High Flight Response

Joined
18 August 2017
Messages
5
Hi Everyone,

I'm posting as a newbie, but used to post as 'Billy the Kid'....but I've lost my logins.

I'm hoping you can help me out.

I've owned my new horse 9months now, he is a 6YO RID, 16'3. He is a lovely type, well mannered, does as I ask on the ground and ridden. Real gentleman!

BUT..i have one issue....he has a massively high flight response if he gets a fright. he is brave, doesn't spook much ect, its when something catches him off grand eg bird out hedge, leaf blowing.

he has now bolted with me three times. I'm talking full scale panic bolting. The latest being this weekend at a comp, where a bit of different coloured grass caught his eye, he spun and bolted, jumped out the arena and carried on over the XC field. Its getting dangerous.

Once I've stopped him and reassured him its ok, he goes back to his calm cool self.

He is on a magnesium calmer daily, fed hay and fast fibre (Allen and page), and gets daily turnout in a low grass field.

He isn't strong or unruly 95% of the time, but when he bolts its fall out and I cant stop or steer him...he is in panic mode and im along for the ride!

I'm an experienced rider that has ridden over 25years and owned many horses, including youngsters, problem horses ect.

Has anyone got any tips/had experience of this behaviour before? I'm wondering if he has bad eye sight and isn't seeing things well? Or maybe as he ages he will calm more?

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 

Jules19

Well-Known Member
Joined
30 April 2008
Messages
215
Location
Suffolk
That sounds incredibly dangerous and I'm not sure I would get back on in that situation until I had done thorough investigations. If nothing else it is going to destroy your confidence! I have a 7yo ID and I would say it is taking more time than any other horse I have owned for him to settle. He is getting there, but still not total trust. I've owned him 7 months now, I reckon it is going to be a good year for it all to come together. I have read this is not uncommon situation with them, but I don't like to tar a whole breed with the same brush!

Couple of things: why is he on Mg calmer? It can send them the other way if they don't actually need supplementing, and can result in extreme sudden reactions, so unless you are sure he is short of Mg I would at least try some non Mg calmers, but they all take some time to kick in. Ones I've had variable results with, include Equifeast CCC and ProKalm. I have come to the personal conclusion none do much and I take the calmer (Rescue Remedy) instead, have had distinctly better results since I started that with my previous horse!

I would get a vet workup frankly, including eyes as you suggest. I did with mine, it costs me £800 and came back totally clean, but at least I knew I could push him through his nappy tantrums and it was not a pain response.

Good luck.
 
Joined
18 August 2017
Messages
5
That sounds incredibly dangerous and I'm not sure I would get back on in that situation until I had done thorough investigations. If nothing else it is going to destroy your confidence! I have a 7yo ID and I would say it is taking more time than any other horse I have owned for him to settle. He is getting there, but still not total trust. I've owned him 7 months now, I reckon it is going to be a good year for it all to come together. I have read this is not uncommon situation with them, but I don't like to tar a whole breed with the same brush!

Couple of things: why is he on Mg calmer? It can send them the other way if they don't actually need supplementing, and can result in extreme sudden reactions, so unless you are sure he is short of Mg I would at least try some non Mg calmers, but they all take some time to kick in. Ones I've had variable results with, include Equifeast CCC and ProKalm. I have come to the personal conclusion none do much and I take the calmer (Rescue Remedy) instead, have had distinctly better results since I started that with my previous horse!

I would get a vet workup frankly, including eyes as you suggest. I did with mine, it costs me £800 and came back totally clean, but at least I knew I could push him through his nappy tantrums and it was not a pain response.

Good luck.

Thanks for your reply Jules19.

Yes its dangerous when he reacts like this, yet 95% of the time he is completely calm and safe. I'm a very confident rider so it isn't knocking my confidence too much yet, but it does make me very cautious of where I go with him. (like hacking), I don't go near any roads...for obvious reasons.

