Driving..runaway question

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littlesteppers

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What is in your opinion the best way to stop a spooked runaway horse while its on the cart..friend of mine just went through a horrible accident..she is in the hospital recovering..anyway.
.I understand trying to run the horse in a circle..see saw reigns..anything else??
 
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Bluerocket

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I personally would head towards the nearest fence or side of building.. to put a solid obstacle in front of the horse. Hard to circle in a cart.

So far I have been lucky and not had a true RUNAWAY... but only a few "startled" horses.... so I am not speaking from experience.

Would love to hear from the real experts about their suggestions however.

JJay
 

willowoodstables

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Put them into a hitch with a seriously steady older guy who will not bolt. Get 2 ground helpers in case the harness gives. Drive him everyday in the team. Runaways are HARD to rehabilitate. They are scared to death.

Before the team idea...

Go back to longlines for weeks. let the line drop around his rear etc. drag your feet in the dirt, drop things, MAKE NOISE. Once horse has some sort of a grip (he still may be spooky) hook him to the tire. Guaranteed he will bolt like a maniac, but without ripping his lips off, let him go in a circle, keeping the outer line low as to keep him from swinging out. Stop and start, stop and start, for weeks. Then get the team if you can. REMEMBER NOT TO RIP HIS LIPS OFF (ROUGH UP HIS MOUTH) AS THIS WILL MAKE MATTERS WORSE!! It is NOT his fault he bolted and crashed, you must recover his confidence. Firm but sympathetic. I had a bolter, he is now a kid's horse. Took months and months but worth it
)

Oh and you had better get ready to rehabilitate your friend, she is going to be a nervous wreck as well!!

Kim
 

littlesteppers

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Well..what I meant is IF you are in the cart and trying to STOP the runaway..what would you do..in her case a car full off teenagers drove around her and threw firecrackers in front of the horse!! @#$%^&*()_+
 

FFFoxyGal

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OMG!!!!!,...That is just horrible,......I hope she can press charges,...Why are people sooo mean,.....


Prayers for a full and complete recovery for your friend.
 

Magic

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littlesteppers said:
Well..what I meant is IF you are in the cart and trying to STOP the runaway..what would you do..in her case a car full off teenagers drove around her and threw firecrackers in front of the horse!! @#$%^&*()_+
440636[/snapback]

OMG. I don't suppose anyone got the license plate number? That is so awful, I'm sorry, your poor friend!

I've not had a serious runaway (yet! knock on wood!) but I have a friend who had a runaway, and see-sawing the reins just didn't work, the horse was far too spooked to have that even affect him. He had to take a wide circle with the horse and get him into a place where the horse HAD to stop. Then LEAP out of the cart and get a hold of the horse's head. It's best to unhook the horse as soon as possible from the cart as well. When a horse panics, they stop thinking, completely, and adrenaline and instinct take over.
 

willowoodstables

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Carry a passenger with a shotgun loaded with buckshot!!

My first post was the rehabilitation side of things..

If in the cart, take a deep seat and steer if possible. Circling could bad if the horse turns sharp, the cart could tip. Same with the solid object, they can and tend to "dart" to one side when faced with something solid in a blind panic. Keep steering and yank/release on the lines. Seesawing sometimes works but I've never had much success. Quick jabs and release and steering until they tire out worked better ..had to do this in a 40 acre corn field with a runaway. We BOTH were exhausted.

Kim
 

littlesteppers

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Well..I have been thinking..I think I would get the heck out of that cart..BUT I am just not sure if I would have the guts to jump..anybody driving should have a backup plan in my humbled opinion..since we NEVER know what can happen..

My friend has 2 breaks in One leg..broken rist and punktered lung ..ribs broken..

she managed somehow to crawl into the cart when the horse came back to her..and told him GO HOME..and he did bring her home!!
 

Magic

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littlesteppers said:
Well..I have been thinking..I think I would get the heck out of that cart..BUT I am just not sure if I would have the guts to jump..anybody driving should have a backup plan in my humbled opinion..since we NEVER know what can happen..My friend has 2 breaks in One leg..broken rist and punktered lung ..ribs broken..

she managed somehow to crawl into the cart when the horse came back to her..and told him GO HOME..and he did bring her home!!

