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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! I have a problem, I have a young horse and sometimes he can be a bit energetic and bolt or buck, he is also scared of many things. I used to use side reins but then I found out that they can be dangerous when riding. We are soon moving to a different stable (it's his first time) and I have to start riding alone more, it scares me because side reins used to keep him more together and he couldn't bolt or buck as much. Can someone help me or give me ideas? what should I do or use?
Thank you☺
 

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Hey! I have a problem, I have a young horse and sometimes he can be a bit energetic and bolt or buck, he is also scared of many things. I used to use side reins but then I found out that they can be dangerous when riding. We are soon moving to a different stable (it's his first time) and I have to start riding alone more, it scares me because side reins used to keep him more together and he couldn't bolt or buck as much. Can someone help me or give me ideas? what should I do or use?
Thank you☺
As far as I know there is no piece of equipment that will take the place of miles and miles of riding and wet saddle blankets. It sounds as though your horse is still inexperienced with all of the "monsters" that one can come across with riding the trails. Time in the saddle with a confident rider is key to helping your horse get over his fears. Another thing is to take the edge off your horse (he's young and full of energy) so either lunge him before you ride or just turn him out for a bit in the arena or round pen if you have one to work out that extra "gas".

Horses pick up their rider's emotions so if you're nervous and expecting trouble ahead, they will too. Try to stay relaxed but alert and watch for things that might give your horse a reason to spook. If you see something that could possible be a "monster", such as a plastic bag blowing around, relax and don't tighten your rein as that will signal that the bag is something to be concerned about. It takes practice as you are overcoming your fears about what your horse might do at the same time that your horse is overcoming his fears too. It's a beautiful dance if you're both in step. As I said in the beginning, that only happens with lots of riding time together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
As far as I know there is no piece of equipment that will take the place of miles and miles of riding and wet saddle blankets. It sounds as though your horse is still inexperienced with all of the "monsters" that one can come across with riding the trails. Time in the saddle with a confident rider is key to helping your horse get over his fears. Another thing is to take the edge off your horse (he's young and full of energy) so either lunge him before you ride or just turn him out for a bit in the arena or round pen if you have one to work out that extra "gas".

Horses pick up their rider's emotions so if you're nervous and expecting trouble ahead, they will too. Try to stay relaxed but alert and watch for things that might give your horse a reason to spook. If you see something that could possible be a "monster", such as a plastic bag blowing around, relax and don't tighten your rein as that will signal that the bag is something to be concerned about. It takes practice as you are overcoming your fears about what your horse might do at the same time that your horse is overcoming his fears too. It's a beautiful dance if you're both in step. As I said in the beginning, that only happens with lots of riding time together.
Thank you so much! I always lunge before riding, sometimes it's just not enough.. Is it okay to sometimes use side reins tho?
 

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Thank you so much! I always lunge before riding, sometimes it's just not enough.. Is it okay to sometimes use side reins tho?
Again, equipment isn't a substitute for miles under the saddle. I ride western, trained horses professionally for over 25 years and never used tie downs, side reins, etc to teach a horse. You must depend on yourself to read your horse before it reacts. That ability only comes with a lot of time in the saddle. Sort of like driving a new car....each car feels a bit different with the steering and brakes. Once you drive several miles you get the feel of it. Horses are the same. When your horse sees something that is spook worthy before you do, the head will go up, ears pricked forward and a tension in the body. He might freeze and not move (when this happens he isn't even aware that you are ontop of him as horses can only think of one thing at a time). It is up to you to either see the spook before he does or know how to get his attention when he sees something. He has to be reminded that you are still there. A pat on the neck, a few words, but never get into their mouth. Stay relaxed if you can (it takes practice) and encourage him to move towards the monster. It would be a good thing if you could do this in an enclosed arena. Tie plastic grocery bags with strings onto the fence, lay a tarp on the ground, just anything out of the ordinary to get his attention. Sort of like training him for a western trail class. If you've never seen one, youtube has lots of videos on horses doing all kinds of things that would be considered "scary" to them. Wish I could help more, hun.
 

