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What's your definition of a "hot" horse?

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  • #21
    Great question, Tidy Rabbit!

    I tend to think of "hot" as short-hand -- when someone is in a hurry and not going to go into particulars about a horse's temperament, in one word you can provide a lot of insight about the animal, and get a good indication of what kind of rider might or might not like him.

    Many people would call my horse hot. I might call my horse hot. But only if I needed a quick one-word description. To really describe him, I would call him quirky, sensitive (most of the time), over-reactive (sometimes), and even lazy (sometimes). Excessive - can be. Full of himself - usually. Bundle of energy? often. Spooky - sometimes. But when he's good, he's like a hot fudge sundae with whipped cream and the cherry on top.

    TR, I can totally see why someone would call your horse hot, especially someone who definitely doesn't want a "hot" horse. For those of us in love with our sometimes excessive, flamboyant, spooky, or quirky beasts, we think up lots of adjectives to better describe their big personalities


    • #22
      This has been an interesting thread. A lot of people are labeling horses that I would call spooky or reactive as "hot." Too me, a "hot" horse is one that is all GO and requires a very sensitive, calm rider. We have a mare like this at our barn: she never spooks at anything or looks at a jump, but she tends to pull through a strong hand and wants to keep a quick pace to the jumps. She resists being rated and also "jigs" at the walk most of the time. To me, she is the classic hot horse.
      I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne


      • #23
        A hot horse is snorty. They think they are breathing fire.


        • #24
          I ride horses that take about 15 minutes to get their brains screwed on, then they are good partners. As they get past their (extended) adolescence and into 7+ years they become wonderful rides, very polite, caring and connected.

          At 4+5 years, most people wonder why a 60 something would be riding them. My 4 year old did a bounce buck in the field last weekend and landed me on the back of my dressage saddle, before I rolled onto the ground. He was shocked and his big feet hit the brakes while I got up. I'm beginning to wonder why I do this. Mostly, because he has such potential as an athlete and at 7, he'll be a lovely boy. His dam was spooky and looky, but at 8, she settles right into the activity and is such a hard worker. I like the whole package she has.

          It's kind of like voting, once you choose a party, studies show, you tend to stick with it. A lot of my first rides as a teen were ottb's for a local trainer. These kind of horses make sense to me and I like the intensity of the relationship once it jells.
          Last edited by shall; Apr. 17, 2013, 07:37 AM. Reason: further thought


          • #25
            Originally posted by Dewey View Post
            This has been an interesting thread. A lot of people are labeling horses that I would call spooky or reactive as "hot." Too me, a "hot" horse is one that is all GO and requires a very sensitive, calm rider. We have a mare like this at our barn: she never spooks at anything or looks at a jump, but she tends to pull through a strong hand and wants to keep a quick pace to the jumps. She resists being rated and also "jigs" at the walk most of the time. To me, she is the classic hot horse.
            Hippolyta: A hot horse is snorty. They think they are breathing fire.

            I have a hot old saddlebred, she's not spooky (but will spook out of spite ) but is all GO & snort, even at 23. I really wish she was half the horse she thinks she is. My other mare is a bit of loon & more inclined to spook honestly, but I wouldn't remotely call her hot.
            Visit my Spoonflower shop


            • #26
              I think it's a very subjective concept. A lot of people just use it to mean "a lot of horse," meaning the OP's horse sounded too sensitive or intimidating. (I wouldn't read too much from a buyer who isn't even coming to try, btw).

              I've always used more of the definition of those that get spun up and stay there. The ones that can't recover and calm down. But the other definitions people have posted make sense. FWIW my trainer tends to define it as more of a temporary condition ("your horse got hot after that bad distance" or something) vs a permanent attribute of the horse.


              • #27
                I would refer to the OP's horse as more sensitive and easily excited....

                To me "hot" is a horse that is non stop GO all the time. You are constantly redirecting their attention and moving their feet to keep their attention. They tend to jig, especially when excited. No matter what gait they want more and you usually get off with intense shoulder pain from the constant pulling.

                my first pony, a little morgan mare, was like that. She LOVED to go, and could gallop a 2 hour trail ride and jig back to the trailer acting like she'd go again. She'd "listen" and was a nice little competitive jumper, but was constantly asking for more. Oddly enough...she did best in a rubber mouth snaffle. She wasn't really an anxious or nervous horse, she knew how to shut off, she had a brain and great ground manners. Just under saddle she was non stop GO!

                She's actually mellowed out quite a bit lately, my little 9 year old sister has been riding her (I'm 28) and might be making her debut in the short stirrup. Of course....mare is over 20 at this point, sound as a dollar, and still willing to attack anything you point her at.

