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Nova
May. 4, 2009, 02:27 AM
I have a wonderful horse who randomly bolts without warning. He is very difficult to stop. Specifically I am interested in any information regarding the mechanics of horses locking their jaws and/or taking the bit in their teeth. Are some bits more difficult to get in their teeth? Better to keep their mouth closed? Better to use draw reins to keep head down? I am an experienced rider but have not quite encountered a horse like this. Any ideas?

dghunter
May. 4, 2009, 02:32 AM
Figure out why he is bolting? Is he in pain? Is it something specific that triggers it? etc...

Nova
May. 4, 2009, 02:37 AM
Already dealt with physical causes- back pain, teeth, etc. Now it is a bit of a habit.

dghunter
May. 4, 2009, 03:02 AM
Already dealt with physical causes- back pain, teeth, etc. Now it is a bit of a habit.

Was there any physical pain? Does he seem to do it to get out of work? Like is it when you ask him to collect more? Could it be that he's just lazy? I know my horse likes to travel slightly crooked because he doesn't want to engage his hind end. He did have some physical problems but we're managing those now and he's still too lazy to want to travel completely straight :lol:

If it's just a plain old habit now then you may want to consider some things to stop him from grabbing the bit or gaping his mouth. I used to ride dressage and we used the flash noseband to keep certain horses from gaping their mouths too much. Does he do it on the lunge too?

Nova
May. 4, 2009, 03:10 AM
Gaping his mouth is part of the problem and yes he will do it occassionally while lunging. Probably would be better in a hackamore but am not ready to try that yet. Trying to get more info on how they lock their jaws. Don't want to try harsh bits, but if one type is more difficult to grab, I would like to try it.

Moocow
May. 4, 2009, 03:24 AM
If your horse is indeed being lazy and trying to find ways to avoid work by bolting, let him run. In fact, make him run. Run, run, run until he wants no part of it any more. He'll come down. :)

Nova
May. 4, 2009, 03:30 AM
He's not really lazy, just hot and maybe bored. Would be happy to let him run except the turning is treacherous. Would like to feel like we can turn better.

dghunter
May. 4, 2009, 03:48 AM
I would perhaps try a flash and lunge in side reins first. Though I've seen many a horse brace against the side reins. I don't know too much about which bits would help as my guys all go in some sort of snaffle. Have you tried changing the bit at all yet?

*JumpIt*
May. 4, 2009, 07:17 AM
Is it at all gaits or just the canter? Should he know better or is he green? Is there anything you can think of that sets him off? What is your usual response when it happens?

My mare (OTTB) used to do this and it happens ocassionally when she spooks. On the lunge line we spent many months only troting on the lunge in the ring and we'd only canter in the round pen until she fully understood voice and body commands.

Undersaddle I would stay relaxed (a must for my sensitive mare if I get stiff it just gets worse) and I would put her on a circle and make her bend. She couldn't run around like a lunatic on a med circle and as soon as she was calm again we would go back to the trot and continue at a working trot like nothing happened.

I don't fully know your situation but this is what worked for me. NEVER allow him to stop and walk or get a break until he is being good, otherwise you'll be rewarding him for bolting to get out of work.

gloriginger
May. 4, 2009, 07:45 AM
learn the one rein stop

http://www.todayshorse.com/Articles/OneReinStopExplained.htm

jmvwiv
May. 4, 2009, 08:01 AM
pulley rein & if that dosent work get him circling as quickly as possible locking your thumb behind your knee until he totally gives and thinks that sucks.

twofatponies
May. 4, 2009, 08:09 AM
"Locking the jaw" I think is just a way to describe when the horse clenches his teeth and braces his neck muscles to resist/evade the bit.

NOT hanging onto the mouth does wonders for breaking the habit - they won't clench if there's no pressure to clench against - know what I mean? It's counterintuitive, but if you just loosen the reins and kick on, then guide him onto a large circle (half the ring) and just ride until *you* feel like stopping (wait til long after the horse wants to stop - it has to be your choice, not his).

I've seen several really bad ones get over bolting this way. They've gotten in the habit of the big tug-of-war fight. Take that away, change the game plan, and you can see them start thinking "okay, this is weird. now what do I do?".

