How To Emergency Stop Your Horse
 By Saferaphus   •   13th Jun 2017   •   296 views   •   0 comments

There is a skill that every person should learn no matter what style of riding they do, whether or not they ride a quiet well-trained horse or level of riding skill they have. Every rider should know how to do an emergency stop. Having said this, itís important to understand that even if you learn how to do this and can do this in non-emergency situations it isnít 100% guaranteed to get you out of a sticky spot. So you also have to learn to quickly - split second quickly - recognize when and how to go about doing an emergency stop effectively and safely.

The emergency stop is sometimes called a one-rein stop. If a horse is going much faster than youíd like it to, and itís ignoring your aids to slow down, an emergency stop can help get it back under control. Hereís how to do it. Make sure that you have your balance in the saddle. If you are flapping your arms wildly, screaming with fear, or hanging half off of the horse, you are probably going to make your horse go faster, not slow down. Hauling back with both reins might not be effective because a panicking horse can pull back very strongly.

So, to start an emergency one-rein stop, as long as you are securely in the saddle, make sure you have at least one rein in one hand. Yes, this can be done if youíve dropped or broken one rein. With one rein, pull the horseís head around so that it has to start making a circle. Donít pull so hard that you pull the horse off balance - that could be dangerous. But keep a steady pull back on one side, opening your arm so that your hand is outside what would be normal riding position.

Keep pulling back, asking the horse to go in smaller and smaller circles. Eventually, the horse will have to slow down to keep its balance on the circle. And, by doing so, you can bring it back under control. If you find you need more strength to do this, you can use your leg for leverage, anchoring the fist holding the rein against your lower thigh. Let the opposite rein play out until the horse is back under control.

The downsides to this method are that you do have to be fairly secure in the saddle and you must have a fair amount of space to make your circles. Again, you donít want to make a sudden tight circle, or you could throw your horse off balance and trip it. And you want to make sure that the space you are in has safe footing, for the same reason.

There are a couple of alternatives to the one-rein stop. Another way to pull a horse up is using a pulley stop. Take both reins in one hand, and with the other pull back as hard as you can with both reins. You can also anchor one hand about halfway up the horseís neck while still holding the reins and pull back with the other. If a horse is very strong though, it can fight back against a steady pull like this.

Thereís another way to slow down a runaway horse too. This takes more time, safe footing and a more savvy rider. If the horse is running away because itís being belligerent and not scared, you can encourage it to run. Some horses, but certainly not all, will slow down when they realize they are working much harder than they intended to. Itís possible to hurt a horse by running them too hard if they arenít fit. So, you have to have good judgment about what you are doing.

Of course, always riding in control, riding a horse you are safe on, and riding in areas you know are safe are essential. But if that dead quiet school horse is bitten by a yellow jacket, somebody rides a dirtbike up your heels, or a patch of daisies threatens to attack, itís good to know how to deal with things if you feel you are going too fast.
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