I had totally forgot about using a Pulley Rein. (it's been 15 years since the Pony was able to get away with taking off.. once I passed 5'8" I had the upper hand... and I haven't really had a true "bolt" since her). I hadn't forgotten about opening my rein (this worked well with P1 to help spin her out of bucking fits), but everyone's right - I certainly didn't open (or lift) my reins at all. Mostly I was in clamp-and-hold mode, which clearly doesn't encourage any sort of deescalation. In fact there are points where you see Prairie start to slow and come back, and then I increase rein pressure thinking "yahoo, she's done!" only to freak her out and have her shoot off again.
|The vast expanse or boltable-space....|
My stirrups were long - another accurate observation. And while the massive knee blocks on the Prestige prevent me from hiking up my leg too much, they were up two holes for a first ride as a defense, but I cheekily dropped them for the second ride anticipating a calmer outing and the chance to ride my tests...
Maybe if I had shorter stirrups I would have felt less "flappy" and my brain would have worked slightly quicker, but the fact of the matter is that I stayed on, stayed (sorta) balanced, and really not much else.
I did feel that toward the end of our little jaunt, I started to have the wherewithal to consider my next move. P2 feels so damn unbalanced in those moments that I have a genuine concern for cornering her too hard or going too soon to a tight circle. I think I erred on the side of caution on Saturday, and perhaps a bit more aggressive "surfing" her down would be helpful (as would an open rein in the process).
The fact of the matter is on our Friday spook/bolt at home, we ended up careening into a corner of the ring and the mare managed to sit and balance just fine on her own, so I'm guessing the fear of her slipping out from under me is more my own crap, than her actual capability.
The good news is that having ridden through two recent bolt-spooks, I am feeling progressively more confident that I have a pretty good idea of what P2 is doing when she goes off. The first few times a new horse "does something" my brain instantly thinks "oh shit," assumes the worst and wonders what hellish roller coaster I'm about to go on. With P1 I figured out her pattern of bucks and (except for that last time) stayed on and got comfortable bringing her out of it. P2's scoot/spooks feel so much bigger that I keep anticipating more malice than she has in her but have learned how to correct her out of it. The Bolt thing is a slightly different beast, but twice now she's done it and twice it's been nothing more than a tour of the available space. No crashing through fences, no massive twisting bucks, no dirty stops... just a helter-skelter flight response that I haven't defused.
So, my hope is to internalize your thoughtful observations, think through my steering next time (assuming I don't catch it early enough again) and try for a faster recovery. Also, I think we'll be looking into a running martingale for field trips to help with the extreme drama llama-ing and see what happens...
FWIW, my guy used to take off. The game changer for me was realizing that as long as I had control of balance and line, it was all good; I had everything I needed to keep us safe so if I couldn't stop just yet, well, so what?ReplyDelete
I rArely, rarely try to slam the brakes on a bolter these days. Mostly I find it more effective to just not react. I ride what I'm sitting on just like I'd asked for the up transition; I never acknowledge the interruption of the work, so the work is never really interrupted, and the less drama and the less loss of focus and rhythm, the more the horse seems to fall in line.
It's not for everyone or every type of horse, but it works well for me and the spooksters that I tend to dig, anyway!
This is super(uper-de-duper) similar to how Cowboy Man explains letting the horses run out in big fields.. and that as they learn to trust and feel comfortable with themselves (and you guiding them..) that they instinct to grab-and-run diminishes pretty quickly...Delete
I like it :)
Re-read the comments from yesterday and forgot to mention that making them keep running once they bolted is an excellent strategy. Unless of course you have a super hyper, running lover OTTB like me, it might take 15 minutes for them to stop. I think if you're OK with it though, P2 might get the message after one or two times!ReplyDelete
Good luck :)
I wouldn't completely say that her jumping the fence is out of the question, whether she knows it or not, we all know she's athletic enough for it! I'm glad you were able to watch the video and make some good judgements about what you did right and what you can fix for the next momentary lapse in sanity!ReplyDelete
I saw that you mentioned the saddle in your previous post. If you feel that the saddle is tipping you forward, it will be difficult to be effective until you replace it with one that works for both of you. Imbalance caused by the saddle could even be partly responsible for her behavior.ReplyDelete
You did a really good job staying with your horse during a scary situation. I have found that putting my legs on helps, but I might be less inclined to do so with spurs. I guess you will have to judge for yourself.
