Being a hot blooded mare, Coco can be a bit fired up at the beginning of a session. It used to make it quite difficult to get any work done as I ended spending most of my time in the saddle fighting for her attention. So I needed to come up with some new ideas to control my speedster…
Give them a lunge
An oldie but a goodie. Lunging is probably the most obvious answer. If your horse is feeling a bit fresh, give them a 10 minute lunge to get some of that energy out before you hop in the saddle
Take a few laps
If your horse isn’t settling sometimes the easiest solution is to let them run. Coco has a habit of bunny hopping, napping towards other horses and running into canter when she’s feeling a bit fresh so when she’s like this I just let her canter. Keeping her on the outside track, I go into a light seat and keep her in a controlled canter until she feels ready to stop. Works a treat every time…
Keep them moving
Horses like Coco need to be kept thinking. You have to stay one step ahead of them so for the first 10 minutes of your session do plenty of circles, loops, changes of rein and of course plenty of transitions. Keep them guessing.
Poles, Poles, Poles
Poles are my best friend. They are the perfect tool to get your horse focused and listening to you. When Coco was going through her very difficult phase, poles were the only thing that gave me a sense of control. I would set out three trot poles and focus on these and these alone. I would walk over them and between them and then trot them straight and eventually work up to figure of eights around and between them. You both need to concentrate to do the exercise clean so its perfect for getting your horse focused on what you’re asking them to do.
Hopefully you might find some of these ideas useful. If you have any of your own tips, please share in the comments. I’m always open to new ideas!