Keeping calm on a nervous horse

       The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > Horse Riding

Keeping calm on a nervous horse

This is a discussion on Keeping calm on a nervous horse within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

Like Tree4Likes
  • 3 Post By SorrelHorse
  • 1 Post By QHriderKE

LinkBack Thread Tools
    02-16-2013, 10:50 PM
Keeping calm on a nervous horse

At my barn I ride horses that will NOT be controlled if you are tense, including my horse. My horse I am perfectly calm on no matter what- I think maybe because I know him well or ride him in a western saddle perhaps- even though he is potentially way more dangerous than the other horses I ride. However, when I get on the other horses I tend to start out fine and I look great on them. As the ride goes on, I seem to tense up and I can't stay calm. If it weren't a lesson I would just get off and walk the horse around until I calm down; I don't ride horses nervous. Do you guys have methods of staying calm. How can I work on this? I am normally really good at staying calm, but recently I have been riding a horse that makes me nervous in particular and it is becoming an issue. It is the same on the ground too. When I wasn't quite as familiar with working with my horse and when he had his biting issue I would be extremely nervous around him. Whenever I turned my back he would try to bite me (I didn't know how to deal with it then, I do now, the horse is straightened out, it was several years ago) so I would always be extremely nervous and come home bruised from bites. This definitely made him nervous as well, but now that I am calm around him we work together wonderfully. I really just need ways to calm down, and ways to practice at home.
Sponsored Links
    02-16-2013, 10:57 PM
Talk and sing.

The theory behind this and keeping calm is because a horse is very capable of feeling your breathing. When you are nervous, you subconsciously don't breathe or don't breathe as much. When you talk/sing, you HAVE to breathe. Even if you are just whispering.

For me, when things get sticky, I try to go to sleep. I picture myself as I am right now: Sitting back in my comfy chair, laptop on my lap, leaning back and kind half lying down. This is relaxed. My mare the other day reared and I just kinda sighed. My trainer said I looked ready to take a nap, which of course I was. You gotta find your happy place whether or not you're in a bad situation with the horse.

And of course, breathe.
    02-16-2013, 10:59 PM
Man try to tell someone else how to calm down. That's tuff, what is it that is getting you "worked up"? Your idea of getting down if it wasn't a lesson is a good onw lesson or not. The only thing other the "just stop it" when you feel yourself "heading south" go back and work on something easy. Something you know the horse can do and somthing you know you can do as well.

Or "just stop it"
Or try smiling laugh make a funny noise (somthing that won't scare your horse)
    02-16-2013, 11:22 PM
What is it that the horse does that makes you nervous? My Paint horse is a super sweetheart but can be scary if he gets galloping when he is in a large group as he will pass all the other horses if you let him. Once I learned how to slow him down and not let him get out of hand. Lots of ring work helped me develop a better relationship with him. He is a more flight than fight kind of horse and it took what I thought was a long time before he really trusted me. Hundreds of hours on the trail certainly helped. You need to find out how that particular horse ticks and then hopefully, things will begin to fall into place. A good trainer is also invaluable. For me the best thing was to just keep at it even if I felt I'd never succeed and there sure were a lot of difficult days. But, now I am really happy to have such a great bond with my horse.
    02-16-2013, 11:45 PM
I like the round pen for nervous horses and nervous humans.

First, it's a great place to establish yourself as the leader. Second, it's a great place for a nervous horse to calm down. And third, it's helpful to nervous humans when you can see a horse visibly relax and start looking to you for direction and commands. I would recommend tacking up these horses and then taking them to the round pen for a few minutes before getting on and riding in a lesson.

If you don't have a lot of experience in a round pen, then let me give you a piece of advice: Steer clear of hooves, and pay attention to the horse's body language. It will tell you when you when you need to get out of the way of said hooves, and it will tell you when you've accomplished what you set out to do. And finally, remember that your body language is key. A horse pays attention to your actions, so with most horses you can't just wuss out and hope they'll go in a circle. They'll find that one blade of grass to eat and ignore you. At the same time, many horses don't need an extreme show of dominance or aggression to move--each horse is an individual, so fine tune your body language based on how the horse is reacting to you.
    02-17-2013, 12:02 AM
Green Broke
Talk like a crazy person.
People might think you have multiple personality disorder, but talking helps so much.

I have a super hot mare and I honestly talk to her constantly so I don't tense up when she flips out or starts dancing around.

People totally think I'm loopy, but I don't even care :P

(Sometimes, I'll be warming up and while trotting in a circle I'll just be going: Dooo deee dah dah doo dee la la laaaaa. Yup)
CowboyBob likes this.
    02-17-2013, 12:17 AM
I used to get nervous when riding real high-energy or spoiled horses. Not good in my line of work.

I started thinking about the "what ifs" and taking them to the most ridiculous, worst possible ending my imagination could imagine. I frequently ended up laughing and that seemed to relieve a lot of tension for me. I also gained confidence in my ability to communicate consistently, learned not to expect perfection from myself or the horses, and stopped caring whether I made an unscheduled dismount or not.

Worked hard on my core strength and higher level balance so I could respond better to the leaps, both up and sideways, and it's all helped.
    02-17-2013, 12:43 AM
Another horseback chatty kathy here! If I am nervous, I talk to my horse constantly. I tell him about my day, why I'm feeling a little nervous, what I wish he would or wouldn't do...

Another thing that I do--especially out on the trail alone--is to put music on my phone and tuck my phone into my pocket. Two-for-one there; I know I haven't lost my phone, and I will hum along to the music. It seems to soothe us both!

If this is an on-going situation with a horse, however, I am all-for round pen work for respect on the ground and any exercises that require the horse to mentally focus and look to you for direction.
    02-17-2013, 02:06 AM
You need to find your inner herd leader and embrace it. I used to beat myself up with phrases like "Stop being a wuss and do it" etc. which worked for me.. because overtime they became "Hey I've got this!" which is WAY more positive.

Find it... embrace it... chant it. Fake it till you make it, kiddo.
    02-17-2013, 01:30 PM
I agree with singing and talking, it sounds stupid but if my horse is nervous or tense I start to sing Old MacDonald. Also just focusing on taking big deep breaths will make you relax. You would not believe how taking 3-4 deep breaths affects your body, it is very hard to stay tense.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Great trick to calm a Nervous horse! Flashboy2011 Horse Health 0 04-16-2012 10:48 PM
How to calm nervous horse? manca Horse Training 12 06-27-2011 11:02 AM
Keeping a horse calm at a show Duskylove Horse Training 12 03-19-2011 09:32 PM
Stall Rest... Keeping her calm? eventerdrew Horse Health 12 01-28-2011 12:43 PM
How calm is your horse? Domino13011 Horse Talk 14 08-12-2009 03:17 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:51 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0