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Franklin Levinson's

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Horse that bolts on lead line.

Hi, Franklin!

Got a problem that I could use some help with. My horse Montana had a bad experience with a new farrier and now regularly bolts when he's on a lead Even when the regular farrier showed up, he bolted. The farrier was able to work on him at liberty just fine.

When I got Montana he was very hard to catch if you had a lead or halter in your hand. I know his background and understand why. I got him to where he accepted the halter and lead and walked with me just fine. Now this bolting thing. When he does it, he's learned I will let go of the lead. He doesn't go
very far. Just stands there and looks at me. He lets me collect him easily, but if I move toward the
farrier, off he goes. This is going to happen with the vet, I'm sure. He's just fine around strangers without a lead on...very affectionate and calm. He instinctively knows when it's someone who's going to "want something from him." When no one else is around, he walks just fine on the lead with me. I've been practicing that with him regularly now, thinking it would help. But, it didn't.

Am I supposed to just hold on for dear life? If I try to hold on to the lead (which I can't do for long), he gets even more panicky. I don't want to scare him even more, but for his own good, he needs to stop. When he did this with the temporary farrier, he made him go in small circles while he slapped him on his side. It made Montana calm down, but I thought he was going to burst. Nostrils flaring, legs getting stiff, eyes bugging out. I don't think that helped at all in the long run....just made it easier for the farrier than day. How can I help this horse?

Thanks, Denise

Hi Denise,

Here is a technique that has worked for me with horses that know they can run off and get away. You'll need about 40-50 feet of one or one and one quarter inch line that will easily run out when wrapped twice around a stout rail or post. The rail or post must be smooth enough to allow the rope to run and sturdy enough to hold the weight of the horse pulling on it. You attach this rope to the rope halter either with a knot that won't bind or a snap that won't break. You take two wraps around the rail or post (horse's eye level). Stand away from the horse holding the rope. You need to be able to allow the rope to play out, with friction to slow the horse down and put some resistance towards the horse backing or running off. Generally a horse will only back away 10 to 15 yards before it stops pulling. When it stops pulling you bring it back to where it started (about three feet from the rail or post). You never allow the rope to hold the horse tight or 'fast' so it might freak out and pull so hard it falls to the ground or goes over backwards. Just allow friction on the rope as it is played out. After repeated attempts to get away and being brought back to the original spot the horse learns nothing bad is going to happen and it does not get away. This process may need to be repeated for several days, 15-20 minute sessions, once or twice a day and then repeated every now and again for reinforcement. Your horse will lead better and not tend to run off if this is done consistently and skillfully. Let me know how it goes. Contact me if you need more clarification.

regards, Franklin

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