March 17, 2017 at 9:23 am
My horse is a sixteen year old Arabian who still acts like a baby. On a relaxed day, my horse preforms amazingly, but more often than not, he is tense, looky, and jumpy, at home and in the show ring. He’s always on the look out for something to eat him which results in him being tense and jumping at the subtlest movements. Some things he couldn’t care less about and other things he literally acts like he is in immediate threat. While I would like to put more time in the saddle and work him into being calmer, I’m a full time student/employed, so I’ve looked to supplements for some assistance. I’m currently between four – SmartCalm, SmartCalm Ultra, Smart Tranquility, and Quiessence, and I have considered Perfect Prep for show mornings (he is a wreck on the trailer, comes off dripping sweat after twenty minutes on a dewey, chilly morning).
Any guidance or input for supplements would be appreciated! Thanks in advance.April 3, 2017 at 5:36 pmJoan FryTopics Started: 11Replies Posted: 324
I sympathize! I have an “elderly” Morgan mare who behaves exactly the same way. It’s easier for me, though, since I trail ride. I’m not showing her. Before considering a calming supplement, maybe you ought to talk to your trainer about the problem, and find out what your horse is currently eating. You probably don’t want any kind of sweet feed, and you might want to re-think alfalfa. Some horses can tolerate it well, others go berserk because they have so much energy they don’t know what to do with themselves. Because I board at a very small facility, I have no say in what my mare eats. What’s easiest for me is to longe her, or free-longe her, until the edge is gone. I’ve used Quietex in the past and she stumbled over her own feet. Not good. You might also ask about whether calming supplements are allowed at the shows you go to. Keep us posted!June 20, 2017 at 8:22 amreggie8Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 4
I used quietex for a VERY hot OTTB and it helped take the edge off until he got a few show miles on him. He was totally overwhelmed if he went off farm without a calming aid for about 2 years. Then after enough good experiences he realized he wasnt going to be eaten at a show he settled enough to not use anything.
Just make sure what you end up chosing to use is legal for whatever circuit you ride in.June 21, 2017 at 10:07 pm
He is currently on grass pasture 24/7. He doesn’t get any sweet feed or hay in the summer. In the winter, he gets some hay and maybe a bite or two of alfalfa for a treat. He is kept at home so I don’t have a trainer right now as school has become my priority for the time being.
I have no basis for what might be his problem except that he’s just a high strung horse with not enough to do.July 24, 2017 at 11:22 amequestrian27Topics Started: 2Replies Posted: 1
I totally understand your situation. I have a fairly green 12 year old Arabian mate who I’ve been training for over a year now. She is extremely sensitive to any stimuli of any sort. When I first started with her we couldn’t go a lap around the arena without a spook. She eats a cup of equishine in the morning and 2-3 flakes of hay in the morning at night. My fix to getting her calmer and more relaxed at home was constant and consistent work. When she was being used regularly she started to spook less at everyday things like other horses walking into the barn or gates opening. Also I lunge her on the side reins to help when she’s nervous too. She went from spoiling at everything to being very comfortable and relaxed at home. She still has moments as does every horse but she is much more relaxed overall. I ride dressage and just putting her into a working schedule getting her out and about around other people and horses on a daily basis really helped me with her. Good luck!!July 24, 2017 at 1:10 pmMisprint24Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2
Hi! I have an Arabian/ Quarter horse cross pony mare who is 14. She is very sensitive and nervous at shows too and my friend who has a OTTB has used Perfect Prep Gold and it worked for her so when I took my pony to an overnight show this year we used some and it made her so much hotter. So i wouldnt recommend the Perfect Prep but I do use Total Calm and Focus and it doesn’t affect her mood but it makes her focus on her work and not on the speakers clicking at shows or the horses galloping in pastures at home. I only have an issue with her at shows but I would highly recommend Total Calm and Focus for your Arabian! There is also a supplement called total relaxation and my friend uses it for her 3 year old mare and it helps just make her calm down and well relax! I hope I was able to help you!!July 24, 2017 at 9:44 pmChrisTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 14
It’s interesting to me that so far, the consensus seems to be that hot or spooky behavior in horses is correlated with feeding/nutrition and/or breed and can’t be “trained out”. I adopted a 16 year old rescue Morgan mare last year and am finally making progress with winning her trust; she’s also “hyper-alert” and apprehensive around people, despite being turned out with a calm old gelding 24/7.
