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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!!! I’m going to try to keep this short and simple. But I have been following a horse trainer for 3 years now, and just started branching off on my own to start breaking my own colts and fillies. Im still working under him and at his facility, but I’m on my own time and making my own money.

Anyway, I’m working with around 7 right now. All doing great, except one 3 year old filly. She started off great, I’ve got about 7 rides on her. She is very intelligent, already side passes and will move off my leg with ease. Last ride, she spooked so bad she flipped over backwards on top of me and sat on me as well. Scariest thing that’s ever happened to me and definitely a first for me. I’ve had several people tell me I need to send her home. I’ve worked with so many colts and fillies now, and still this is a first. In all honesty, I’ve never even had one rear before. I’m a very patient trainer and I’ve been taught to have the softest hands and rely on my seat and legs. I don’t want to give up on her, but I do NOT want to kill myself breaking her!

This is what happened. I was working her in the outdoor arena, all was going well. Had been trotting her for maybe 10 minutes working on softness in the face and bending at the pole. A truck and trailer zoomed by going super fast and rattling super loud. She took off bolting and I pulled her in a one rein stop and she instantly gave me her head and slowed and stopped. We were then facing the trailer and she had stopped. I petted her, told her she was a good girl, then she ran backwards and flipped over on me. Completely extreme I thought!! I’ve had them buck and bolt, but never this.

What is your opinion?
 

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I'm not sure I would want to take that on. I was on a trail ride and someone's horse did that. The rider was very lucky not to get seriously hurt. I can't say if the horse did it again though or if it was a one time incident.
 

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At some point, a signal from her was missed. I'm not sure what kind of trainer you are but I would guess that this horse has been overwhelmed during the process up until this point. Finally, her anxiety and fear exploded during that spook, and led to a huge blow-up. With the little you have said, it sounds like she is a sensitive mare. It sounds like the best thing you could have done is as soon as she stopped, was to continue going, even just at a walk. I always, always emphasize forward motion with greenies, as I never want their answer to be 'go backwards' when they get scared.

Also, I am a believer that many trainers push and push for results in the horses first 30 days of training, when it is completely unnecessary. At the point when I had 7 rides on the horses I was training, we were working on transitions, obstacles, and moving forward with confidence. I wasn't monkeying with their heads, or forcing them to move sideways yet. I wanted them to believe that riding was no big deal. Then, I would start spending a little bit of time each ride teaching something new, not to make sure that I am not drilling them. I would start being a little louder and messier when I would get on and off of them, and start making more noise on their back.

I guess what I'm trying to say is not all horses can go at the same pace, have the same results, and also have the same mind while doing so. She wasn't ready, and it finally came out. Re-evaluate what you are doing and why, and see if you could have been doing something differently. Think about if she was tense during other rides, or maybe if her jaw had been locked, or she had a swishy tail...Or even if she was un-usually quiet.

I would get back on, but I am used to being around and working with problem cases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice! Everyone has different ways of training, and I know there isn’t one way, but I definitely TRY not rush my babies. I definitely could have, but that’s not what I strive for! I’ve had this horse for 20 days today, and first 10 were just groundwork because she is a very sensitive horse. Sensitive in ways of her body. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by much, just typical little nose blows here and there and a few jumps. But That’s typical for the babies 😊 I’ll try to pay closer attention and keep her moving next time!
 

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First of all, my guess is that she didn't throw herself over, but rather was just backing up so fast, she tripped on her back feet, and the momentum carried her over. still super scary!





Well, If it were me, I'd never set foot on her again, but then I'm not a trainer, and I'm a natural born coward, too.


No, but joking aside, if you are a trainer, you will have to deal with scary stuff at some time. So, either get back on her, or at least watch the other trainer deal with her, knowing that you will encounter something like this again, when you have more experience under your belt.


But, I agree with @ClearDonkey , this happened because you didn't keep her busy, so to speak. In a way, you abandoned her to herself to her own thoughts in a time when she didn't have enough self confidence to stand with her fears. She needed you to give her something else to think about.
It's an easy enough mistake to make, made by all of us at one time. We think the horse is able to stand and look at the scary thing . We just don't catch the physical signs that indicate the horse is just not able to tolerate it, and MUST move or explode. I guess from now on, you will error on the side of caution and keep a horse that might not be up to just standing and facing the scary thing moving in some manner, moving forward.



In
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First of all, my guess is that she didn't throw herself over, but rather was just backing up so fast, she tripped on her back feet, and the momentum carried her over. still super scary!