BeaSting
May. 4, 2009, 08:16 AM
My experience may help provide a little insight. Some years ago when a government hack-line horse's blind bolting became frequent enough and dangerous enough to make him useless, I was able to take him on lease to try to figure him out. Pain issues were addressed first. Had the army vet float his teeth and treated curb chain sores and saddle sores. Changed out his tack - traded in the western curb for a fat rubbermouth snaffle and regular noseband. Swapped the western saddle (he was a narrow-barreled shark-finned TB and the saddle had QH bars) for an English saddle that fit properly (and a breastplate.)

I worked on the ground with him while his back healed, and dealt with a couple of other issues - he was extremely head-shy. My first ride I took him out on the trail with another horse, walk only. He was not a spooky horse, but he was very tense and nervous. He was hyper-sensitive and responsive to my leg, and any contact on the bit caused him to throw up his head and brace his neck and jig. I felt like I was sitting on a bomb. My natural instinct was to hold firmer to the rein (to try to slow or stop the jigging) and to grip more with my legs. My friend told me to take my leg completely off him and give him the buckle. I did, and he came back to me.

We rode him every day for several months. At first all we did was walk on the trails and gradually put on a little more contact with leg or bit. Anytime he so much as tensed or took a quick step, we backed off. We also rode him in the small indoor arena, where we would trot him. At first we just quietly asked and let him trot at his own pace. At first he would rush into a fast, choppy, head up trot, but as he relaxed and lowered his head, I'd quietly pick up the rein and take soft contact. Anytime he got tense or quicker, though, I'd give him the buckle back. Same thing with the canter. The indoor was small enough that he couldn't get a good head of steam up. It took several months of quiet, non-aggressive riding to get him to where I felt entirely safe on him on the trail, and also, importantly, to where I think he trusted that I was not going to hurt him. We retired him from the hack-line and got him half-leased to a woman who "clicked" with him. My friend also started using her in her lesson program as a walk-trot horse, and he really shined in that job.

Anyway, my point is to treat first for pain, and if your horse is hyper-sensitive, moving up to a more severe bit may turn out to be counter-productive.

Nova
May. 4, 2009, 11:30 AM
Thanks for everyone's stories! I am comvinced that a severe bit will only scare him. He is pretty green. Just trying to keep him from putting his tongue over the bit or grabbing the bit so that he doesn't scare himself and I can stop the bolt quickly. With his neck and jaw locked, the pulley rein is ineffective. Not pulling will be best except for the treacherous turns in a medium sized arena. Sometimes I think aggressively closing a horses mouth makes them feel too pressured if they are green. Any more thoughts?

Lucassb
May. 4, 2009, 12:33 PM
I schooled a horse like the one you describe a few years ago. What worked for him was a 3 ring with a waterford mouth. Because the balls of the mouthpiece were soft and flexible, he couldn't really lock against it, yet it wasn't a harsh bit so it didn't create any nervous tension. He was a bit long-backed so having a second rein on the bottom of the three ring did offer a bit of leverage to help raise his wither and added some stopping power when necessary, but most of the time I rode him off the top rein which was attached to the snaffle ring and worked just like a regular waterford snaffle bit.

We worked a lot on spiraling in and out off of my leg aids until he was *very* prompt about it. When he'd try to bolt, I'd simply open my inside rein and guide him around a circle, enforcing the bend/turn with my outside leg doing most of the work. I'd offer half halts to help him balance but otherwise he was welcome to canter as forward as he liked until the light bulb went on ("Er, this is tiring, I'd like to slow down now") at which point I would ask for a MORE forward canter. Pretty soon you could stop a bolt simply by half halting and adding the tiniest bit of inside bend - you could feel him going "OH NO NOT THAT STUPID SPIRAL THING AGAIN, THAT IS WAYYYYYY TOO MUCH WORK." He turned out to be a very nice horse, actually.

raave05
May. 4, 2009, 12:54 PM
i second the waterford...although maybe in a full cheek instead of the 3 ring.

also, if he's a serious bolter, you might want to try some racing bits on him, specifically those designed to keep horses from getting their tongues over the bit. something with a tongue plate but mild action might be helpful...

Thomas_1
May. 4, 2009, 12:56 PM
I have a wonderful horse who randomly bolts without warning. He is very difficult to stop. Specifically I am interested in any information regarding the mechanics of horses locking their jaws and/or taking the bit in their teeth. Are some bits more difficult to get in their teeth? Better to keep their mouth closed? Better to use draw reins to keep head down? I am an experienced rider but have not quite encountered a horse like this. Any ideas?Can you please better describe the circumstances that make him bolt?

