Horse Temperament: How to handle a Fire Horse meltdown

Does your Fire horse occasionally have a meltdown? My Fire mare,Cerise, sure had one yesterday. Cerise is typical of this horse temperament type, sensitive and emotional. Things have been a little hectic at my house with five baby goats being born in the last week. The latest triplets have had a hard time nursing and I have been having to bottle feed them. Cerise is sensitive the nervous energy around the new babies and maybe even a bit jealous of the attention they are getting.

Here is the setup for a Fire horse meltdown:

General tension in air
Unusual weather conditions
Lots of noise and activity
A beginner rider

On top of high emotions, windy, wet conditions and hurt feelings, we attempted to participate in the annual Texas Star trail ride. I have ridden Cerise in this ride before and although she did not like the slow pace and loud wagons she has come through for me. Yesterday my friend Rich was riding Cerise and when she started to get upset he was not able to adequately support her.

Rich has spent a lot of time with Cerise in the past 8 months and as a willing Fire horse temperament she has taught him so much. Rich and Cerise have a great relationship. I had hoped she would be able to fill in for Rich’s lack of experience and handle the ride but I was not surprised when that did not happen.

Cerise started out wanting to rush into a trot but Rich stayed calm. When Cerise has behaved this way with me I have directed her feet with multiple direction changes and lateral work but still allowed her to move as she needed to release tension. Rich did not have the experience to do this and Cerise became more unruly to the point of being dangerous. With safety the most important concern, we aborted the ride and walked home.

Later at dinner the theories were abounding on why Cerise acted the way she did. Several wondered if she was spoiled or barn sore but one trainer got it right. Cerise was overwhelmed! Too much emotion, stimulation and responsibility sent her over the edge. As a Fire horse temperament Cerise wants to please and she has stepped up for me on several occasions when I needed her to be tough so I don’t consider her spoiled.

When Cerise gets overwhelmed I have learned to support her by directing her feet in a specific way but not forcing her to slow her feet. I do circles, serpentines, leg yields, and turns on the forehand and hindquarters. I keep my cool. As soon as she slows down I let her walk straight. I talk to her and tell her she is OK.

Steps for preventing or reversing a Fire horse meltdown:

Stay calm yourself
Direct the feet in a meaningful way but don’t try to slow the motion down
Talk to the horse in a reassuring way
Get off if the situation is not safe

Not every Fire horse temperament has this kind of extreme meltdown but Cerise is half racing thoroughbred so she comes by her hot nature in an honest way. I love Cerise for her sensitive, intelligent and willing nature even if I don’t always enjoy her emotional moments. In this case I am the one to blame for putting her in a situation she could not handle.

Five-Element Temperament Type Resources
Want to know more about the Five-Element temperament typing system? Want to type you or your horse at no cost? Check out these resources below:

Horse Harmony Test website

Horse Personality Type Information

Horse Personality Type Book

Horse Personality Type Ebooks

Horse Personality Type Educational Audios

Horse Personality Case Studies

We also have some Five Element Audios of actual case histories and discussion of each horse temperament type. Real life cases are a great way to gain understanding of Five Element typing.

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