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"Hot" horses vs "forward" vs "game" horses, is there a difference and what is it?

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  • "Hot" horses vs "forward" vs "game" horses, is there a difference and what is it?

    I described the pony to a friend as "forward", he's a Saddlebred cross and the trainer calls him "game", and then of course there is "hot".

    Are there differences? If so, what?
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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  • #2
    I would consider my horse "forward." As in, when he is trotting, cantering, or galloping he likes to GO! Not a push along. However, he is not ramped up "ready to go" at all times, which is what I consider a "hot" horse. I dont know what game is...?
    Barn rat for life

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    • #3
      I think of forward vs game as the forward horse has a pretty big motor that is occasionally hard to turn off, vs a game horse goes where and when asked, can generally take a joke (usually me), but turns off when asked.

      Hot is hot and most definitely out of my realm
      \"Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.\" Anne of Green Gables

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      • #4
        I think of forward as willing to move forward without much urging, game to be forward and sensitive but also not easily upset no matter what you ask of them - just takes what you ask of them and does not worry even when working in a 'changeable' environment.

        To me, hot is sensitive, prone to not being so 'game' to deal with unpredictability or changing it up rapidly, more prone to spook or otherwise react.

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        • #5
          I don't use 'game' but 'fearless'. Steady-Eddie types are game. A horse can be forward *and* fearless/game i.e. you better be a competent rider or the horse will be running the show, but they are not spooky or flighty. One of my favorite mares is in this category -- she'll go anywhere and won't back down but she does not suffer fools.

          Game+Hot=Aggressive in my book, so not a good thing.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ReSomething View Post
            I described the pony to a friend as "forward", he's a Saddlebred cross and the trainer calls him "game", and then of course there is "hot".

            Are there differences? If so, what?
            I think 'game' is more of a saddlebred term than 'forward'. I don't think I've heard a saddleseat/saddlebred trainer use 'forward', at least no one over 40. There is also a variation on the theme - "runaway game" which I've heard many saddlebred peeps use over the years. Usually the people with knots tied into the reins so they have something to hang to.
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            • #7
              My horse is always hot, by my definition. There are many definitions people use, some pretty derogatory whereas it's not an insult how I use it. He has high energy, and when he is also forward all movement comes from me allowing his constant requests to go forward, rather than from me asking him to move. He runs a lot on his own and plays in his pen to expend excess energy. Some people include spookiness when defining hot, and by those definitions my horse is not hot AT ALL.

              My last QH was extremely forward. He was a total mellow packer who did well in WP, but as soon as you touched him asking for anything faster he very happily did it and maintained it until you asked him to slow. My mom's very lazy Friesian cross is actually quite forward when in shape - in front of the leg and happy to go forward, and if you ask too strongly will jump forward into whatever you're asking for. My hot TB is not always forward, as he has a tendency to put all that energy into sucking back behind your leg, and in that case requests for forward can result in bucking/rearing rather than forward.

              Game is a term I've heard more in use as a horse wants to play along and do whatever you're asking, happy to try. It looks like that has many definitions, too.
              Originally posted by Silverbridge
              If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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              • #8
                Well this is just what happens in my own little head but to me,

                Forward: means horse responds promptly to the leg and then continues to propel itself in the forward direction, at the gait of my choosing, without me having to constantly nag, until such time as I ask horse to do something else.
                Active behind: means forward, but also that the hind end is working properly.
                Hot: Means the horse is VERY quick off the aids, sometimes even imaginary aids. generally when I think of hot, I also think of a personality type, not just a state of being.
                Reactive: Can mean hot, but can also mean super well trained -- probably trained to a level beyond my skill as a rider -- or maybe a kind way of saying spooky.
                Game: I don't hear this much, but it makes me think the horse is hard working, mentally present, and willing to rise to the challenge of what he's asked.

                JMO!!

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                • #9
                  Hot is when you ride your horse but aren't progressing as well as you like.
                  Forward is the same horse described in your sales ad aimed at eventers.
                  Game is what you say about the same horse to a potential buyer who is a novice with grand plans.

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                  • #10
                    I think of "Hot" as the ones with an "on" switch that's never "off."
                    "Forward" means he likes to go and you don't have to "pedal."
                    "Game" means he's always working WITH you and never AGAINST you.

                    Must say that "Forward" and "Game" with a BRAIN and self-preservation instinct is the VERY best kind to have for eventing, trail, and foxhunting!

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                    • #11
                      From a "work" point of view:

                      I see hot as "isn't getting nearly enough miles, might need manners first", forward as "getting enough miles, time for slower detail and different riders" and game as "getting plenty of work with plenty of riders, only touch up"...but that's just me

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
                        I think of "Hot" as the ones with an "on" switch that's never "off."
                        "Forward" means he likes to go and you don't have to "pedal."
                        "Game" means he's always working WITH you and never AGAINST you.