440656[/snapback]

Aw.... what a sweet boy.

Don't EVER jump out of the cart though-- your horse will be loose and panicked and could hurt himself far more severely (or run out into traffic or something). Stick with your horse and get him under control, for his safety.

Prayers going to your friend
 

Marsha Cassada

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That is just terrible! Did those jerks stop to help afterwards??

You should pull HARD on ONE rein if you have a runaway. When the horse stops and if everybody is still in one piece you should not let them out of the harness until they have gone a little farther under control. I had a runaway one time. His pastsure mate had been sold and he was a little anxious. I got out of the cart for some reason (can't remember what) and he took off. The reins pulled out of my hand and I tried to grab the back of the cart. He was off. He ran across the pasture and about 1/2 mile down the road, around a house, and finally crashed the cart. It was tipped sideways so he couldn't run any farther. The harness was torn a little, but not so bad I couldn't straighten it out. He was MOST upset, poor baby. We got out of the tight spot and I drove him home at a walk. The next few times I was very careful with him and didn't go far, just enough to build back his confidence. It was a lesson to me about the effect of altering herd dynamics. Always try to have a pocket knife with you, in case you have to cut leather. I have a tool box attached to my cart.

Your poor friend!

Marsha
 

txminipinto

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I've had several runaways (carts and in the saddle) which is why I no longer ride or drive. Never ever bail in a cart. It will only make matters worse. Before I ever hooked a horse up to cart, I always made sure I had control on the gound and this has save my rear several times. A good foundation is a must and this is why.

I had a gelding on lease (who went to 2004 Nationals and won Open Roadster Over) that I was driving. AWESOME mover. We were driving out in the pasture at a collected trot and I asked him to slow to a walk. Unfortunately, I didn't time my request well and he slowed on an incline. I knew what was going to happen before it did and could do nothing to stop it. The cart rolled into his back side causing him to bolt, I asked for whoa, which he immediately executed only to be hit from behind again. It was all over after that. This is where the ground work comes in. My pasture is full of trees and had I not done the ground work I would not have been able to control his direction. I never "lost" control of where he went, just how fast he got there! We made several laps around the pasture before I finally turned him into the fence where he immediately stopped. It took months of work by a friend to get him back again. He ran at a couple shows but was with drivers who could stick with him. He went on to have (and far as I know) continue to have a very successful show career in the driving arena.

I'm sorry about your friend! I hope she gets some help for herself and her horse after she's better. They'll both have some mental obstacles to overcome in the next year or two.
 

justaboutgeese

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I am going to knock on wood because I have never had a runaway horse or team. About six years ago on a Sunday afternoon my wife and I were on our way to a friends house and this horse and cart came charging down the road towards us with an absolutly white faced and white knuckled young lady hollding on for dear life. I stopped the truck and stepped out into the road and put my arms up and yelled whoa and the fool horse just stopped. After twenty minutes of sobbing and in near total exhaustion we found out where she lived and tried to phone ( passerby had a cell phone) but had no luck. The sort version of it my wife drove the girl home in our truck while I started to lead the horse but later just got in and drove the horse. He was a bit"hawky" but otherwise went well. As things turned out the horse had been driven only a few dozen times but never really experienced road traffic and a dump truck was just enough to set him off. The outcome could have been much worse but luck was with her that day. I can offer no real advice on what to do because I have no experience with them. Its my opinion that it is better to start them and train them but it takes a good long time to trust them. Around here the mennonites frequently sleep whild driving. They trust the horses to watch for the traffic and get them home in time for chores.
 

SunQuest

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Boy is this one a tough one!! I had an Arab mare that was a runaway horse and often bolted until I found the perfect combination for her likes in a bit. Luckily we worked through that without either of us getting hurt.

And I have a "dead broke" mini gelding that once ran away with me in the cart due to a foreign object getting into his eye! But thanks to my Arab mare, I understood this gelding better and was able to get him under control. Even the best trained horses can bolt if they get startled, and one should always realize that this is a possibility with ANY horse at any time!

