Rearing...
 
 

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Rearing...

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  • Horse rearing when taking halter off
  • Frustrated rearing horse

 
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    07-21-2009, 09:37 AM
  #1
Super Moderator
Rearing...

So my favorite camp horse ever (he loves me as much as I love him, it's adorable) has developed a little bit of a rearing problem in the last two months while I wasn't around camp.
He doesn't go high, only maybe a foot off the ground (he's about 13hh) but since they want to have campers ride him it's kinda an issue.
I checked everything I could think of that might be causing him pain: teeth, saddle, bit (it's a snaffle), his back, hooves, etc and I noticed that he does have his wolf teeth so I tried riding him in his halter but there was no difference between riding him in his halter or in his actual bridle, except that he had better brakes and steering in the bridle.

I rode him for about 30 minutes and he reared 5 or 6 times and at first I just made an angry noise, pushed him forward and had him go back where he was when he reared. Then I started smacking him in the neck too because he's one of those horses who don't want to be smacked at all so you never do and then when you do it it carries a lot of weight. It only took him a few more rears to figure out that he wasn't getting any where so he settled down and was perfect, w/t/c, for the next 20 minutes.

Basically, are there any exercises that I can do with him to help him behave himself? I think he's basically frustrated by the lack of one on one attention he's getting and about carting little dumb kids all over the place so he figured out a way to make the kids go away. I guess I need some ideas of how to help him work out his frustration. I'm planning in riding him a lot and letting him be my baby for the next week and hopefully that'll begin to straighten him out.

He's just so smart and it makes me so so sad that he's too short for me to buy and have it be a smart decision. Is there a magical horse growing potion out there? Lol
     
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    07-21-2009, 05:22 PM
  #2
Weanling
I simply will not tolerate a rearing horse, it is one of, if not THE most dangerous vices a horse can have.

This is going to sound way out there, but it works.

Take a wiffle ball bat (or plastic baseball bat that is hollow). Cut the end off it (not by the handle, but the other end). Carry it with you when you ride. If your horse rears, pop him right between the ears with it. It will not hurt your horse. What it does is make a loud noise that startles the horse back to the ground. And it makes the horse think he is actually hitting into something. They figure out quickly not to rear.

When I was young, a trainer at our barn used this on many horses. It only takes a few corrections and the horses all stopped rearing.
     
    07-21-2009, 05:28 PM
  #3
Yearling
Hey Wallaby,
Since you checked out all those thiings that could be aggrivating like saddle bit teeth, etc. I do think he could be a bit sour with camp kids...that is a for sure possibility.
When were his teeth floated last?
Does he have and foot isues or anything?

There are a few things that can be done with the "rearing horse"
I would if at all possible try to do so ground work...By the way has he reared on anyone while they were not riding??

My horse developed a rearing issue when he came to live here with me in his new home...He never had it at my parents place or anywhere else, but I knew it needed to be dealt with right away.

How old is this pony??

So...I had to reestablish who was the leader and in charge.
What I did was to get the horse moving forwards backwards left and right...
Yielding of the hind and forequarters...
Once I worked on those things the rearing went away. I also think he was not "settled" into his new home so time also helped.

Being that this pony is a camp pony I think the idea of you sort of taking him on and using him exclusivley for a while could help....
Maybe he needs some different activites to stimulate him more than being plodded around on by all the camp kids...

Well and right now with the rearing I would not put a child on him anyway...
Maybe he is more suited for a camp councelors pony...I am assuming that your sort of in that position...something along those lines to where you could be working with him and not the kids..

What kinds of stuff is he actually doing??? Trail rides, lessons english western???
Just wondering what kinds of activities he is already doing?

I know the rearing can be frustrating....And sometimes intimidating, so the best suggestion I have is do the ground work thing and see if he will give you more respect in the saddle...
I personally would not hit any horse on the poll becasue IMHO it just is not necessary nor is it safe...
Hope some others will join in and give ther advice!
HP
     
    07-21-2009, 07:35 PM
  #4
Trained
I do not suggest hitting a horse between the ears to get him to stop a rear... the one part of that suggestion I do agree with is teaching the horse to lower his head.

Teach this pony lateral flexion; take the slack out of one rein and pull it to your hip and hold it there until he gives, then release. You will do thise with both sides. In teaching him to give to the bit on both sides, he will have to lower his head, to give to whatever side you are asking him to. This is what you want. When he has giving to lateral pressure, and lowering his head at a standstill down, then start asking for it at a walk, then trot, and finally a canter; only advance as the horse progresses willingly and without fighting the pressure cues.

Instead of 'disciplining' a rear, try to ride him in such a manner that avoids getting him into a situation where he would want to rear.
     
