scandal asked in PetsHorses · 1 decade ago

High Strung Horse, ways to calm him down?

Before I start I will say this. he is a barrel horse and I am a barrel racer, I knew from day one to expect an on the muscle horse, and i'm completely Capable of handling him.

Now. lately he's been prancy with me when were just riding around at home. he doesn't want to walk and when we lope its fast paced, when i ask him to slow down he swishes his tail and will slow down for a few paces then speed up again, and occasionally he even tries to buck. I'm nothing but calm when i'm on him so i know its not my nerves shakin him up. I just wanted some opinions and maybe possible solutions. He's 10 and in perfect health.been running barrels for 5 - 7 years.


The prancy behavior has been goin on since probably around the begining of April. The only thing that I have done diffrently with him was giving him the winter off this year? also I just had The chiopractor and dentist out to look at him. Like i said, he's in great health. Im using the same tack as always and he's on the same feed, country acers 10% and Ultim

when I lunge him, it doesnt really help, he's always been a horse that could go all day :) He does love his job but he's never been like this in past years.

12 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It sounds as though he didn't used to be this way, am I right? When did the change happen? Last week... a few months ago... last year?

    If it was a rather recent change, a week or two ago, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Give it some time and he may calm down. If it has been a long lasting change, consider that horses are very sensitive animals. You mentioned that you are "nothing but calm" on him. Perfect, but you aren't the only thing that may have affected him. What has changed recently?

    1. Weather? I know where I am the weather just all of a sudden, within the last month, become amazing. Horses usually perk up in the summer months. He may feel his oats now that the sun is out.

    2. New Feed or Feed Schedule?

    3. New Turn-out Pasture, Turn-out Schedule, or Pasture Mates? Relationships between horses and changes within relationships affect their character under saddle.

    4. New Barn, Stall, or Barn Mates?

    5. New Tack?

    6. New or Change in Work-out Regimen? Have you started riding him more or less, with or without a trainer, at a lower and greater intensity, etc?

    The list goes on... search your brain for something that may have changed around the time he changed. See if you cannot either give him some time to adjust or return to what once was. If not a "new thing," your horse may need to be seen by a vet. It could be something as simple as his back's out of whack... this happens a lot to sport horses. He may just need an adjustment from a chiropractor. Having a chiropractor out would be a great way to have your tack looked at, too. As horses age and mature, their musculature changes. His tack may not fit as well as it once did.

    Best of luck! I hope this was helpful.

    Source(s): Trainer, show rider
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  • 1 decade ago

    Gotta love barrel horses!

    Mine has been doing the same thing lately.

    What i do with him when he gets prancey or excited, is just walk. And if he insists on trotting or prancing, then i make him back up. After i back i ask him to walk. My horse is pretty good about keeping his cool. But if your horse won't walk after he backs, then make him back more. Trust me, it'll work after only a few times.

    And when he gets going too fast at the lope, just ask him to do small circles. They'll be good for him and he won't be able to run through them. When he starts slowing his speed in the circle, let him leave the circle, but if he speeds up again, put him back into it.

    Or, just apply the pressure and release system. When he's going to fast, hold a light pressure on his mouth and when he slows, release. And just continue this until he stays at the speed you want him to be at.

    Just remember that barrel horses feed off of their rider's adrenaline and excitment. So if you're super calm, he'll see that and probably end up pretty calm too.

    Have fun and Turn N Burn!!

    Edit: Don't listen to buckinfun. Trail riding is one of the best things you can do with a barrel horse and i absolutely suggest it. And just because it's a barrel horse, doesn't mean it can't be calm like a regular horse, you just have to work with it right.

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  • 1 decade ago


    I've known alot of ppl with barrel horses and they leave them at home when they go out on a trail ride. They are ready to run and do their job. Their job is not to walk and smell the roses.

    I've also seen a few people get a barrel horse and have to send him away to a trainer to slow him down. Once slowed down he didn't run the barrels any more. Liked the slow pace more.

    I can suggest just doing a one rein stop on him each time he changes speed on you.

    Another...put lavender oil on his neck, chest, under jaw...and on your hands. Lavender is a natural calming agent. Not sure if it will work for your guy tho.

    Talk to a barrel trainer in your area. See what they think. Maybe a weekend training at their place will make things better.

    Good luck

    EDIT: Mariah..I didnt' say it couldnt be done..sheesh

    I said what I have SEEN from other barrel owners.

    Obviously you are in that "I'm right all of the time" crap from hanging out in here too much.

    Get a grip ....if you are a barrel racer you should have one.


    SO..for the asker: just find what works.

    Some barrel horses are just lovin their job! You gotta find what works for him.

    Some need lots of reins and back ups (I don't like the back up method. Seen many tend to want to rear instead from the excitement.

    One reins and the 'rein squeeze' and half halts and also ask some barrel trainers near you. You can maybe see them work with a hot one and get some pointers.

    Source(s): king p234 hpts
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    He sounds like he wants to barrel race all the time!! He must love it. When he speeds up half halt and turn a circle till he slows. Mabey lunge him. Do u train for barrel racing at home. Why not do something like

    day 1 dressage

    day 2 dressage

    day 3 barrel racing

    day 4 dressage

    day 5 barrel racing

    day 6 dressage and

    day 7 barrel racing.

    Just mabey use it as a rough guide untill he settles down.

    Hope this helps

    PS when i say barrel racing in the time table i mean not dressage like u could do games, trail ride, jumping...

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    My opinion: Lunge him first to get the extra energy out, and if he's still fast paced, one reign stop him. It'll prevent him from speeding and it'll prevent him from bucking. I'd do it each time he speeds up, so that he learns if he does that, without you asking him prior, he's going to get turned in a circle and stopped. Which is what he doesn't want.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I've heard for every 1 hour of riding you should do 4 hours of ground work. For my prancey horse I will louge him before riding to tire him out a bit and teach him different things so it dosent get boring, like set up a jump.

    Source(s): 4 Horses.
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  • 1 decade ago

    well i have a horse like that too. i would lunge him or round pen him for about 10 min each way. he will clam down that way. plus, you need to work with him on walking calmly. do not pull on his mouth or keep him collected. every time he goes out of the walk or walks o fast just give him a bump. a bump is not a pull but a flack of the wrist, just enough to let him know. good luck

    need more help email me at

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  • 1 decade ago

    Continue being calm with him, be sure you're relaxed in your seat. Work with him on more than just stop and go such as doing laterals. And EVERY time you have him stop automatically back him up.

    When he tries to buck get his mind off his rear end, maybe try some ground poles or changing leads.

    You can try a supplement like mare magic or easy mare, they balance hormone levels and yes even geldings have hormones! His "go go go" mentality is from the high testosterone levels his muscles are producing. More Muscles=More Testosterone.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Sounds like a happy horse who loves his job to me, and just doesnt know how to contain his excitement, just like my mare.

    Do you lunge before you ride? If you don't, I would suggest it. It'll help tire him out and help him become focused on the task ahead.

    Or you can try doing exercises to help him focus on moving rather than running. Try pushing him into lateral movements or lope-walk, trot-walk, back-walk, back-halt, halt-lope, lope-trot transitions.

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  • I would suggest lunging before you do anything. i do that :) warms my horse up

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