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Attach a second set of reins to the bit and make sure the side reins are buckled or tied. If you get in trouble you can let go of the side reins but they won't fall on the ground
 

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A "neck stretcher" -- adjustable elastic bungee cord that goes over the poll, through the bit, and clips to the girth buckles -- is safe to ride in. Would have a similar effect. But it sounds like you and the horse need some training and guidance to help get through that. Still, if it helps, why not. I used to ride a horse who would head toss like crazy as an evasion. With one of these on, even on a very very loose setting, the mild, consistent pressure stopped the head tossing and helped us out.

Edit: I would only use these in areas that are completely cleared. Never on trails or where anything could snag on them!!

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As far as I know there is no piece of equipment that will take the place of miles and miles of riding and wet saddle blankets. It sounds as though your horse is still inexperienced with all of the "monsters" that one can come across with riding the trails. Time in the saddle with a confident rider is key to helping your horse get over his fears. Another thing is to take the edge off your horse (he's young and full of energy) so either lunge him before you ride or just turn him out for a bit in the arena or round pen if you have one to work out that extra "gas".

Horses pick up their rider's emotions so if you're nervous and expecting trouble ahead, they will too. Try to stay relaxed but alert and watch for things that might give your horse a reason to spook. If you see something that could possible be a "monster", such as a plastic bag blowing around, relax and don't tighten your rein as that will signal that the bag is something to be concerned about. It takes practice as you are overcoming your fears about what your horse might do at the same time that your horse is overcoming his fears too. It's a beautiful dance if you're both in step. As I said in the beginning, that only happens with lots of riding time together.
If you are dealing with a horse with much energy, some work prior to actual riding has much to commend it, however lounging is more than a horse careening about on the end of a string! Essentially you are driving a horse on a single line, which is why I use it as a stepping stone to actual long lining (on the circle, as opposed to walking behind it on the lines, but you can do that also and I recommend it). The trouble with lounging is, it's a real good way for a horse to step up under himself and step off a shoe or tread on the bulb of his heel. You have more control when you long line, you can check him down from that crazy stuff and ask for a proper working trot or canter. Once your horse is accustomed to lounging and goes on all 3 gaits by voice command while wearing a surcingle, crupper and side reins,, you are ready to switch over to the long lines (lines on both sides). You should have someone walking along outside you horse at first as he becomes accustomed to your control. And control you will have, IF you have done you initial ground work and basic lounge work well. It takes some time to educate to this point, but I would rather have a horse that has been long lined 30 days to begin than one ridden 30 days. He will know so much more. Once my horse has been educated in the lines, I don't go back to lounging again.
 

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Hey! I have a problem, I have a young horse and sometimes he can be a bit energetic and bolt or buck, he is also scared of many things. I used to use side reins but then I found out that they can be dangerous when riding. We are soon moving to a different stable (it's his first time) and I have to start riding alone more, it scares me because side reins used to keep him more together and he couldn't bolt or buck as much. Can someone help me or give me ideas? what should I do or use?
Thank you☺
I would advise against ever using side reins while riding! The only time I use them is for stall bitting or beginning work on the lounge in a surcingle and side reins. Fixing a horse's head in place this much is a recipe for disaster that I have seen happen, causing a claustrophobic reaction, usually rearing and falling over. I have dealt with many spooky and bolting horses (arabs and saddlebreds) and I recommend an arab martingale, not a running martingale.The rings of an arab martingale are placed along the shoulders and it is adjustable. When bolting, pull the head to one side and circle. That will cause a loss of balance and forehand loading, which will break up the bolting pattern.
When I ride with a martingale I also use a rein attached to the snaffle above the martingale rein. That essentially gives you a straight snaffle to use, then the martingale rein is your curb. Yes you must carry two reins. The snaffle rein you'll use when the horse attemps to buck - lift his head UP! This calls for quick reactions on your part. If you know he's likely to buck, keeping his head up will discourage it. If you ride only with a martingale and apply pressure as he bucks, you'll be pulling his head down, which will only let him buck more easily.
This is how the majority of saddle horse trainers start their youngsters and use it on trained horses as well. Some horses only wear a double bridle into the show ring. Mine were pretty much done that way, I love my snaffles and once they are well established in a double bridle, I only use it for shows. The DB displays the education of your horse, it is not as much for control although on a big high powered horse you may be glad for it when he gets game in his class. But if I have control issues at home we go back to the snaffle, martingale and/or the long lines which I also discuss here. As others will tell you, best thing for control issues is ground work and wet saddle pads. At my place we have a quarter mile track, a few miles on that and we get our control issues worked out.
 
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