Well, If it were me, I'd never set foot on her again, but then I'm not a trainer, and I'm a natural born coward, too.


No, but joking aside, if you are a trainer, you will have to deal with scary stuff at some time. So, either get back on her, or at least watch the other trainer deal with her, knowing that you will encounter something like this again, when you have more experience under your belt.


But, I agree with @ClearDonkey , this happened because you didn't keep her busy, so to speak. In a way, you abandoned her to herself to her own thoughts in a time when she didn't have enough self confidence to stand with her fears. She needed you to give her something else to think about.
It's an easy enough mistake to make, made by all of us at one time. We think the horse is able to stand and look at the scary thing . We just don't catch the physical signs that indicate the horse is just not able to tolerate it, and MUST move or explode. I guess from now on, you will error on the side of caution and keep a horse that might not be up to just standing and facing the scary thing moving in some manner, moving forward.



In
That definitely good be true! I guess this was a big mistake on my part. Lesson learned, and I will try my best next time to take a different approach and keep her moving. I by no means know everything, and working with horses is always a learning experience. I learn new things every day!

My goal is always to have no bucks. I’m really big on desensitizing and preparing my horses mentally. First off because that’s how it should be done in my opinion and no cowboying, and second off because I am NOT a Bronc rider! It’s been forever since I’ve had a horse even buck on me which is how I like it!
I did hop right back on after I caught my breath. I did not end it after she flipped over. Instead I worked her same as I was before, and ended it on a good note. She seemed a little shook up still, so I waited until she relaxed and that’s where I ended it.
 

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That definitely good be true! I guess this was a big mistake on my part. Lesson learned, and I will try my best next time to take a different approach and keep her moving. I by no means know everything, and working with horses is always a learning experience. I learn new things every day!

My goal is always to have no bucks. I’m really big on desensitizing and preparing my horses mentally. First off because that’s how it should be done in my opinion and no cowboying, and second off because I am NOT a Bronc rider! It’s been forever since I’ve had a horse even buck on me which is how I like it!
I did hop right back on after I caught my breath. I did not end it after she flipped over. Instead I worked her same as I was before, and ended it on a good note. She seemed a little shook up still, so I waited until she relaxed and that’s where I ended it.
I'm willing to bet that you take a lot more time on horses than many of the trainers I know in my area...very old style, believing horses are more like robots than living-beings.

We all make mistakes, and what is important is that you learn from them and do better next time. I am glad to hear, from what you have said, that you don't punish bucking and misbehaving. I think that is the #1 big mistake trainers make. When these things are punished rather than worked around or worked to avoid, the horse internalizes more of its frustration and when the horse finally does buck/misbehave, it's BIG.

I had on client that went to a well-known natural horsemanship trainer out west, came home, and one day just exploded. I worked with him a few times and both the trainer and I eventually decided for my safety, that he needed a more consistent, more experienced program. You couldn't put any weight into the stirrup to get on this horse before he exploded into rodeo bucks. I worked and worked with this horse to get him used to weight and movement of the saddle, along with things swinging like my leg would over his back, but anytime it came to the big moment, he would explode. I would guess that his feelings were pushed inside at the big trainer, and finally when he hit his limit of being able to contain it, he was just unreachable. I don't know if he has gone to another trainer yet, however if he ever came up for sale, I would scoop him up in a moment. If I could dedicate every single day, multiple times a day to him, I could help, but unfortunately a few times a week was no where near enough for him.

I owned a mare at one time whose previous owner decided to break her one day, and just started trying to ground drive her. Through the grapevine I heard he just whipped on her, and eventually she hit her limit and flipped over. Scared him enough to have him rehome her, but anytime she would be pushed just a hair too far, she would immediately flip. It was scary, but I trained it out on the ground through long-lining. Anytime she would begin to show stress, I would push her forward to attempt to show her that if she needs to express her emotions, to go forward not backwards. Quickly she learned and became a nice leadline and trail mare.
 
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I would work with this horse on the ground with some scary stuff and see if this is a consistent reaction for her.

I've had horses rear and it was a one off, just seeing what they can do under saddle within the first few rides.

I've had horses who rear consistently, reproducible with certain stimuli. Those ones who's natural reaction is to rear, especially to the point they flip, are, in my view, too dangerous for riding. They need their brains rewired so they don't feel they need to rear as their instinct to something. I believe if they are rearing to the point they flip, they need better balance too, which would be concerning.
 

