Tuesday, October 21, 2008


On to my post for the day. I had a question about handling a bolter. I have to be honest. Bolters scare me more than any problem I have encountered. Horses come genetically wired with two automatic responses to danger. Fight or flight. Chronic bolters usually have a high flight reaction to begin with. Somewhere they have discovered that if they run hard enough they can solve any problem. If I am in front of them, on them, or interfering with the bolt it doesn't matter. I will either be mowed down or going along for the ride.
A bolting horse will lose awareness of their surroundings faster than any other vice. I have had runaways take me across interstates at rush hour, through scrub oak and wack me into trees. I have seen them jump fences, into rivers and straight through barbwire, all with a rider on board.
Something about the restraint of a rider makes them lose their minds. I think they begin running for their lives and we're perched on their back like a mountain lion ripping at their faces. A bolt may start as an act of rebellion, but then it evolves into pure out of control terror.
I also firmly believe that although bolting can be taught with poor riding, it is a genetic disposition that creates it. Bolting shows up as a behavior in young foals. The filly that is always racing around her mother or the other foals, usually without reason, is the one to watch.
There was a broodmare that was retired from the show pen because of an inclination to run straight into the wall instead of stopping at the end of her rundowns. This behavior was definitely created by the training program she was subjected to. No question. As a broodmare she was calm and affable. Her baby had never been mishandled, yet she was running into ponds, fences, the sides of buildings, you name it, from day one. She was almost impossible to catch and the last to make friends with her human caretakers.
Bolting can get you killed. If you are working with one please, please make sure you are a. capable of handling the horse, and b. the horse is worth the risk. I'm serious.
That being said, here's what I do when I have one on my hands.
Pulling won't stop them. Often you can't turn them either.
I spend a lot of time bringing their head to my knee and kicking the horses hip out. A bunch. Both ways. This is not a one rein stop, because I keep moving. Turn, go, turn, go. First one way then the other. One rein at a time.This isn't about pretty, this is about containing forward motion without creating a fight. I do it so often the horse's muscle memory will take over when I pull his face to me and I'll be able to kick out that hip. If you can disengage the hip you can stop the bolt. Notice I said if.
Now that I have my emergency brakes kind of sort of in place I get in a position where I'll just let that sucker bolt. I pick one of two places. A large, well fenced, good grounded arena, or 100 miles of back country dirt road on the open prairie. I do whatever it takes to get them to bolt and I let them go. I just point them down the road or around the arena and hang on. I don't say whoa, I don't try in any way to encourage or discourage them. Until they try to slow down. Then I over and under them with my reins, hard. And off we go. Every time the horse wants to quit, they don't get to. I will make him run until he can't. If we are on the dirt road then the horse gets to walk home. All the way home I keep my reins loose, and dare them to bolt again.
Sometimes they do, but not for long. Keep in mind I have been 30 + miles out before.
If I'm in an arena I do the same thing, just around and around. I stay on until they are completely recovered.
I will do this for days. Eventually the horse is begging to stop. Begging. Then I feel I have a start on things.
After we have reached this point I WTC and randomly disengage the hip. Over and over.
When I can turn that horse and slow him down anywhere anytime I will begin the stop, back drill that I discussed with Char. But only when I can offer the stop back as an alternative to running for two hours.
This is extreme I know. But there is nothing nice about the behavior. It can get you killed. Please think things through carefully before you commit to trying this on any horse.
I have gone through this more than once. Sometimes it cures them for good. Other times it only fixes them for me. Think "Captain" on this one.


