I'm moving my horses home on the 13th of this month. Both of them are fairly hot headed and get worked up easily. My question is after moving them home, how long after that would you recommend I start riding? Should I wait a couple of days...? A week...? Could I ride the very next day?
Immediately. You can't coddle them in those situations, it will do nothing but make the "hot headed" horses worse. People haul "Hot headed" horses to shows or differant arenas all the time and start right off. It is no differant.
Hot horses go to shows all the time, and are ridden 15 minutes after unloading. It's completely your call, but sometimes I think we over-analyse our horses a touch. Riding is something they know, and is "normal" for them. They may be a bit hotter, like trail riding a new trail, but nothing more than that.
I'd like to add too that if your horse is hot headed to the point of dangerous, he's not using the thinking side of his brain. The horse, to be a good partner, needs to start thinking about YOU and only YOU as the leader even under high stress. If the horse is "hot headed" Then start off with some groundwork, moving the hip and shoulders, lunging with LOTS of changing direction, sidepassing down the fence, desensitizing, anything to make them think. I see a lot of times hot horses are just energetic horses with respect problems.
I think it depends on what you think is best for your horses, you know them best. Going to a show is different then moving. When you move, everything changes for them, new fields/fence lines, different horses, possible different grain/hay, completely new rountine, new people handling them (if you are boarding). I would give the horse a day or two to adjust before working him/her.
I would work the horse the same day, prior to turning them out with the new herd.
My horse has "home barns" in 3 different cities because I travel so much for lessons and shows. He settles into each one right coming off the trailer because I don't change my attitude, demeanour or expectations for his behavior. If I'm hauling cross country and making overnight stop overs, I need to know I will have a well behaved, comfortable horse at my stops.
I agree with the others that you need not coddle the horses and would add that a good workout would serve to release nervous tension, put focus on you and get the horse more comfortable in a controlled setting.
I'd ride my instructors new horses as soon as they came in. The only reason they may have been given time to settle otherwise, is because there may be a health issue to worry about, or if they came in in the middle of the night and no one may have been around to hop on.
My horses (if I had any), I would ride as soon as I could. I wouldn't go to a new trail or a new show ground, and wait around for them to look around from a stall. I would ride them, or at least, lunge them. Get them out where they can see things, get their feet moving. Let them eye ball some stuff, but remind them they still have an alpha and rider to pay attention to. Give them something to concentrate on other than blowing up, and make it a good experience.
See boy, there's the wash rack! The tack room where your stuff goes! Your new neighbor! Oh look, a round pen and arena! Why wait a week to fully introduce them to their surroundings? Why let them see things from a distance as they walk from stall to pasture or stall to arena, and only introduce it to them as you need it? If it is part of their new surroundings, get them out to it. They won't die if they see a bunch of new things on the same day. Horses are not that fragile.