effervescent

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LEXI / 19 / SYDNEY /
       Anonymous

unhappyhorses:

First thing I’d do is take a look on her environment and see what may be making her hot there. Is she given enough turnout? Is she on appropriate feed? A lot of horses are ‘hot’ because they don’t have a healthy outlet for their energy, and aren’t allowed to expend it naturally over the course of the day.

If she’s getting plenty of opportunity to move and is on appropriate feed, then there are two things I’d say:

First - being ‘hot’ isn’t a bad thing. An animal with energy is great. The trick is to harness her energy instead of fighting against it. Which leads into my second point, which is that she really needs a ‘warm up’ and some proper training.

Blunt control, like a harsh bit, or hard hands, doesn’t remove the ‘heat’, or the energy. It just traps it. When you have an energetic horse, and you try and slow them down with that force, the energy escapes as bucking, tail twisting, head yanking, and other undesirable behaviors.

Which you probably already know, but it’s important to keep in mind when coming up with the solution.

All you need to do is funnel her energy into something desirable. This is where the ‘warm-up’ comes in. Before you get into the saddle and do your ‘real work’, get her moving on the ground, and get her offering some basic behaviors. Backing, yielding haunches, sidepass, etc. You want to make this a fun and simple exercise for her. If you can utilize positive reinforcement, even better. Don’t get her moving by rapping on her or hitting her. It’s supposed to be an easy exercise, not discipline. This little warm-up routine should be something you both become experts in. She should respond quickly and cheerfully. After you do it on the ground, you do it in the saddle.

From that point on, when you’re riding and she gets too revved up, all you have to do is ask for these behaviors. This kind of approach has a multitude of benefits:

-gets her attention back on you

-gets her back in her comfort zone (lets her do something she already knows how to do instead of making her frustrated and confused)

-keeps her feet moving and allows her to expend some energy, but in a manageable way (this is akin to turning a bolting horse in circles, but again, it’s not blunt control, but utilizing learned behavior to solve a problem)

I’ll also add that while it’s a terrible idea to just lunge your horse half to death in order to make them behave themselves under saddle, that doesn’t mean that tiring your horse out a bit is a bad thing. The problem is that most people do just that - lunge their horse half to death. If instead of trying to tire her out, you engage her in simple exercises, which get her mind and her body working, you’ll naturally take off some of the edge and get her in a learning frame of mind to boot.

There is a gigantic difference between just running a horse in circles (which doesn’t teach them anything or prep their minds for learning) and getting specific behaviors, getting them responsive, and spending some of that energy before you really get started.

Hope that’s helpful!

-UH

two great exercises for this under the one banner - TRANSITIONS. transitionstransitionstransitions! 
first walk-halt, then trot-walk, then trot-halt etc.
then the BEST thing i’ve found is transitions within the pace. say you’re going at your normal working trot - one very clear check and start thinking basically walk, slowing them down to a trot that is practically on the spot - doesn’t need to be collected like a piaffe, just a very slow trot. 

then GO. for maybe 20m down the longside of the arena. then come back to that slow trot. after a while, the horse will start pushing into your hands and you will have harnessed the energy vs just holding it in, if you get me. i’m talking 20,000 transitions. but transitions within the pace like that are seriously so useful. ideally it should get to the point where you can display three or more clear trots - working, collected, working, then to medium, then back to collected etc, then eventually extended, then eventually piaffe and passage. transitions within the pace are seriously sooo useful, helped with my lil hothead so much!