  1. I want to add to mugwump's advice on bolting that I did cure a horse of this vice once using her exact method, but the relevant part of the story is that the horse wasn't a confirmed bolter. He wasn't a genetically programmed bolter, in other words. He was a smart colt who had experimented with bucking and sulling up as forms of resistance, and when that didn't work with me, he experimented with bolting. I had started this colt, and I knew him for a lazy individual who had no interest in running for his own sake. He was trying to run off as a way to eastablish his dominance over me, his unwanted, bossy rider. The first time he tried it I was startled and pulled him around. (This kind of bolter you can often pull around--they're not running in panic--its a calculated thing). The second time he tried it, I made him run...and run...and run (around a big arena). He was dripping wet, exhausted, and begging to quit when I finally let him stop. He tried bolting once more a few days later and I gave him the same treatment. He never tried it again in his life (I still own him). So there's a success story for you. But this horse, as I said, was not the "running blind" sort of bolter.

  2. When my mare was in her very first place of "training," when they attached a bareback pad to her, she bolted and ran smack right into the end of the arena. Made a huge gash and dent in their metal arena wall. They were just stunned that she didn't turn because they ALWAYS turn. Not my girl. She had a huge hematoma hanging off down her stifle. I don't know how she got that running into a wall. They always joked she was hatched because they couldn't find her belly button and that she's wacky because she has an extra tooth. These stories make me wonder what kind of parents she had or if it was just poor treatment as a youngster as I know did happen.

  3. Oh, and thank you, mugwump, for the review--I'm glad that you're enjoying my mystery series so far.

  4. My personal idiot used to take off with me every time I got on his back. We'd be flying around the arena and I'd look longingly at the sawdust pile every time past! He was an OTTB and he just thought he was SUPPOSED to run. Also, he loved running and could go for years.

    With him it was headspace. He didn't start off brain-dead bolting but if you ran him he just got more and more worked up until you ended up with a psychotic mess. Had the same problem if you put a nasty bit on and tried to just muscle him in. (Got talked into trying that ONCE. Later I realized that my trainer wasn't the smartest--this is the same lady who tried starving him to calm him down, guess how well that worked?)

    Once he learned a rider is there to LISTEN to not scurry off with he was much better. I think fugly once mentioned on the VLC blog about how you just feel safe on some horses and others haven't even done anything yet and you just want off... this was my safe horse. I trusted him completely and in return he learned to listen to me! (Same horse was so athletic he taught me to close my eyes and grab main when I get scared over jumps... great strategy...)

  5. I guess I could modify a little. I'm betting you guys noticed how I feel about bolting horses (ahem)
    I don't think of spooking, running babies as bolters. Although I do tend to run them around for quite a while too.
    I have only ridden one OTTB. She was so laid back she only tried to run once. I assumed that's what she thought she was supposed to do so I just sat heavy and quiet until she quit. She never did it again. I'm guessing I was lucky.
    How about you guys who have more experience with the OT's? What do you do?

  6. I couldn't agree more with the genetics stuff. There are just certain bloodlines where I know how the horse is going to ride off before I ever put my foot into the stirrup.

    The VLC's sire sires 100% quiet, spook proof horses. They do not have a buck, a bolt or a rear. Some are a little stubborn. They have a balk. But overall, they are not going to get you hurt, even when very green.

    Two Eyed Jack horses, same thing. Sometimes a little stubborn - but I haven't seen them to have a buck or a bolt or a spook in them.

    Skipper W's...they may have a spook, but they're not trying to kill you, either.

    Now conversely, you cannot GIVE me a Sir Gaylord (TB) bred horse. Have had a few, all were nuts.

    Here's the pedigree of a mare who ran me down a hill and was blasting full tilt for an asphalt parking lot when I broke her to a trot by earing her and bailed off. Probably the scariest moment of my horse-riding life. I could totally see her hitting the pavement and us wiping out like a bad motorcycle wreck.

    I do think that the method you describe for curing a bolter is the ONLY way to fix the behavior, just as deliberately flipping them on their side (if you're athletic enough to do it) is the ONLY way to cure a rearer that is rearing as a resistance, not due to pain. I'd never have the guts to do it, and I'd be scared the whole time that they were going to fall and kill us both.

