Question: I have a 10 year old arab that I’ve switched from the Arab circuit to eventing. I bought him as a 5 yr old and did Arab shows for a couple years. He’s a gorgeous horse and an amazing mover, but has a really hard time keeping himself under control. He is always a happy horse, with ears pinned forward. My problem with him is when we get to shows he gets so excited that he literally can’t contain himself. He ends up rearing/jumping/bucking nonstop. I’ve had a chiropractor out, a vet out, and he has no issues with back or saddle fitting. If I take him to school at a place, he’s a pretty good boy. He just really feeds off the commotion of the show. Eventing has been better, he loves to jump and does great on cross country and stadium. But dressage is the first phase and he usually rears and leaps through our test. I’ve tried lunging him for an hour before, and he just gets more excited. We generally get there the night before and that hasn’t made a difference either.
If you have any suggestions on how to get him to calm down, please let me know!!!! He has amazing talent, but he is just like a child with ADHD.
Answer from April Reeves: Arabians are one of my favorite breeds: they are highly sensitive and intelligent, and learn fast. And they’re just incredibly beautiful as well.
They also can get a little out of control, which always brings me back to groundwork. An Arabian can never have enough groundwork. It’s great for their minds and they catch on to it faster than many breeds.
Posted in Breeds, Equine Behavior & Problems, Hunter/Jumper, Natural Horsemanship
Tagged behavior, bucking, english riding, foundation training, Groundwork, horse training, Natural Horsemanship, problem horse, rearing, spooky horse
Question: I recently bought a 2 and a half year old gelding. His mother was Percheron and his father was a Belgian/1/4 horse cross. He is a big boy and his feet are humongous and very heavy. I can usually get him to lift his front ones but he still has issues with his balance, that just needs some work. My problem is his back feet, they are too heavy for me to lift. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.
Answer from April Reeves: I’m going to give you 2 tricks I use to pick up feet. The first one is to pinch their chestnuts. This is irritating and almost every horse will lift that leg up very quickly, so be warned. Make sure you always catch the foot, and hold onto it especially if he puts up a struggle. If you drop the hoof it may hurt him, with will discourage him even more to pick up a foot. When you start to pinch don’t quit and start again. Keep it up until he responds.
The other trick is to put your fingers on both sides of his leg and as you move your hand down his leg, when you get just below the knee or hock, start to press in quite hard into the middle just behind the cannon bone. This forces blood down into the hoof quite quickly and becomes uncomfortable. They usually lift their leg with this technique. Once the horse gets this, they usually lift just by the feel of your hand start to slide down the leg.
Question: I have a yearling Arabian filly that I want to feed correctly. I have gone through countless pages of books, online websites, and opinions from feed stores, friends, trainers, and breeders. EVERYONE is an ‘expert’ – no one has a consistent opinion and I’m getting frustrated.
What I DO know, is that she is doing really well on her Orchard/Alfalfa (30% alfalfa or less) and now that she’s a yearling I want to drop her protein from 16% to 14%. She gets 2 qt/day of the grain. She’s ok on the feed I was giving her, but I DON”T like how sweet it was. She has free access to the hay, and I want to put her on something that she will truly benefit from as far as her graining. I saw in another post your comments on Arabians and sweet feed and its effects on their coat and system.
What are your opinions on feeding the Growing Arabian Yearling? Do you think their tendency to take a little longer to mature physically should change the “regular” young horses diet? In what way?
Answer from April Reeves: When it comes to feeding first ask 2 things:
1. Are there foodstuffs in the product that a horse would not find in the wild (molasses, sugars, especially refined, corn, soy, oils)?
2. Do the feeds you purchase (concentrates) have studies done by the manufacturer themselves? Many companies are jumping on the ‘trends’ bandwagon, meaning they build what horse owners want. Problem is, not all horse owners have a clue as to what their horses actually ‘need’. We tend to overfeed our horses, pumping them with chemicals, diets and concentrates that they really don’t need and their liver and kidneys sure don’t! I’m always questioning the motives behind a feed company’s choice of ingredients. Many are in it for the quick dollar, not the simple science of the horse.