From what you've said so far I'm thinking it's not a bolt rather he's taking hold and pissing off with you.

Have you got a photo or short video showing you riding him?

goeslikestink
May. 4, 2009, 02:23 PM
Thanks for everyone's stories! I am comvinced that a severe bit will only scare him. He is pretty green. Just trying to keep him from putting his tongue over the bit or grabbing the bit so that he doesn't scare himself and I can stop the bolt quickly. With his neck and jaw locked, the pulley rein is ineffective. Not pulling will be best except for the treacherous turns in a medium sized arena. Sometimes I think aggressively closing a horses mouth makes them feel too pressured if they are green. Any more thoughts?

1st i would do as thomas surgested and get a video up, 2nd and imediately take the horse off all grain , and feed only hay and good quality hay at that up his hay quota

it will take about 2 weeks for him to calm down as the grian exits his body, yet only takes days to enter now keep him off the grian till you have mastered him and up' ed his work load

not to be offensive but if one hasnt had a horse like this then ones still a novice
as just becuase ones and expereinced rider and ridden for many years doesnt make one
an expreinced horse rider if one can wtc ,, you might know the basics and going through bits or equipment to try and stop him but most is either rider error or food related
if rider error as like thomas says is he pissing off with you
or is he feed on high eneergy feeds and lush grass and hardly any work as then thehorse would piss off - as so much energy and nowhere to go to,, but his bonks time bomb waiting to go off

tack- if hes getting his tongue over the bit then the tack as in the bridle not fitting him correctly could be to low in his mouth and hes able to get his tongue over
check for lenght of cheek pieces and width/lenght of his mouth for the fit of the bits


how old is he and what is he,, and what sort of education has he had before and now

check your tack as in saddle fits check his teeth dont need doing

and read helpful links pages by me read the 1st page and all links its on a sticky in dressage forum as it can be rider error - could be your own hands and bodyweight meaning being to heavy in the hands or leaning in the bridle etc all will cause bit advassion and gitty horses

sometiimes we have to loook at what we are doing as to how it eefects the horse as the horse only learns by the human hands
wehn asking a horse for exsample -- then it should be done via a direct signal
if you was lack of confindence or timid then the signal would be of a confuse nature which in ahorse mind creates a doubt doubts create fears in horses mind 1st is to flee 2nd is to advade you
so many times people blame the horses when its not the horse

Nova
May. 4, 2009, 02:27 PM
Trust me- he bolts. He doesn't do it every ride. The waterford idea is great.

goeslikestink
May. 4, 2009, 02:34 PM
if he was ture bolted you wouldnt be on him
hes pissing off with you so your aids have to be quicker and sharper as hes got the upper hand as hes antispating your moves so hes in control

if he was mine i would use kick and click and send him into gallop then bring him back to halt pat and praze and repeat the exercise till he started to listen by the tweak of my heal

with horses that are forward going then you got to think quicker and be quicker sharper with your aids
if the horse is a tad strong in snaffle then have a happy medium and put the horse in a volcantie kimblewick

gumshoe
May. 4, 2009, 06:42 PM
Please evalute his feed. Too much grain perhaps?

Nova
May. 5, 2009, 01:28 AM
He isn't fed any grain and lives in a nice paddock. He eats a mix of grass hay and alfalfa.

Jealoushe
May. 5, 2009, 09:51 AM
I've ridden a few bolters in may day - when they want to bolt - make them go! Get into a 2 point and keep them galloping until YOU decide it's time to slow down. A lot of horses stop bolting if they realize they will actually have to work afterwards and their rider isn't shaken up.

This of course only works if they bolting from misbehaving, and not pain.

Spud&Saf
May. 5, 2009, 11:10 AM
If the cause of his bolting is that he is getting his tongue over the bit/grabbing the bit with his teeth, then perhaps a segunda mouth bit would assist you in breaking this habit.

Summit Springs Farm
May. 5, 2009, 12:30 PM
Oh Nove I feel your pain I know exactly what you are dealing with!!!

I have a green 4 yr old Hano who does exactly what you've described!

And when he bolts it can be terrifying!! Mine locks his jaw and bolts and I can't turn him, well I finally do, but it takes an army.

But now its better, so this is what we did. When he bolts, I just try to stop him anyway I can.

I use a slow twist snaffle to ride him in, primarily for safety, because I now it will help me stop if I need to.

