Originally Posted by RubaiyateBandit
My gelding, Dante, just has no patience.
He'll rarely stand still for anything longer than a few minutes, and when I try to correct him, he just starts rearing.
A horse that rears up has sticky feet. Work on your go forward (think forward) cue. Meaning, if he's thinking up, it's cause he's being a horse...reacting to whatever (doesn't matter) and nature says go up. So, just teach him instead to think forward. Work on teaching him to go forward at all gaits on command.
Bare with me, there's more....this is just step one for a horse that rears....
An example: Today, I was brushing him out. He was content playing with his lead rope for awhile, and then he just started moving around. Swinging his back end away from me, or reaching around to nuzzle at me or something. I untied him and signaled for him to back up by tugging back on his leadrope, (this is what I've always done with 2-Pak and Bandit to get them to stand still), and he took a few steps backward, stopped, and tossed his head about before turning to face me.
this is why backing a horse that you want to stand still isnt' a fool proof plan. It might work with some horses, might not with others. I'd forget about backing him especially in the form of punishment.
Instead teach him to stand still. Stop his feet.
Hold the lead closest to the halter in your left hand (you're standing at his left), be sure to take it with about a foot or so of distance between your hand and the halter snap.
Take out the slack. Point it at the hip. Lock it there, don't pull. Don't jerk. Just lock your hand there.
With your right hand, twirl the end of the lead line at the hip (counter clockwise) twirl it with gusto to make the line whirl. Anything less is too weak.
When he moves his hip over (no forward movement), he'll cross his back feet, and his front end will stop.
This is a cue for him to stand still. Because you are stopping forward movement. You are disengaging his hip. You are taking his balance and redirecting his movement. You are preventing a rear up. You are also in charge of the hips which is the main engine of the horse's body. Control the hip on the ground and in the saddle and you've got full charge of the horse. Don't, and you have problems.
Soon as he plants his front feet (his front foot closest to you...the left, if you're standing at his left) will plant and pivot as you drive the hip away. When this happens and his back feet cross and his hip moves over, give him a release of pressure. Meaning, stop all twirling and put the lead down.
Let him rest for a moment. And go back to grooming. He moves his feet, repeat the whole thing. Repeat til he decides that moving = work and you direct his feet. And standing still is easiest = release of pressure.
He will do whatever gives him a release of pressure. That's all he knows. If you train him this way, you'll teach him where to find the release: By standing still.
I moved to make him back up again, and he reared up. I pulled him down, then pulled his head all the way to the ground, letting him stand like that. When he stayed calm and still, I rewarded him and went to continue grooming him, his lead still in hand
Stop thinking about punishment. Don't pull his head ever. Anytime you pull on a lead line, you're pulling on a rein, you're teaching him to resent and to ignore pressure, to be heavy.
Instead, you've got the right idea about putting his head down. BUT do it like this:
If he rears up, wait til he comes back down. Leave him alone when he rears. He's reacting, not thinking. When he comes down, move his hips like I mentioned above and then apply slight downward pressure (take out the slack, don't pull) on the lead just below the snap.
If he ignores that, rock his head gently side to side.
If he raises his head, go with it, but don't add more pressure.
Soon as he drops his head even one inch, LET GO.
Repeat til he's dropping his head to the dirt every time you start to take out the slack on the line.
He'll learn there's a release down there, not up (rear). And he'll choose not to rear up anymore, but instead to relax and keep his head even with the withers or if you ask...lower. This is a calm down/head down cue.
. Awhile later, he repeated the entire episode, and I began to lunge him rather than continue grooming. He refused to go at anything slower than a trot, and then suddenly just stopped and tried to walk away. I brought him back and tried to get him going again, and he reared. The rest of the attempted lunging session pretty much went that way.
All the stuff that you did is teaching him to resent pressure and to think of it as a pain in the butt, not something he cares to figure out. So, if you turn it around now, you won't let this escalate to even more.
Above all, keep your emotions out of it. If you're angry, your negative emotions will show through your actions and he'll go right into defense (rear up, pull away, maybe push into you)....
Really practice the hip exercise. Both sides. This will teach him to bend his body, relax his neck, relax to pressure. And he'll stop all the negative stuff. It's not a cure all, but it does set you and him both up for success. It's a great start.
He never actually pins his ears or starts flicking his tail or acts in any way agressive. He just seems to think he's playing.
he's not playing. He's telling you that he's not afraid of you and he doesn't think much of how you are handling things. You don't want him to be afraid, you want him to know what you want and to not push against or pull away from pressure, but to give/relax to it.
Is there anything I'm doing wrong, or should be doing? Is there anything I can do to get him to stop rearing long enough to at least attempt to lunge him? I considered using hobbles, but I'm not sure if that would help at all.
Don't use hobbles. Or try to force him to submit by restricting him, instead learn how to use pressure properly and more so, the release.
Any suggestions would be helpful. His rearing issue has been going on for nearly a year, and I'm consistantly correcting him, and rewarding him for standing calmly.
This is exactly why punishment doesn't work. Forget about correcting him and instead teach him what you do want him to do, stop wasting your time and energy on what you don't want him to do.
Instead of "no no no no no no no no"
Tell him: do this. Get the release here. Do that. Get the release there.
He's just confused and frustrated with how you are handling him and so he goes to instinct. He's being normal. So, you've got to teach him that if he responds to training (relax and give to pressure) he'll get the release of pressure he wants and he'll get it without the stress of rearing and all that stuff....then and only then, will he choose to listen to training.
Hope this helps