After an Accident

Long time since I logged in but I have hit a low with my horse I am a bit lost.

Some history I have started dozens of kids ponies and refreshed horses of many times under professional instruction over 15 years, but this time I was starting my own horse under saddle. She is a clydesdale 8 years old, and taking it very slow, she is reactive but with time she has become excellent at catching, leading, lunging and eventually was comfortable wearing tack. This is just a short list of the many skills she has learned over the past six months with me, but it was agreed she was a solid horse citizen.

There was a horrible accident over the weekend, I groomed, tacked her up and was leading her to the arena to lunge her. She was a bit off in behaviour, just tail swishing, moving more than normal but I didn’t think much of it, I thought it was the flies that were bothering her. She ended up spooking and her bolting forward threw me to the ground in front of her. She ran over me I have nearly 30 stitches in my face, no broken bones but legs are swollen and bruised.

My partner ran out to me and I held pressure to my face, he caught my mare and was able to take off her tack and get her into a stall. My poor girl had bucked and ran loose for ten minutes, was covered in sweat and blood from a cut on her face.

Long story to say my mare is terrified of anything more than her halter being near her, too much pressure trying to lead her she gets nervous. I was thinking wait a couple weeks let her heal as well and get a professional in to see what damage was done, as of right now if I tried to put a saddle on her I think she would explode.

Any suggestions, help? Even on how to get black eyes and swelling to go down faster?

Good grief, that sounds like a horrible accident.

I don’t have anything in the way of advice, but I do have a question: why is this 8 year old just getting started?


How scary. Jingles for you and your mare.

I would say that if this accident caused that much stress that she has gone that far backwards there is something other than training issues going on here. And I am not saying the something other is you or your system/training. I am guessing the mare either has something medically wrong with her or is just one of those critters that is not happy in their own skin ever and it is kinder to not ask them to pretend they are happy.


Sorry you got so banged up :open_mouth:
I hope you heal up ASAP!

Am I wrong in thinking this was your first attempt to longe her?
You posted “comfortable wearing tack”, but not that she’d been backed, or trained to longe.
Also, I’m assuming you were still leading her when she bolted.
Some horses need to be introduced to longeing very gradually. Start as if still leading, then gradually let out the line into wider circles, until you’re at the full length of the line.
If this was not the case, I apologize.

For your injuries, ice and arnica should help the swelling & bruising.
Pls see a Dr to make sure nothing got broken.

For your mare, IIWM, I’d start from Step 1 - as if you were starting a total unbroken greenie.

Best to you both, hope you can turn this around.


I have to guess that if the OP has lots of stitches the same facility is who checked her over for broken bones.

The OP says the horse is comfortable with lunging.


@trubandloki Just reread OP. :persevere:

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@2DogsFarm, we have all done that many times.

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She is 8 years old because she was suppose to be a 18hh fancy hitch horse. She made it too 16.1hh almost 8 inches shorter than her full siblings, so i got her from her breeder cheap since she had just been in the field most of her life.

I was thinking it might not being a training issue but caused by pain, this mare is reactive for a draft but shes always careful and looks to her person for support. I just feel like I let her down.

Thanks for the support from everyone, cant wait til I can see out of my eye again.

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It sounds like you have done all things right so far.

It would not be wrong to have the vet out and do a full exam to see if there is a pain issue. Pain can make them do silly things.


Like everyone else, my heart goes out to you. You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, it sounds like you were trying to be extra-cautious lunging her, and she didn’t give any indications that she would do something as extreme as run straight over you.

I would, if at all possible, have someone else who is very experienced and you trust start working with her ASAP, if that’s possible. Not tacking or lunging, but just getting her back to the point of being able to be handled and people touching her face. The longer she sits, the more accustomed she will be to not being touched. I think it might be best if it was someone else, to give you time to heal and also to not to replicate any of the factors of the day of the accident.


The writing was on the wall at 4 yo. 5 yo. 6 yo. 7 yo. that she wasn’t going to mature to 18hh.

Unhandled 8 year olds can be quirky and difficult for some time, as they don’t have a work ethic and think that most things regarding humans are optional.

Can you keep this horse in a round pen, treat her kind of like a mustang, until some of the reactivity subsides?

Again, like others have said, you didn’t do anything wrong. This horse is just edgy and big, and clearly doesn’t understand (or care) how fragile a human is in relation to her size.


