And my instructor saw for herself tonight the frightening reason I rode Beau in a pelham up until last summer (at her insistence that I switch to a legal bit), which I am going back to using in the outdoor arena (with her agreement that I need something with more control). I was praying the whole time for him to just stop, but I was damned if I was bailing. I stayed on and it was the thought of my children that kept me in the saddle, even while riding that runaway freight train with one stirrup gone and the other threatening to go.
Bailing off at that speed was NOT an option, so if anyone is going to suggest it, I say–I dare you to try it! F**k that idea! I was safer in the saddle. Thank goodness my instructor and I had taken down the jumps near the fence and that the fence was high. I swear Beau was considering jumping to freedom in a couple of places but then turned, and he only felt like he might buck in one place but I kept his head up, which meant he braced even harder against me.
And at that speed, pulling his head around is NOT an option, unless you want to go crashing into the dirt. Besides, the harder you try to stop him, the harder he fights and faster he goes. You can only ride it out and wait for him to lose steam. After the first couple rounds of the arena, I tried occasional flexing of his jaw to try to soften him, but he didn’t budge until he was ready…several more terrifyingly uncontrolled rounds later.
After he finished, I was breathing so hard I had that blood taste in the back of my throat and was coughing for an hour after. I’m finally recovered two hours later.
Was I scared? HELL YES!! PRAYING-FOR-A-MIRACLE-THE-WHOLE-FREAKIN-TIME SCARED!! Will it stop me? YEAH RIGHT! He’s just going to learn that trying that again is going to mean harder work and punishment and doing what he’s supposed to do will be much easier.
I haven’t had a runaway in two years, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let him intimidate me. We got through it once and we will do it again. We have some training techniques to resolve this.
And I think I know what started it when he had been going so well outside. Asking for something that he wasn’t ready to give had scared him into running through my aids a little was what gave him the idea that he could do it again. We’re going back to some exercises to resolve this on the right track, but it looks like any shows in the next two months are out, because it will take that long to train this out of him again.
ps–THIS is why I will not take my horse out on trail rides.