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What type of bit did you have? Sometimes in a situation like this things happen very fast and one thought I had was, she was going back fast and if you got caught off balance, it could happen that you pulled on the reins, not intentionally, but this can happen and she was already off balance herself so it escalated into a sloppy rear and more off balance resulting in a fall.

Or does she have front shoes? going back so quickly could she have got her hind end so under her and hooked a front shoe and then rearing to compensate, these are just suggestions and thoughts that I can think of to cause this unnatural response from her.
 

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Not all horses are equal. I would say that this little horse is extremely sensitive and smart and you have accidentally over loaded her system. I can not remember the name of the trainer who first introduced the idea of training a horse being likened to filling a cup. If you keep adding stress to the horse eventually their cup over flows.


If you could just forget about the behavior for a moment and really concentrate on seeing the horse as being anxious and needing to be soothed it may allow you to change your approach. If it were me I would go way back in the process and start with desensitizing for relaxation.



Just a quick question - when was the last time you saw that horse lower her head and lick and chew her lips? When was the last time she had a big snort and while lowering and shaking her head? These are signs of a horse that is relaxed and thinking. A horse that is exploding into dangerous actions is a horse demonstrating signs of extreme anxiety and confusion. She has no idea what you want from her.


Unfortunately what I am talking about takes time, if you are just doing a wham bam thank you mam method of horse starting, then simply write this one off and send her back to wherever she came from. If you are genuinely interested in becoming a great horse trainer then I suggest you be grateful for this opportunity to learn something new and try something different.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm willing to bet that you take a lot more time on horses than many of the trainers I know in my area...very old style, believing horses are more like robots than living-beings.

We all make mistakes, and what is important is that you learn from them and do better next time. I am glad to hear, from what you have said, that you don't punish bucking and misbehaving. I think that is the #1 big mistake trainers make. When these things are punished rather than worked around or worked to avoid, the horse internalizes more of its frustration and when the horse finally does buck/misbehave, it's BIG.

I had on client that went to a well-known natural horsemanship trainer out west, came home, and one day just exploded. I worked with him a few times and both the trainer and I eventually decided for my safety, that he needed a more consistent, more experienced program. You couldn't put any weight into the stirrup to get on this horse before he exploded into rodeo bucks. I worked and worked with this horse to get him used to weight and movement of the saddle, along with things swinging like my leg would over his back, but anytime it came to the big moment, he would explode. I would guess that his feelings were pushed inside at the big trainer, and finally when he hit his limit of being able to contain it, he was just unreachable. I don't know if he has gone to another trainer yet, however if he ever came up for sale, I would scoop him up in a moment. If I could dedicate every single day, multiple times a day to him, I could help, but unfortunately a few times a week was no where near enough for him.

I owned a mare at one time whose previous owner decided to break her one day, and just started trying to ground drive her. Through the grapevine I heard he just whipped on her, and eventually she hit her limit and flipped over. Scared him enough to have him rehome her, but anytime she would be pushed just a hair too far, she would immediately flip. It was scary, but I trained it out on the ground through long-lining. Anytime she would begin to show stress, I would push her forward to attempt to show her that if she needs to express her emotions, to go forward not backwards. Quickly she learned and became a nice leadline and trail mare.
Yes I take all the time that I need. All horses are different and I understand that! Like I said, I always strive for relaxation. That’s when my horses let me know they are ready to move on. I rode her today, did a little extra groundwork as well and promoted lots of relaxation. She was fantastic. So relaxed and didn’t give me an ounce of problem. I Did work her in the indoor today, and plan so stick in there until I feel she is ready to hit the outdoors again. I tend to start all my babies outside in the outdoor, but not all require the same attention so we are trying this instead 😊

It’s so good to hear your stories. That is crazy, and I wonder how that trainer made him internalize everything and how he treated him? That is so sad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What type of bit did you have? Sometimes in a situation like this things happen very fast and one thought I had was, she was going back fast and if you got caught off balance, it could happen that you pulled on the reins, not intentionally, but this can happen and she was already off balance herself so it escalated into a sloppy rear and more off balance resulting in a fall.