                        Must say that "Forward" and "Game" with a BRAIN and self-preservation instinct is the VERY best kind to have for eventing, trail, and foxhunting!
                        ^^ This!! I enjoy forward and game. Hot is, to me, just plain terrifying. I think of it as "how good is the off switch". My mare is very forward around XC, but as soon as we cross the finish line she drops her head to graze...sometimes before I can get off... I do not consider her hot...
                        "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ibex View Post
                          ^^ This!! I enjoy forward and game. Hot is, to me, just plain terrifying. I think of it as "how good is the off switch". My mare is very forward around XC, but as soon as we cross the finish line she drops her head to graze...sometimes before I can get off... I do not consider her hot...
                          I love hot and forward in my horse.... don't think I would on a horse I didn't know. He always has brakes, and if forward isn't going upward - but instead has his best gaits and super responsiveness, and if he leaps into the air it's more like jumping a small crossrail than anything disturbing. But I trust him not to be spooky even if hot, and looooooove the responsiveness.

                          On a strange horse I didn't know would have brakes when requested, the feeling I get from him would probably scare the crap out of me.
                          Originally posted by Silverbridge
                          If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                          • #14
                            I hear "game" most often used in the Saddle Seat world.
                            I take it to mean that the horse is ready to go, but sensible.

                            Hot to me means they are reactive and sensitive. I'll take a game horse over a hot horse any day.
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                            • #15
                              I think that there are some horses that can fit under more than one of those categories. For me "hot" can mean a lot of things. Like my horse is very mercurial, and is chill as can be one day and wild the next. On his "off" days I would consider him a hot ride, since once something whips him up he can't wind down. He isn't a spook, and is very brave, but he is certainly not an easy ride a lot of the time, but he is also a very "game" horse in that he doesn't back down and is very brave. He won't refuse a jump, no matter how creepy it is, and he always tries to do well, even if he is acting a little wacky. He is a good, honest ride with no dirty tricks, which I appreciate.
                              For me, a "forward" horse is just one with a motor. The first pony I ever leased was a good example of a forward horse. She took basically no leg, and would travel at a good clip, but she still had brakes and would slow down if you asked. She was an ideal first lease pony for me when I was little, since I got used to speed, but not in a scary way since it wasn't like she was out of control galloping around like a maniac. Like my horse now, I would also classify her as "game".

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                              • #16
                                I think of forward as a great motor and not needing much of an aid to go. Is typically in front of the leg.

                                Hot to me would be more reactive and more sensitive to all aids. May not be forward, but reacts (and not neccssarily in a good way) to real or imagined aids or stimulus.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Game is sort of an old fashioned way to say "willing", such as "I'm game to try that" and it shows up in the ASB sales catalogs as a descriptor a lot, but I tried googling it and got a lot of game playing type information, it's also not really common outside the SS world, but I sort of understood it.

                                  It was the distinction between "forward" and "hot" that my friend made recently, she said she'd ridden forward but not hot, and "forward" was a relatively new to me phrase that I hadn't heard at my original re-riding barn and certainly never when I was a kid. My SS trainer hadn't ever heard of "forward", nor "takes up your leg" (which is a whole nother thread I guess).

                                  Thanks for the responses, it's very educational.
                                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                  Incredible Invisible

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by netg View Post
                                    Game is a term I've heard more in use as a horse wants to play along and do whatever you're asking, happy to try. It looks like that has many definitions, too.
                                    That's my perception of game, too.

                                    I wonder if this positive perception of "game" is a regional or generational thing? I'm originally from the Midwest and in my early 50s, and I've never considered game to have a negative connotation.
                                    Last edited by laskiblue; May. 10, 2013, 12:24 AM. Reason: additional thought

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                                    • #19
                                      I use game to mean willing, brave with great heart.

                                      My TB was seriously game. Point him at a fence and he attacked it (so glad he is eventing now!) He was also very forward (trotting along, just sitting and driving a little with the seat and he'd leap into canter). He was not terribly hot, in that he did want to go forward but wasn't spooky. A little quirky, though. Had he come off the track younger I think he would have been an UL event horse.

                                      My QH is not forward, is not hot, and is not "game". He is willing enough, and does try things when he is asked the question, but his answer is never "I'm *so* on that!"...it's more of an "okay, I'll try it if you really want". His default gait is standing still. The gal I bought him from used giant spurs on him, so I'm doing some re-education to the leg.

                                      I had an Arab years ago who was hot, game, and forward. He jumped anything, loved to gallop, and the best description I can think of to describe riding him was like riding a superball. He was a very very difficult ride, but at the time I was fearless. He was the horse that really taught me to be quiet in the saddle, because just looking in a different direction too aggressively was known to boing you across the ring!

                                      I had a Draftx who was hot and reactive but *not* game and not forward. He was the balkiest, most difficult horse to ride. Vetted out the wazoo, and no one could find a thing wrong with him. Blech. He was an angry angry horse, for some reason. I still suspect there was *something* that hurt, but we could never find it...or the memories of something hurting while ridden were just too hard for him to get over.

                                      So that's how I use the different terms. The gamest horse I ever owned was that TB. You really got the feeling with him that if you asked him to do something, he'd try to the death to do it for you.

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                                      • #20
                                        Oh! And I had a TB years ago who was hot and forward but not game. She was the spookiest, speediest horse ever, but if you pointed her at something and she was the least bit unsure about it she would dump you and run out in a hot minute. That one took some patience. I later discovered that she was rushing fences because she was terrified and managed to train some of that out of her, but you never knew when she was going to spook hard or explode because something wasn't right. Her back *always* felt tense and hard.

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