Loose horse in the arena - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Loose horse in the arena

What am I supposed to do when a loose horse in the arena comes up to me?

I stopped my horse in the middle of the arena, faced her towards the loose horse and kept turning her towards him. I kept very light contact and when he appreached us I let her have more slack in the reins. My logic was that I didn't want her to feel trapped.

It all ended well, thankfully, but I'm wandering if there is something I could have done better? Should I have walked her off when he was approaching? I didn't want to start a game with him as there were people trying to catch him. Should I have turned her sideways and tried to get him with my crop?

Also, what should I have done if he were to turn his hind end towards us or if he started biting my mare?

Just to add, that mare is a star and I love her to bits :) She never even sped up when the other horse started with his antics and listened to everything I asked her to do.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:28 AM
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Wait, are there regularly loose horses in the arena where you ride? Oh wait, nevermind, I see now that someone was trying to catch him. I probably would've hopped off my horse to see if I could grab the loose horse.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:29 AM
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The horse is loose in the arena while you were riding in it?

If it is a horse I do not know, I would ask the owner to either tie them up or put them away. Especially since it sounds to me like you are not entirely comfortable with the situation (Obviously lol)

I do ride with horses loose rather frequently, but it is always horses I know. I leave horses saddled and checked up while I ride and also some of the older ones get privileged enough to get turnout time since I know they are wise enough to not screw it up.

If one horse approached me, it would depend on how they behaved. Was the horse being casual about it? Like was he just sauntering over? Or did he pin his ears, snort, squeal, nicker, bow up, or show any other forms of engagement while he approached?

If they just wander over to me I ignore them. If they were to try and engage, or were otherwise in my way, I would shoo them off with my crop. If they bowed up or acted aggressively with my horse such as biting, ear pinning, turning and kicking - I would get away from the horse's hind end and reprimand the loose horse, either with a firm smack with the crop or end of my reins or something. Then I would definitely put the horse away. No horse who puts a rider in danger while loose deserves to be loose. No excuses.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:32 AM
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I also just read that someone was trying to catch him. Whoops.

I would just stay very calm, move out of the horse's way, and stay away from the hind end. If the horse did come up to you and stopped without engaging, I would try and grab the rein and hold him for the other person. If he did engage with you, I would definitely just get out of the way.

No need to panic as that always makes it worse, but keeping yourself safe is the priority.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry, I wasn't clear, the horse bucked the rider off and had himself a nice frolic, galloping, bucking and squeeling. There are never loose horses around unless it's an accident. After he was done having fun, he walked straight at my mare, not aggressive but with clear intent and interest. He basically just wanted to visit with my mare but I know this particular horse kicks at other horses when he gets in a mood.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
Sorry, I wasn't clear, the horse bucked the rider off and had himself a nice frolic, galloping, bucking and squeeling. There are never loose horses around unless it's an accident. After he was done having fun, he walked straight at my mare, not aggressive but with clear intent and interest. He basically just wanted to visit with my mare but I know this particular horse kicks at other horses when he gets in a mood.
Unless he was offering to bite or kick, I'd have done just what you did. Stand quietly and let him approach, if he's not being aggressive, then just standing there and letting them "talk" to each other would make it easier for the person who was trying to catch him. If you moved away to avoid him, he'd probably follow and "chase' would ensue. I wouldn't necessarily try to catch him, if he was just standing and talking to my mare, but if the opportunity presented where I could slowly and casually reach over to pick up a rein without upsetting him I might do it.

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post #7 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 02:24 AM
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sounds like it worked out well, how you handled it. it depends on the actions of the other horse, and your horse.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 03:53 AM
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Circumstances like that I would have done as you did and just stood still. If the horse came up I would have tried to taken hold of a rein but I am experienced and use to ponying other horses.

Your mare sounds like an angel, well done.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-01-2016, 09:51 AM
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A good "on the moment" decision on your part, and handled very well. Usually the loose horse will calm down and do exactly what this one did. Heading to the center of the arena, standing still, and letting the people on the ground deal with the loose horse is the safest option.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-03-2016, 09:19 AM
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Hi Horsef, All!

Once he settled down, I see no problem with picking up his reins/lead for his owner as long as you are confident enough to deal with the explosion that might happen when you attempt to do so. As long as he remains agitated (big eyes, pinned ears, rapid breathing, snorting, etc.), your best bet would be to stay out of his way, maybe even dismount and exit the arena if you can do so safely and not let The Monster out.
Worst case scenario, do whatever it takes to get a fence between yourself and the animals. Realistically, this should probably be your first reaction; get to the fence/gate and prepare to bail out. Then if the situation allows it, evaluate per the above, and take whatever action seems prudent.

Steve
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Steve Jernigan KG0MB
Microelectronics Research
University of Colorado
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