What this episode is all about & how it can help you:-
- Understand why you need to remain relaxed
- Make sure you have a plan before you begin
- Refrain from the one thing most riders do which actually makes things worse…!
- Consider why ‘out’ is often better than ‘in’ where energy is concerned
If you ride horses for long enough and you will, without fail, experience ‘that’ feeling. The one where you’re in the saddle and you just know there is an inevitable explosion building underneath you! The energy levels are high. However, usually, your enthusiasm for that same energy is not quite as high at all…
There are all sorts of reasons your horse may be fresh. The weather can often play a big part. So too can changes to routine or schedules. Feeding is another consideration. However, regardless of why your horse is feeling fresh, it is important that you know how to deal with the situation. It will, after all, happen at some point in your riding.
In this episode of the Daily Strides Podcast you will learn how to help return energy levels back to normal by NOT doing a few different things.
1. Do Not Freeze Up
I realise this is often a case of ‘easier said than done’! However remaining supple and flexible in the saddle is key to riding through a case of the ‘highland fling’ with your fresh horse.
The trouble is, when you clamp down your horse can feel this. And it usually feels uncomfortable for the horse. Giving them the perfect reason to put that extra energy to good use by trying to get out of that situation!
The other reason freezing up can work against you, is due to your being less able to ‘go with the flow’. In this case, the flow of extra energy.
Freezing up will result in you moving against your horse, rather than with your horse. This, as before, can lead to your horse deciding to ‘help’ you both out and try to remove himself from the situation!
2. Do Not ‘Dilly Dally’
I get it; often you can tell your horse is fresh before even mounting up. And very often, when riders are in this situation they can, well, procrastinate on actually getting their bum in the saddle. This is one of the worst things you can do in this particular situation.
The more you put off, procrastinate or ‘dilly dally’ with getting on with the ride, the more likely that extra energy is going to convert from feelings of mere enthusiasm to frustration for your horse
Having everything ready is not just advice for the days when things go to plan. It is also great advice for when things are not going as well as you would like. Being able to mount up and get moving in a relaxed but timely fashion will help you when riding a fresh horse.
Try and aim to get things moving as soon as possible. This will help you to remain influential and safe when riding a fresh horse.
This applies equally as much to anyone you are riding with. Being mounted up on a fresh horse and then having to try keep things ‘relaxed’ while your companion fuffs and faffs about is frustrating for all involved. If you know in advance that your horse is possibly going to be full of the joys of life, hold back on mounting up until the other person is ready to leave.
3. Do Not Begin Endlessly Circling
Now this one goes against the grain of advice many riders receive when dealing with a fresh horse. They are often told to circle the horse in order to, well, I’m not quite sure! Rather than calming the situation down and relaxing horse and rider, it most often has the opposite result.
In my experience circling often is responsible for quickly converting excessive energy from enthusiasm to frustration.
Circles are, by their very nature, repetitive. I am going to rather suggest continuously changing things up. Distraction is your friend when it comes to working with a fresh horse. It also works brilliantly when working with a resistant or ‘nappy’ horse.
Your number one focus should be to get your horses attention and focus back on you. Asking different questions, over and over, will help you to do that. It also keeps him moving, which works out some of the energy
4. Do Not Keep On ‘Reining It In’
What you focus on expands… This is so true when it comes to riding a fresh horse! Focusing on the extra energy and trying to ‘manage’ it, often only results in it growing and expanding. The horse becomes more and more enthusiastic!
Let’s pretend you had a bottle of soda or fizzy drink. And let’s pretend it falls out of your hands, on to the ground. If you were to just open the bottle as normal, the result wouldn’t be great! You would be covered in ‘fizz’ and foam. However, if you open the cap just a fraction and release a little of the gas and then repeat this over and over; you will eventually get the cap off without having to wear your drink.
Often allowing your horse to ‘let off’ some of his extra energy is the best way of dealing with an overly fresh horse. Let him on for a few strides and then slowly bring him back. Then let him on again… Rinse and repeat.
Trying to ‘rein it in’ can often turn your volatile situation into a dangerous one. Bucking, rearing and all sorts of gymnastics above the ground can ensue! When you let the horse on a little, the energy is being used. But also, your horse is beginning to listen to you because you are asking different questions.
Remain Flexible with Your Fresh Horse
When riding a fresh horse it is important to remain supple in how you are approaching your horse and the situation. Getting caught up in doing things a certain way is a recipe for disaster when working with a horse who has an excess of energy.
Rather look for ways to channel that energy into something positive, that will benefit both of you in your riding.
Maybe there are movements that require more energy which you can work on. Perhaps that is the day to change-up what you are working on or where you are working. You can even us it as an opportunity to see what really relaxes or settles your horse.
What is important is that you remain flexible in your approach; and allow your horse a moment or three to feel enthusiastic, in a safe way :)
Other posts, episodes and resources that relate to this topic:-
- Relaxation when Riding a Hot Horse
- Riding a Hot Horse
- The Daily Strides Podcast on iTunes
- Daily Strides Podcast on Google Play
- The Daily Strides Podcast on Stitcher Radio
- Join Daily Strides Premium
- Join the V.I.P List
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