Or does she have front shoes? going back so quickly could she have got her hind end so under her and hooked a front shoe and then rearing to compensate, these are just suggestions and thoughts that I can think of to cause this unnatural response from her.
She is in a o ring snaffle 😊 nothing major. And that definitely could have happened. Honestly, what happened is a big foggy, so I’m not 100% sure what my hands were doing. I kind of remember leaning towards her neck when she popped up and trying to grab my horn but that’s about it. 😕

She does not have on shoes so that is probably not what happened. I have a feeling it maybe was just a sloppy rear like you said and either she lost her footing or I acccidentally made contact. I didn’t think of that until you brought it up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Not all horses are equal. I would say that this little horse is extremely sensitive and smart and you have accidentally over loaded her system. I can not remember the name of the trainer who first introduced the idea of training a horse being likened to filling a cup. If you keep adding stress to the horse eventually their cup over flows.


If you could just forget about the behavior for a moment and really concentrate on seeing the horse as being anxious and needing to be soothed it may allow you to change your approach. If it were me I would go way back in the process and start with desensitizing for relaxation.



Just a quick question - when was the last time you saw that horse lower her head and lick and chew her lips? When was the last time she had a big snort and while lowering and shaking her head? These are signs of a horse that is relaxed and thinking. A horse that is exploding into dangerous actions is a horse demonstrating signs of extreme anxiety and confusion. She has no idea what you want from her.


Unfortunately what I am talking about takes time, if you are just doing a wham bam thank you mam method of horse starting, then simply write this one off and send her back to wherever she came from. If you are genuinely interested in becoming a great horse trainer then I suggest you be grateful for this opportunity to learn something new and try something different.
If you read my other comments, I always strive for relaxation before I move on. ALWAYS. That is something that not only helps the horse, but helps me do my job! I will not get on a colt that’s not relaxed and tense. That just gives me an uncomfortable feeling thinking about it. Desensitizing is one of my big things, and what a lot of people send their colts to me for. I genuinely enjoy doing it, and seeing the horses relax back, cock a leg, droop their head, or give me a sigh and lick their lips. Love it.

I talked to my boss today, and he said he thought she just had a moment and I didn’t handle it correctly and made it worse than it was. She’s not a very anxious, spooky, or looky. She’s is very sensitive though and always trying to figure out my next move or exactly what I’m asking!! I do LOVE that about her!

I rode her today and she was much better. I did a little extra groundwork, watched her relax, did some desensizing, and hoped on. She was amazing. I did change it up and moved her in the indoor arena which is smaller, but in this case it is to my benefit. I will move her outside to the outdoor when I feel she is ready, and when I am ready. No telling how long that will be, but we will get there!
 

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I fully agree with ClearDonkey that she might well have been a bit rushed.

Secondly, I have had the same thing happen at least twice and with fillies. For some reason something makes them do up and they are unuse to it - colts are more use to it from playing, then they over balance.

Often this flipping is enough to frighten the filly into never trying it again.

Personally hen starting the youngsters, I would spend at least a week, long reining them out and about on roads and tracks. When it came time to riding them. During this time I would also have them stand next to the mounting block so they were use to me being above them. I would, when they were ready, justmget on them and ride them straight out on the routes they had been long lined around.

In many years I rarely had one do more than slightly raise their back.

 

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Do you ever use a whip? If you do then never use it in front of the girth as this can lead to rearing. I am reading a book by a trainer that says to never hit a horse in front of the girth. Is this horse in a paddock next to a road? Maybe that would be a good idea to desensitise. Otherwise, maybe you should work a bit more on your groundwork, building trust. Maybe if possible try working the horse away from that road in a quieter calmer place where she feels safer then gradually work closer to the road. Don't go out there saying: I'm going to achieve ____. Instead think: I will try ___ and see how it goes. I think you need to go back a step or two in her training to a walk or even groundwork and really focus on the signals she's giving you. Good luck! Hope this helps.
 

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Hi Bayhorse99, I did not mean to come across as attacking you. Please accept my apology if I seemed confrontational.


I will stand by my comments though, in the sense that not all horses are equal and this filly just might be one of those that needs to be reintroduced to the same things constantly where other horses have "got it" so much quicker. I think it will be a time thing with this filly and you may need to spend a month doing the most basic trust exercises before she is willing to say "ok, you've proved your trustworthiness, I'm prepared to face the world with you now".


Foxhunter is probably right, she may have scared herself out of flipping again but I would not like to stake my physical well being on that hope nor does it change the fact that there was a fear reaction to over stimulation in the first place. Like I said, I bet she is extraordinarily sensitive and probably very smart which is a great opportunity for you to lift your game. Her anxiety ques are obviously very subtle but her anxiety may escalate very quickly which would it make it very easy to miss what is going on with her. Not because you are a bad trainer in any way shape or form but simply because this horse is presenting you with a new challenge.
 
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