Great Balls of Firy Energy!!
I have been working on trying to get my half Arabian Mare, Bella, to become relaxed and supple. She is very compact with short strides. She starts out pretty relaxed but the more we work the more excited she gets and turns into a firey ball of energy. She tenses up and just won't relax. We walk around for a while and she stretches her neck & head down. Because she gets so excited, I have to keep tight contact with the reins so she doesn't just take off. I half halt, which she is listening to better and better all the time but it is like she is on speed. In general, she is a very loving, mellow, level headed 8 yr old arabian mare. I try not to keep such tight contact with her using the reins but she doen't leave me much choice. Suggestions please.
I have a hot TB and run into the same issues.
What discipline do you ride? We've started training in dressage, and that has done wonders for our riding partnership :)
I do a lot of walk-trot and trot-walk transitions. Also, I'll ask my horse to walk on a loose rein, and if he breaks into the trot, rather than pulling on him, I'll have him collect. Once he's collected, I'll ask him to walk with my seat but keep him on the bit. When he walks, I'll let the rein back out. It's a lot of repetition, but he's better, haha.
Also, I make sure not to pull on or hold his face. As part of our dressage training, I expect him not to pull on me, and I won't pull on him (or at least that's the goal, haha). A biggie with him, and I've found most of the hot horses I've worked with, is that steady pressure like that will make them push forward against it.
Another thought that comes to mind, what kind of bit do you have? Could she be reacting against a harsher bit? Arabians and TBs both tend to be sensitive. I ride mine in a thick D-ring snaffle; I don't worry about having brakes in the arena.
Also, could she be bored? My TB is actually hotter when working on dressage or jumping than when trail riding, and he likes variety, so we never work on one thing for too long. Arabians are really smart and tend to get bored easily; they're like the Border Collies of the horse world, lol.
Hope some of that was helpful :) I love hot horses; they have so much energy that you can direct any way you want once you have established communication!
Are you tensed up when the horse gets all tense?
They can feel you anticipating them being tensed up and will act on your 'energy'
When im on a hyper horse i try to stay as relaxed as i can and continue to use as light as cues as i can.
when she goes to 'take off' you need to stay calm and relaxed and at the first step you feel thats breaking gait you nee to correct it immediately -- give her a tap on the reins to tell her to stay in her gait- if that dont work give her a harder tap and contineue doing so untill she quits then immediately relese the 'pressure' on her when she gets back relaxed and walking right.
Forgot to add this..
When a horse is having troubles slowing down - it also helps to ride against them in the saddle-- makes them uncomfortable and not want to keep going faster.
You can do anything you want but as long as your tensed up on the reins and in the saddle it makes it worse.. staying calm and relaxed is the best thing you can do. :thumbsup:
I think by 'ride against them", Toto means that if the horse is in a rushing trot, you , the rider, just keep posting at the same rhythm you had before, one/two, one/two , even if this does not match the rushing horse's trot rhythm. the horse will slow down to match you.
I would also use plenty of circles. when she rushes off, bend her off into a small circle, allow her to trot if she wishes but it will be harder work for her to do it in a circle. She'll slow down, and when she does, easy-peasy allow her out onto the straightaway. She speeds up, you go into the small circle. rinse/repeat.
Do you lunge her before you ride? On Arabs especially, this is not done to "wear them down" , but to get them thinking the same way you do. Use this time to establish the rhythm, push the ribcage out, and get her to give to you. It may require long lines, but at least run the line through a stirrup to give a bit of leverage. It is also easiest to do this in a round pen.
I have a TB mare that can get extremely hot, and I have had issues with keeping control for a long time. While riding with a firm/tight contact kept her contained, she would get so tense that it was like trying to sit on a plank of wood.
What I found works the best for us was to stop using 2 reins. It is really hard to stop pulling/holding when they are being hot, but it really works! Using the arena wall as a tool to keep the straightness to begin with, when she would get a bit quick, I would flex her to the outside and soften the inside rein. I would keep asking for more flexion until she would settle and walk at a speed that I wanted, then I would straighten her again. If she sped up, I would flex her to the inside, allowing the flexion with my outside hand and keeping the straightness with my inside leg. Once she came back to me then we would go straight. Turning, speed etc would be dictated by my seat and legs, and my hands are for asking for flexion only. No pulling to slow, no steering with my hands getting lateral bend in the neck only!
I have been using this method for about a month now, and I haven't had any real big tests at a comp or anything yet, but now if she rushes all I have to do is really quietly flex her left and right and immediately she responds and listens to me again. The tension we used to have almost all the time now makes a rare appearance every so often, but goes as quickly as it appeared.
Riding the hotter more intelligent horses, especially mares isn't easy. But if you ride them more cerebral than physical, they are so rewarding.
kinda yeah-- i use my seat to ride against the horses natural rythem instead of being soft and relaxed-- if theyre at a walk and they start to speed up ride against their natural rhythm (opposite rhythm) just makes it uncomfortable and makes them want to go back to when you was riding with them smooth and relaxed-- make it uncomfortable to speed up unless asked to.
Thanks everybody for the advise & tips. Great help.
PS. I do lunge her alot
Subbing because I have an half arab mare who is 8 years old and I have the exact same problem.
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