Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
As others said, "hot" is generally part of the horses personality and often isn't something you can change, but with many horses you can certainly manage it. Hot isn't just super responsive to aids (like some think forward moving horses are) it is, to me, like a sort of lack of focus combined with excessive energy. I've ridden a few "hot" horses and really I don't like it, sure it's nice having a horse that moves, but they are just so much constant work, to me riding loses all it's fun.
Anyway, food is a big thing, the hot horse I owned was pretty sensitive to feed and different grasses so I'd pay close attention to what he was being fed, avoiding grains and other "heating" foods.
Where you keep them is also an issue. I stabled my horse at night, but it would have just been a stupid move on my part to stable him anymore. A horse with energy shouldn't be locked up or they're just going to develop vices and get worse. So I think all "hot" horses should be turned out, probably with other horses, so they can expend some energy.
Regular work is also important. These horses generally don't do well with occasional riding, so you'd look at riding them almost everyday, and try not to give them weeks off, unless it's a dedicated break.
Then address the way the rider rides. I think if you look at most riders with hot horses their riding makes the horse much worse, and makes the problem much worse. Most people with hot horses end up holding onto the reins, holding them back, stopping them jogging, but this restriction I think makes them much worse. Even when their horse is behaving, they have contact ready to jump in at the first sign of trouble. The best thing that worked with my old horse was to get him used to the idea that I would not be hanging onto his head all the time. When I was walking between places, or trails, or to the Cross-Country course etc, I'd be on a loose rein.
We practiced trotting and then cantering on a loose rein. Whenever I'd ask for contact, in the arena he'd be alright, but out I could already feel him become a little more nervous, a little more jumpy.
It is going to depend on your horse though. Some instructors will be great help, but others will try to force control through harsh bits and martingales etc. This is a "bandaid" fix, that treats the symptoms not the problem, so be careful who you take advice from.