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Spooked and de-spooked


I'm a 16-yr-old girl who is a keen horse rider and have been riding for close to 2 years. My sisters and I have 2 horses; Riley who is an ex race horse, thoroughbred who is 14yrs (16 hands) and Bandit who is an American Saddlebred cross thoroughbred 6 yrs (15hands), who is quite fresh.

A few days ago we were just doing simple yard work trotting and cantering. We were only trotting up a small hill and small distance when Bandit took off suddenly and was out of control. That started Riley who i was riding. Both my sister and I fell off because the horses stopped and swerved sharply.

My sister managed to slow Bandit up, but my horse just went faster making Bandit go faster. I tried talking to him and telling him to calm down but he just kept going. I am confused because i have a close relationship with Riley and my sister with Bandit and they are normally really good. We have gotten on once but I am still a bit nervous. My Sister won't even go anywhere near the place they took off and will only walk on Bandit. We love our horses dearly and want to ride properly again. We have come to the conclusion that bandit got spooked and ran.

What can I do to overcome this fear? What do i do if it happens again?

Thank you, Georgina

Anyway, there could be a lot of reasons your horses spooked. Just going up a hill is enough to make some horses act as yours did. If their diet has too much grain in it, that will pump them up and make them more likely to be nervous. Something you did not see could have scared them. It could be almost anything. Such is the nature of a horse. It is a prey animal and spookes easily. Something you can do to re-focus the horse's attention on you when things like that happen is to put the horse to work as soon as you feel he is hunchy at all. Put him to doing hind quarter leg yields in both directions a few turns. That will immediately put his attention to doing the task at hand which means his attention is on you. Do you understand? If not, ask your riding instructor to show you how to ask for a hind quarter yield, leg yield. it is a basic equestrian move that all should know.

I hope I have at least offered a little help. Good Luck and be careful.....

Sincerely, Franklin

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