Training Mules & Donkeys Looks at Athletic Conditioning
Is Your Equine Getting the Right Workout?
By Helen T. Hertz
Photos courtesy of Meredith Hodges
At a recent training clinic hosted at Meredith Hodges’ Lucky Three Ranch in Loveland, Colo., Meredith and her good friend Joanne Lang, an animal massage therapist and rehabilitation expert, held a special session on athletic conditioning. Their subjects were two of Meredith’s molly mules, April and Vicki. April was born at Lucky Three and has enjoyed the benefit of Meredith’s training and maintenance program her whole life. Her superior physical conditioning and steady temperament are evidence of her meticulous upbringing.
Vicki was also born at the ranch but, at a young age, was sold. For several years she was left alone in a pasture, neglected to the point that her halter had actually begun to grow into her face. About two years ago Vicki was purchased and brought back to Lucky Three.
This bit, in the wrong hands, is abuse
Question: Hello I have an 8 yr. old reg. quarter horse and he is the most wonderful, trustworthy horse ever!. But the problem is throughout training him (since he was 2) I have had problems with his listening to a bit or hackamore. I have everything from a snaffle to a severe curve bit. Same for the hack – I have a hack that has a metal band and a snaffle bit on it and he does listen but I hate it! I feel like it is abuse :(. Im at my wits-end its to the point that I don’t want to ride him sometimes and will pick one of our other horses. I need some new advice if you could help me I would love it. Thank-you
Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: You have good gut instincts, as the harder the bit, the tougher the horse is going to be, and some of the equipment you have is abusive, even in light hands. There are very few harsher bits that have any purpose being near a horse, and they must have some result that is acquired without heavy handling.
Horses that do not respond to tougher bits and equipment are not bad or insensitive. They are a result of improper training.
Problem is, humans resort to harder bits because they don’t want to take the time to train the horse properly. The horse just gets use to the pain and pressure, which causes the bit to stop working, so the human seeks a harder bit, and so the evil process proliferates. Some humans don’t care about the horse’s well being either. This is life.
Whenever you get a tough mouthed horse, lower the harshness on the bit – find the softest one on the market and use it. Why? Horses will fight pain. They will become resistant and irritated, and that always plays out in “bad” behavior (human’s interpretation). The behavior is not bad to the horse: he’s just trying to protect himself. When you take the pain away, you give the horse a chance to work for you. A happy horse free of pain is a horse that will work harder, learn faster and bond with you better.
Question: I bought a 4yr old tbx gelding 3 months ago and am concerned by his behavior. He was initially very stubborn to lunge (he would rear and refuse to go out on a circle) but I managed to get him going well within a week or two. He was very friendly and easy to handle on the ground. Then I began to ride him (he was only backed at this point). He has been riding really well and learning quickly. I’ve been careful to praise him a lot and have not had much need to scold him. Then suddenly he changed. I rode him and he refused to go forwards, instead cowkicking and bucking whenever I put my leg on. He’s also started to kick out violently when asked to move over in his stable! Out of the stable, he will move over fine! The only changes I have made are bringing him in overnight and feeding him! please help! Im scared of my 17hh youngster!
Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: I’ll be honest: this is a problem for a professional that is not scared. From here, it will take a very firm hand, and a very brave heart.
Posted in Breeds, English Riding answers, Equine Behavior & Problems, General riding answers, Natural Horsemanship, Western training answers
Tagged behavior, foundation training, Groundwork, horse feed, horse forward, problem horse, thoroughbred
Question: Hi there like you I have a reputation for riding and re-training horses that are deemed dangerous untrainable or non ridable however I have just bought a lovely ex-racehorse who is terrified of life. He has been completely checked over from head to toe and there is nothing physically wrong with him however he trembles if he sees his tack, rears when being bridled and has progressed to rearing and going over with his current rider. I am bringing him home tomorrow and plan on riding him as he was great when I tried him out. He did try to rear but got a good boot and a slap on the bum with my stick and sent fowards and then he went lovely.