But what has worked is teaching him how to bend and leg yields. I started on the ground, pushing him over and sending him forward. Then it translated to walking and trotting, now he is getting it at the canter, we actually did a small canter circle last ride, that was huge for him.

The more "broke" is has become, the less bolting, in fact he hasn't bolts in a couple of months. Good luck!!

Summit Springs Farm
May. 5, 2009, 12:34 PM
BTW if you've ever ridden a horse that truly is bolting the Last thing you want to do is kick him forward, because you don't know where the heck he is taking you, bolting = no steering!!:eek:

Justice
May. 5, 2009, 01:34 PM
IF you are an experienced rider, put a quik stop on with his regular bridle (just take off the nose band). Ride him off the regular rein, and if he bolts, say whoa and use the quik stop rein (gently). Insti-brakes. This is a serious tool for a serious problem, which it sounds like you have. Just a little trick I learned in reform school ;)

Go Fish
May. 5, 2009, 02:07 PM
I used to ride with a trainer that had a lot of pony kids. One pony in particular would bolt occasionally to see if he could unseat the rider. The trainer would have the kid use both hands on the outside rein and pull the pony into the wall. It worked...with the pony, anyway. :D

I agree with other posters...learn the rein-stop. I don't think continuing to gallop this horse will work...getting strong and speeding up/wanting to run is different than bolting. Galloping will work on the strong/speedy horse, but perhaps not the bolter.

LetsChat
May. 5, 2009, 02:11 PM
I've ridden a few bolters in may day - when they want to bolt - make them go! Get into a 2 point and keep them galloping until YOU decide it's time to slow down. A lot of horses stop bolting if they realize they will actually have to work afterwards and their rider isn't shaken up.

This of course only works if they bolting from misbehaving, and not pain.

I don't know, not that I am advocating abuse, but in my experience this works no matter what the root of the bolting is. That being said I haven't had experience with pain bolters, just young horses or spooky horses. I think so many times the horse reacts, the rider tenses and pulls making the horse more tense exasperating the situation. Just let them go, like someone else wrote. Ride in a controlled area, ie. indoor or secure ring and just gallop and when they want to stop, kick them on, make them realize that if they want to run, they are going to have to run... It works, they stop because most of the time bad behavior scares riders and the horsie gets off without having to do much. Do the opposite, they are not all that complex of thinkers, out smart him. I also agree with whomever said if he was a "true" bolter you would be dumped, sounds like he is just feeling good, or fresh or has learned it's an out of work.

LetsChat
May. 5, 2009, 02:18 PM
BTW if you've ever ridden a horse that truly is bolting the Last thing you want to do is kick him forward, because you don't know where the heck he is taking you, bolting = no steering!!:eek:

I think the forcing to go foreward does work, however.... Ride in a controlled area, like an indoor arena or outdoor ring with high fencing and a closed gate. Either the horse is going to run into the wall / fence or they will turn - most will turn I haven't seen any that run themselves into walls but I guess there are some that do. If it happens out in a field or open area do all you can stop them of course.

Czar
May. 5, 2009, 05:03 PM
The bolter I *tried* to rehab would bolt at a dead run - he would also spin. I stayed on for the spinning deal but NO amount of rein pulleying could get that horse to stop. He would bolt or spin just as you were about to swing your leg over the saddle and if you were quick enough to actually get on...hello!!

Somewhere along the road, he learned he was stronger & when he came to me at age 8, he was actually the only truly dangerous horse that I've ever known. Found out months later that many horsemen had tried to "fix" him with obviously no success.

Consequently, he too was a HannX...beautiful horse, fabulous mover, terrible mind :no: I suggested to his owner who had only recently acquired him through some strange circumstances to have him humanely euthanized. I figured a cowboy might be able to stop him by pulling him over or something but I felt he had gone on too long to be able to trust him to never do it again & he because of his size & strength, he could have seriously, seriously injured someone.

So that's my story...this horse wasn't green but I bet that's when he started that nasty little trick. Do ANYTHING necessary to get this out of this horse now - IME most young horses react this way out of a dominance issue (as in, they don't want to be told what to do) which needs to be squashed ASAP.