The calmer was to help him chill as he was jumpy in the stable aswell, it seems to have helped a lot with that so ive carried on feeding it. But im open to trying other calmers. He isn't actually nervous all the time, he is pretty chilled most the time, its its not a regular reaction. He has done it three times in 9months.

I think a vet check could be the way to go to make sure I've not missed something!
 

BBP

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 July 2008
Messages
5,120
I'm no help at all but I found your post really interesting as I would say my horse has a very strong flight instinct but he is the opposite to yours in that he finds everything scary, every day, no matter how much I try to desensitise him. But he has never ever bolted or even tried to take off at all really. He just panics on the spot. I'm interested that yours is normally brace but then bolts. Perhaps an eyesight or a nerve entrapment issue? I agree with the above though that it would be safer not to get back in and see what full investigations dig up. Could be tricky to pinpoint. Good luck.
 

VRIN

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 February 2008
Messages
2,417
Its not unusual for horses that are totally laid back most of the time to over react when something spooks them. I guess it takes a lot to spook them so when it does... it must be really scary...

As above poster asks, if he is so calm why on the calmer?
 
Joined
18 August 2017
Messages
5
Its not unusual for horses that are totally laid back most of the time to over react when something spooks them. I guess it takes a lot to spook them so when it does... it must be really scary...

As above poster asks, if he is so calm why on the calmer?[

I put him on the calmer after the first two bolts....thought i might just help him. Also i can be slightly nervous in the stable (bit jumpy) so i decided on a daily calmer. I do actually think it helps him in the stable.

Had his teeth checked today...all fine.

Next stop is eye sight i think...although he can see well enough to jump the arena white string so I'm not 100% convinced its his eyes.
 

GTRJazz

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 February 2014
Messages
316
Just fixed my RID he only bolted a couple of times but was really spooky in the school my instructor broke her hand, my loaner fell off and does not want to ride again and I fell too also hurting a hand . Anyway the fix I sent him to a trainer she schooled him and said he was really good popular on the yard no trouble at all. We got him back to our yard was ok not as nice as when she had him but ok. Next week she rode him again terrible she got off and ended with an lunge he flew through the air bucked, and did not look a good horse to ride at all.
All down to fresh grass at hers he was in the stable except when ridden and feed only soaked hay
At mine on our worn winter field he was ok but as soon as I changed to the better field second week was when he was at his worst.
Now I can turn it on and off by keeping him in and feeding ad lib hay for a quite life or in the field for loads of spooking and energy
 
Joined
18 August 2017
Messages
5
Just fixed my RID he only bolted a couple of times but was really spooky in the school my instructor broke her hand, my loaner fell off and does not want to ride again and I fell too also hurting a hand . Anyway the fix I sent him to a trainer she schooled him and said he was really good popular on the yard no trouble at all. We got him back to our yard was ok not as nice as when she had him but ok. Next week she rode him again terrible she got off and ended with an lunge he flew through the air bucked, and did not look a good horse to ride at all.
All down to fresh grass at hers he was in the stable except when ridden and feed only soaked hay
At mine on our worn winter field he was ok but as soon as I changed to the better field second week was when he was at his worst.
Now I can turn it on and off by keeping him in and feeding ad lib hay for a quite life or in the field for loads of spooking and energy
Thanks for your reply...very interesting indeed.

Our grass is very low, so I had ruled it out as a factor....but maybe I shouldn't have. Worth a trail I like!

I'm a believer in turnout time so im not sure what the answer would be if he got a lot better off the grass. Don't like to have young horses cooped up in stables. (don't like them bolting either mind) ha ha
 

GTRJazz

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 February 2014
Messages
316
Yes the grass is very short in our paddock and at a time of year you would think low energy but the change in him was huge. Well worth a trial for you, then adjust to suit your horse. We had a really good lesson tonight with me putting him out at midday until 4.00pm both days, not ridden yesterday. Left him with 5 big hay nets all around his stable walls both days so he did not run out. was out 24/7 before
 
Last edited:
Top