Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
I, personally, have yet to have a horse get headshy from me smacking at their heads when they flick it up or rear.
I actually take a crop or small stick and smack them in between their ears. If I don't happen to have either (for whatever reason) I'll yank their face around to my foot before they get high enough to become too unbalanced, but will use my hand on their poll if I don't catch it low enough, but they're still in the process of going up. Smacking their ears/head doesn't work (IME) if they're already up as far as they plan on going though.
I also don't use stirrups on a horse that rears, especially if the stirrups are narrow and hug my boot. I'd rather be able to jump straight off if they start to go over backwards than have to worry about my stirrups when I jump off to the side. I think that if I'm willing to work with rearers (because I am) that I should give myself the most safety precautions (aside from a helmet, but I have reasoning) to get the job done. I rode one of the best and most trainable horse ever, and he was a chronic rearer. He never went over, but he constantly reared as soon as you tried to switch up what you were doing, and he turned out to be a (decently, because I didn't have any more training time with him since his owner was moving to another barn) sane barrel horse. A 16.2h clydesdale x that ran a 16-17second barrel pattern at fair, and didn't rear at the gate or before a pattern. That horse is the only reason I'll work with a rearer, because of how successful I made him. If a horse is consistently going over backwards, I'll probably pass, but if they've never went over, I'm almost positive that I would grab at the chance to work with it.
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