Horses with strong personalities need an extra strong hand, fair, but strong. Better for the horse in the long run.

gillisdog
May. 5, 2009, 11:10 PM
I had a nice mare who would bolt occasionally when trail riding. She never bolted at a horse show, which she seemed to consider her real job. The things that made her bolt were dogs jumping out, blowing trash, bicycles, motorcycles etc. It was quite terrifying. I finally figured out there was no STOPPING her, I had to get her not to do it all. Before riding, I needed to chase her in the ring and let her "pretend" bolt. I would crack a lunge whip and really get her going. I did this with her tack on. When she was sick of it she would stand in the corner, sides heaving. The I would take her on the trails. She never bolted after being chased. If I couldn't chase her, I lunged her. Always with tack on. If I couldn't lunge or chase, I stayed in the ring and avoided trail riding. But she never bolted if I followed the routine. I kept her till she died. I have had two more horses since. They don't bolt, I'm happy to say.

Equilibrium
May. 6, 2009, 12:45 AM
I'd definitely try the waterford too. I have a D-bit type. It went with me everywhere back in my galloping days at the track. I found it quite useful on nervous puller types. And they can't really pull against it. I always went with that bit before putting on a more severe bit. I had a lot of success with that bit.

I currently still have one in my bit collection and always will!

I just read through most of comments about what to do with bolters and I must say um wow and maybe my view of bolting my be different that what some of you would classify as bolting. I do agree with the let them go at times theory depending on where you are and footing. A girl here thought her ISH was a bolter so when we were hacking through the fields she started panicking as her horse got stronger. I was laughing actually and said he's half draught let him off - so she did and she was quite surpised the min she stopped pulling and threw the reins at him that he got no faster and didn't think it was fun anymore.

A real bolter is something that can get you killed. The pulley rein might help you, but chances are if he's an actual bolter he will get through this too. It's all fine and well to say do this and do that when a horse bolts, but in reality most don't go by the book. Personally this type of horse I won't deal with. A horse that had pain, but no longer does, could be scared by the prospect of pain. I know it's easy to reason with yourself thinking now that you've healed him, he will be fine, but they don't know this. All could be fine for a certain amount of time, then horse gets in a situation he might not like and off you go.

I know most of you will slam me, but having experience of real bolters with devastating consquences and seeing what happens to others, I choose not to be the hero anymore.

I started with the bit information as it seems OP is tackling the problem before it can become an outright danger.

Terri

dghunter
May. 6, 2009, 12:49 AM
I think the forcing to go foreward does work, however.... Ride in a controlled area, like an indoor arena or outdoor ring with high fencing and a closed gate. Either the horse is going to run into the wall / fence or they will turn - most will turn I haven't seen any that run themselves into walls but I guess there are some that do. If it happens out in a field or open area do all you can stop them of course.

Not to hijack but we did have one horse who would run into the walls :eek: Owner finally found out that he had suffered some kind of cross country injury before she bought him and probably suffered some kind of brain damage. He was NUTS. Ended up having to be put down. Not saying that's at all the case here, but I have known one who ran full speed into walls :no:

DancingQueen
May. 6, 2009, 12:56 AM
May be too simple and already debated but here goes,

does he have enough turnout? With a playmate or just a push around pony if needed?

Some horses will let you know wne they are too fresh, buck, spook etc. A few of them will hold it in and not act fresh at all but all of a sudden "bolt" for a longside or a few laps.
If there's any way your horse can go out in a larger turnout and with another horse (preferably an ADD type who's constantly moving around or a small pain in the butt pony who's constantly bugging your guy to pay attention to him) this could help a lot.
So be it if it rains or snows, no horse I ever saw was made out of sugar, they won't melt.
He may just be too polite to let you know that he needs to run and buck a little but be unable to contain his excess energy.

It's worth a try in any case.

Good luck!

Nova
May. 8, 2009, 01:10 AM
He does get alot of turn-out and lunging. He also lives in a paddock 24/7 but by himself.

Thanks again for everyone's stories and suggestions- just one more question- Did draw reins help anyone in stopping the horse from setting his neck and jaw and bolting?

Jealoushe
May. 8, 2009, 10:59 AM
He does get alot of turn-out and lunging. He also lives in a paddock 24/7 but by himself.

Thanks again for everyone's stories and suggestions- just one more question- Did draw reins help anyone in stopping the horse from setting his neck and jaw and bolting?

I would definitly NOT recommend draw reins on a horse you have no control of. That can be an accident waiting to happen. Seriously, try getting him to move forward, it does work and after a few instances the bolting goes away because it is no longer doing what it was before - unless it's pain.

Czar
May. 8, 2009, 05:48 PM
unless it's pain.

Or a bad horse.