    I truly have not met many OTTB's that bolt. It's unusual. Sure, they go faster than your average green horse - it's what they've been taught to do, many of them are somewhat confused by the idea of trotting and desperately want to break to that canter at first, but they don't bolt. They are just fast at all gaits, but they stop. In polo, we used to get a good stop on them quickly by trotting them into the corner of the arena, asking for the stop and not letting them go left or right. Crude but effective - they bonk their nose once or twice and go, OH, sit on my butt and stop, got it now. :-)

  7. P.S. And of course, the genetics thing is why the phrase "we bred her to settle her down" makes my brain bleed. Yay, another four legged idiot coming next spring!

  8. Every eastern ruler horse I have seen (dressage and jumpers mostly) have all had a fucking screw loose. I mean a serious screw loose. One of his babies which my boss had at one point BIT the end of her finger off! :o

    I'm dealing with a bolter in a cart right now. Luckily I have a track to run him around. When he took off with me the other week we went around that track at a gallop five times. I said he was either going to drop dead or stop. He stopped.

    Question about spooking/bolting: My mare sometimes does not really a bolt but she jumps ahead and has always been stoppable within a few meters. Should I apply the same make her work harder until she begs to stop or would that just reinforce the spooking and want to run? It's really annoying by this one bush. She got beamed in the side of the head by a bird and every time we go by it driving (not riding because it happened wile driving) and theres a slight wind she spooks into the field a few feet at the non existent bird. Would making her work real hard like that reinforce the spook?

  9. I had a horse that did that, Sydney. Sort of spooked straight forward, rather than sideways. He wasn't really bolting, just leaping forward. He was/is the only TB horse I ever owned, though I don't know if that behavior is connected to his being a TB rather than a Quarter Horse. I can't say I did anything to cure him of this, just kept riding him and working with him until he got broke enough that I could stop him in one stride. He still had that leap forward impulse, like my Gunsmoke gelding always had the sideways spook impulse. I did not have the sense that running the TB horse as I would a bolter would have helped him. I think it would just have blown him up. I certainly never tried it. Lets see what mugwump thinks.

  10. Huh. Good advice here -- thankfully I've never dealt with a horse that had serious, built-in issues.

    Now with Bailey, we dealt with bucking. Fairly easy, he wasn't bucking to get me off - just push him forward and make sure he's not in pain.

    We went through a rearing phase, too.

    That was fun.

    Scared the hell outta me for awhile, but we worked through it. It involved making him move his butt over, preferably while walking forward, but often just a turn on the forehand if that was all I could get.

    Bolting I've never dealt with. Hope I never have to, but at least I know how to fix it.

  11. I would distinguish "running off" from "bolting" here. I have a mare who I taught to run off. She can do it in the walk, trot, or canter: it's the point where her back is stiffened, and if I pull on the reins, she'll resist and go faster instead of yielding.

    She got this way because I 1) didn't -make- her stop when I said stop, or turn when I said turn, and 2) leaned forward and unbalanced her and made her feel that she needed to scramble to keep her balance.

    Like Laura's horse, this horse never ran blind. She left because as far as she was concerned, I -failed- at giving direction. Not only was I wishy-washy about it, I made her feel unsafe by leaning forward and wrecking her balance.

    However, to speak of genetic predisposition, this horse got terribly worried when a rider got on her back .. because she felt unbalanced. The owner told me later that she'd lounged her for some time so she could get stronger and more confident before she got on the horse.

    Now, we have the running off under control. It basically doesn't happen beyond a token lift of head in resistance. However, we do not put beginners on her outside of the arena, because if she figured out what was what, they would be going for quite the ride.

  12. Here's my question re:bolting...What do you do with one who doesn't do it as a behavioral thing, but rather gets spooked about something and instead of spook/snort/run/regain composure, utterly and completely loses his mind? My trainer has one in the barn like this--super little horse. All guts and heart, jumps the moon...until *something* makes his brain turn off. Several of us have been on him when it happens and that's the only way to explain it. It's scary as all get out--he's on pure flight reflex and I don't think he even remembers we're up there. I can't see making him run more helping in his situation; any suggestions for triggering the brain reflex? It's odd, b/c he's SUCH a tryer...but sometimes the wind blows wrong, and you're off at warp speed.

