There are many advantages of having a ‘hot’ horse. Breeding aside, a hot horse is often sharp off the leg and forward going. Hot horses usually have a good attitude and the will to perform, however they can often be rather sensitive. Therefore it’s important that you prepare yourself for a hot ride. Here are some points to consider when training a hot horse:
If you find that your horse hots up or gets very excitable in trot and canter (which may impact negatively on your transitions) don’t be afraid to just walk during a schooling session. This is fine – it will help your horse to settle and you can gradually build on working up into trot when the time is right. In the meantime there are still lots of exercises you can do in walk. Why not work on getting him to accept the contact and the bend?
Give him clear aids
If you give your horse clear, efficient aids he will learn quickly. Once he knows how he should react to a command he will be more relaxed about it when he’s asked again in the future.
Keep your horse thinking
When you’re schooling in trot and canter remember to give your horse lots of walk breaks and work on your transitions. Be sure to keep your contact at all times and ride a variety of shapes to keep him alert and thinking. It is also worth loosening and picking up your reins again – a lot of horses interpret this as a sign to pick up pace, which can be frustrating in a dressage test. It’s therefore important that your horse knows to listen to the correct aids. Try riding him on a square, as he will need to come back to you and collect himself for the corners. Work on giving and retaking the reins in each corner. This should prevent him from cutting the corners or charging round.
Develop your canter work
The best way to improve both of your confidence in canter is to spend a lot of time schooling in canter. Try cantering on a small circle (so he doesn’t have a chance to become too onward bound) and slowly make this circle bigger as you give and retake the reins to establish your control. Then go large around the arena and if he tries to take over repeat the exercise to regain control. Don’t pull on his mouth as this may result in an argument.
Take your time
Make sure that the two of you are ready as a combination before you compete. It is worth taking your time rather than rushing out to an event.
Have you horse’s back, teeth and tack checked
You need to be sure that your horse is showing excess energy and power rather than an underlying problem. Have his back, teeth and tack checked regularly.
Feed him correctly
If you need to feed your horse talk to someone knowledgeable about what is best to give him. You want to keep him in good condition without giving him excess energy.
Give your horse regular turnout
Ensure that your horse has as much turnout as possible in a safe environment.
Attend lessons and clinics
It’s important for you to have lessons whatever your level. Don’t be afraid to seek advice from someone else, especially if they are experienced with hot horses. Try entering a variety of clinics and training events to get you competition ready. There are a variety of events listed on Equo that you can enter quickly and easily.