Wow! Sorry this happened. Do you know the cause of the spook?

I agree that time off should not be in the picture for this horse barring injury to her or another health issue. I think you should have a vet look at her and if financially possible, have a pro work with her while you recover. Then pro can help reintroduce you to the horse and help you through fearful moments.


Thanks everyone for advice I am taking it all in consideration, vet has been contacted he is going to let me know when he will be working near by to split travel cost for me. Joys of living middle of no where, but vet is coming out in next week or so, try to rule out pain or health problems. Teeth, back, joints, eyes anything i can afford.

I have to make phone call see if i can have someone work with my mare, think everyone is right she needs work asap and I am not suppose to do much for two weeks. I am beating myself up over this I am not the help she needs right now.

She is a good mare, but definitely forgets about persons space which we normally work on daily but I guess there was a mix of factors that we might not know what happened.


that’s what i’d do. The only way i’ve found to get with an older unbroke/unhandled horse is to gain their trust and forge a bond. Since she’s already 8, what’s another year?!


Excuse me if you’ve already answered - does she get turn out? How much? Do you think she’s got some excess energy that a more consistent (or “sweaty”, if you will) program might assist with?

With young horses, as needed I concentrate a 15 minute session on getting all the stupid out. I cut my young horse loose and let her go the speed she wants, which for at least 7-8 minutes is zoomies to the max. Then, for the remainder of the session she’s to continue forward at anything faster than a walk. I do NOT put a line on her for these sessions, because I don’t believe in allowing horses to act like idiots when attached to a human, ever.

I let her have 15 minutes to catch her breath and get a drink of water, then I get started with the “real work”. At this time, I need to do this about once a week or she’s going to try some shenanigans under saddle.


She lives outside 24/7 in dry lot if too wet, at least 6-12 hours turn out on grass or large arena, plus free choice mature grass hay. I have a mule who keeps her moving both like to buck and fart, race up and down the pasture i would say once a day. Pastures are all 1-2 acres each, not the best grass because I chose to keep trees for shade, but good for my two easy keepers.

I only worked with her 15-30 minutes most days and she has been ridden walk trot without issue 3 times off lead, but maybe that was my mistake not giving her time to work out the stupids.

So OF COURSE you are not the right person, of course you are no help, you are totally at fault - because you are a woman and we too often take the blame for everything just because we are women. Men, in my experience, are far less self-critical!

No. You even started your thread with the word “accident” which implies it was “one of those things” that happen in life. Yes, learn from what happened and do think around what might have sparked the horse into action but don’t blame yourself.

I too am curious about an eight year old being so green because as a traditional working breed, a clydesdale would have been in full work for a couple of years by now. You might like to consider working her a lot harder than you are doing at present. Horses get bored like anyone else.


With my limited experience of one time…I took on a 9 year old who had just been started because “oh he was always in the back burner”

No, he was a reactive, big horse who when he was sweet was wonderful, when he didn’t like something he exploded. 4 weeks in hospital when he lawn darted me was enough, he was sold with full disclosure and I hope they managed him OK.

It’s changed my view on older unstarted horses…well apart from my current horse, bought as a recently gelded stud, with minimal under saddle training….BUT he is the sweetest guy out…go figure.


Tired dogs are good dogs. Especially when you’re trying to get the training installed - get the dumb out, then start the work. Same theory with green ones.

OP any chance you can turn her out solo? She may be buddy sour on top of being sensitive. One amplifies the other and then she blows. I’d also sweat her up pretty good regularly, either letting her burn off steam without a rope on or doing it with a line on her. Work her harder than you are now, in a constructive way. Is she’s still blow-y after a month I’d personally move her on. Lots of good horses out there to deal with a screwy one (that’s 8, and screwy still).


Many years ago I had a fairly traumatic incident with my second horse and the vet suggested leaving the horse within his comfort zone for a week or two and allowing the freshness of the incident to fade. The idea being that pushing to do too much too soon provokes the undesirable behaviour which becomes the default behaviour. I think the words he used were “Don’t let him learn to be stupid.”

The horse didn’t run you over as any kind of challenge to you. You got in the way when something else made her upset/fearful enough that she just needed to escape it. Allowing time to get past that incident won’t make her any more likely to bowl you over again in the future. That part isn’t going to be what she remembers.