What are your tips on how to start work with a really fresh horse in the winter (I have tried longeing him but it takes a long time to get what I want before I get on)?

Round pen and ground work!
I like to free lunge. Let them run until they are ready to listen and then give them commands to follow.
I wouldn't suggest rushing things. Definitely keep the doing the lunging. If your really looking for something different get somebody to lunge you on the horse and work on transitions. And always reward for good work!
it is extremely important to start with ground work. In order to create a well behaved young horse, you must teach it to listen to you. Without that basis of understanding, you may never have him settle down for you. Determine the source of the misbehavior, and then address it. Being that you cant really ride in the winter, and its too dangerous to longe on the slippery ground with a green horse, try walking the horse on lead along a fence line. Transition between walk, halt,and a little trot when you feel the horse is ready. Develop a relationship, and then start to gain the horses attention. there are many exercises to do for this. try looking up ground work exercises on google. In my experience, it sometimes isnt the best option to longe the horse until it is "bucked out". This sometimes causes the horse to believe that it is ok to let out his energy in a dangerous manner. After working the horse on a lead as described above, longe the horse at a walk. Reward the horse for being calm and cooperative. Then move to the trot, then canter. If you start your session and the horse is doing well, stop on a good note before the horse gets tired and grouchy. This way, your training sessions wont be bemoaned. Always let the horse know he is doing well with either physical contact (petting, or patting) or verbal encouragement (good boy! Thats it!). when the horse realizes what you want, you should have less trouble settling him down before a ride. Hope this helps!
I find something that works as long as their freshness doesn't come with bucking and it isn't below -20 is putting the horse on a slightly longer rein and letting them trot as fast as they need to but regulating the rhythm with your posting. Slowly taking more contact and then taking advantage of the bigger trot.
At my barn sometimes we chase the horses. If theres a fresh horse itll be taken to the indoor arena and turned loose so it can run around and get its bucks out. Its very quick and its safer than lunging is because the lungline cant get tangled in their legs if they start bucking etc.
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