Spooky Horses, part 3 - Horses that are tense and on adrenaline
These horses are spooky because they simply have too much nervous energy and don't know how to direct it. These are the ones that you can’t tell which they’re going to be on a given day, one day they’ll be fine, the next a snorting mess! They are often adversely affected by changes in the environment, a windy day, a competition, your mood and so on.
You can desensitise these horses until you're blue in the face and it won't make a blind bit of difference because they aren't actually scared of the thing, they are simply reacting to not being able to move as much as their bodies and emotions are telling them they need to.
Adrenaline is like an amplifier whatever your horses natural tendencies they will get more when on adrenaline, they will be sharper, more reactive and more sensitive when adrenaline is present. When adrenaline is present, everything is heightened it’s like CAPITAL LETTERS in a text message! As with any situation the calmer and more patient you can be the more likely you are to have a positive response from your horse.
For these horses techniques either on the ground or in the saddle that teach them to direct their energy in a positive and controlled way in order to find relaxation are going to be key. If you are not a confident rider I would highly recommend you start on the ground.
Lunging these horses before getting on to 'get the edge off' will work well for a horse that has too much adrenaline so long as you stop at the right time i.e. when the horse is relaxed.
Horses learn when you stop doing something so if you stop lunging when your horse is still tense then all you’ve taught him is how to be tense for longer.