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What exactly is a "hot" horse?

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  • BunnyHugger
    started a topic What exactly is a "hot" horse?

    What exactly is a "hot" horse?

    I've been doing some virtual horse shopping (I'm not in the position to get another one until late fall). I was researching Dutch Harness horses, being taken by their flashy movement in sales listings. Many people described them as very hot. That got me to thinking... what exactly is "hot"? Is it another word for "spooky"? Not sane?
    Often, ads will use "sensitive and forward" in conjunction with hot so it would seem those are two distinct characteristics. I'm interested in sensitive and forward, but not up for "crazy".
    I'm really interested in hearing others' interpretation of hot.

  • Bluey
    replied
    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
    and
    an accident waiting to happen when the rider has not developed the necessary skill set yet ~

    That ^.

    Leave a comment:


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

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


    Leave a comment:


  • DMK
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • DMK
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bluey
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • NancyM
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Foxtrot's
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Feliz
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • cayuse
    replied
    To me a hot horse is one with a lot of physical and emotional energy that needs to be channeled in the right direction. If that energy starts building, you need to find a positive outlet for the horse to express it before the horse himself finds a negative one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Salo
    replied
    In my area 'hot' is often used for horses that get nervous to uncontrollable e.g. when it comes to flying changes or jumping a parcours.

    Leave a comment:


  • RainWeasley
    replied
    This is basically repeating some other things already said, but to me, a "forward" horse is one that, when you put your leg on lightly or ask to respond, they are thinking "Yes!" with no hesitation. A "hot" horse is one that, whether you are asking it to do something or not, they are thinking "Gogogogogogo!" and it might take a bit of tactful riding to convert the "hot" to "forward".

    Leave a comment:


  • MsM
    replied
    It seems obvious from this thread that "hot" means different things to different people. It is therefore not very helpful as a descriptor for a horse you dont know without additional information.

    Still, I'll play! To me "hot" first means a horse that is reactive - for better or worse. Second, it is a horse that wants to GO. Not always how or where you want, but prefers movement, often at high speed. Third, these horses often work up instead of down. Instead of getting the sillies out with a few bucks on the lunge line, the hot horse will get more excited. And finally, they tend to be sensitive in some regards. It may not always translate always going off of light aids, but when tuned in, they are usually extremely responsive (as their training allows).

    Leave a comment:


  • TWH Girl
    replied
    I have a sensitive and reactive horse (likely for sale lol) but he is not hot. He is actually more lazy. Hot to me is an overall term that can incorporate spooky, sensitive, etc. You’d have to ask the owner exactly what is meant by hot. For most amateurs, I would not recommend anything hot.

    Leave a comment:


  • Foxtrot's
    replied
    I've had a rider make my normally quiet, steady, sane horse into a hot mess.

    Leave a comment:


  • luvmyhackney
    replied
    Hot to me means quick thinking, reactive, and needs to have that energy and thinking power directed in a positive manner or they get themselves in trouble. They never work out for a rider that doesn't appreciate the quick reaction and has to make all aids "big" in order to be heard. A horse being hot, has nothing to do with being sane. Also, misbehavior in a hot horse is no difference than misbehavior in a non-hot horse. Its all about directing that energy and giving an outlet. I come from the world of ASB's, Arabians, Hackneys, harness horses, they are generally considered "hot". Misbehavior is different that having quirks that you work around for brilliance.


    Leave a comment:


  • Toblersmom
    replied
    To me, a “hot” horse is one that has a tendency to respond with energy and movement to basically any stimulus, good, bad, on the ground, under saddle, in the stall, out at pasture, wherever. The ones that need drugs to walk out after enforced stall rest and still try to be kites. The ones that are like a loaded spring at the pasture gate and (assuming decent ground manner training) go ripping off at a gallop to visit their buddies as soon as you get the halter off or give whatever permission has been trained into them. The ones that pace the fence line when they see the food truck instead of standing at their bucket. The ones that have to be taught and constantly or episodically reminded during training how to slow down and relax and accept having leg, without revving their engine like a drag car peeling out. Their disobediences, if present, are going to tend to be more energetic and high motion (bolting instead of spook-in-place, barging over people on the ground instead of balking or lagging and trying to graze, running through the hands rather than ignoring the leg, rushing fences and taking long spots rather than plodding along and chipping), but they are not necessarily inherently more disobedient, or even spooky, than a horse that is not “hot.” Might be scarier and more dangerous when it happens, particularly if the rider/handler is a novice, but the root of the unwanted behavior really isn’t any different, it’s just the expression of it.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the most successful competition horses in most disciplines are at least a little bit “hot.” A good trainer can package all that energy and get it to come back out again as power in a jumper or expressiveness in a dressage horse. I read an article some time ago, don’t recall the details, from a BNT in Dressage who said something along the lines of “The best Grand Prix horses are usually a real pain and not particularly successful in the show ring as youngsters.”

