wikiHow to Calm Your Hot Horse

Three Methods:Changing Your AttitudeDoing Ground ExercisesEnsuring Your Horse is Comfortable

A hot horse has a lot of high energy, which can be a real pleasure. However, without careful handling this horse can be overly anxious. His energy may result in being overly responsive to commands, or he may become resistant to commands. Teaching your horse to remain calm will increases the horse's confidence, and your safety.

Method 1
Changing Your Attitude

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    Expect your horse to be calm. Horses are herd animals, and a hot horse is sensitive to your moods and actions. If you expect your horse to be tense and excited, he won't disappoint. Tension in the handler results in tension for the horse.[1]
    • Every time you ride, take several deep breaths before getting on the horse. Relax your shoulders, relax your face. If you're still carrying tension from your day, your horse will pick up on it.
    • Before you mount, visualize how you'd like your ride to be. Picture your horse remaining attentive, responsive, calm and confident.
    • Only speak to your horse in a relaxed voice. If you use a tense, upset voice, your horse will respond with tension.
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    Keep your horse before your leg. Your horse should respond immediately to light leg aids, or commands. When your horse is behind the leg, he is not following your directive. Instead, he is deciding for himself what he wants to do, when, and how much. Teaching your horse to go forward with light command is essential to keeping your hot horse calm. With a hot horse, the first thing to do is to discern the reason why he's behind the leg.[2]
    • Is your horse not responding to your aids because he's resisting them? If this is the case, change directions. Don't insist that your horse do what you want. Instead, request something different. Do a simple ground exercise, such as walking backward. Come back to the original directive when your horse is calmer.
    • If your horse is overly responsive to your aids, you may find yourself avoiding them. Or, you may become fearful and tense when giving them. Notice your own participation. If your horse is overly responsive, practice slowing down.
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    Be prepared to spend many hours training a hot horse. While every horse is different, a hot horse will need extra work time. Never rush or hurry a hot horse. Your impatience can ruin hours of careful training.[3]
    • Giving your horse the time he needs with you or another trainer is probably the most important element of calming a hot horse. Rushing your horse through exercises can result in your horse developing anxious, irritable or even dangerous behavior.
    • If you don't have the time to do all the necessary training yourself, consider hiring someone to work your horse for you.
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    Don't push your horse. When teaching something new, work slowly, making sure that each direction is clear and understood by your horse. If your horse doesn't understand what you're asking, try asking for less. Break your directive down into its most basic steps for teaching. [4]
    • If you feel frustrated or anxious, it's best to remove yourself from the horse until you calm down.
    • By pressuring or pushing your horse to do something he doesn't want to do, you're reinforcing the cycle of resistance already found in a hot horse. If you press them too soon, or if the horse really doesn't understand what you want, he can become rebellious, acting impulsively or headstrong.

Method 2
Doing Ground Exercises

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    Walk your horse back and forth. Do this simple calming exercise before attempting to mount a hot horse. With your horse on a longe line in a quiet paddock, position yourself about 6 feet from your horse's head. Standing calmly, keep your feet still, and ask your horse to back up. Use only your rope and body position. Angle your body and head toward your horse, and gently twirl your longe line in the air with your free hand. Your horse should respond by walking backwards. After a few steps, stop, and request your horse to walk forwards. Let the spinning rope go limp, and lean back with your body. You may gently rock back on one leg.[5]
    • This exercise serves to keep your horse engaged with you, confident of your directive, and rids him of excess energy.
    • Repeat this exercise multiple times, for perhaps 10 minutes total.
    • Return to this exercise any time during your riding session when you feel your horse becoming hot and anxious.
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    Walk your horse using the longe line. Standing in one position, direct your horse to walk around you slowly, while holding his longe line. His eye gaze should be on you at all times, his ears directed towards you, and his nose angled slightly in your direction. Any work you do on the longe line will reinforce the horse's attention on you, without the excitement of having a rider.[6]
    • When your feet stop moving, the horse should too. Let him stand still for a second, relaxed. He should continue to be attentive to you - including eye gaze and ears held in your direction. If he attempts to look away, click your tongue to draw his attention. Then instruct him to walk in the opposite direction. This teaches him that he can stop, take a little break.
    • Repeat this exercise multiple times, for perhaps 10 minutes total. You may want to occasionally intersperse this exercise with the walking back and forth exercise shown above.
    • You can ask her to speed up to a trot, then slow down again to a walk. This teaches her to speed up her body's movements without adding excitement, and consequent anxiety.
    • The purpose of these exercises is not to tire your horse out, but to engage them with your direction.
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    Mount your horse, but remain still. Start by positioning your horse beside a mounting block. Stand on the block. If your horse isn't completely calm, simply stand beside him until he relaxes. When your horse is completely calm and relaxed, mount your horse. The first exercise is simply to remain standing, with you mounted. Simply sitting on your horse is an exercise teaching him to remain calm. Do not allow your horse to move unless he's completely calm.[7]
    • Once your horse is completely calm, direct him to walk a few steps, then stop, stand and relax again. Give your horse praise for remaining calm.
    • Repeat this exercise multiple times, until your horse is completely relaxed while moving as you ride.

Method 3
Ensuring Your Horse is Comfortable

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    Use a mild bit. If your horse isn't comfortable in his bit, he won't be calm. A good bit will fit more on the bars of the horse's mouth than the tongue. Experiment with different bits until you find the bit that is right for your horse.[8]
    • Hot horses often dislike the pressure of the bit, and, not understanding why the bit is there, become even more resistant and worried. This results in an inexperienced rider using more pressure on the but, which reinforces the cycle.
    • If you must teach your horse to accept a bit of any sort, try using an elastic insert. This insert releases pressure in response to the horse's relaxation. This reinforces his relaxing, and teaches him to accept the bit.
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    Make sure your horse gets plenty of pasture time. If your horse is kept cooped up in a pen too many hours per day, he's more likely to be hot with pent-up energy and excitement when he finally gets into the pen. A healthy horse will want to release this energy by running and playing.[9]
    • Your horse should get plenty of grass and hay, with only a little grain. Too much grain means too much energy for a horse.
    • Pasture turn-out is a great stress-reliever for your horse.
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    Find a professional trainer. Sometimes, even an experienced rider won't be able to figure out how to calm their hot horse. It can be helpful to have the aid of an professional who isn't emotionally involved with the horse. The trainer may be able to spot behavioral routines you may have developed with your horse.[10]
    • Check with your local riding stable, equine veterinarian or farrier about professional trainers in your area.
    • A good way to evaluate a potential trainer is to observe them at work with another horse. Ask if you can schedule a time to observe them at work. If their training style makes you uncomfortable, you should try another trainer. A good trainer should inspire confidence.
    • Be prepared to make detailed observations while you watch the potential trainer at work. Are the stables clean and well-tended? Does it look like a safe place for horses and people? How does he interact with the other horses?
    • Once you've found a trainer you like, arrange one session between the trainer and your horse. Horses respond differently to every person, and you want to make sure that there's a good fit between your horse and the trainer.

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Categories: Horse Care