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Help with bolting horse

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  • Help with bolting horse

    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?

  • #2
    Figure out why he is bolting? Is he in pain? Is it something specific that triggers it? etc...
    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
    For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
    www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Already dealt with physical causes- back pain, teeth, etc. Now it is a bit of a habit.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nova View Post
        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

        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?
        No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
        For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
        www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            **********************************
            I'd rather be riding!

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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?
                No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
                For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
                www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.
                  Last edited by *JumpIt*; May. 4, 2009, 08:50 AM.
                  “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

                  !! is the new .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    learn the one rein stop

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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        "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?".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            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?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.
                              **********
                              We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                              -PaulaEdwina

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                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...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Nova View Post
                                  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?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Nova View Post
                                    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

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Trust me- he bolts. He doesn't do it every ride. The waterford idea is great.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        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

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