What did I do? Well, first, I remained calm. This is the biggest issue that most people forget to do. Hard to do yes, and maybe almost impossible, but try your best as that may make the biggest difference in the outcome! Keep in mind that most people who panic tend to curl up in a ball, "throw the reigns away" along with forgetting many of the basics that help you like counter balancing, voice cues, and even whip cues, ect. During a runaway situation is when you need to remember the basics the most.

Next, remember that once a horse bolts like this, they are NOT listening to the bit in any way! They most likely have clamped their teeth onto that bit and removed pressure from the mouth. So pulling steady on the reigns will not help you.

I also don't recommend anyone trying to run a horse into an object. Most horses will run straight at that object and then at the last second before they hit the object they will suddenly turn very sharply. If in a cart, you will tip over when that horse makes that effort to avoid that object.

With any runaway horse, there is an order of doing things to get your horse back into control. First and most important is to NOT try to stop the horse. Yep, that is right! Let your horse run if it has already bolted! Your first goal is to try to gain left and right control. In other words, get your steering back into control. If you can gain control of going left and right, that will help you avoid obsticles that can cause you to crash. Once you can get that control, you can then work on circling your horse until it stops on it's own. What you want to do is put your horse into a very large circle and then spiral down the size as much as you can, but keeping the circle large enough that you won't tip the cart. (Of course that is if you have the room to do so!) Now if you find your circle is as small as you dare go with the cart, then spiral that circle up larger and then back down smaller. This change in size causes the horse to focus more on you than on running.

Again, your goal is to get control over steering. Your horse will tire it's self out and will stop eventually on it's own, so see if you can guide that horse safely until it tires out. Keeping your horse and yourself from getting injured is your ultimate goal, and that starts with controling where your horse goes.

Now, some other things that people should know that will help and that you want to do long before your horse bolts. First, with minis, many people don't teach them to canter in the cart as the shows don't require this gate. But, all minis should know how this feels with their carts!!! Your mini should be able to canter in the cart and not be upset by the feel of the cart bouncing to a different gate rythum. If you teach this in the arena during training, then if your horse should bolt, it won't be spooked by the difference in the way your cart bounces on the harness. This is definately a plus as you don't need to add that stress to your horse when it isn't thinking clearly.

Next, many people don't do enough circles with their horses during normal training! There are many benefits to doing spiral exersizes, but one of the biggest benefits is that by doing circles and spirals, you build a mental "comfort zone" for the horse to work in when it gets stressed out. This comfort zone starts building as soon as you begin to teach your horse to lunge and should be routinly used through out training. Any time your horse acts up, or starts to get spooky when you are driving or riding, go right back to that circle until they calm down and think things through. Build that comfort zone where the horse understands that circling is a very safe activity and an activity that is so understood that it is like second nature to them. So do lots and lots of circular work as a foundation for everything else so that when your horse has an issue, you have a way of trying to get your horse back into it's mental comfort zone.

And finally, a general safety tip that many of us forget about over time... NEVER EVER ride alone! This is a rule that is taught to ALL kids in 4-h and pony club, or at least it was when I was the age to participate in those clubs! This also should go for carts, especially if you are driving down the road! Make sure you have another human being go with you that can help if you get hurt. And if you should have to go by yourself, at least carry a cell phone! Did you know that most cell phones will be able to call 911 even if you don't have a cell phone policy??? That is why the police ask for old phones to be donated to them so that they can give them out to people who are in fear of their lives.

I hope the lessons that I learned dealing with a runaway horse will help others. They are hard lessons to learn as one is always panicked when it happens, but creating a mental game plan before it happens will definately aid in getting one through the situation.

And I certainly hope they find those kids that did that and they are sued for causing the accident! I once had a similar thing happen when I was riding my Arab mare where some fellow highschool kids pulled up along side of us and then gunned their car to make my horse spook. She took off, and due to having a well thought out plan in my head before it happened, I was able to circle her in my neighbor's yard (my aunts place) and get her back into control until I got her stopped. Boy was I hot and those kids certainly got an earful as on rural roads here in Idaho, livestock has the right away and they could have been in big trouble if they were turned in to the law enforcement... To make matters worse, they had horses of their own! But I had witnesses and well, my boyfreind (now my hubby) certainly let them know that they better not ever threaten my wellfare like that again.
Laughs.

