Bolt - from the blue?

indra morris

hi, oscar bolted from halt to full gallop through trees whilst out on a hack. he's never bolted before (although spooks in school he can run for a few strides). i didn't see this coming. though had thought once i let him canter on a hack for the first time he might get strong. though when we trot and he breaks into canter and i ask him to come back he always does with no argument. the bolt was after a short trot and maybe a few strides of canter (i cant remember!). he had a few minutes before genuinely spooked (the biggest for a while). so maybe i was daft to stop where we did.  he'd also been more 'looky' in the hack than he had been for a while. note to self; dont drop my contact! it's not clear to me that he spooked. but he had to go round another horse so was either trying to get away or heading for home (though he bolted through trees not on a track we ride regularly). i felt secure in my seat ven as he weaved but bailed as the trees thickened and a steep bank/uneven ground approached. so at home recovering when i should be at work!

this wasn't the only issue this weekend. on friday he bit me hard when asking him to back up (the bit of groundwork he most resists). on saturday he played up in a ridden clinic which he normally seems to enjoy (he was stopping and trying to drop his shoulder to turn away from poles in the corner - something he often does but not so much). so i am wondering whether there's a deeper issue here (eg am i too tentative and novice with him). and how best to respond. we'd been making such great progress together i dont want it to unravel but v aware that this is a problem i need to sort.

thanks!

ps. saddler, chiro and dentist have all been in last few months