Bolting is the act of charging off completely out of control at gallop. It is very dangerous, because the horse is usually in blind panic, and ‘loses’ his head, and is out of his own control, no longer looking after himself, and his rider even less so.
Bombing Off is annoying, but not particularly dangerous. The horse decides to take himself for a canter, perfectly in control of himself, and his rider!
Horses that bomb off learn that by taking off quickly, and just going, they have dominance over their rider, and they enjoy this! Therefore, they are likely to do it again, and it is imperative that you regain control and remind them you are in control.
However, if your horse is a true bolter – galloping away with no regard for his own, or his riders safety, you should leave it to the professionals!
If your horse is a bolter, you need to know what to do!
It is highly useful to know what position to adopt if you get bolted with! Keep your heels down, and sit up (don’t lean back or the momentum of the horse’s hind legs will throw you about, increasing your chances of falling off!). And…
- Sit Up
- Speak in a calm tone (your voice is a powerful aid)
- Take Control: Ride the horse positively forward as though the gallop was your idea, then ask for him to slow down
- Shorten one rein a lot (left rein if you are right handed) and lodge your hand about halfway up his neck. Use your other hand to pull (hard) intermittently on the rein. Try to turn a circle, and if you have any control, make it smaller and smaller so that he is gradually forced to stop.
- Haul on both reins – This will only cause the horse to pull harder
- Shout – This will only make matters worse
- Lean back because, as mentioned earlier, the power of the horses legs will throw you about.
Bailing out is exactly that, quitting both stirrups and throwing oneself clear of the saddle. If you do choose to bail out, the earlier the better, but do try to choose a fairly safe moment! Don’t attempt to hold onto the reins, as this will cause you to be dragged, and perhaps trampled on, only serving to panic the horse more.
Pain and Fear
Get his back, teeth and saddle checked. If this is not the cause of the problem, fear may be. If this is the case, it is imperative that you locate the object of fear, and desensitize him to it. If this is not something you can do alone, employ the help of a professional or highly experienced horse person.