I believe he just needs a firm hand but am concerned for his well-being mentally as his tack terrifies him and his rearing has already broken bones of his previous rider.
It would be great if you could give me your insight as to the possible cause of his fears and how you would rectify the situation.
He will not be sold on as I believe he has had a rough enough life, so I expect him to work, and after an initial tantrum was a well behaved, well balanced horse. Thanks for your time.
Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: When you get a horse like this, unless you dig and ask questions you will never know the history that made the horse what he is today. On the other hand, does it matter?
Posted in Breeds, English Riding answers, Equine Behavior & Problems, General riding answers, Natural Horsemanship, Western training answers
Tagged behavior, foundation training, horse training, problem horse, rearing, thoroughbred
Question: What’s the difference between Hunter Under Saddle class and a Hunter Pleasure class? I have a nice half thoroughbred that I want to show in hunter flat classes but I’m not sure which she may be best suited for.
Answer from April Reeves: Let’s start with Hunter-Under-Saddle (HUS). This class is judged primarily on the horse’s way of going (movement), type or conformation, and last their manners.
Cowboy and April - The first groundwork day.
Question: How much is too much in regards to training? How often should you continue to ask a horse to do something before the horse gets fed up and quits or becomes anxious? We have a “trainer” (I say this lightly) at our barn who does the same maneuvers over and over again for up to half an hour or more. Her horses are nasty, edgy and nervous. I don’t claim to be any great horse trainer, but it makes sense to me that maybe those training methods are being overdone. What is your take on this sort of thing?
Answer from April Reeves: Hah, I get horses in who are edgy, nasty and nervous, and it’s my job to get them back to happy, useful and safe. It’s all in the eye of the trainer as to what is appropriate.
There is also common sense here, although common sense isn’t that common. In my world there is no need for repetition that is so drawn out it no longer gets the result you need (notice I didn’t say ‘want’). That simply borders on abuse, which turns the horse into nasty, edgy and nervous.
Question: I have an Arabian mare that will trot so fast! I tried your circling routine, but she is not getting it, although she did slow down to a fairly fast trot from a race trot, and she does go the same speed now without me nagging her. Is there anything else I can do, along with the circling, to help her understand I want her to go slower? I don’t want to use the reins. Thank you so much!
Answer from April Reeves: I do have another little exercise that you can use to get her slower. I do find the odd horse (and it’s usually an Arabian) that trots like their tail is on fire. This exercise is a big help.
Question: We have a 4-year-old Andalusian cross filly who trips a lot when being ridden. The other day she went right down on her head. What can we do to prevent this? We are taking her away to be evaluated.
Answer from April Reeves: This question was from my area so I went to watch the filly.
Question: My 6 year old Oldenburg over-jumps everything then lands in a big heap with a grunt. These are 18″ to 2′ jumps. On occasion when she jumps correctly she is lovely and talented, but has this over jumping quirk that manifests itself especially over a new fence. We have changed fences, flowers, coolers, etc without long term success. Help please!
Answer from April Reeves, Horseman’s U.com: Many horses jump too high when learning. There are many reasons for this:
Question: I have a Quarter Horse mare who is very calm tempered which I love. My problem is getting her into a canter. She is willing to walk, trot, but when I give her the cue to canter she resists and sometimes very strongly. My instructor says to use a lot of leg which I’m trying to do but she still tries to get out of it. I’m not pulling back when I ask her to go into it. If I use a crop she is better but still doesn’t like it. I can get her to do it but it’s always a struggle. Will it get better with more practice? I would love your thoughts/advice.
