You read a lot nowadays about ‘bombproofing’ your horse. They have to be kidding! I don’t care what kind of training you give a horse, if you get into a nest of bees your horse is going to react, right?
That’s not to say that ground-training methods for building your horse’s confidence and trust in you are not excellent, and well worth doing. Of course they are. But the best bombproofing you can do is to bombproof yourself! I’ll bet that most of you have never thought of it that way, but there are all kinds of things you can learn, especially early on in your riding career, to keep you out of trouble when the horse loses it.
For example: practicing the seven steps (read my books<S>) until your body centers and grounds itself quickly and automatically as your horse moves. (Example; I had four intermediate middle-aged ladies on a trail ride when a bird flew up under the lead horse’s nose. All the horses did a rapid 180 degree turn and prepared to leave. I was at the rear and could block them, but not one of the ladies lost her seat or even her stirrups. They immediately reestablished control and 4 sheepish horses continued on their way.)
Two: learning to release the reins smoothly and rapidly when the horse snatches, so that you don’t get pulled out of the saddle and scare both of you. (Note: you do have to have long enough reins, and most modern reins are too short to allow a complete release. I make my own out of western split reins, conway buckles and snaps)
Three: learning to emergency dismount at any gait. Doesn’t mean you have to practice jumping off at the gallop, but if you are comfortable doing so at the walk and jog, you can do it at higher speed if you’re in real danger. Of course the trick is to see the danger coming and get off first. If you think you’re too old, I have had students in their 50’s and 60’s who were able to execute a good emergency dismount, and I (who am a good deal older) can also do so. (Caveat: If you are really fearful/phobic, your body can start dismounting all by itself every time the horse sneezes. Phobia is different from fear, in that it is not rational, and often needs professional help)
Those are the major safety exercises which I think every one should know. None of them are difficult; they just take practice.
So, what else is new??<G>