Horse & Rider Weekly #4: Slowing down a fast horse

I know this was supposed to be uploaded yesterday, but I was busy this week so I couldn’t upload it! Anyway, here it is now.

Admit it – we have all, at some point in our lives, been on a horse that scares the living daylights out of us. It really doesn’t matter when you are in an arena, but when you mount on, and your horse starts running at the speediest canter towards a barbed wire fence. Now that’s something to really make you scared. See, in an arena, you know you’re not going anywhere. Even if you do fall, it’s just on the floor in the arena, nothing dangerous. But out, when you’re approaching a barbed wire fence, thoughts can really flare up in your mind. And I’ve been in both the cases, so I decided to put up some tips for slowing down a speedy horse. Now, these are not for staying on, they are for slowing down.

Also, you got to determine whether your horse is naturally fast, or something is disturbing it and making it fast. If your horse is the former kind, you gotta sit back, relax, and know the fact that nothing can change it. Your horse is fast, and will remain fast. Deal with it. But if it is the latter kind, then there are some tips here that might help.


  1. Sit back in the saddle and straight. Put your weight in the saddle.
    This is indeed the most crucial part of slowing down a speedy horse. Put yourself in the horse’s shoes. Would it be easier for you to run faster if the person on top of you is sitting back and putting his weight on your back, or would it be easier for you to run faster if the person on top of you is sitting forward and isn’t putting any weight on you? Obviously the latter. Sit straight. Put your weight in the saddle. Remember though, DO NOT shorten your reins more and more. Something I always did, I learnt the hard way. In fact, lengthen the reins. Not too much that you’re holding the reins by the buckle, but lengthen it. See, if you had a metal thing pulling in your mouth harder and harder, wouldn’t you want to run away from it? Remember, I also learnt the hard way, I was doing everything I am writing now.. Also, one more thing. Relax. A horse is intelligent, and can realise when the rider is nervous or tensing up. As such, he won’t feel comfortable and he will be nervous, he thinks that you don’t know how to handle him correctly, due to that he’ll take you for a ride. Relax, breathe in, breathe out. Don’t stress.
  2. Pull & release (also knows as half halt)
    As its name sounds, you basically pull the reins, then release. Don’t hang in the mouth, just softly pull, then release. However, it’s important to remember that not all horses are trained for half halting. So it’s best to ask your trainer/instructor if the horse you’re riding is trained for half halt. Even in 1 yard, there could be horses who are trained differently. For example at Byerley Stables, Vanja (pronounced Vaan-yah; Dutch name), Pumpkin, and Shianne, will never slow with half halting. You really gotta pull, hang on till they slow down, then release. Dez, Olivia, Afro, and Dot, on the other hand, will only go faster if you hang on. Pull, and release right away. And you won’t master half halt at the first try, since all horses have different tendencies to respond to half halts. Some need a shorter pull, while others need a little longer. So it depends on the horse. Once again, best to ask your trainer/instructor how is the horse you’re riding trained for half halting.
  3. Make a circle
    Circling toward the inside can really help, no matter what kind of horse you’re riding. Think about it, you’re running a race. Will you be able to run faster if the track is straight, or will you be able to run faster if the track is a bunch of circles. Obviously the former. If your horse is going too fast, circle it to the inside. REMEMBER! DO NOT make a very tight circle, you’ll only injure the horse. Make a good wide circle, the horse is guaranteed to slow. It just can’t go faster. And one more thing, this tip also applies to a horse that is naturally fast, as it really can’t go that fast, so you can control it a little better.

Remember, also use your voice. Talk to your horse, comfort it verbally. Remember, talk to it in a comforting tone, not a scolding tone. Talk calmly to your horse, he’ll feel more comfortable with you on his back.

Thanks for reading and hope these tips help 🙂

Are you guys enjoying these horse & rider posts? Is there anything I can do to make them better? Please comment your thoughts below!

With that, see you guys next post 🙂


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