How to Control a Spirited Horse

Some riders struggle to handle a spirited horse or pony, a horse doesn't have to be a stallion to be hard to control. This can be dangerous and if you can't keep control and show your pony you're in charge you could end up getting hurt.


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    Check that the saddle fits okay. Some horses will act up if the saddle hurts them, so get a professional to have a look. Also, is it on properly? If you're a novice and not used to tacking up, it could be that you've done something wrong.
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    Before you ride, try using T-Touch on the pony. If you haven't read the books, T-Touch is a circular massage usually done on the neck, which relaxes and calms your pony down. I've tried it on the horse I ride, Holly, and it helps to keep her calmer and less inclined to try bolting off
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    Hold the reins properly. If they're too loose, you won't have any control over your pony and you'll be more likely to fall off if he bolts or bucks. On the other hand, if they're too tight it will hurt him and cause him to play up even more. Some horses like loose reins and some work better with a contact. For bets results try both!
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    Lay off with the crop! For some horses the crop is the root of the problem; carry one if you have to but only use it when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you may end up with a horse that won't come near you, let alone let you on his back
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    If all else fails, maybe you should move on. If he's yours, suggest to your parents that you're having trouble handling your pony and you think it might be better and easier for you to ride and care for if you have a calmer one. If you ride him but he belongs to your local stables, tell your instructor that you're a bit nervous riding this horse and it would be a lot safer if you could ride an easier pony.


  • If you always do a certain thing with your pony, this might be a problem. For example:
    • If you always ride in a certain discipline, like jumping, he may be getting bored. Try riding other styles and trying new things.
    • If you always ride him in the school, take him out hacking and relax a bit.
    • If you always hack out, lack of training could make him disobedient. Make sure you school him as well.
    • If you always hack a certain way, try different paths to add variety.


  • Your pony could have an injury of some sort that's making him act like this. If he was fine and then suddenly started bucking, bolting and biting, get a vet to check him over.
  • Your pony may just be cheeky. Mischievous ponies need firm handling, so if it's just a few nips or a little head-tossing, shorten the reins and get bossy
  • If this is a new horse, BE CAREFUL! Get to know the horse before jumping on its back and expecting long rides on the beach. See if the horse gets extra nervous when by its right side. Or if the horse is scared of certain objects such as waving flags or hanging tree branches. Then you will know your horse better, and understand why certain actions such as bolting, head swaying, or even biting can occur.

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Categories: Horses