IMO one of the best demonstrations on and explanation of transforming behavior in horses like this is a YouTube video by Warwick Schiller (almost an hour long but extremely helpful for me, entitled “2016 Pre Clinic Video”): https://youtu.be/eAM_t56q2wA
Another excellent 7-step technique can be found on Frank Bell’s website: http://www.horsewhisperer.com/helping_abused.html
Not discounting any other “natural” horsemanship approaches or trainers; it’s quite likely the limiting factor is MY learning curve! These two just particularly spoke to me and seemed easy to follow. Would love to hear from other horse owners who now have confident equine partners who started out on the other end of that scale!July 28, 2017 at 9:20 amArabFanTopics Started: 0Replies Posted: 2
I have a Quarab and an Arabian gelding. They can be nervous, but I find that with Arabians, trust and respect are key. The bond is critical to a good ride. Once you have that, their nerves settle quite a bit. Spend a lot of time on ground games, long lining and so forth. My mare was abused, and extremely head shy when I rescued her. She broke numerous lead lines and halters, and dragged me backwards, wouldn’t stand for mounting, etc. She comes to me when I call her by name now, no matter how far away she is in the field, and will even come to me when she finds herself in trouble. She trusts me to such a degree, I can ask anything of her, and she’ll do it. I spent 6 months working with her in the field, and on the longe and long reins. Make a point to go out in the field and just walk up to your horse to pet him, or give him a treat. Think of “imprinting”. Every Arabian I’ve ever trained needed time, patience and bonding.July 28, 2017 at 10:12 am
First off, thank you for all of your advice! Since posting this, I’ve started him on SmartCalm and he’s much more relaxed at home. I’ve also tried harder to keep him on a more consistent work schedule as @equestrian27 suggested which has helped. @misprint24 – I recently tried Perfect Prep for a horse show and it was a terrible, stressful day, so I won’t be trying that again. If only I had seen this comment sooner! I’ve read about the Total Calm & Focus and will look into it more, thank you! I will look into that video, @Chris, thank you 🙂 @ArabFan -I definitely try to have a strong bond with my horse and I do believe we do. Because of my busy schedule, I often time just go sit with him for a while rather than ride and it some of my favorite times at the barn, though patience is something I can work on.
Thank you everyone for your advice! You’ve all been helpful 🙂August 9, 2017 at 9:42 amG & STopics Started: 16Replies Posted: 256
Most of the posts talk about horses being “nervous” or “high strung”, which is fairly common when people talk about Arabians. Maybe changing the conception of the underlying problem would be a good place to begin to solve the problems. I have worked with many Arabians and have come to the conclusion that the real issue is not that they are more “nervous”, but rather that they are more aware of their surroundings and smarter than many other breeds. Things that other horses would not notice an Arabian will notice and “question”. But this means they are also more sensitive to what the rider does, which in modern times the horse tends to consider to be the “herd leader”.
So what happens is that the horse’s attention is caught by something that is new or slightly different, and the horse wants to make sure it is not a hidden predator. and the rider reacts to the horse’s reaction by tensing. Since the rider is now the herd of one’s head horse, this can cement the horse’s belief that what ever caught his/her attention is indeed a threat, since the “head horse – AKA the rider has also noted the potential problem and has also reacted to it. The horse reacts more to the possible threat, the rider tenses more, and we have a perfect vicious cirlce.
Solution: Rider learns to stay relaxed in spite of what the horse is doing. This lack of tension in the “head horse” tells the horse that the “head horse” is not concerned, so the possible danger is at worst highly improbable, so the horse can relax. And eventually the horse learns to trust the judgment of the his/her new “head horse” and if the rider does not tense every time the horse reacts to a change, the horse won’t either.
If we want our horses to be sensitive enough to react to invisible cues, then we have to accept the down side of this and control our own bodies and learn to stay relaxed, which can also help us riders to flow with the horse, rather than losing our balance which puts our weight in places where it is harder for the horse to balance us.
This is not a quick fix, but it does work.
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