Answer from April Reeves: Using more leg is not the answer and this is why. Horses should be obedient from the very first signal (aid), and that signal should be a very light pressure in order to obtain what you want, at exactly when you want it. If you find that a horse does not respond the first time, nor the second time, and not any time after that, it’s likely (100%) that the horse will never respond to a soft aid, or any aid for that matter. The more you ask without response, the duller your horse will get, as you are effectively training the horse to be dull. We, as humans, usually think the horse is being bad, but we unconsciously train our horses to be dull and disobedient. Just as the horse will pick up a new request when the request is clear, they will also pick up dullness and lethargy with the same enthusiasm if you nag them.
Question: I have recently brought a new 5yr old thoroughbred called Roger. We brought him off a kind lady who said he was in extremely poor condition (very skinny) when she got him, so she was fattening him up. We are now feeding him specially and he’ll look beautiful soon but I want to retrain him natural horsemanship way. I’m 15 and have just been starting with the basics like good manners and a bit of bonding time with grooming. He’s good under saddle and stops dead but I want to go further. Being a racehorse he was surly mistreated as he’s flinchy when I touch him anywhere and this happens on and off. One day he’s fine and the next he doesn’t like me. He also has a catching problem and he’s clingy to my other two horses which is really annoying. I want to have a good bond so he can be happy with me and not be so anxious. I have read everything possible but not enough. Where can I start? Who can i get lessons from in Australia?
Answer from April Reeves: Since I do not live in Australia I am not connected with too many trainers there, but I have searched the web and found numerous Natural Horsemen who give clinics and I would suggest you audit one of their clinics first, and if you like them, take your horse in one later.
Question: I finally was able to save enough money to buy my first horse, after 12 years of riding. Things went great – found the horse of my dreams , a 16.2 Westphalen tb cross – a cute mover and a great personality. I got him home and started riding him. He was lightly broke so I didnt push things. He was always resistant to the leg, and every now and then he would stop on me but then hesitantly move forward. This escalated into moving forward, slamming on the breaks and backing up…any and all refusal to get out of work. He reared once (I didnt come off). I got him checked for ulcers , lameless ex-rays chiropractor, massages, saddle fitting.. everything! You name it…. I’ve done it… so as I saw the problem getting bigger I went back to ground work, longing every day with side reins, working him evenly on both sides and going after his “go” button by his flank. My trainer and I decided that after great progress on the ground, I could get on him again… well today we walked three steps then the backing refusal to go and the defiance started… I am so lost ….any help or advice would be a great help!
Answer from April Reeves: Although I don’t know exactly what you are doing or not doing during his ‘episodes’, there were several huge clues as to this problem escalating into what you now have.
Question: I have a question that may seem absurd, but recently someone posted photos of their colt online. The photos looked like they had shaved their face of all hair. I am not sure why this would be done. Can you enlighten me?
Answer from April Reeves: There are specific breeds that shave their heads and necks to show off the skeletal structure and refinement of their foals. This is especially so with the Arabian.
Question: I have a 20-year old paso fino gelding who looked like a 3-year old, great muscle-tone, he had the perfect weight, et cetera. We also have a miniature mare who he despised until we brought home a paint draft gelding and a pony stallion. Now, Arthur (the paso fino) won’t leave the mini’s side and is stressing himself out over trying to take care of her and keep her from the stallion. He’s lost weight and the vet said to increase his weight to a bucket and a half (hand-held feeders) of grain plus a cup of oats per feeding twice a day. He’s still not gaining any weight, so we upped his weight to 2 buckets of grain and a cupful of oats. Tomorrow we’ll be getting sweet feed for him to see if it bulks up his diet, but his weight just isn’t improving. Are there any supplements you’d suggest?
Answer from April Reeves: Your gelding was the herd leader of his herd of 2 (he and the mini) but when you brought in two others, his natural instincts went from leader to protector. He’s just doing his job.
In this situation you will have to decide whether to fix the problem (separate Arthur and the mini) or change his diet.
