Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone has their horses on herbs or knows anyone that uses herbs.

I have a 12 year old appaloosa gelding and we would like to put him on some sort of herb to calm him down a bit. He's really really hyper.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions that would be great.

Thanks.

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Boy it sure sounds like you have an equine firecracker there! I do wish I could help you more, but I am not qualified to prescribe herbs. I hope that the commercial calming products help you.
With the real hot horses I find that I have to go through this long list of things to find out exactly what is bothering them, but if your guy was born that way it may just be the way he is. However, with any of the hot horses, the more comfortable you can make them while you are riding them, the better they will obey you. Irritations that other horses put up with drive hot horses wild, which does not help if you are having difficulties controlling them anyway.
With the Nurtural, try not to let him pull on the rein, The reason I like the Nurtural so much is that when I need to I can give a good HARD yank to the head (with immediate release) to get the horse's attention. Try this first in the ring if you ever ride him in the bitless again. Most of the time when I ride bitless I ride with sagging reins (not full contact) and give my aids by pull-immediate release. All the hot horses I've ridden tend to speed up with harder contact, and boy, they can pull real hard.
Again, I wish I could help you more. Good luck with the herbs.
We haven't an alfalfa problem in the uk..
I will try that with the nutural. Thanks!
Just to make sure you know what I mean by hard. This is a yank, but not with my full strength and I am a weak woman. You always want to have some strength in reserve. I use this technique rarely. It is mostly to surprise the horse. I also do it when the horse's head is coming up. That way (at a canter or gallop) I am shifting some of the horse's weight to their rear. Be sure to give with the rein immediately, if a hot horse feels like his motion is being blocked, it will often lean against the bit (or noseband) and go faster. I usually do not have to do this yank more than three times, but your guy might need more. Just remember to only yank (or pull) when his head goes up so his weight gets shifted back. If he gets upset the first time try to keep him running in a circle until he calms down, using give and take (gently) on your inside rein. Also try not to tighten your heels against his rib cage. Many people do this accidentally when the horse suddenly accelerates. I know I used to.
You might want to read my blog "One Way to an Educated Halt", where I describe the action at the canter & gallop. He needs consistency, rewards for the proper response, regular riding and possibly calming herbs, though I do not know if anything learned while on the herbs will be remembered when the horse gets excited later. Be careful, please!!!
I hope you have access to a riding ring, if not mark out boundaries in a field (traffic cones can be good). I would not take him out on the trail in the nurtural until you have positive responses in the ring. I hope you do not have a too exciting time doing this.
before you try Jackie's yanking method Hollie , you might want to go and buy some health insurance!!! I'm sorry Jackie , but that is some of the WORST advice I have ever heard given!!! DOING THIS WITH A HOT HORSE IS THE BEST AND QUICKEST WAY TO HAVE THEM STAND UP AND GO OVER BACKWARDS. DON'T DO IT!!!!
I appreciate your comments, Geoffrey, I really do.
I am a weak woman. In my 38 years of riding on hot-bloods (Anglo-Arab, TBs, Arabs & Paso Fino) I have NEVER had a horse rear on me. It is VERY hard pulling with NO RELEASE that causes rearing, with all its attendent dangers.
I apply this aid as the horse's head motion is going UP, and before the top of the movement I start relaxing my fingers, then I ALWAYS move my hands forward (release) a few inches IMMEDIATELTY, giving the horse's head plenty of room to move forward. By the time the horse's head is moving forward, the aid has been released, there is no pressure for the horse to fight. I obviously did not emphasize this enough, thank you for encouraging me to become clearer.
If the total release of the aid (slack reins) is not enough to prevent high-jinks, I always use my heels vigorously, sending the horse forward (still on slack reins). If I need to I hold on to the mane with one hand. IN A SAFE AREA on good ground (not mud, ice, water, too hard, etc) it is often good to tell the horse to go forward vigorously when they are going fast anyway. It can often cause them to shift their weight backwards IF THEY FIND NO SUPPORT FROM THE REIN. Then the aid is often even more effective.
Not easing up on the reins is one of the most common mistakes I see with people having trouble with their horses.
Of course there are other good methods to deal with this problem. This is my method, one developed by a weak woman with MS, that has served me well over the decades.
Thank you again for making me explain myself in a clearer manner.
I am a firm believer in riders having health insurance. Maybe here in the USA it will happen for all. That is excellent advice for anyone dealing with horses.
He doesn't mind being yanked on (that sounds so bad, but i know he won't get upset) He's been yanked around before(not by me), he's not that bad, he's not going to freak or anything, i think that it would actually get his attention and make him listen, although i am a very gentle rider and don't like using crops or anything harsh on horses i just don't know what else to do with him. It won't hurt him because he doesn't have a bit it.

