How to slow down a fast horse – 3 Rules

Do you know what is one of the most common questions I get?

“How to slow down a fast horse? My horse is always going too fast!”

Often I also learn that the horse used to be a race horse and that he was always like that.

Why is my horse too fast?

Horses can be too fast for a number of reasons. Some horses are fast by their nature and it doesn’t have to be a problem.

Such a horse just needs enough exercise and enough “calm” work done with him. Temperamental horses tend to get excited very easily, and also naturally react on low pressure. It’s the way the horse is and you should just act accordingly.

The things you can do to a lazier horse probably would really scare a more temperamental and sensitive horse.

You need to work differently with a fast horse

How to slow down a fast horse?

When I work with horses that are more sensitive and tend to be too fast, I focus on riding in slow paces. I usually do most of my riding in trot, and when I ride in canter, I make sure it’s slow canter.

I tend to make the riding sessions longer on sensitive and energetic horses while keeping the pace calmer. I ride in calm trot, and I also often ride in walk on a loose rein. I let my horse just stand still several times during a riding session as well.

Is your horse a bit too fast? Here are three things you can do to slow him down and make him calmer and more receptive

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When my horse starts to speed up by himself I slow him down by pulling my reins. As soon as he gets back to his original pace I stop pulling them. Of course I repeat this every time my horse speeds up by himself.

You can also ask your horse to do a smaller circle to slow him down.

Basically, I am just trying to make the slower pace nice and comfortable for my horse, and every time he tries to go faster I make it more annoying for him by pulling the reins, or by asking for a smaller circle which is more difficult for him.

What can also help is to always be riding for a different amount of time. If you always ride for one hour for example, your horse will not be afraid to be too fast because he will know that in one hour it will be all over anyways.

If you ride for 20 minutes one day and for 90 minutes the other day, he will never know what is coming so he might start being more cautious about beeing too fast and getting exhausted.

However be careful if you start riding in faster paces again, and most of your riding will be in faster trot or canter, your horse might start getting worse and more difficult to ride on again.

There is another reason why your horse might be too fast

A lot of people ask me about how to slow down a fast horse, and the general answer is above. However, there might another problem as well.

Your horse might be scared of you, or the way you treat him and ride on him. In nature, horses deal with fear by just running away. When horses become scared of their riders they get too fast and too sensitive.

A horse doesn’t have to be scared of his rider just because he is too harsh on him. It can also be caused by the horse simply not understanding what the rider wants, or not being able to do it.

It can also be caused by the horse simply not understanding what the rider wants, or not being able to do it.

Here is an example:

When you teach your horse to stop, it’s always good to start practicing it in walk because your horse is most likely to be calm and relaxed. He is also going to have enough time to realize what is it that you want, and react on it.

However, the fact that you can stop your horse easily from walk, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to stop him from canter or even gallop.

Especially young horses get more excited when they are going faster, and they become less receptive to your aids.

Then, when you try to ask them to stop from canter, they might be too excited to properly notice and realize what you want.

Even though your horse stops reliably from walk and understands what you are asking, he might get too excited in a faster gait and get confused if he didn’t have enough practice.

You can imagine it like this.

You didn’t have that much practice in slower gaits yet, but you try to ride in canter. Your horse gets super excited that he can finally go in canter, but because he didn’t have enough practise in slower gaits, he doesn’t realize what it means when you pull the reins. He forgets how to react on it because of all the excitement of going fast.

So you pull the reins harder and your horse really starts feeling the pain.

So what is his natural reaction going to be?

It hurts, I am in danger, I need to run away!

And that is a problem.

If that repeats a few times your horse might start feeling like canter means “pain, panic and running away”

Removing this fear is a difficult and a long process, that might not even always be successful. It’s always more difficult to calm down an energetic horse than it is wake up a lazy horse.

So here is recap of how to how to slow down a fast horse

  • 1

    Do most of your riding in slower gaits

    Work with your horse mainly in walk and trot. Don’t be afraid of just stopping and letting your horse stand still as well.

  • 2

    Correct your horse when he speeds up by himself

    If your horse speeds up by himself slow him down by pulling your reins or by doing a tight circle.

  • 3

    Do not ride for the same amount of time every day

    Keep in mind it is not good to always ride for the same amount of time. If you change the length of your riding sessions and you ride sometimes for 50 minutes, sometimes for two hours, ideally 5 – 6 times a week you will be able to feel big improvements in just 3 – 6 months.

So now you know how to slow down a fast horse. I wish you a lot of success and a great time riding on your horse. I believe that all your efforts and work on improving your horsemanship will pay off and be very enjoyable. At least I enjoy every minute I spend around my horses 🙂

How to slow down a fast horse – 3 Rules
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