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Deschutes 09-26-2012 10:42 AM

Riding a hot horse
My lease owner has 2 horses. One she calls her school master, the other one is a bit hot. She says he has a tendency to get excited under saddle, gets ancy when not in the front on a trail, doesn't like being alone on a trail, tries to run home once getting back, etc.

I've ridden a horse that gets excited at a trot/canter, and have some experience in that, but not when it comes to trails. I have the knowledge, but no experience.

Before I think of riding him, is there any specific ground work I should do? What can I do in the saddle to help calm him? I know keeping my body relaxed is one component, but what about anything else? They aren't fed anything to make them hot, it's just his temperment I think.

Speed Racer 09-26-2012 10:46 AM

What's your motivation behind wanting to ride this horse?

Deschutes 09-26-2012 10:53 AM

Mostly that when I become a better rider I want to try and learn how to work with a horse like that. The closest thing I've ridden to hot was a nervous nancy twh rescue, which was under watch/guidance. I don't plan on riding him without the lease owner there, and do prefer to ride the paint for now.

My goal currently is just ground work with him.

Thyme 09-26-2012 11:58 AM

The main thing I have learned with my Arabian mare is to try and work with their "self motivation", if you try and "lock it up" they will get worse. My mare will literally start shaking (she has some anxiety issues currently) and then you get the horse that will just explode.

If your riding out and he gets excited try and distract him/get his mind working positively by doing leg yields, side passes play with the bit but again not locking him up.
Don't forget you can always get off if he gets really hot, and you may find it easier to make him walk from the ground, grabbing the reins like your riding but walking beside.
I'm not an professional trainer, these are just tips I have found successful for me, if he is dangerous or makes you uncomfortable get a few sessions with a trainer to get you on the same page.

DrumRunner 09-26-2012 12:20 PM

Ground work won't usually do anything for a horse that's hot under saddle..A horse can be completely different on the ground than they are under saddle.. I have one of those horses..

I hope you are a VERY patient person because working with a hot horse you'll have to have plenty of it. There's not a one size fits all method of correcting a hot horse, you have to figure out what works best for the individual horse. It's definitely a good thing that you're going to ride with the lease owner there. If you are trying to work with the horse and you don't really know what you're doing you can make it worse, or even irritate the horse to the point of it trying to get you off of it's back.

BlueSpark 09-26-2012 12:20 PM


try and distract him/get his mind working positively by doing leg yields, side passes
This is good advice. Also have a good one rein stop incase you need to slow or stop him. Circles can help alot, its often better to resort to doing side passing, circling, etc then grabbing both reins, which typically makes them worse.

Being calm and relaxed is a big deal, if you fall appart when a horse starts prancing/spooks/etc then a hot horse out in the open is not the best idea.

set your self up for success, get very comfortable before moving onto the next step. Try groundwork. Then riding in a corral, then out with other riders.

I think the key really is keeping your head and taking everything in stride. Also dont try to make them something they are not. Ahot horse can be well trained and obedient, yet still hot. a hot horse will likely always be more forward and reactive. Embrace this, dont fight to turn a naturally energetic horse into a super laid back mount, that never makes anyone happy.

I love the hot horses, my primary saddle horse is an egyptian arab, and most of the other horses I ride are straight off the track OTTB's.

Joe4d 09-26-2012 12:36 PM

get off the trail, make him do figure 8's around trees, step over logs, ditches, etch make him use the thinking part of his brain. Sometimes with work horses will come around, sometimes they wont and just wont ever be suitable or are beyond your skill and patience level. That's why they make craigslist.

Deschutes 09-26-2012 01:08 PM

The owner utilizes his hotness by working on barrels with him, and he knows how to do jumps too.

This coming thursday or friday she'll let me ride both her boys while she's there if I choose to, so this advice before hand is great! Thank you!

The other horses she has is a race track mare who is still in training and the other is an appy cross who is also ridable, but has a tendency to be hard headed and she says does little bucks sometimes when frisky. So, I'd rather work with a hot horse than an ex racer and a bucker with my level. : p

One last question: Can you sour a horse with doing too much ground work?

BlueSpark 09-26-2012 01:28 PM

Think of everytime you walk into the class room you have to do the same two pages of work. The first day is a bit confusing, the next you may be getting the hang of it, by the end of the week you've mastered it. But your teacher keeps making you do it over and over again. How long until you get bored, then resentful?
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DrumRunner 09-26-2012 01:33 PM

I don't think you can do too much ground work as long as you change up the routine and work on new things with the horse. Now, if you do walk, trot, lope, stop..all of that over and over again then yes, you can sour a horse on ground work.. You can set up different things to work with the horse, tarps on the ground, tires, "bridges", really anything that you can use to make him think and keep things different.

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