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Friday, 14 December 2018

The Ups and Downs of Re-schooling a Horse

Starting From Scratch

With a horse that is really hot and will not listen to you, your best to start from scratch to restart them.  You can either go back to basics in riding or completely restart your horses training to start with in-hand and lunging before going to riding.  Some hot horses get to a point where they are so tense that neither the horse or rider enjoy themselves.  In this case, restarting can really work well, fixing others training mistakes.  I personally re-schooled my horse, Shandy and he is now relaxed and loves to work.

A dappled grey horse being flexed while being ridden with a barn in the background

Teaching The Aids

The first thing I did with Shandy is teaching voice aids on the lunge.  It took me a few weeks of lunging every day for him to really listen to me and relax.
Once I got this, I started riding in walk only for a week.  I did this to keep things calm, working on a long and low shape with him lifting his back and pushing from behind.

Then I slowly worked up to trot, working on riding with my seat on a long rein.  Rising slower on Shandy and 'letting go' of the reins caused him to lower his head and lift his back.  It took time for him to be consistent in his long and low shape but he soon realised how comfortable this was.

Canter was a lot harder for Shandy as this was where he got really tense and did fast, short steps.  I worked A LOT on canter with him, again with riding slower with my seat and giving him a long rein.  I started by picking up canter in each corner, riding a circle back to the same corner and going back to trot.  I also did lots of figure of 8's which are amazing for a hot horse.

A chestnut horse being ridden on a long rein in a big outdoor school

The Ugly Parts

Re-schooling a hot horse is not all smooth sailing!  When we see horse's online or in shows we can't help to think 'how the hell do they do this?' but behind the scenes, we are all working on the same thing.  You WILL have bad days, no matter what you think.  Some days things will go smoothly, the next you go back two steps so it is important to train day by day instead of expecting the same thing each day.

A dark bay horse with a white blaze wearing a bridle.
*This isn't my horse, I don't agree with flash nosebands or gag bits*


I am not a horse trainer or any other equestrian professional.  I only give advice on horsey topics that I have experience as a horse owner in.  Please don't follow my advice without contacting a relevant equestrian professional.  


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