Help for Hyper Horses

Recently I received a question asking me how to ‘calm’ a hyper horse. In this video, I do a little demo on Nic and demonstrate an approach that’s a bit counterintuitive.


Hi, it’s Barb.

Recently I received a question asking me how to ‘calm’ a hyper horse. In this video, I do a little demo on Nic and demonstrate an approach that’s a bit counterintuitive.

Here’s why I say this might be counterintuitive to some people.

It would seem that a more ‘hyper’ horse would need to have an approach like asking him to stand still quietly as you touch him on the neck and soothe him as you wait for him to calm down.

That’s often what we humans do when we get worked up. We slow down. We stop. We breathe. We think calming thoughts and slow our bodies down.

But that approach does not work well for horses. Often, they will become even more amped if they are overexcited and reactively move away from a situation.

When you want a horse to ‘slow down’ internally and in random body movement, use a different approach than the human one. Move his feet until you feel his energy begin to drop. You will feel him start to relax underneath you.

Ideally, you stay calm internally as you move your horse’s feet. As people, we can be simultaneously calm and yet very engaged as we move our horse’s feet.

When you feel the horse ‘let down’, allow him to walk easy or stand as a reward. If he gets over-excited again, bring his attention back to you again and move his feet again. Repeat methodically and as often as necessary.

And this point is very important and worth restating again.

Highly energized or nervous horses need us to keep our energy relaxed as we redirect their extra energy though moving their feet.

Have a great week. Let me know what you think.

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3 Comments on Help for Hyper Horses

  1. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 24th May 2020 4:53 pm
  2. HI Barb, Yes, I loved today’s video regarding what to do when your horse gets nervous; calm ourselves down with a deep breath and move our horse’s feet!! Makes perfect sense because they know that you, the rider, are in control of their destiny! 🙂 It was fun to see you move Nic’s shoulders, back him in circles both directions, and do a little serpentine exercise. Fun to watch you two and you sure have a lovely large arena to work Nic in!!! And it was breezy but he was really calm. Thank you!

  3. Pat Smith on Sun, 24th May 2020 9:07 pm
  4. Thanks for the nice demonstration of how to engage a horse who is getting nervous under saddle. I’ve found similar active distractions work well with my smart hyper-alert mare.
    What would you do with a horse who gets really loopy when getting tacked up? This is a young Haflinger gelding who belongs to a friend of mine. He is FINE under saddle, steady and calm, but he “tap dances” when in cross ties, and freaks out when loading into a trailer. Do you know of ways to give him something to engage his mind and energy while he is in a situation that requires some sort of confinement like this?


  5. Laura L Musemeche-Yarbrough on Mon, 25th May 2020 7:36 am
  6. I have practice since becoming a team with Pepsi. In the beginning it was not fun, and it took me way outside my comfort zone. Then, I started getting results. Ex. Pepsi was afraid of mailboxes on trail courses. After countless times of being coached through the exercise from my core friends … I can get the results on my own .

    This is a valuable tool to have !!!

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