    07-21-2009, 07:58 PM
  #5
Weanling
Using the wiffle bat will not cause injury, it makes a loud noise, (that's why you cut the end off the bat). You don't need to wham them with it, a quick pop and the noise makes the head drop like that.

I don't normally condone hitting a horse, period, but in a case of a rearing horse, it's best to end the rear ASAP before someone gets seriously hurt.

Also, if this horse does not belong to you, I don't feel you should be the one training/correcting this habit to begin with. Who owns the horse? If the camp owns the horse, it is up to the camp and/or owners to see to the horse's training, correction.
     
    07-21-2009, 09:40 PM
  #6
Green Broke
I could not agree with 7ponies more. Rearing is NOT acceptable and I have no problem whacking a horse between the ears when they are doing so. And really, its the camps horse, not yours. You could get introuble for punishing it even. There is a rule of thumb, if its not yours, its not your problem. Live by it that rule and youll save yourself alot of drama.
     
    07-21-2009, 11:11 PM
  #7
Super Moderator
Well see that's kinda the issue, the camp does not own this horse, he's part of a string of horses that are owned by an outfitter. The outfitter's way of dealing with problem horses is a really old school breaking the spirit type thing (or if they're really an issue, the feed lot is the other option) so I REALLY don't want to see that happen to this horse especially since he's the type to turn dangerous with that sort of treatment.
I worked with him today again and he did not try to rear once. I worked with him on opening gates from his back since he doesn't know how to set himself up to make that easy and it's a good trick and on top of that, it made him think really hard. And we w/t/c and on top of that I let him outside the corral area to graze which he absolutely loves and I let him be the brushing horse for the class we had, which he also loves.

7Ponies: I know a few horses that have been fixed that way and it worked for them but this horse is already very reactive and in the last 2 years I've basically taught him how to trust people again so I don't want to ruin that, yknow? I agree completely about not tolerating a rearing horse, that is a vice I hate to see as well. Thanks for the suggestion though! =)

Halfpass: I have no idea the last time his teeth were floated. They might have been done before the horses came to came this summer (unlikely) or they might have been done the last time he was owned by someone who cares (over 3 years ago or never seeing that he has his wolf teeth.) That's not something that the camp is willing to pay for either, I've checked for other horses that needed floating. =/
He actually has really really nice legs and feet. His only fault maybe that his knees do that thing where they're more to the inside than straight on his legs.. knock-kneed maybe? His hooves are a little long because the horses get shod before they come to camp and their feet aren't trimmed or anything until the end of the summer when they get home.
He has never reared on the ground, not even last summer when I gave him a bath and sprayed him in the face (he hates water.) Haha
No one knows how old he is. I'd say he's around 15ish because he's starting to look a bit older but his teeth are still pretty up and down ish. And he still has pep. Haha
Just using him as a wrangler horse presents problems too because the current wranglers do not want to use him as a wrangler horse, they have their favorites and since Shorty (that's "my" pony) is "annoying" (he just has a personality larger than he is) they all don't like him. I'm going to try to introduce the idea of having one of them be Shorty's "person" and have them work with him when he needs a "tune up" but I'm not sure how well that'll go.
The last few weeks, after he evident ally reared with a camper, he's just been sitting in the pasture. Generally he'd be doing trail rides for kids who know nothing about horses and being a western (he's definitely an english horse but liability issues say we can only have campers go western) lesson pony for kids in horse club who know next to nothing about horses.

Mom2pride: Yknow what's funny? I was actually working on lateral flexion with him today! He was terrible at it, but that means he needs to work his brain and learn it so yay! I also worked a little bit on teaching him an one rein stop because I figure that will probably be helpful for his brain and possibly deter rearing even more.


So pretty much, I'm not sure if he'll try rearing again, at least with me because he knows that I'm the big boss, he's just not so sure about the other wranglers and since they dislike him a lot they don't treat him like he's special and I'm pretty sure that he some how equates special treatment with the person giving him the special treatment's dominance, if that makes any sense.

We did try him out with a camper (she was really horse experienced and knew what to do if he did anything) today, just in the arena, and he did very well. He was kinda bummed and wanted me to cuddle with him and make the camper go away but he did not try to rear. I felt it was a little soon for that but I also figured that if he's not "fixed" by me giving him the what for yesterday, it's not going to change by me just riding him around and having him be perfect.

