The bolting horse

What is the technique to stop my young 6-year old who "bolts" when I ask for canter?

The bolting horse takes off at the canter (or even gallops) without control while leaning extremely heavily on the reins.
It is a dangerous defense and it's difficult to deal with it. It can result form fear, excessive excitement or pain.
The 'bolting" horse looses his head, does not control himself anymore… great danger.

The horse who "takes the rider with him", decides to take the canter on his own… controls himself perfectly and dominates the rider. It is annoying but not really dangerous if the rider knows how to stay in the saddle.

Horses who "take the rider with them" are often recidivists. They have dominated their rider once, and they want to recreate their successful defense…

They learn that taking off suddenly and violently generally takes away all the riders' resources.
Therefore, it is imperative to never let the defense happen from the beginning.

Once again, it comes down to educating your horse well, to the rider's respect… in short, to Dressage!

It is the rider's job to constantly feel the horse's state of mind and to act in consequence: to calm to relax, to reassure, to frame, to dominate… If your usually obedient horse suddenly canters, surprise or fear can explain this abrupt reaction… generally, calming and reassuring the horse will get things back in order without too much trouble.

But in the present case of your 6-year old, the defense is typical: it is already embedded! Your horse is taking you for a ride…

What can you do?

Work on and prepare you canter departs from the walk in great quietness.
Ask for canter just before the corner of the arena, canter only a few strides, get back to the walk… reward… walk on long reins, and start over. Then, install the horse on a circle, always staying very calm. Be very attentive, don't let the horse pick up speed or increase his energy… control!
Be patient, precise, relaxed..
In fact, you have to rehabilitate your horse to canter.

However, if your horse really bolts at the canter, you have to be able to stop him, it's a question of safety!!!
Above all, do not panic, act methodically and very rapidly.
Immediately shorten one rein a lot (the left rein if you are right handed) and stick your hand onto the horse's withers or on the top of his neck.
Act with your other hand (the right one) with harsh, fast and rough movements, going from the bottom up and back.
Act strongly and sharply, and release fast… start over several times.
Stay or try to get on a circle if possible.
If your left hand is really snug (on the withers or the neck), the power of your right hand is greatly increased.
You must also stay in good balance in your saddle, or on your stirrups if you are riding outside with short stirrups.

But this course of action is only an emergency procedure, it must make you think about rethinking the training of your horse.

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Posture-position / Walk / Trot / Canter / Shoulder-in / half-pass / Flying change of lead / Pirouette /

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