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Ruhorserider

Bolting?

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Hello,

I titled my post "bolting?" because I am not really sure what exactly is going on. I shareboard a 21 year-old Appaloosa gelding. I've started riding him in late December. At first he was really good, not lazy, no bucking/rearing/etc. But both the owner (who hasn't ridden him since 2003) and the barn owner has warned me that he can get very naughty at times, mostly bucking some, laying down in mud/snow and such.

About a week or two ago (I ride 2-3 times a week, alone, on the trail) he started to let out a few bucks here and there, mostly at the beginning of a canter. Not a big deal, more of a crowhop.

However, last Wednesday he went completely nuts on me, throwing me off, galloping off into traffic!

What exactly happen, I am not sure. At first I though he must have spooked at something, but now I am actually wondering if he bolted, because he wanted to go home faster. We were out for about 40 minutes, doing canter, trot and walk. He was okay, not perfect, a little "spooky". Then we turned around ( I always turn at different places). He tried trotting, I would not let him because I could tell he was in some hurry to go home (he usually is, and settles in a bit). I turned him in a couple of circles and we went on at a hurried walk. Suddenly he just sort of jumped to the side, I tried getting him to settle, at which point he went on bucking, jumping around and maybe rearing a little. Next thing I know I am on the ground, he yanked the rains out of my hands and the rest is history.

Today I went to at least walk him on the trail (he has been turend out since Wed., but I have not been out on him, I honestly was a bit bruised from my fall and needed to replace my cracked helmet). He acted all goofy, on the way back got even worst (we were out for 10 minutes or so) long story sort, i actually dismounted and walked the rest of the way!

Not sure what this is all about, or how to handle it??

Some information about my situation, I do not have a ring, or any enclosure to ride in, only the trails. I can lounge him before I ride, but I am not an expert at that, so I haven't been. Should I? My plan for tomorrow was to come and lounge him without riding.

Thanks and sorry it is kind of long.

Ruhorserider.

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a horse that bolts is thee most dangerous in my opinion. he can easily get one or both of you killed. you really need to practice your one rein stops. this was the first thing i learned as a kid, pull his head up, is what i was told. lol. if you dont know what that is, you grab the reins halfway down the neck and pull the horses head around to about your knee. (remember to use one rein only-left or right doesnt matter) practice this while your horse is standing still. only then when your horse is very responsive and does it with little effort on your part then move on to a walk and so on (please note that you have to do this at the FIRST sign of bolting. once they are going its more dangerous, if you dont catch them in time pull the horses head up to you knee alot slower so as to not cause an accident). PLEASE do not ride this horse out again until you have this under control. too many people have lost their lives on a runaway horse. best of luck and keep us posted. :huggy:

also, check saddle fit and bit fit. and you may want to rule out other physical problems- i.e. back pain and teeth that need floating. :smileywavey:

Edited by fastfilly79

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Thank you so much for your advise. I am aware of and have used one-rein stop on a different horse. So I am hoping to be able to stop him if I was actually on his back! Most of the time I suspect that he'd buck me off or rear up until I was off, just like he did last time.

I will try lounging him before getting on him and see if I can control him at a walk, and positively staying close to home for now.

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Your horse is barn sour.

I would first not ride him out again, until you get some good body control on him. Then, you will need to work on his being barn sour. There have been many posts on that subject, so won't delve into it at the momment

I would also stick to schooling this horse around home for now (transitions, loping etc,) and ride him at mainly a walk and trot on the trails for now, getting him relaxed

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Honestly? You should never ride alone, especially on Horse who is a known bucker.......hes 21 so probably pretty set in his ways.....if I were you I would look for another horse.....not saying he can't be fixed just is it really worth it?

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You all make some valid points! I do think this gelding is not used to getting out as much, and is also challenging my authority.

I wish I could always( or almost always) ride with someone, but I am in a barn with only two other horses, both belong to the same person and we have very different schedules.

I somewhat agree on not necessarily wanting to fix the problem, after all paying money to ride someone else's horse is only fun if it's mostly well behaved. Not if it's constantly looking for ways to get you off! By then you feel as if you should be the one getting payed.

I did speak to the barn's owner, who is not a trainer, but certainly knows a lot about horses. She is going to meet me tomorrow for a lounging session, and then she suggests I try riding him, and turn him in circles, make him go back in the opposite directions and such at the first sign of trouble. She says she has ridden him a few times, and he has tried similar behavior with her, and that's how she solved it.

Basically she thinks that lounging him before the ride should take the edge off, and after that just work with him under saddle near home.

So we'll see how it goes tomorrow, because to be honest I am kind of ready to quit.

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Good luck! It just sounds to me that maybe if you are spending money to ride someone elses horse you would want it to be enjoyable not dangerous like this.....and finding a horse elsewhere that you can ride with others around be even more worth your money

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So far so good! We had a productive lunging session-the barn owner helped me out, since I haven't lunged many horses before. I did have a lot to learn about getting him started.

