Barn sour, rearing horse

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Barn sour, rearing horse

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  • 1 Post By NaeNae87
  • 1 Post By TessaMay
  • 2 Post By BreakableRider

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    08-18-2013, 04:45 PM
Barn sour, rearing horse

I need tips on dealing with a barn sour horse who has started rearing to try to get out of things. I have been riding for 13 years and have dealt with a number of problem horses, but never had to deal with one who rears. She has just started this bad habit and I want to nip it in the bud.

For those of you who have dealt with stubbornly rearing horses before, what methods did you use? My mare isn't frightened, it's obviously just stubbornness and trying to get me to let her go back to the barn: the rear is slow and I can easily keep my seat, but I'm definitely not ok with this behavior.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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    08-18-2013, 10:57 PM
I had a mare given to me that reared when she did not want to do something, she was so bad when I got her she went straight up in the air and would fall over. The first thing I did was a lot of ground work to gain her respect and trust on the ground. I did lots of obstacle work to keep her thinking, I worked her up the road where I planned on riding her, in the beginning she would not even be lead up the road. I got her flexing really good on the ground with just the halter and lead rope both sides. Then when I started riding her I did a lot of flexing from the saddle to make sure I could her nose any time I wanted it. From there I started riding the trails a lot. I rode with mecate reins which was important because any time she balked and a foot came off the ground I jumped off and put her feet to work hard. I lunged her in circles, through ditches, side to side, then got back on and went on our way. The first couple rides I was on and off a lot, but she finally figured out that anytime she tried to rear she had to work harder. Eventually I could just flex her nose around to my boot, stand and flex a few times to get her thinking about then she would go on. I got my mare past the rearing, and you can too but you have to be very thorough and ready to respond when she does. But the propensity will always be there, when ever she does not want to do something that will be her go to move. Gaining her respect on the ground and showing her you can move her feet is important, and teaching to flex is one of the best things to do she can't rear if her nose is on your boot, and her feet are moving forward. The same thing for the barn sourness, put her feet to work where she wants to be and let her rest away from that area. Where ever she has her fit work her there, you cannot make a horse do something they don't want to do. So make it her idea to leave the barn when she needs air other places start looking like a better place to be.

Be careful never let yourself get in front of her so you don't struck by front legs, or landed on. My mare would have a temper tantrum and would rear straight up and run backwards on her hind legs, talent if your in the circus I suppose but not at my house. She did turn into a great trail horse though. If you don't feel up to the challenge I highly recommend finding someone to help you, rearing is very dangerous and can escalate quickly once they figure it out. Good luck and be safe.
    08-18-2013, 11:19 PM
For the rearing, get control of the hindquarters by getting your horse yielding them.
For the barn sour part it's the same deal as the New Horse That Fights Me thread, If your horse wants to be by the barn that's ok, but under one condition you put his feet to work. After a little bit of work ask them if they'd like to walk away nice and easy, if they do that's good, then go, if not that's ok too, put them back to work. Set it up so they want to do what you want, but never fight them.
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    08-19-2013, 01:54 AM
Thanks, Gssw5 you gave me some good ideas how to proceed. I already do a lot of ground work with her at home because she's the kind of horse who wants to be in charge so she's always needing reminders that I'm in charge, not her. I will try ground work on the trails though, I think that sounds like something that will really work for her.

Two things are lucky about this situation: 1) she has just started this bad behavior so it's not super ingrained yet and 2) she's very lazy about her rearing, no straight up or dancing around. The way she fights me on trails is by refusing to move. I would almost rather she danced around

I'm sure I can train this out of her myself, once I get a method for doing it, I just wasn't sure where to start since I'd never dealt with this problem before. She is a very smart horse and learns quickly, but her best talent is learning how to walk all over anyone who isn't confident with her so I always have to make sure to kill any bad behavior right away. If I do find that she's not responding to my efforts I will reach out to a trainer though -- it's most important that she remains a decent horse citizen
    08-19-2013, 04:58 AM
You need to get her moving forward. My TB is a rearer. When he is nervous, unsure or is just plain being an a$$hat he will do a little rocking horse canter type thing before he goes up. I have had to let him have his head and get him forward. If he is forward, he can not slow down to rocking horse or go up.

As he is off the track, he is not keen on whips so I use spurs due to him also being a lazy little bugger on top of being a rearer. I find flexion, counter flexion and lots and lots of forward helps a lot.

