QUESTION: I have purchased a 16.3 HH, 12 year old mare that was at one time supposed to be really well saddle trained. She has not been ridden for 6 years. We have had her one month. She is a total dream to handle on the ground but once saddled she will bolt the second I try to mount her. When I get someone to hold her while mounting, she simply drags them with her? She bolts and is unstoppable? I have only dared tried twice, now what?

ANSWER: We see such Behaviour like this lots in horses that were at one time well trained but then turned out for a long time without being ridden.

(1) Was she truly WELL TRAINED? Or just ridden, period? If never truly Well Trained, then she is probably not a safe mount now.

(2) Often saddles, saddle pads and bits do not fit the horse. Each horse is shaped differently in the mouth, the back, the girth, etc. Something could be "Pinching" her in the mouth, the girth area or her back. This irritates her and she becomes nervous and resists.

(3) When reintroducing a horse to being ridden after that long off, she needs to be treated like a Green Horse or NEVER RIDDEN horse and started slowly. Basically started as if never ridden. As she remembers her lessons she had learned in the past, you will be able to move onto each step in training far more quickly than if never ridden in her entire life. Meaning what would take about 30 days to gain an untrained horse's trust and confidence enough to be a safely mounted may take the horse only a few days instead. What may have taken at least 90 days to be a fairly safe horse when first being trained, may with this horse only take a couple of weeks. She needs time to remember this being ridden stuff that she once knew but has forgotten in 6 years.

(4) This horse is trying to tell you something. Either the equipment your using is pinching or irritating her (even something as simple as when you mount, your pulling the saddle sideways which pinches her girth and back) or she has forgotten much of this mounting and being ridden stuff OR she was never Well Trained to start with. She, in fact, may be all to well remembering the irritation and/or pain of being ridden before and does not want that to happen to her again.

(5) Have an Experienced, Well Recommended, Professional TRAINER work with her for a few days. That "Hands On" trainer will quickly know what her problem is. And remember, once started back into riding, she needs to be ridden all the time, not sporadically.

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