After that we both went on a ride and she showed me a mostly fenced-in filed that I can work him in, and we did some circles at walk/trot, practicing my one-rein stops. He was a little "fresh" on the way home, but I just circled him around a few times and he settled down nicely. :-)

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The last time I felt a horse wanting to bolt, his head came way up in the air, I could feel his heart rate right thru the saddle, he was sweating profusely, and shook like a leaf. He did a very fast roll back and was gone like a flash of lightening. Like the devil himself was after him. I was prepared tho, and had him back under control in few strides. He was freakin nut case. He dumped me a couple times. He'd always bolt to the right....except for those couple times he dumped me. I was prepared for the right so he went left. He did this bolting thing quite often in his early days. He was scart of his own shadow. Lots of wet wet saddle blankets and many miles cured that problem. Became my most trusted and favorite horse to ride. I'm with smilie, I think this horse has a barn sour problem and is being a butthead, who needs a good come to Jesus meeting. winking0073.gifhappy0203.gif

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Thanks Mudder, this is strangely encouraging. Maybe I can make something out of this horse yet. :-)

Today's session did not go as well. But part of it was my fault. I came over to lunge and ride him, started lunging, did both right/left. After that I attempted getting him to reverse one more time, and he just would not comply. We were both sweating 30 minutes later, me just trying to get him to walk to the right on the circle, him continually coming in a facing me going "Aren't we done??". I managed to get him to trot rather lousy around a few times, just not to finish on the bad note. but after that I chickened out of getting on him, wasn't sure how his behavior was going to be since I did not succede lunging him for more appropriate amount of time. I totally should have tried. But this time I was alone, my back side still hurts, you name it. But mostly I was being chicken sh**.

Monday I'll have some help again, and try one more time.

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To me, this horse sounds like a spoiled brat with absolutely no respect for you at all.

Lunging should be a time to teach the horse to focus on you and do what you want him to do.

Burning off the edge or tiring the horse only works until the horse has caught it's breath and gets ready to toss you to the wind.

I had a horse that was an obnoxious toad when I was ten. My dad bought him and since I didn't have any choice, I was forced to ride a horse that made me want to cry or scream in frustration.

The first half hour that I rode him, Pepper would do anything and everything to get me off his back.

After that half hour he wasn't as bad, but he was begrudging every minute of the ride and waiting like a snake to strike.

He would buck me off (his body was almost completely vertical), jump sideways, crow hop, then take off like a bat out of hel.

When he grabbed the bit in his mouth, he would take off at a run and try to..

scrape me off against fences & trees or run under trees trying to knock me off.

When I pulled his head around to slow and then stop him, he would bite my boot. Hard.

I had to stop being nice.

I put him in a high port long shank curb bit with a metal chin strap and bought steel toed boots.

I'd figured out that he would drop his right shoulder just before bucking. So the second he did, I yanked both hands straight up into the air and the bit/chain combo nailed him. Trying to buck me off wasn't fun so he almost stopped trying.

When He tried to scrape me off on fences at a run. I stopped trying to turn him away from the fence. I started swinging my leg up out of the way and began jerking the rein next to the fence or trees.

I yanked and slammed his head bam, bam, bam, bam into the fence or tree until he moved his body away from it.

I got very good at riding side-saddle.

When he went under trees, I laid back flat on his back and kicked him in the chin so that his head would pop up and hit the limbs as we went under.

When I pulled him to a stop with one rein and he got too close to my boot, I kicked him in the mouth with my new boot.

Pepper almost stopped everyone of theses behaviors. But.

The second that I wasn't paying 100% attention or I'd let him get away with one small bad behavior...

He went back to being deadly. I never had a great ride that was fun, the entire time we owned him.

IMO, life is filled with incredible horses that bring joy & adventure to us.

Horses like that make riding fun!

Having to deal with a horse that has a rotten attitude and could kill or critically injure us every time we ride. Makes riding a dangerous chore.

I didn't have any options when it came to walking away or selling Pepper.

You, do.

Edited by dondie

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Thanks, Dondie. However, my experience is not nearly as bad. In fact for the past two weeks we've been riding fine (in company for now) working well on the lunge line and learning to respect my space.

Hopefully tomorrow I am going to try riding him solo and see how it goes.

I do agree with you that I have a choice of walking away from this situation, and I fully intend to do so, if by the end of March I still feel like I am riding a bomb waiting to explode. The past 3-4 rides we had I was actually able to relax and not feel like something is about to go terribly wrong. I am giving this relationship another month simply because I hate quitting and know that there were at least two other riders who rode this gelding before me for at least a year or two and were sad to part with him. I think we need a little time and a lot of work. but again, as I said, if in another month i still dont' feel safe riding him the way I enjoy, I will be walking away and looking for another situation.

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Ha! It's been a really long time.. almost forgot I posted this. Three years later we are still together, he has learned a lot and so have I. We went from lounging before every ride to not needing to do that anymore.

Thanks again for everyone's advice. I am really glad I stuck with it. It was 100% worth it.

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