Question: I have a 9 year old Quarter Horse who used to be a great trail horse and good around kids. We moved and had her boarded for about 4 years. We couldn’t go ride her because she was about 7 hours away. Now that we have her in the pasture the kids want to ride her. She hasn’t been ridden for about 3 1/2 years. She is not afraid of the saddle or anyone being on her but when you get on her, she won’t move one step unless someone is leading her. I really don’t want to sell her because the kids love her. What should I do?
Answer from April Reeves: You are merely steps away from having a really good horse again. When that amount of time is lost from riding a horse, they will forget the odd thing. If their training has been solid, they won’t come back with bad habits; just forgotten ones.
Mini horse and mini donkey share space
Question: I have a miniature horse mare and I got her in 2006. She was nice and fit and now she is fat and overweight. She is not pregnant but has been fat for a while now. I am in junior high and I am stuck with school and homework, but I try to get out there and work with her whenever I can. I have cut off grain and made her hay only half a flake now. She seems to MAYBE be losing SOME weight but she is still fat. Is there a way I can get her to lose it? I am thinking of entering her in 4-H and I will be using her in parades and showing, but I need to get her slimmer….
Answer from April Reeves: Because Mini’s are small horses, they fall under the same guidelines for feeding and care that a horse does. They just eat smaller amounts and have less square footage to brush.
Unfortunately, they are not in need of less when it comes to exercise. Because they are small, humans think that Minis are capable of handling very little physical activity. The opposite is true.
Question: Today I took my 4-year-old thoroughbred out on a hack with the girls down the yard, and we had to go over raised metal poles and she just wouldn’t go over them. She was a complete nightmare – we tried everything – she was having none of it! I’m wondering if you have any advice?
Answer from April Reeves: Your mare just hasn’t had enough work doing ‘other’ things. We tend to keep doing the same things over and over again, usually simple riding and arena work, and forget that we need to give our horses continual desensitizing.
Question: Last year I purchased a 2-year-old quarter horse filly. She is a complete doll but when I was starting her she turned up lame. I was boarding her at a stable with someone that had 30 years + experience with Arabians. I asked that she would be fed a hay mixture with little alfalfa as she was still young and growing. Soon after I went away and was not able to see my filly for a while. I asked one of my friends to go and check on her and spend time with her. Soon after I left, my friend informed me that my filly was receiving pure alfalfa. I had her moved. When I returned I waited a while as my filly grew about so much and her butt was about 2 hands higher than her withers She evened out some and then I started her. Soon after she was stiff in her left hock. I called the vet and I was told by that she had a bone lesion (spur) in her hock, then seeking another opinion another vet told me all she needed was her hock injected and stall rest and she would recover. I am wondering was you think? I stopped working with her while waiting for a slot with the vet to open up and she was fine…. so I lunged her a little and she was fine for about a week and then her hock started to hurt again. I then contacted another vet and they came and looked at her and they too though all she needed was her hocks injected. How long do you think it will take her to recover?
Answer from April Reeves: First, I am so glad you called not one, but two vets. To all who read this, you are a ‘shining’ example of the care and attention a horse needs.
Hock injections can and do work, but there are many questions that need to be answered before anyone injects anything.
Question: I have a 2yo AQHA show prospect in training in the US (I’m in Canada), what should my expectations be for the first 90 days? She is a well handled, reasonable filly with great ground manners. She has been worked with, saddled previously and even done a little showing in LL (but still sound and sane) with no issues. Any advice?
Answer From April Reeves: Great question, as I have seen some pretty sad horses return from ‘training’. I had the privilege one day to ride an expensive reining colt, returning with 3 months of ‘pro’ work on it. I lost half of my face from this ride.