I have a picture for you guys because he's just so adorable:



Edit: .Delete.: I won't get in trouble for punishing him, it's in my job description to discipline the horses when it's needed. No worries. =)
     
    07-22-2009, 12:24 AM
  #8
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby    
I checked everything I could think of that might be causing him pain: teeth, saddle, bit (it's a snaffle), his back, hooves, etc and I noticed that he does have his wolf teeth so I tried riding him in his halter but there was no difference between riding him in his halter or in his actual bridle, except that he had better brakes and steering in the bridle.
If a horse's teeth are sharp, regardless if you ride him in a halter or a bit, those sharp points will still bother the inside of his cheeks and cause ulcers, his tongue can rub against the sharp points (he may get anxious about being ridden and pulled on and kicked by kids, thus, he works his tongue and it meets with the sharp points).....rearing. (even with a halter, he can still anticipate pain, so he braces and rears regardless)

There's no way around the teeth issue. If the people want to use him as a slave and not care for him properly....they should sell him to someone who can care for him properly. Period. Some horses will break down and deal with pain, others reach a breaking point and say, no more. Sounds like this fellow might of reached his.

Saddles....dude ranches and summer camps are notorious for using bad saddles because they're cheap. Be sure this really isn't the problem. Also, if he's cinched hard once and then ridden, this will cause chronic pain. If the people in charge don't want to bother taking care of this, again, they need to find someone who cares to take him instead. Because ill-fitting tack will cause more unwanted habits (biting, cow kicking, bucking, etc).

Quote:
I rode him for about 30 minutes and he reared 5 or 6 times and at first I just made an angry noise, pushed him forward and had him go back where he was when he reared. Then I started smacking him in the neck too because he's one of those horses who don't want to be smacked at all so you never do and then when you do it it carries a lot of weight. It only took him a few more rears to figure out that he wasn't getting any where so he settled down and was perfect, w/t/c, for the next 20 minutes.
If smacking him and making angry noises and punishing him worked, then he'd never of reared again. Clearly, it doesn't work. Because you're ignoring the real issue (pain or he might just be sick of being yanked on, kicked, etc. some horses just zone out and turn into dead heads and take the bad riders, other horses reach a breaking point and say enough).

Forget about punishment. Horses don't rear because they like to. They rear because there's a reason and if you want to keep working with this horse, then it's up to you to find out why and stop the issue there. Not band-aid it with predatory behavior (punishment).

Heavy handed riders who hold the reins tight and yank a horse around by the face will cause a horse to rear. The horse is fighting to escape the constant confusing, frustrating pressure. He braces. The rider kicks and pulls at the same time and the horse goes up. The rider freaks out and pulls harder, the horse goes up higher.

Bottom line is....this horse has been taught to brace against pressure and resist (aside from possible pain issues, which must be taken care of FIRST).....

Quote:
Basically, are there any exercises that I can do with him to help him behave himself?
He's behaving as he should. Horses push or pull against pressure naturally....to find an escape from it when there's no good riding/training going on that they can listen to. He's doing it to tell you that something is wrong.

Quote:
I think he's basically frustrated .... about carting little dumb kids all over the place so he figured out a way to make the kids go away.
You got that right. He's not the type to last at these summer camps/dude ranches because he refuses to be yanked and kicked and if his teeth are bad and the saddle is bad....well, he's doing his best to tell you that things much change for him to feel comfortable again. Get rid of the stimulus, and you get rid of the problem.

Quote:
I guess I need some ideas of how to help him work out his frustration. I'm planning in riding him a lot and letting him be my baby for the next week and hopefully that'll begin to straighten him out.
Yes and no. If the pain issue isn't dealt with first and elliminated...then you'll still have problems and they will get worse eventually. When that happens, please try and find him a better home or find a rescue to take him.

If you get rid of the possible pain issues.....then your riding must be LOOSE REIN and lots of serpentine, bending exercises....with clear pressure (never pulling but only taking out the slack) and total release when he responds correctly. Then he'd be better off being a wrangler horse not a dude horse.

Quote:
He's just so smart and it makes me so so sad that he's too short for me to buy and have it be a smart decision. Is there a magical horse growing potion out there? Lol
If you take him, you can always take care of his problems (pain and training) and then find him a good home.

Bottom line:

1) get rid of the possible pain
2) bending exercises.....one rein stops (the main point being picking up one rein and moving the hip....crossing the back feet and turning that into steering and stopping)
--when you can pick up a rein and cross those back feet easily, he can't rear and instead, he learns to give and relax to pressure. You're bending his body and taking out the tension and resistance.
--serpentines are great, too.
3) I should of put this one second:
Going forward on a total loose rein. Let him move out and find that comfort zone without getting in his way, or in his face. Get him going consistently, then worry about steering.....ideally, choose a wide open space to do this in. Once he's comfy, then do the serps and one rein stops and such.

Good luck. Maybe the owners can step up and do their job right and take care of the animals that are making them some money.
     

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