And yes i have a ring, i rode him once on a trail ride with a nutural...ended up with a concussion.
Have you ever thought that might be why he's hot!! rougher treatment, and lets make no bones about this, has no value as a training aid!! All it is going to do is increase the horses anxiety . Even with out a bit , yanking on the reins can and will damage the very fine bone that is the horses nose. Have a look at some pics of skulls and you will see just how fine a structure the nose is . Your horse is not understanding what it is that you want and is running away from the pressure, on the ground you must have the horse in hand at all times quietly asking for stop and stand ,every time you halter him . I don't have time at the moment to go into it more , if you like I can explain the method later on. Cheers Geoffrey
I've had this horse since day one and he has never had rough treatment. He's just a hot horses. He's been mine since the day he was born...he's now 12, I'm the only one that's even owned him. He's not running from the pressure, I've never rode him roughly...someone else rode him roughly once. I'm completely against cruelty, i have 2 rescued horses and possibly another, when she was talking about trying the yanking it sounds like it would work...I'm not going to yank hard enough to hurt him, just a pull back then release, just a harder pull back than usual, i would NEVER hurt one of my horses.
okay, um wow, where to begin on this train wreck of a discussion.
dont yank on your horse. i *think* what jacki is trying to describe is teaching your horse to give to pressure (but i wouldnt go using her description as a step by step guide). giving to pressure is something that is done gradually, in a controlled environment, from the ground first. until your horse will move all parts of his body by merely 1 finger's light pressure, dont get on him again. he needs to understand your communications. giving to pressure is step 1 in his understanding. Even googling "teach a horse to give to pressure" gave me dozens of articles of the basics here.
as to the herbs, it sounds like your horse was bred to be high strung, so either accept him for who he is or find him a new home. I think you would find much greater benefit from regular riding lessons with an experienced instructor, and a visit from a qualified tack fitter.
a "hyper" horse is an uncomfortable horse. find the source of WHY instead of drugging him into submission.
Great post here. I also agree with Geoffrey. And finding a more suitable horse is not a bad idea. Someone will be able to enjoy your horse, that is not your cup of tea. The right horse is out there waitng for you, Holly, I just am not sure it is the one you have.
Please note that my advice is for one specific horse with a specific problem, using a specific piece of tack (the bitless bridle). Using a bit, you need a lot less pressure (closing of the fingers). From what I am picking up from Holly is a picture of a horse that does not want to slow down, and he also sounds to me that he can be "spunky" being handled on the ground too. I owned and rode two "spunky" hot horses of my own, a ruined 7/8 Arab 1/8 Saddlebred my parents gave me, and a Paso Fino mare. After I trained them I could ride both safely at a walk in exciting circumstances with a loose rein, using occasional aids. I never used any calming products. They always wanted to run, but they did what I told them too, not because of brutality but by using "give and take" with my aids at the proper point of the horse's stride.
Horses like this need a lot of work. Training takes a lot of work. Learning to ride hot horses softly takes a lot of work. Unfortunately during all this work you sometimes have to get their attention with a quick, somewhat more forcible, well timed application of the rein aid. I can go for years without having to use this particular aid, and I suspect that Holly will not have to use it much.
Holly has been riding this horse for at least 8 years. This horse has not killed her in this time, and apparantly during these years she got a concussion once because she did not know how to use the bitless bridle effectively. She needs to refine the application of her aids. This is what I was forced to do in training and riding my "spunky" horses.
Good lessons and training are always a good idea, if you can find a good instructor or trainer. Drugging a riding horse is always a bad idea, for some reason horses do not seem to transfer what they learn under a calming drug to real life when the drug's (or herb's) influence wears off.

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