    Mugs, another good ride today following your stop/back/repeat exercise. He didn't break to the canter once...trot was still quick, but he's offering to back up the moment I stop him! lol.

  13. I've been reading and enjoying this blog for a long time, and have learned alot. I've had OTTB for years and never had a bolter. Yes, they're eager to go, but that's what they've been bred and trained to do. If you can relax (ala mugs' advice) and remember that they're used to going fast, you usually can channel that energy into a pattern or exercise until they settle. If you try too hard to control the speed, they feel too confined and worry, especially at first. My tbs have often ended up being quite mellow fellows.
    That said, now I'm dealing with a young appendix QH who takes laziness to a whole different place. I've been told (after purchase, of course) that his "attitude" is common to Indian Artifact offspring. Anyone know about that? I'm hoping it's just a result of his being 5 and still growing, but he's a challenge. For now I just keep working one step at a time.
    Mugs, could you explain a bit more about weight distribution? With this guy keeping him in balance is a big issue. I've always been taught to weight the inside seatbone, especially when circling, and to keep moving the horse into the outside rein. Sitting to the inside on this guy seems to push him out thru his shoulder and way off balance, especially tracking right. It helps to focus on keeping his shoulders straight in front of us on the line of travel...but he often feels like he has extra body parts!
    So, could you explain your differences of opinion with the dressage world a bit more? Any advice except to keep trying to hear what this guy is telling me?

  14. "Now conversely, you cannot GIVE me a Sir Gaylord (TB) bred horse. Have had a few, all were nuts."

    How many generations back did the ones you had go? My mum's TB is fourth generation Sir Gaylord and had a bit of a bolt on him. Don't know if maybe that's a bit distant to attribute it, but trainers have said the same thing to us, that he was on a hair trigger at times. He's relaxed a bit more now he's older, but I remember some bolts on the road and indoors.

  15. stillearning...

    I don't have any specific advice, except that I am noticing a big difference in the way Toby the Dutch Warmblood moves and carrys me, compared to my Appendix QH Starlette. Granted, he's 19 and been-there, done that...but when I head him in a direction, he tracks and stays balanced, even when I get off balance...which is *wonderful* for me...I now have a chance to figure out what I am doing wrong and get centered...I was told he is the kind of horse that "makes a rider" and he truly is...maybe it's his size, but if I am leaning, and he doesn't, I end up hanging off that way until I correct myself...and he just keeps going, waiting for me to catch up with him ;)

    Now, with Starlette, she will go the way I lean...she is so quick on her feet she just compensates for me. I credit that to her QH heritage...she's ready to chase down a cow and carry a person on her back at the same time. She is really doing better at responding to me now that I ride Toby first...I am more centered on her, my legs are in much better position (I found I was lazy on her because her gaits were so smooth I didn't have to work at riding her, whereas Toby has huge, animated Dressage gaits, and I really have to work to stay on him right!)

    So, maybe you are used to larger TBs that carry you differently?

    As for "lazy"...Starlette gets bored, easy...doesn't want to do repetitive exercises (except jumping!), so I do carry a dressage whip when she's in that mind set, just as a reminder I mean it when I ask for it. I am at the point that I will start not carrying it unless she doesn't respond.

    Just my little experience in the big horse world...

  16. "However, we do not put beginners on her outside of the arena, because if she figured out what was what, they would be going for quite the ride."

    I have a mare EXACTLY like that. She was the one that really taught me to ride. If I leaned and wasn't sitting right she would go faster and faster until she was galloping. She has a really choppy gait having first been a carriage horse bred for action in the knees. Shes an amazing carriage horse but she hadn't had anyone on her for 6 years. Once I learned where to put myself I could ride her bareback or canter and make her look like the smoothest horse in the world. No one else can ride her bareback without bouncing off. Shes really well broke. She doesn't spook at much and shes really hot, but never stupid but I would again, never put anyone on her out of a pen or off a lead line unless they REALLY knew how to ride.

