Join Date: May 2007
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
I don't doubt that a young horse can learn to rear on command - what I worry about is that it could interfere with the finishing (additional training) of that young horse. In experienced hands, I don't think it would really be much of an issue, but someone with less years starting and finishing horses, might encounter issues they are not prepared to deal with.
When preparing for a spin, the horse should set back on the hind (like in the rear), free up/lighten up/pick up the front (like in a rear), and the rider should take up contact (like in a rear). There are of course many subtle differences in the cues and one major difference - the spin asks for energy in a direction while the rear asks for energy upwards. BUT, do you see what I am trying to get across - that a less experienced rider and green horses may not understand these subtle cue differences, and a wreck, bad habits, scared rider, or scared horse could then follow??
When I was teaching my 5 year old stallion (he is not green when it ocmes to hours, and has a very wide and solid base of training - he is in the refining stage) to do spins, he realized, "she wants my front feet up and moving, so he began to rear up when I cued him for a spin. I worked through it with him in a couple of sessions, but would it have been more confusing for him if he had already been taught to rear?
I think it would be neat to teach him that on command, but I think if I were to do it, I would like him to have all of his skills down very solidly, and be a couple of years more mature first. Even then, what if I geld him one day, and want to have younger kids ride him... would they accidentally cue him to rear and freak out, in turn freaking him out, maybe pull him over backwards?
The barn near us has a horse who knows how to rear, and they were playing around with her, cueing her to rear at a show. A few minutes later they took her into a trail class and couldn't get her to do the back through obstacle because she kept rearing instead. It was obviously mixed communication between horse and rider, and turned out to be really funny (nobody was scared or hurt).
Sorry to blab so much, I am just sharing some thoughts. I don't think I am pro or con rear... I just think on an older horse is better, and taught by an experienced trainer. I also think it has to be the right personality horse, and in a situation where inexperienced riders will not accidentally cue the rear.