                My two TB mares some people do consider hot...personally I just consider them sensitive and easily rattled. As long as they are calm they are quiet, but responsive rides. If they get flustered then they do get forward, but its more of an anxiety thing and if you do some lateral work and get them calmed down they go back to normal.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Dewey View Post
                  This has been an interesting thread. A lot of people are labeling horses that I would call spooky or reactive as "hot." Too me, a "hot" horse is one that is all GO and requires a very sensitive, calm rider. We have a mare like this at our barn: she never spooks at anything or looks at a jump, but she tends to pull through a strong hand and wants to keep a quick pace to the jumps. She resists being rated and also "jigs" at the walk most of the time. To me, she is the classic hot horse.
                  This is what I think of as hot too. We call Nikki a hot horse, but she's not spooky at all, just extremely reactive, opinionated, and zoomy (for lack of a better word).
                  Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


                  • #29
                    IMO a hot horse depends on the rider. Hot to some is not hot to others. To me a hot horse has more go then woooooo. One that blows thought the aids at times. Yet, for a beginner rider a hot horse maybe one like you are talking about. A horse that has energy when they need something more quiet.
                    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Judysmom View Post

                      Has anyone ended up with the kind of horse I call "hot" that they broke themselves? Just wondering because everyone I have had has done something before I got it (raced/ years of bad training).
                      Yes, I have. My pony, Gatsby, when I was a teenager was what most people would call hot. I knew him from the day he was born and we bought him when he was a yearling. He was easy to break and had wonderful work ethic but he was extremely sensitive and easily frustrated if he didn't understand what was being asked. He liked to be first on trails and did a lot of jigging if he had to go second or wait for others. He was happiest hacking out alone so we could just trot, trot, trot. Although he was pretty well behaved fox hunting - go figure.

                      Very brave boy who would jump anything and everything. He wasn't really nervous just full of go. He was a welsh/tb cross and was very talented but he needed a soft ride. Not a pony that could be bullied.

                      When I went to college he ended up doing the jumpers with a local pro in PA and last I heard was fox hunting in VA and traveling to shows with a mare that couldn't be without him.

                      Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
                      This is what I think of as hot too. We call Nikki a hot horse, but she's not spooky at all, just extremely reactive, opinionated, and zoomy (for lack of a better word).
                      Gatsby wasn't spooky either. In fact, if something made him look he would usually try to go up and touch it. We knew he was brave the second time I was on him and a paper bag blew in the ring. He looked, I gave him his head and he slowly walked over ... and stepped on it.


                      • #31
                        When someone says a horse is hot - think of a pot of boiling water that does not cool down once the heat is removed. A horse who does not stand still when given a break after being put to work. One that will not settle until complete exhaustion.
                        Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from behind, or a fool from any direction


                        • #32
                          A hot horse for me is one whose brain is disconnected, either constantly or when they won't listen to what I ask.
                          "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths


                          • #33
                            I would define "Hot" as sensitive and reactive, and as Dewey described, requiring a calm, sensitive rider.

                            TR, I went to your website and saw a conformation shot of Solitaire, I'm guessing that this horse is the one you're referring to.
                            In the photo, he's giving the photographer a bit of sass from the look in his eye. It looks to me like he's very present, and likes to share things with his handlers.
                            To me, that is a sign of good horsemanship. The horse is present, and is going to tell you how he feels about what is going on.

                            I think way too many people purposely 'desensitize' their horses nowadays, and not just the 'Natural Horsemanship' wannabes. A desensitized horse is just that- not sensitive anymore, dull, mentally checked out. He performs like a robot, mechanically and without feeling what is going on in the moment; he's mentally shut down because he's been taught that if you harass him about something, there is NOTHING that he can do about it. He's taught to ignore the pool noodles and the chainsaw, not thoroughly check them out and deal with them mentally. With a horse like that, you can do all sorts of things...but the horse doesn't really want to participate, he's there in body but not spirit, and he's not going to help you out or fill in for you when the chips are down. You get a compliant horse, but not a thinking, participating horse.

                            Unfortunately too many people equate 'numb' and 'compliant' with 'quiet' and 'well behaved'.

                            And my last definition of a "Hot" horse, is that he will NOT tolerate being 'desensitized'.


                            • #34
                              I think sometimes people tend to confuse "hot" and "fiesty". Hot to me, is just like what most of you are saying, they get easily hyper, worried and just won't calm down. Generally it takes a very specific, calm rider to handle them. When I see this kind of horse, they are like this no matter where they are ridden and both for flat work and jumping. Most people riding them, just have that "zen" quality and allow them to go how they need to go, they don't fight with them but at the same time get rides out of them that most of us would not be able to get!

                              Fiesty........that's my fav ride of all. My baby is a tad fiesty and I love it. He's a gentleman to handle, he's amazingly zen on the flat, he sees a fence to jump and he "takes" me to the fence. Fiesty horses are generally a bit more forward and even when mistakes are made they get themselves over it (safely hopefully LOL). My trainer likes these types of horses for ammies as they tend to be bravier and easier to ride. You can put your leg on and they GO somewhere. Yep, the fiesty ones are great
                              Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!