  17. Mugwump, I was wondering if you could address what you would do for a horse that always wants to go home or go out the gate. I ride a quiet mare who is well behaved and responsive, but who is very persistent about going back to the barn. If we're out in the hayfield, she wants to go back to the stable. If we're out in a paddock, she targets the gate. She never bolts or gets strong about it and always listens when I correct her, but if I am not actively telling her which direction to travel in then she will drift towards the gate, or stick her shoulder out to step sideways towards the gate, or turn to face the gate and walk that way. I should mention, I never dismount at the gate. She has been like this since I started riding her, so I have always dismounted across the ring... but then I have to walk her through the gate to get out. It's not a dangerous problem or anything, but it's frustrating and it makes each ride less enjoyable.

  18. Wow great conversation! I learn so much reading this blog.

    Some of you have mentioned the difference between bolting and running off. That was exactly what was happening with my OTTB.

    He was like accendora's horse (or I was like her...):
    Like Laura's horse, this horse never ran blind. She left because as far as she was concerned, I -failed- at giving direction. Not only was I wishy-washy about it, I made her feel unsafe by leaning forward and wrecking her balance.

    Like stillearning said: If you try too hard to control the speed, they feel too confined and worry, especially at first.

    So he'd get nervous and run and I'd get unbalanced and yank on him. = BAD combination. Green horses and novice riders are always an "interesting" combination. Fortunately nobody got hurt and I learned to balance properly and soften so he had nothing to fight with.

    Only once did I ever have a true "bolt" rather than just running off or spook and dash a bit. Scared the crap out me because of course he went right down the middle of the paved road with shoes on! I waited until we hit the sand near the barn to try an emergency stop because I was so scared he would slide right over!

  19. Side note: Other OTTB I've worked with have been very willing and I haven't had any of the running off problems. They're usually just young and confused (regardless of biological age!).

  20. This is going to turn into a post within a post, but I think that's OK-
    laura crum-every time we get into one of these discussions it becomes so clear that we come from the same, old timey vaquero kind of back ground. Notice?
    ezra-I'd go with genetics. That's the stuff I watch for.
    Fugs-It's funny how the same disposition can translate in different ways. Two-Eyed Jack-don't have the mobility or drive for cowhorse, but pretty and sweet. Skipper W's-once again, no mobility, straight shoulders, small feet and weird resistant suckers, pretty headed though. We like Reminics- tend to be small wiry, butt-high, UGLY headed, and border line psychotic. But you just about don't have to train them to go to a cow. Just point and shoot. Foundation wise, we like Poco Bueno (they're known to buck some) and of course the Doc O Lenas.Funny isn't it?
    Sydney-that's a spook, not a bolt. I'd go back to my spooking strategies.
    accendora- Are we talking genetics, conformation or maturity levels? It's easy to lump them together, but probably important to sort out in our minds. I know that weak horses will run and scramble and fall out of balance like you describe. That can involve backing off of riding, ponying on long trots and letting them grow up.
    laylakate-that's exactly the horse that I would be out running with. Exactly. But I also never say my way is the only way. It's just the one I would use. I'm glad the other stuff is working on your hot horse. I also use a lot of directional changes when I'm working on a trot, and use the rhythm of my post to try to help them find a working cadence.
    stilllearning- I will have to do a post on weight distribution, it's a hefty subject. (sorry) But keep in mind, I don't disagree with dressage, I don't think I have ever said it. I use lots of basic dressage methods in the way I ride. For now I would say play with your seat bones and the effect they have on your horse. As for lazy horses I have a post in here some where about that very subject. If any of you guys know how I would go about setting up an archive in here and could explain it in slow, short sentences, I would try to set up a reference archive thingy.
    jackie-who's used to riding larger TB's? I'm so confused....
    All Canadian- I'll address this in the weight and balance post- it kind of ties in.

