Calm down dear!14. June 2018
Not to be confused with a confident ride, or forward going horse, the fizzed up type possesses a nervous energy, overtly expressed in various forms. It can be unnerving riding a ‘hot horse’, since it often feels as though they are trying to ‘get away’ from us. On the ground it can be equally difficult, as just like in the saddle, they can be unpredictable, and hard to handle in certain circumstances.
When the over-excitement becomes problematic there are a number of factors that should first be explored, predominantly feed, and level of work. Are you over feeding? Hard food should be fed in accordance to the level of work you are doing. If you’ve cut down on your horse’s exercise, they won’t need the same amount they had before. You could also try switching to a lower energy hard feed. Some horses simply require more work than others too. If you struggle for time, consider a sharer or freelance rider to help with regular exercise.
Your own behavior can also directly affect how your horse behaves. Unfortunately it can become a vicious circle of nervousness between the rider and the fizzed up horse, each indirectly setting the other on edge! In this case it could be beneficial to seek some advice from an independent instructor who specialises in confidence issues (for horse and rider), to get you both working in harmony.
One way to help can be through feed supplements specifically designed to ease anxiety. They work by delivering the vitamins and minerals a nervous horse needs to help promote calm and relaxation. Without dulling down the horse’s personality, and whilst still maintaining performance, calming supplements work long term to make the overall temperament more manageable. However, there are also products available for use in particularly stressful situations (such as clipping or when the dentist visits), which offer instant results, relieving anxiety and quickly relaxing the horse.
For mares and stallions, hormonal changes can trigger unwanted behavior, this can be long term or manifest at certain times of the year, such as when the mare is in season. Supplements such as NAF Oestress and Global Herbs Rigcalm which are solely designed for this purpose, may be beneficial to provide a more tranquil environment on a busy yard.
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to seek help. If your hot horse’s behavior is giving you anxiety there are experts, supplements and plenty of advice available to help you both keep calm and carry on riding!