                              • #35
                                I think in the horse world people use the word "hot" as a synonym for "up, forward, energetic, looky, etc.". Just as us horse people us the word "green" meaning "new, untrained, inexperienced".

                                If I were to describe my TB Appy he was "hot" but a good boy. He did everything I asked other than chill out with a loose rein. He was like the energizer bunny. GO GO GO GO! Had to be first, loved a good run, always up in the bridle challenging my hands for the forward ride. He wasn't spooky, or crazy, just hot.

                                My TB/Oldenburg is mostly lazy but there are times and days he can be hot. Full of forward energy. And this one can be spooky and bolts. But he can be feisty too.

                                So when someone says a horse is too hot for them, to me they are saying he has more energy than I want.
                                Live in the sunshine.
                                Swim in the sea.
                                Drink the wild air.


                                • #36
                                  I love a "hot" horse. Because in my experience they are always thinking. Yes sometimes you just want to go for that quiet trail ride on the buckle. But they are the ones you can gallop up that hill, and will jump that fallen tree. And I love when they are wound up and not coming back down, because that's when you get the most out of them. You put them to work and getting them thinking. And they throw all their energy into it, just because they have it. I find them the easiest to work up from behind, and they can go all day.

                                  And I agree with Shall. My first horse was this ride. Previous owner was afraid of her and she took full advantage of it. She was always up Up UP. She moved with purpose... always going somewhere. And it was a rough rode to learn to ride her, but wow was she amazing. Best horse I'll ever own.

                                  I do love the horse I have now. I broke and trained him myself from the ground up. I wouldn't consider him hot though. However he can go all day and he does get up, and he will stay that way. He is very reactive and high strung. But he lacks that constant fire, that she had. He has it sometimes, she had it all the time.
                                  Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                                  Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                                  "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                                  I love my Dublin-ator


                                  • #37
                                    I sometimes think that any horse that can't take the joke or isn't kick the crap out of them to make them go people call 'hot'. It's a great out for sure. This horse is too hot, I can't ride it. I don't ride well because I ride too many 'hot' horses.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by HRF Second Chance View Post
                                      I sometimes think that any horse that can't take the joke or isn't kick the crap out of them to make them go people call 'hot'. It's a great out for sure. This horse is too hot, I can't ride it. I don't ride well because I ride too many 'hot' horses.
                                      I think that often happens. Not in this thread, but often.

                                      I just find it funny that by some of the definitions on this thread my mom's horse would be considered hot, and my guy wouldn't. Definitely not the case.... then again, despite his energy I think of my horse as pretty mellow - but people who knew him before I had him thought of him as crazy, so perhaps he would be considered hot by the definitions here, and my sheer laziness and unwilligness to work a horse up or fight or use strong cues when not needed are why he is the way he is for me....
                                      If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                                      • #39
                                        It's so hard to define, as this thread is showing.

                                        Mine was hotter than I expected when she came to me. Maybe a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. I wasn't really up for that so I temporarily traded horses with a teen, who took my horse to eventing camp, and she came back super-fit and even hotter. Teen did a great job with her, but not for making her an easier horse for *me* (typical adult ammy re-rider). So I put her into training, and the first thing the trainer worked on was decreasing tension and making her a bit LESS reactive.

                                        Ultimately more training really helped, as did, well, growing up and discovering her lazy streak (yes a hot horse can be lazy IMO!) But she is still looky, sensitive, reactive, easily distracted etc. I still get asked sometimes if she's young, even though she's almost 15. When she's on her game, she's amazing, but it takes relatively little for her to become "off her game." I would still consider her a bit hot -- maybe a 4? -- but she's also a safe and sane ride once you get to know her. One thing she has that a lot of "hot" horses don't is a really, really good WHOA button
                                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                        • #40
                                          I agree with others, "hot" is in the eye of the beholder.

                                          To me, hot = energetic + disobedient and/or lacking in sense.

                                          My gelding is normally a ho-hum steady-eddy, but he has select moments on trails where he appears to lose his mind and he channels every ounce of Trakehner energy into the effort, rearing, spinning, and snorting. In those moments, I would say he is "hot", but I wouldn't say he is a hot horse. I put my little nieces and my non-horsey SO on him in the arena, but so far have only had pros on him on the trails.

                                          My mare is a very forward-moving Fjord, which is a bit of a rarity in that breed. Some Fjord people would say she is "hot", but to me she is light off the leg and responsive. She is sensible, smart, and attentive - a definite pleasure for me to ride, but for people wanting a "kick ride" they would think she is too much.

                                          I used to think I liked lazy horses, since I'm not too adventurous of a rider, but the combination of energy and sensibility is so much fun to ride