Amanda Akai Jumping | 1 Question | 1 Answer

What can I do to calm down a horse that is really wild in the winter?

What can I do to calm down a horse that is really wild in the winter?
9
well for me during the winter it gets to wet to even ride, therefore my horses get pretty frisky... i give them mare magic
I always do a few minutes of groundwork to check that they are thinking before I get on. I don't lunge to try and tire him out, I do a few circles with changes in direction and transitions to make sure he is focused on me. I make sure he can maintain any gait I put him in without getting quick and choppy and without me needing to keep slowing him down. I make sure he is yielding all 4 feet and will disengage and move his shoulders on the ground. I make sure he can bend on the ground without moving his feet. If he can manage all that then I get on and make sure he can stand still when I am in the saddle. I bend and disengage his feet until he is willing to stand and wait for direction. Then we go to work. If he gets fresh at any point I go back to bending him and making small circles and hard work until he has himself under control again then we go back to what we were doing. This used to take up a lot of time (some days we spent more time on the ground than riding) but now that he knows what to expect I only end up spending 5 or so minutes on the ground now.
Do you have a second horse that you could ride while leading the "wild" one on a good 15-30 minute trot? Sometimes forward motion with a buddy will disperse the pent up energy and distract the mind. Stay safe!
I personally just make sure to lunge (as that seems to do it for my horse), but I know people who have problems like this with their horses. Sometimes it takes a feed change--if he's on anything like sweet feed or oats, try cutting it out of his diet. They tend to just be energy boosters. There are other options out there as well for feed (I believe Serenity and others) as supplements or additional/replacement grains that have the day to day benefits without drugging your horse (like using Chill for example).
Image Horsealot's top user
You can also keep him in a small circle until he calms down and then go back to the rail.
Oh okay. Thank you for all the answers! I have tried them all, sometimes they work and other times they don't. I'll make sure to keep trying though! Thank you!
Half halts and lots of transitions
I agree with Naomi, another option is lunging for 15 minutes before you ride. It's normal for horses to be fresh when the weather's cold, or when there's drastic changes in weather
Image Horsealot's top user
He may be cold and that's why he is "wild" or maybe if he lives in a stall it might just be 24/7 of confinement which added tot the cold causes that.

If there is a chance to leave him for a few hours or most of the time outside it would radically change.

Otherwise letting him run around in an arena how he wants before saddling up and riding is another option.
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