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What exactly is a "hot" horse?

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    Based on this thread (and many others) I would never write “hot” in a sales ad – too many different ideas around it

    I also think hot, forward and spooky are all different traits – I just happen to own a horse that is all 3

    Hot – I think means that the energy level can build when doing exciting things eg jumping. It can be useful - lots of impulsion and the desire to jump - or it can be non-useful level - rushing at/away from fences. Forward – very self-propelled – not a kick ride & sharp off the aids.

    With a well trained & managed horse I love all these traits. I’ve had C for 6yrs and there are days when I feel like I can’t ride two sides of him – like if we’ve had a break from regular jumping and are doing a handful of fences – he can get very hot and a bit wild. But then the next jump session we’ll confidently jump 1.10m and while he is still hot it’s very manageable. He’s generally very chill trail riding and doing flat work. I’ve slowly figured out how best to ride him, with the help of some brilliant trainers along the way. Lots of supporting leg (but no kicking), the right bit setup, warm-up exercises which channel the energy. Allowing him to go forward without rushing and not over-using the hand (so, so hard!). He tries his heart out for me, forgives me all my mistakes and is such a pleasure to have around.

    The funniest thing is that most people think he’s a quiet ride – until they see him jump


      Thought provoking thread -

      I'm thinking of a TB that hunted - for years - never did learn to pace himself - just appeared to be out of control the whole time, although the rider and owner never came to grief. Nerve wracking.
      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        To me, a hot horse is often a confused horse. Since he doesn't understand something, he may get quick, wanting to "run away" from something he doesn't understand why or what he is supposed to be doing. If a rider is giving conflicting cues, consciously or unconsciously, "hot" is often the reaction seen, due to confusion. Also, horses whose training has been incorrect previously, failing to follow the Classical Training Scale, and failing to understand "free forward RELAXED motion", but was pushed on anyway to attempt higher levels of training... a mistake made in their early training. This is often seen in low level jumping trainers, who start jumping training before attaining FFRM, then blame the jumping for the issues encountered.

        "Spooky" is a reactive horse who does not trust his rider. He does not believe that his rider can keep him safe, so he is constantly on the lookout for mountain lions and dragons, because he feels that he has to be, in order to save his own life. He does not respond adequately to cues direct his attention where the rider wants his attention to be, which is either on the rider, or on the jump the rider wishes him to go to, and jump.

        "Forward" is what we want, if we want a horse to go forward, it's a good thing. But for green riders or unbalanced riders or poor riders, it may not be what is going to work well for them, leading to a rider being unable to cope with actually GOING forward, grabbing the reins to balance themselves, and creating confusion in the horse with conflicting cues. Thus, "hot" happens, and things get worse from there.


          I would not say hot horses are confused, although some can be, of course.

          I think a hot horse is the next level up of a forward horse.
          Many forward horses are nice for many riders, better than needing to prod a lazier type.

          When the forward gets into hot, then you have to work at directing all that extra rocket fuel they bring to the game and probably require more rider's skills to handle when that hot trait comes into expression.

          As we can see, not everyone has the same idea of what hot means.


            yeah, the hot horses I have known have not been confused... but then they have generally been handled by riders/drivers who know (and like!) what they are.

            So to me a hot horse in the right hands is full of drive and power and you feel all of it almost all of the time. He generally needs a job and is extremely light/responsive to the aids. I also think of them as fast minds, faster feet, meaning they come up with a plan fast, and execute it even faster and you have to work pretty hard to insert yourself in that decision process, through careful training and building trust so they wait on you for just a sec when the chips are down (you hope).

            They are like the Spinal Tap speakers that go up to "11"

            You ask, and they give you an 11 response. It may not be the RIGHT response, but it will be All In. Just like any horse and trainer, it's the trainer's job to be clear and fair in the directions, but these horses rarely bother with a 3 response.

            A hot horse in the wrong hands generally becomes a frustrated, explosive horse, and possibly a dangerous horse, because when that "11" becomes a defense mechanism against mixed signals and/or fear of the power/drive, things can end badly.

            DHH are amazing horses, you only have to watch them in CDE to appreciate them (Aachen is one this week, you can watch it live albeit on a tiny screen), or better yet, if you can be close to them as they thunder past you leaving a hazard, but there isn't a relaxed bone in their body while working, even when they are standing still. They remind me of border collies working sheep, always waiting for the big move.
            Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


              I was thinking about horses I have owned. Right now I have a very forward horse. He almost never needs leg (or when driving, the whip) Mostly I am adjusting the forward he would prefer (downhill) to the forward I prefer (uphill). He's a fjord and we could neverever call him hot. But he does CDE and a whole lot of energy, boldness and drive is useful for a horse in that discipline. It's easier to find those characteristics in a hot horse (see DHH for obvious examples) but it doesn't mean a horse who isn't hot can't be a good CDE horse (or pony).

              My first hunter was a former race horse. A really nice race horse, almost never off the board because I think the drive for him to beat other horses went well beyond his pain level or physical speed capabilities. His energy and fast mind/fast feet worked very well for him. He then became a really nice hunter, but not for a minute did I lose sight of the engine rumbling underneath that relaxed hunter canter and the finesse I had to use when asking for "more". So in a sport where relaxation is paramount, it's easier to find those characteristics in a horse that is the antithesis of hot, but it doesn't mean a hot horse can't be a good hunter.
              Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                A “HOT” horse is one with a BMW motor...

                high performance when operated with soft hands/gloves and a sharp brain
                an accident waiting to happen when the rider has not developed the necessary skill set yet ~

                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                  Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post
                  A “HOT” horse is one with a BMW motor...

                  high performance when operated with soft hands/gloves and a sharp brain
                  an accident waiting to happen when the rider has not developed the necessary skill set yet ~

                  That ^.