It is not a quick fix. He got worse before he got better (as in he flipped himself over and had a bit of soft tissue injury). You need patience and timing but you can improve it. Do it sooner rather than later because rearing is not only scary, but it is really dangerous.
EvilHorseOfDoom likes this.
    08-19-2013, 01:48 PM
If I could get her moving forward than I wouldn't be having this problem

She plants her feet and will not move forward, sideways or circle, only back or up. I cannot make her move if she doesn't want to, she's a 1600lb horse and I'm much smaller. I can get her to move from the ground though, so that's why I'm thinking the ground work on the trail that gssw5 suggested will work well for her. I just need to teach her that if I have to get off because she's not moving, then she is going to have to work WAY harder.
franknbeans likes this.
    08-19-2013, 10:26 PM
Originally Posted by TessaMay    
If I could get her moving forward than I wouldn't be having this problem

She plants her feet and will not move forward, sideways or circle, only back or up. I cannot make her move if she doesn't want to, she's a 1600lb horse and I'm much smaller. I can get her to move from the ground though, so that's why I'm thinking the ground work on the trail that gssw5 suggested will work well for her. I just need to teach her that if I have to get off because she's not moving, then she is going to have to work WAY harder.
Yep that was ticket with my mare make her work way harder if you have to get off, keep in mind you have three seconds to correct the behavior so she understands why she is working hard. I kept my mecate through my belt loop and as I was swinging off I had the line in my hand and set her to work before my feet hit the ground. Make sure you have a plan and your ready, let her commit to the mistake then get her moving, do lots of changing directions. Since she has just started with little rears you should only have to do it a couple times before she puts two and two together. Be safe.
    08-19-2013, 11:30 PM
One thing that might be helpful is to think of rearing as one giant no to you. So start examining everything you do with her and don't let her get away with a thing. For you to be an effective leader you need to be consistent.

Rearing is usually caused by a horse wanting to go somewhere the rider doesn't or a lack of forward.

First she needs to be able to flex and disengage her hindquarters. You also need to be able to put pressure on her without her protesting.

To fix this you will be doing a bunch of very basic things so you'll want to be in either a snaffle or a bitless option like a side pull. I also like to have a dressage whip to make sure I have an aid to back up my leg.

At this point you are no where ready to be on the trails, you ned to go back to basics and go to a round pen or the very least arena.

When you start riding, mount with her head tipped toward you and start in roundpen if you can. Then flex each direction. When she will flex without thinking about moving her feet and has her attention on you (pay attention to her ears.). The next step is disengaging her hindquarters. Flex, slide your leg back and press your calf, if she doesn't move back it up with your whip.

It does NOT count if she crosses over behind. If you are disengaging to the left you want the hind left leg to cross over in front of the hind right leg.

An important thing to note that if you are encountering problems do not escalate the pressure, keep it the same or she will likely do the same.

It may be exceedingly boring for a few rides because you will be staying at each step until it's great.

If she won't stand for mounting she is totally out of control at the stand still so why should you go further until that's good? If she can't flex without wanting to move around she's out of control etc. You want the tools to fix your problems before they occur basically and that's what all of these basics do.

Since rearing is a lack of forward, avoid asking for a walk from a standstill. Disengage her hindquarters and have her moving off your leg nice then let her walk out of it by releasing her head. You will be allowing forward while those hinds are still crossed behind so going up won't be an option.

Just practice those few things for the first part of the ride. Flex, disengage then walk around on a loose rein. You're only focusing on forward for now and getting control of her hip so just let her walk around wherever.

You'll see that she will gravitate to a certain area which is fine. Flex her around there and disengage her hindquarter. Use your whip to annoy her, tap, tap, tap on her butt for a few circles. Then when she is pointing away from that area let her walk forward.

You will making the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy. You'll be teaching her to make the right choices without a big rearing fight.

If at any point you're riding around and you notice she is getting anxious and tense bend her around and get her relaxed, the same if she gets distracted.

Again you are NOT steering at this point. Trying to get her to go somewhere at this point can result in a rear. You don't ave a solid base to correct this yet.

When you are walking around relaxed, can flex and disengage then you're ready for trotting.

Cluck, give a squeeze with your legs then a light tap. Do not get progressively harder, just keep the pressure till you get a trot. The INSTANT she offers to speed up, quit. You need to give her a right answer if you keep on her even when she goes there will be no point in her being good.

At this point you are only saying, go when I ask later when THAT is good, when she breaks to a walk, immediately ask again.
EvilHorseOfDoom and NaeNae87 like this.

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