Good foundation work on a 2 year old should only consist of the following:
Question: I have a 13 year old Arab gelding, which my daughter raised from a baby. (We owned and bred the mother)..it was my daughters teenage project.. he was not used much and spent a lot of time in the pasture, and was sort of a pet. My daughter moved so I let a friend of hers use him and he picked up some bad habits. I can no longer get his bridle on. He just clenches his teeth and will not let me put the bit in his mouth. I have a hold of the headstall over the top and between his ears with my right hand and raise the bit into his mouth with my left hand and gently encourage him to open his mouth with my thumb. He has his teeth clenched tight and just throws his head around until I loose my grip. I do this patiently, over and over until I want to scream (which I don’t, I give up and try again later with the same results.) It is very frustrating because I have always been able to put a bit in his mouth before he spent a year with another person. He is also pulling back on his halter.
Answer from April Reeves: Assuming your Arab had good manners from the start, he may not be as difficult as some horses can be.
Let’s start with the tying problem, assuming the horse use to tie before. Purchase a rope halter if you don’t have one, as they will increase the sensitivity and teach the horse to come off pressure faster. Traditional web halters teach horses to lean and resist, as their pressure points are wider. Make sure your lead rope is at least 12 feet long.
Question: I have been training my friends Appaloosa gelding, but I am having a very hard time getting anywhere with him.
I have noticed that he is head shy, and although he will eventually let me rub his head and ears it seems he doesn’t improve over time, in fact everything I try to do with him he doesn’t ever seem to improve on (except letting me catch him, even after he panics I can catch him easily now. I am guessing it’s cause he does have some light of trust in me, but not a whole lot).
This is the least of my problems though. Sometimes when I do something to help build his confidence he will do REALLY well, but then when I try to come back to it another day he acts as if I am asking him to do something he has never done before. And he reacts badly. As soon as he feels pressured or confined he spins away and slightly rears as he flings his head in the air. He has never kicked at me or tried to hurt me intentionally, but one of these days he is going to hurt someone or even worse, because of how badly he reacts.
Question: I have a 18 year old Standardbred who raced most of his life. I have him feeling comfortable enough to trot when I longe him but as soon as I get on all he does is pace. I understand that he is 18 and is going to be hard to get out of pacing. Is there any ideas though of how I might try?
Answer from April Reeves: Unfortunately your older boy will be a pacer for his entire life.
There are two predominant lines of Standardbred breeding: trotter and pacer. The pacer is bred to pace: it is inherent in his birthright. There are some trotters who show a degree of aptitude to pace and are often encouraged (mechanically) to do so.
Adiva Murphy enjoying a ride on Morgan mare
Question: I have a 6 year old Morgan gelding that I got last January. I ride him English and I jump him.
Ok, so here’s the problem. Every time I go out to ride him, he always has his ears and eyes on EVERYTHING around him. He rarely pays any attention to me. He practically jumps out of his skin if he sees a tree, a piece of trash, a leaf, or something that he didn’t see the day before. If I take him somewhere new, he gets soooo pushy and freezes up. I just don’t know what to do! I’ve tried taking him up to whatever it is that he seems to be afraid of. I’ve tried just riding on past it like it wasn’t there. I’ve tried turning him in tight circles, backing him, side passing, figure eights, etc to keep his mind on me instead of everything else. How do I make him relax? The only way I can get him to put his ears on me is by yanking on his mouth really hard. And then I end up losing me temper and smacking him. I feel soo bad. I feel like he doesn’t like me anymore. How can I earn his trust back? I know I’m not supposed to yank on his mouth but he makes me so mad sometimes I wanna cry!
Please help me.
Answer from April Reeves: Morgans are one of my favorite breeds, and the first one I ever owned when I was little. They can do everything. Even things you don’t want them to do. It looks as though this is where you are right now.
Pat and Linda Parelli - Love, Language and Leadership
Question: Hi April: I have a couple of questions:
1) What is Parelli training?
2) Where can I read more about Parelli?
3) What are your thoughts on getting a horse from one of the accredited horse rescue facilities?