  21. We had one that was a genetic freak. She was a gorgeous registered bay QH mare by the name of Miss TyCo Skip. My dad bought her as a weanling for me to raise and show in 4-H. I was about 5 or 6 at the time. From the start there were screws loose. As she aged she bacame more violent and aggressive. Our farrier hated her, our vet hated her, my Mom hated her, most of all, I was terrified of her. She was a killer, pure and simple. She was never mistreated, never abused. She just hated everything that lived. She would charge the fence of her corral with ears back, teeth bared, and hate in her eyes. We never were able to fully break or train her under saddle. You couldn't trust her for half a second without her trying to kill you. She ran me down in the pasture when I was about 8, and if my Mom had not come out of the house in that instant when she was rearing up over me, I might not be here today. She knocked my dad unconsious one day and got out. She kicked a little girl in a halter class. She chased EVERYTHING out of her pen. It took yards of rope and a twitch to shoe her.

    My dad decided to breed her for some reason (hey I was like 9 years old, I had no control over it). He took her to a Paint stud, name of Top Gunner, to be bred. She nearly ate him alive. He was not very stable, but he was man-made. They kept him like you should never keep a stud. In a tiny, dark stall, isolated from everything. The product of this breeding, a filly, turned out solid colored, so we bred back again. We sold Skip after she had the second foal, a colt, which we gelded. The filly was almost as bad as her dam, she was ok as a young horse, but as she matured, she got worse and worse. She was unusually aggressive, to people and other horses. We kept her until she was about 8 years old, she got so aggressive I finally convinced my dad to sell her. The gelding was fine, gentle and calm. I traded him off to a riding academy as a lesson horse, he is somewhere in MO, hauling little girls over jumps and is happy as a lark.

    The only thing I can figure is that it is genetic. Those mares were never mistreated, they were just crazy.

  22. scaequestrian-as you noted, you had no control over the circumstances that allowed this wack job to be bred. The "breed her to settle her" theory has been around forever. This just makes it even clearer to me why Fugly is so damn important. Education, education, education!

  23. Mugs...Stilllearning said she had OTTBs for years...that's who I was responding to....

  24. Oh lord the genetics thing is so true.

    I handled all the horses my last boss owned, not part of the practice, but it was part of my job. Anyways, he had two OTTB's he was crossing with a nice Dutch WB stallion. The oldest filly out of bay mare, younger two out of grey mare.

    The bay mare... well... sweet as she may be, is a FRUUUIT LOOOP! Love her but you couldn't pay me any amount to throw a leg over her. Her daughter was lovely... except on certain days it was like a switch flipped. Correct her milding with the lead for running ahead of you going out, UP she'd go. Restrain her she'd try and kill you. Now her handler when she was young was scared of young horses BUT I don't think it's learned. She just has a screw loose. Too bad she's the perfect size for a youth huntseat mount... that worries me.

    The other two out of the grey mare are dolls - their mother was a doll. They do dumb baby stuff and the colt is a colt but they're sensible.

    Older girl is off being finished... know the trainer well, and trainer can't wait to get her gone. Trainer is worried about dealing with the next two but I know she'll fall in love with them. Mom just passed on the loose screw. No doubt in my mind.

  25. er... Sorry, correction:

    *'Correct her mildling' = correct her mildly.*

  26. I've owned 4 OTTBs in my life, not a ton, but enough I think to get a measure. I've never had the panicky bolt problem with any of them. They run, especially when they're first off the track, but it's because that's the only thing that they know how to do. And they're ususally just so big and strong you're going along for the ride. I've never found that leaning forward throws them off balance. In fact, I've had a couple that would only drop into a frame if you got into two-point kind of like a jockey. I think it's because they exercise that way on the track even when not racing. I always found what tends to panic them at first is to have someone sitting square on their back when they take off. They just don't understand it.

    Most of my TBs have had some buck in them though especially as youngsters. Not dangerous stuff but that feeling good after a jump...buck, buck buck sort of thing.

