Help calming my hyper horse down? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-06-2011, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Help calming my hyper horse down?

I have an 9 year old barrel mare, and she is very hyper on trails. I dont have an arena at my house, so i mostly ride her on a gravel road and in the bean/corn feild next to my house when it isn't planted. I also ride her along side the paved road by my house and sometimes ride her in a pasture, but not too often because i dont like riding on grass.
In an arena she is fantastic, shes clam and very responsive to any bit i use on her (including a snaffle..) but on the road or the feild or even along side the paved road she is extremly hyper. She prances all the time. Ive been working really hard on getting her to walk, every time she breaks into a trot i make her stop and stand. I cant just bring her back down to walk because there is no bringing her down she just sticks her nose in the air and i have no control. I sit very deep in my saddle, take me feet out of my sturrips, anything i can think of, and she wont settle down.
She really needs to stay in shape and the best way for me to do that is a lot of long trotting, but its next to impossible for me to get her to trot. She just pushes through me, and she has an extremly hard mouth. Our rides suck because shes so hyper. She gets mad at me and i get mad at her and it just ends up being a pulling contest. I know better than to do that with a horse, i just honestly dont know what else to do. She loves to run, but i dont want to let her do that because i dont want her to think we get to do that every time. Ive also tried turning her in circles when she gets hyper, but that doesnt work at all. She just gets more hyper.
The biggest probblem for me is that she is a totally different horse in an arena. She can work a barrel pattern at a walk and not get hot at all. Its just when shes out on the road or somewhere, but she needs to stay in shape so i need to be able to ride her on the road and really work her.
So, does anyone have any suggestions on how i can get her to listen to me better on the road and teach her to stay at a trot and not wig out? Im not sure how much in the the arena work will help because she is very responsive when i ride her in an arena. Shes a fantastic horse in the arena, a 6 year old could ride her without any problems. Shes soft, she stops she collects, everything in the arena, she just doesn't carry that to outside the arena. If i ask her to stop or collect herself or really do anything she totally ignores me. She just sticks her nose in the air and i have no way to get her to listen without pulling on her. She will just take off. Please help...I dont look forward to riding her at my house any more because its such a battle between us! And i love my horse more than anything, so id really like to be able to enjoy riding her. I do have a new trainer who is fantastic, and i hope shell be able to help me to with this, but i wanted to get some opinions here too.

Also...ive owned her for three years, i had a trainer i just left who told me to make her more hyper to make her a better barrel horse..not a great trainer, i know that now, but at the time i idolized the trainer and did what ever she said. So id take her out and run her alot and stop her and get her hyper and let her take off because thats what i was told to do. I know i made her as hyper as she is now and i really hate that. I really want to be able to fix it. I know shell never be a super slow calm just walk along type horse, but i would like her to at least walk and trot and keep the gait i ask her to without it being such a fight.

Sorry this is so long!
thanks for any help!!!

Last edited by LadyDocHickory; 05-06-2011 at 09:23 PM.
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-08-2011, 06:11 PM
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Well, she's a barrel horse, so use it to your advantage. Keep her occupied with frequent changes of direction, circles, serpentines, whatever you can do to keep her attention on you. I go back and forth on making a jiggy horse walk. It seems counter-productive sometimes. As long as you can maintain control in the trot, I'd do that instead with all those above changes. Good luck.

You just have to see your don't have to like it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-08-2011, 09:30 PM
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What are you feeding her?

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-09-2011, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by MyBoyPuck View Post
Well, she's a barrel horse, so use it to your advantage. Keep her occupied with frequent changes of direction, circles, serpentines, whatever you can do to keep her attention on you. I go back and forth on making a jiggy horse walk. It seems counter-productive sometimes. As long as you can maintain control in the trot, I'd do that instead with all those above changes. Good luck.
^This. "Reward" calmness and focus with rest, and "correct" hyperness with the opportunity to work harder on your terms. Use her natural energy to your advantage: direct it with control, don't try to contain it.

That being said, it's really worth ruling out physical reasons for her hyperactivity. Make sure that her feed isn't too "hot" for her workload, that she's getting enough turnout to burn off some of that "crazy horse" freedom running, and that her tack isn't making her uncomfortable. Often a pinching saddle can contribute to jiggyness as the horse attempts to get away from the pain.

Good luck!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-09-2011, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks...ive had her saddle looked at and that fits her right. She used to be on a sweet feed and performance grain (courtasy of my old trainer) which really didn't help the situation, shes a hot horse in the first place, and all the performance and sweet feed did was give her more energy. On my new trainers recomendation i switched her and my two year old to stategy, and ive seen a big improvement with my filly, and some with Hickory, but i only completly switched them over a week ago, i switched the feeds very slowly. Hopefully getting the performance stuff out of her system will help her not have a ton of extra energy too.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-10-2011, 02:03 AM
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Take Her Off High Protein Grain. Once I Did This My Horse Was A Completely Calmer Horse But Still Fire In The Arena. Take Her Off Performance Grain And If You Give Her Alfalfa Instead give her Timothy Hay Or Tifton Hay If Available This May Be The Problem.

Barrel Racing And My Horses Aren't My Whole Life, They make My Life Whole!!!
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-10-2011, 09:30 PM
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My cutting mare never did do too well on trails, the longer the trail, the more hyper. Fortunately, training helped but you always knew she hated it and we trotted/loped, did circles along the trail to let her play. Just in the genes. The first 2 years I had her she was awful---it was all due to fear and the unknown. Arenas and barns were a known factor, the trail (mountain or ocean) the BIG unknown. Good luck!
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-11-2011, 02:41 AM
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She can't be a jiggy brat if you have her mind thinking a hundred miles an hour.

And I'm talking flexing, bending, figure eights, stopping, backing up, changing direction, leg yields, haunch turns, sidepasses, forehand turns and every bloody thing you can think of the second she gets hyper. Then once you feel her calm down try and let her walk. If she gets jiggy again, move the snot out of her. She doesn't have TIME to be thinking about being jiggy if you're making her think about other things.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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