4) I am 5’4″ 170 lbs and am interested in getting a horse in a year or two. It has been recommended to me to get a thoroughbred 10-20 yo. How about a Standardbred? I am taking beginner lessons, I was an avid rider 40 years ago. I am 58 yo and on a weight loss program. My reward will be a horse after a couple years of lessons for pleasure riding and to maybe learn very, very novice dressage for my own pleasure and dropping 30 lbs. Your advice and comments are appreciated. Thank you.
Answer: First, I have to say good for you! Getting back on a horse is a big dream, and good for you to be brave enough to do it. Owning a horse will help in your other goals, especially for strength and mental happiness. Horses do so much for us.
The system of Parelli training is to work with your horse on his level; meaning that you, the human, must learn his language and speak to him in his language. This includes body language, voice (lack of it), mannerisms, and ‘play’.
Posted in Breeds, English Riding answers, General riding answers, Natural Horsemanship, Western training answers
Tagged adiva murphy, April Reeves, arabian horse, beginner rider, horse training, morgan horse, parelli, standardbred, thoroughbred, track horse
Question: I have a 7 year old Trakehner mare that gets very anxious whenever another horse leaves the stable, even if there were still other horses there to keep her company. She starts jumping about and it is safer just to leave her alone for a while to calm down rather than get trampled on in her stable. But this makes my life pretty difficult because I have to organize that there is another horse and as little traffic as possible in the stable when grooming and handling her. I cannot get any contact to her when she gets nervous. She is virtually impossible to bring to the stable alone. But she behaves completely differently when ridden, I have no problems hacking alone, and in general she is much more calm when ridden that when handled from the ground. That is why I am hoping that this habit could somehow be pruned. How could I teach her to keep calm in the stable when other horses leave, or perhaps even to stay alone in the stable?
Answer from April Reeves: You have a long road ahead of you, and one that will be time consuming. However, being a 7 year old mare, you may have no choice. If she was never bred, this behavior could develop into something more serious. The herd instincts of mares are strong.
Question: I have a small Appaloosa that was trained as a hunter. She has done novice hunter pony/horse competitions in the past. She was sold to the lady whom I bought her from 4 years ago when she was 4. They didn’t ride her much except for light trail riding. They wanted a pony for her girls. They quickly lost interest in horses and she didn’t get ridden much at all for the last 2 years they owned her. Now I have her and she is 8. I’m in the process of training her to do more Western riding rather than English. My question to you is, she has so much energy! I longe her every time before I ride her, and I longe her a good amount of time till she looks like she’s getting tired and sweaty. But then 5 minutes later once she’s tacked up, all her energy is back and all she wants to do is walk or trot or canter as fast as she can, and never settle down. She’s in a stall all night, but out for a good 8-10 hours in the paddock everyday. All she has to eat is grass and hay, I don’t give her grain or oats, so I don’t think that is where she is getting all her energy from. What do you think? I have a few parades coming up and I’m hoping that she will calm down before then. I will probably have to drug her for them. But just riding in the arena she is like crazy! She has no mean bone in her body, she isn’t trying to throw me off or bucking or rearing or anything like that. She is just so excited when I ride her. Do you have any advice?
Answer from April Reeves: This is quite typical of the Appaloosa breed. They often have a wonderful sense of ‘exuberance’ which can often last longer than you need it to.
Longing a horse like this is not the answer, since all you will be doing is making her more fit and energetic. The other problem with longing is that it really has no deep training level to it. Most people use it to burn off steam with their horses.
Question: I’m thinking of buying an Appaloosa for jumping and cross country. Is this breed good at jumping?
Answer from April Reeves: The Appaloosa can be a fairly good jumping horse. Let’s go over some of it’s attributes.
First, the original foundation Appy’s had really good bone. Their legs were almost indestructible, and because of their spotted coloring, they tend to have great feet. Their bone joints seem to take a bit more abuse than many of the other breeds, especially their back hocks.