    That being said, I think the only panic bolters I've ever dealt with were ponies. I was tiny as a teenager. I'm 5'1" and all through highschool never weighed much more than 100 lbs (those days are long gone LOL). I rode a lot of Welsh ponies at a ranch I worked at, and since most had never had an adult trainer ride them they were usually hot and green. My parents couldn't afford fancy ponies so I rode whatever rank POS that trainer wanted. I was really good at staying on them and they'd usually give up the antics eventually. Fortunately, it's usually easier to force a pony to listen than it would be a 16+ hand TB. My only serious horse related injury though was on a pony that bolted. It was a friend's evil little Hackney cross. I had his head turned so far around I was looking right into both of his eyes and he still managed to head straight into a tree. I jumped too late and hit a branch with my face on the way down and had to get stitches. I wish I'd known then how to disengage his hip.

    It would make sense that perhaps it was a genetic thing with those ponies. I think they were all related in one way or another except said evil Hackney. It could also have been a lack of training. I do know that even when those ponies learned to be good for me and we were winning at some shows they still weren't easy for other kids to ride. The owner couldn't give them away to her pony club lesson kids. They just couldn't control them.

  27. Does anyone know a good resource (besides blogs like these) for finding out more about different lines in quarter horses and the like? I know its subjective but it would be nice to have some sort of gauge. That being asked...

    Dash for Cash horses? Anyone have any thoughts?

  28. I've known a couple Dash For Cash horses. They were hot but not unreasonable. Not crazy hot. Its not much to go on...obviously. I wasn't around a whole bunch of them, so sure can't pronounce.

  29. Okay! My turn...
    Starlette: KY Star is What IR (not listed yet)

    Sire: Kentucky Top Gun: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/kentucky+top+gun

    Her dam is not listed (Dodgers Gold Star) but her grandsire is
    Dodgers Gold Power :http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/dodgers+gold+power
    Her granddam is: Backwater Hatty:


  30. Mugs-I did read and apply your lazy horse methods and it has helped. I meant to ask if anyone knew anything about the Indian Artifacts line and "attitude". I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on weight distribution. And I'll keep experimenting in the meantime.
    Jackie- interesting theory, but backwards in my case! The QH is much bigger than my tbs and still growing. I suspect the "still growing" part is the difficulty.

  31. I worked with a horse who was a learned bolter. He got my off by bolting and then turning about 130 degrees at top speed. I just flipped off him and landed on my back.
    He had a hard (and I mean REALLY HARD) mouth. It wasn't just a thing of insensitivity. It was a thing of his owner had created calluses on his gum and lips.

    He was TWH/arab/god knows what else, exceedingly stupid, out of shape and fugly as hell. And he would run, and run, and run, and run. Right through my hands.

    He was so out of shape that half an hour of w/t had him heaving and sweating, but he'd run himself into the ground.
    The only way I got him to stop (and believe me, I tried everything anyone could come up with.) was to let him bolt, but not let him turn. He went face first into the arena wall once, and the second time did a full on sliding stop. Never again did he run through my hands.

    I didn't like having to do that to him, but I was afraid for both my safety (as he would get more and more out of control as he ran) and his health. After that, he still would try to pull and fuss, but he didn't bolt any more.

  32. I had one bolter, who was, I think like Laura's, just trying to establish dominance, or maybe he had learned it. He was green broke when I got him. Anyway, if you didn't work him at a jog/trot until he was sweaty, he would run off with you every single time you put him into a lope, you could sort of steer him, you could pull his head completely around until you had it buried in your knee, but he would still be running. I spent a YEAR doing the "run till you drop" gig, before he ever got anywhere near safe to ride. It IS really annoying when a talented one is like that. He could slide w/o plates, jump and do everything in between, loved to go show, but he just had a screw loose.

    I think I want a dash for cash bred horse, but they sure don't seem to grow on trees.

  33. "But I simply hadn’t fathomed the truth that good training and handling will not help all of them. To a great degree, they come in as what they are; you really can’t change them that much."

    Yep- so true. The un- told story about trash horse.

    mtnmollie at reiners blog