I couldn't agree more. Our new one is on order.. but ARGH! I hate waiting... I do hack out in a friends saddle sometimes to see if I can feel a difference, but no conclusive breakthroughs on that yet.. :)Delete
i was going to comment on the video post but as one who doesn't comment i thought my advice was out of place. my original advice was "put her on her ass" aka stop her however it takes asap and back her the eff up till she wants no more of that and than back her some more. my thoughts are that letting her run and then making her run more seems like a good idea but than your horse is tired and the training session is OVER and no training happened so it was a waste of a ride. in the end all you get out of that session is lots of running which isn't a goal you want to have unless you're training a racehorse. i just don't see how letting a horse take off and run makes a horse not want to bolt and run! think about it, the punishment should fit the crime right? but if the crime is running and so is the punishment you're just going to have a super fit bolter, imo.ReplyDelete
Once you have control of the steering - you ask them to slow/stop - if they resisit, you then put them to work, by making them run - hard, then you ask for the slow/stop again. Once they stop you cool them out (I've had one dripping) then do a couple of minutes of work. The idea is that you've made running away hard work - because you have asked them to do more when they haven't stopped at your request.Delete
@East Bound, depends on the bolter. Horses are flight animals. A lot of the time when we're talking spook-bolting, the "crime" in question is being afraid while. Wing a horse. Setting them down hard may stop the bolting - but then again, I may not - but it does it by making them afraid of something else, not by making them brave or smart. It's a lot of unnecessary tension and bother, and I need my rides to know how to make good decisions in their own initiative. So I teach them that instead of teaching them never to put a foot out of line. I don't believe in mindlessly running them off their feet, but in my book "being scared is not the end of the world; here is how we communicate and cope" is a very worthwhile lesson and use of our time.Delete
If I'm sure the horse is just being a punk, I will maybe shut 'em down to make a point. But usually not even then; most of those want a fight because it distracts you from the work at hand and I find it more productive nor to give them what they're asking for.
Checkmark - I did it with an unfit OTTB - she was 17hh and loved to go - round and round the big paddock we went - first half of the first time round was her idea, then when she didn't pull up when asked he had to go out faster, since we had a big area we were able to get up to a good in hand gallop speed.ReplyDelete
I have always hated confined areas with new horses - I'd much rather have space to run them out than have to crank them round in a small area with lots of hazards. I think it shows that I learnt to ride in rural NZ where an 'arena' was a 20mx40m dressage arena marked out with a single strand of thin cord/rope (about 1 ft high) in a 20-50 acre paddock. I've never ridden in an indoor arena, and I think I'd freak out at the lack of space/option of where to go if something went wrong!
I just got caught up on all of this...man, I havent ridden a bolter in a loooong time. Pong will scoot out here and there, but has never grabbed the bit and ran. Hmmm...I know my trainer and I tackle all disobedience by the work harder on the horse so that what you are ultimately asking for (in this case a downward transition) is their easiest option. I would not recommend using the gallop as a means to make the work harder (meaning the, you wanna run, keep running until you tire out approach), it's just reinforcing the cruddy behavior and tells her there is a valid reason for her to panic. Also, you'll pretty much tick off everyone in the ring with you. I'd be none to happy with someone charging around out of control on their horse while I was in there schooling my green bean. I also wouldnt slam on the brakes because I suspect your next issue will be rearing as an aversion. So yeah, my point is, next time, assuming she's balanced enough, try making circles (using a calm, but purposeful pulley rein, sitting wayyy back)that get progressively smaller and smaller until her only option is to break into the trot. Then make a big deal of her with pets when she chooses the 'right' answer/trots. Then I'd carry on with the work and not make a huge deal of things. Just my 2 cents :)ReplyDelete
Yes. I like this.Delete
I agree! I learned to ride a bolter in my pony days (like you) but I never grew past 5'1", so alas I never got any leverage. Tucker's older brother had a wicked bolt in him (he had a huge bag of tricks, actually), and we used to circle, spiraling downward, making him "work" in that forward canter until it wasn't a bolt, it was a fully engaged, butt-burning chore, and he was grateful for the chance to trot. It helped with that particular vice, though he was equal parts clever and naughty. P2 is a much sweeter soul than he is....Delete
It's very easy to analyze after the fact, but much harder to think straight during the bolt itself. I also firmly believe that the pulley rein only works safely and effectively if it's schooled regularly in a controlled situation, and most people don't do that.ReplyDelete