    Leave a comment:


  • danacat
    replied
    Originally posted by Edre View Post

    ....generally best defined as "(rider) reactive". It all is entirely dependent on the diplomacy of the rider to negotiate the tension and the energy generated.... Under tactful riding (or brilliant riding) these horses can shine. Under bad riding, these horses can develop some spectacularly bad habits because they have no outlet for all the energy.
    Totally agree.

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    Originally posted by Edre View Post
    Hot horses can be a bit of a combination of both of the above, but to me they are generally best defined as "(rider) reactive". Another alternative is that they can be described as sharp, or electric - the more you ask of them, the quicker their reaction time can get (and the more energy they seem to generate). The more pressure you put on them (ask them questions they respond to, ask for more of them) they can internalize some of that tension from the request and they seem to just get "more". More electric, more vibrant, quicker off the leg, quicker off the seat. For the record, this is neither good nor bad. It all is entirely dependent on the diplomacy of the rider to negotiate the tension and the energy generated by such a ride. Under tactful riding (or brilliant riding) these horses can shine. Under bad riding, these horses can develop some spectacularly bad habits because they have no outlet for all the energy.
    Edre, I think you described it well.

    My former trainer used to call a certain horse a "sports car", where other people might have called her "hot". Plenty of torque, instantaneous shifting, precision handling. Think driving a Lambo vs. a base Honda Civic. You might oversteer or open up the throttle too much and end up in some trouble if you don't know what to expect, and it might be more of a production to go places with it if you are trying to do things where power and precision aren't really advantageous. Not a great fit for an anxious driver. But it can be a lot of fun in the right hands. If you're into that kind of a ride, the bright side is that unlike sports cars, hot horses don't necessarily come with a high dollar price tag. The downside is that unlike cars, the fun in hot horses often depends on having appropriate/tactful training under their belt, not just having someone skilled in the driver's seat.

    Leave a comment:


  • Edre
    replied
    Spooky, Hot, and Forward all mean separate things to me. Some may overlap a little, but they're pretty distinct entities.

    Spooky is reactive to external stimuli in a fear sense. A horse isn't spooking at the rider's leg, the horse is seeing/hearing/responding to something (real, or imagined...)

    Forward is just that - forward momentum. If a rider removes all aids (not driving with leg, neutral seat, drops the reins) what happens? Does the horse stay the way they are going, break and slow down, or break and move quicker? Horses on the more extreme end of the forward spectrum to me not just have forward momentum in-pace, but have a tendency to always want to "kick it up" another gear.

    Hot horses can be a bit of a combination of both of the above, but to me they are generally best defined as "(rider) reactive". Another alternative is that they can be described as sharp, or electric - the more you ask of them, the quicker their reaction time can get (and the more energy they seem to generate). The more pressure you put on them (ask them questions they respond to, ask for more of them) they can internalize some of that tension from the request and they seem to just get "more". More electric, more vibrant, quicker off the leg, quicker off the seat. For the record, this is neither good nor bad. It all is entirely dependent on the diplomacy of the rider to negotiate the tension and the energy generated by such a ride. Under tactful riding (or brilliant riding) these horses can shine. Under bad riding, these horses can develop some spectacularly bad habits because they have no outlet for all the energy.

    (To recap: Most hot horses are probably going to be forward horses, but not all forward horses are going to be hot horses - and spooky can be hot or forward horses, but also may not be, though sometimes hot horses become more spooky especially if they have tension/energy that a rider isn't doing a good job directing in which case the hot horse may be so amped up they start spooking at things they otherwise typically wouldn't.)

    Leave a comment:

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