Thoughts and prayers going to your friend for a quick recovery!
 

rabbitsfizz

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I've never experienced a runaway in a cart, so I shall not presume to answer- you have received some very good advice here. I do know I could not jump out any more than I've ever been able to get off a horse that was bolting
Please give my very best wishes to your friend and tell her I hope she recovers soon- it was not, as she knows all too well, the horses fault. What a hero, to get her home afterwards. The horse deserves a medal- what those Morons deserve is illegal
 

Sue_C.

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Unfortunately, I didn't time my request well and he slowed on an incline. I knew what was going to happen before it did and could do nothing to stop it. The cart rolled into his back side causing him to bolt, I asked for whoa, which he immediately executed only to be hit from behind again. It was all over after that.
This is exactly why I always use a breeching when training or driving out of the security of a ring. Roadster cart or not...a breeching will do it's JOB, if on the harness at any and all times. Even IN a ring, most times, at home, I will still use either a breeching proper, a set of thimbles, or a false-breeching at the very least.

Had only one runaway in my life, and I was lucky enough to be in an area, similar to Kim's corn field, where we could circle and slow down without having to worry about traffic or hitting another object. One of the scariest experiences of my life. The cause; either bees or wasps, all I know is they were flying-stinging-beggers.
 

Jill

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It's never happened to me, but it is my biggest fear! I've only just heard stories of it happening and it really scares me. ON a horse, I'd know what to do (I'd turn it sharp into a circle). In the cart, I believe I'd steer it into a fence or shed or something like that to stop it if, God forbid, it ever happens.
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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Well the key actually and the first thing you have to do is KEEP CALM once you panic or get scared .. it can only go downhill from there.that applies to driving, riding or even leading and working with any horse

I dont drive but have had several run aways while riding young horses. The first time i did get scared my trainer was nearby enough that although she was a blur as i was speeding by she yelled just act as if you do this all the time.. he will slow down eventually

Well I forced myself to do just that act like i always rode a speeding maniac 17+hand horse which helped me from not keeping a death grip on his face which panics them more or they totally ignore... and not see sawing constantly which again usually has the same effect (on riding horses anyway)

It is hard to circle a paniced horse no matter how many times you do this in a daily routine.

When riding i just did some half halts and then gave him back his head a bit and did them again till he decided to slow down a bit and then once i got his mind back a bit it was much easier.

I have had one that during a lesson with the kids (I was schooling) he took off and was ripping around the ring ( a baby off the track) Thank goodness I have had plenty of dont panic experience as I was trying to make my way around about 5 beginners and not panic them
I did have to reach down and grab his bit to turn his head but that was cause there were to many other horses in the ring to safely try and get his head back in the game.

Again I DONT drive and not sure if any of that would even apply to driving.
 
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Fred

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I have had runaways with both saddle horses and driving. You have received

excellent advice from the forum members. That sounds like a really good little

horse. My last runaway was last winter when training my daughters little gelding.

We have since decided he will not make a driving horse and since we have so

many other horses to drive its not an issue. That rotten little buzzard bolts when

he thinks hes been driven enough. I have driven him quite a bit since the incident

but he will never be safe enough for my daughter to drive, with his attitude. Hope

your friend recovers soon., and if I drove on the road again I certainly would carry

a shotgun! Linda B
 

littlesteppers

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I want to tank you all for your input and well wishes..I don't know if my friend ever drives again..she is not a young woman and just had bypass surgery..

I pray they find these $%^&*() and there will be justice done.

Thanks again
 

justaboutgeese

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I would like to add and ponder one point. If you are on a roadway it might prove difficult to turn in circles big or small. As I said before I have never had a runaway (still knocking on wood) and with the exception of the firecrackers this woman was forced to experience have gone through many things which could have resulted in a bad situation. In this area there were a number of incidents where some warped minded young people were pelting mennonite horses with eggs. They found out that a few mennonite boys were equally armed and had pretty good aim as well.
 

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