned from those experiences that I either like her to protect me, or I need her to protect me. Flight never kicks in when we're together. She has flight instincts, because she does when she's alone, or with other horses.

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post #50 of 82 Old 03-17-2015, 09:07 AM
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I don't use a bit. When the panicked 22 horse herd was streaming on each side of us as close as 10 feet almost all of the control I used was voice.

Here is a bit more about Hondo that I haven't mentioned. The people that gave him to me are very very experienced with horses. They said he was not safe to ride above a walk for a beginner. He lost one rider and almost another bolting sideways during a gallop. Went sideways out from under another rider at a walk. That was a few years ago. He had not been ridden for 2-3 years before I acquired him. At that time he was very difficult to lead away from the herd from balking every few feet. I used the approach of 1% for 100 days with a game of hiding food dishes on the way and then giving him food but not letting him finish it just before returning to the herd.

He now greets me in the field and leads away on foot or with an ATV just fine. I've got a lot of trust built up with him, I believe, but it's almost as if something from his past kicks in.

He is usually very calm but never the less can have a tendency to be panicky. And if he's in one of his panicky modes, he will brace at any disturbance of any kind anywhere. A single butterfly or a single bird.

He is just so much better than he was 10 months ago that it may just take more time with him on the trail. He has never panicked when another horse is along except when three deer bolted out right near him. And then it was just a fluttering bolt sort of with a big sigh of relief when he saw the deer. His sighs of relief are almost human like.

Going back to the OP's topic, I just didn't want to be encouraging or acerbating his flights out of the blue by letting him stop and check out movement on yon hillside.

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