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Knocked over :(

16 replies

smerlin · 03/08/2018 13:48

So horse spooked today and ended up knocking me over. I was leading him down a narrow path fringed with nettles where there was just not enough room to walk side by side so I was in front. One minute calm as anything and before I realised he had spooked and charged through me.

Two questions really - I have to lead down a narrow path at a couple of points so how can I manage this without getting in the danger zone? Obviously I always lead at the shoulder under normal circs.

Secondly, what groundwork should I now reinforce (before I go down the narrow path again) to ensure he really gets the message that my personal space is sacrosanct. As well as improving my own personal awareness of course as I truly did not see the spook coming. Very lucky I was not hurt seriously.

OP posts:
PoshPenny · 03/08/2018 13:55

Are you on a livery yard? I'd be requesting that the nettles are sprayed so they die and don't come back. SBK will do it without killing the grass off and can be bought by anyone. If it's your own place I'd be doing the same or strimming them but that's not as good. You've just found out why you should always be alongside a horse when leading it. Hope you're ok - that must have hurt like hell.

RatherBeRiding · 03/08/2018 15:33

I agree that widening the path is going to be your best option - if you get rid of the nettles will it be wide enough to walk next to him? I'm not sure there's much you can do totally eliminate the spook reaction. Even if comes to his senses a second after the spook there is still the danger that he will take you out in that split second if you are walking directly in front of him. Mine do this - react blindly, realise a second later there's nothing to be scared of.

Is barebacking down the path (with riding hat obvs) an option?

percheron67 · 03/08/2018 15:35

Agree with comments but always have your mobile to hand so that, if anything happens and you are hurt, you can ring for help. Apologies if that seems to state the obvious.

smerlin · 03/08/2018 16:17

Yes definitely lessons learned- was glad was wearing my hat still as had just been riding.

One of the paths I think will be more navigable if strimmed. This is the one I use most often although will doubtless have to strim myself as livery yard laissez-faire to say the least.

The second seemed narrower still and was first time I had used it today but will be necessary to use again. Will go have a look to see if strimming/ weed killing would solve that problem.

Definitely won't go in front of him again- think I trusted him too much as he normally leads v well and any spooks are tiny spooks. This time there was a new breed of horse-eating sheep which were clearly different to all the other sheep he has seen before...

OP posts:
smerlin · 03/08/2018 16:21

Did hurt but seems he just knocked me flying (into wire fence) more than anything else as don't seem trampled! Am waiting in urgent care for a tetanus shot Angry

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smerlin · 03/08/2018 16:21

Did hurt but seems he just knocked me flying (into wire fence) more than anything else as don't seem trampled! Am waiting in urgent care for a tetanus shot Angry

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Gabilan · 03/08/2018 19:20

Will he long rein? You could look into doing that as it can be really good exercise for them anyway. Stay back out of the kick zone. Wear hat and gloves. It will help him go forwards and may develop his confidence. Obviously try several times in a school first. (My otherwise super-sensible horse will not long rein and acts as if you're chasing him).

Retrainingaracehorse · 03/08/2018 22:55

I was also going to suggest long reining him. I agreee it’s a brilliant exercise for horses and can really strengthen back muscles/top line most horses seem to enjoy it. It’s also good for strengthening trust between horse and rider and building a horses confidence. Long reining is strangely not that common any more but IMO not particularly difficult to teach a horse to do and makes a change from lunging.
Gloves are absolutely essential and you should wear a riding hat I also carry a short whip, if youre ggoing out on the road a high viz is also essential. If you haven’t got a school you could start off with someone leading him. Ideally your horse wants to be pretty receptive to voice commands, nothing particularly flash; stand/whoa, walk on, steady/slow etc. will suffice. I use a roller but a saddle with the long reins going through the stirrups which are tied to the girth is equally correct/effective.

Cariadxx · 04/08/2018 08:43

Do some ground work with either a rope or dually halter. I do this regularly when mine forget their manners. If you don't get control on the ground you won't have control in the saddle

Retrainingaracehorse · 04/08/2018 11:11

You need to ask yourself if this was a one of moment of anxiety from a horse who’s normally impeccably well behaved therefore I personally wouldn’t loose to much sleep over it or if this is one of many episodes of your horse displaying bad manners or most likely somewhere between the two. It’s easy to get control on the ground have high expectations of behaviour, stepping back from the door when you enter the stable, not barging in or out of the stable/gate way, easily picking out feet, standing to be groomed/tacked up (I personally always tie mine up to do anything) this all easily reinforces that you are control on a daily basis.

smerlin · 04/08/2018 11:49

He hasn't long reined before but I was thinking this could be a possibility too. I would say he is in between with manners- he is not normally rude, usually leads nicely, stands nicely etc but he is young and so needs lots of reinforcement of the expectations!

This is the first time he has taken off though- he did seem pretty terrified afterwards (of sheep Hmm)

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Retrainingaracehorse · 04/08/2018 15:31

I wouldn't make too much of it if you've brought this horse on yourself and he's progressing well just keep doing what your doing especially if he normally goes down this narrow path with you in front fine. Let him have make a mistake, I doubt he deliberately knocked you over. Id only worry he keeps doing it. Its young horse not a robot!

Gabilan · 04/08/2018 18:43

Sheep used to upset my boy, OP. He got over it one day when a local farmer lost control of half his flock and we had to help round them up. After initial fear and reluctance DHorse realised this was in fact a really great, fun game because sheep move away from you. Have to persuade him now that not all sheep are for chasing.

If yours is a youngster I would definitely give long reining a go. It's much better than lunging IMO because you can go in straight lines and you're not pulling on side of their head or another. In fact, I might give it a go with DHorse again, somewhere safely off road. He's now retired from ridden work but I lead him in hand and from another horse. Long reining would add to our repertoire.

DiseasesOfTheSheep · 05/08/2018 18:05

I'd recommend getting a decent trainer in to give you some guidance on working horses in hand to develop respect and manners. Whilst horses are animals, and inclined towards unpredictability, launching through a human leading them is entirely unacceptable, even from a young horse. There are lots of methods you can use, but they all depend on timing and application, so you'd be better with someone who can help you with them.

SquashedInTight · 05/08/2018 18:29

In that situation I would carry a whip in future. But mine wouldn't dare send me flying, so agree with the poster above - groundwork taught by someone who knows what they are doing. We have an unbacked baby horse now, getting ready to be backed. The very first steps are about safety and personal space....

smerlin · 05/08/2018 19:26

Yes I am with a trainer every week who has started a lot of horses over the years and we have gone through yielding hindquarters, forehand, backing up in hand, coming forward, touching all over etc etc and he has taken to it really well and been really willing hence the surprise at this. Trainer was with me at the time but just coming round corner as it was too late.

Completely respect what posters are saying about yet more focus on groundwork though given the circumstances as clearly not embedded enough!

He was not handled well as a foal so we are playing catch up which is annoying.

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