Rearing all of a sudden
Any ideas as to how I can best manage this problem?
This is an Elementary Level Dressage horse, who's been an absolute gentlemen the enitre 8 years I've owned him. Love him to bits - wouldn't even think about bucking, rearing ro anything, never answers back just goes with the flow ect...
Had a few minor 'spooks' while out in the bush riding, and now he's decided that stopping in his tracks, reversing backwards rather quickly and even rearing - is a good idea!
Of course I'm using a hell of a lot of leg, seat ect and I will use the schooling whip because he is NOT to back up and start rearing - I want him going fwd. It's really shaking my confidence now.
Not sure how to tackle this. Any ideas??
Have you changed anything? Bit, saddle, anything like that? Is there any constancey on where hes doing this, the same place in the woods or is it all different. Has he had any injuries lately?
If the above answer is no i would go back to ground work on the go forward cue.
definitely do ground work and work on cueing him to go forward, and I would use a german martingale so he can't elevate his head and rear.
The second your horse even thinks about hesitating, surpentine him. This means that you feel a change in energy from him, you sit back, and direct his hind quarters from left to right. If you wanted his hind end to take a step left, you raise your right hand straight up in the air., and bump him over with your right leg. If you pull it outwards, or back, you will leave a door open for his shoulder to bulge left. In which case, he might take that rein and run with it, his shoulder leading the way to disaster. By raising your hand straight upwards it communicates clearer to your horse's hind end. The second he takes a step left, you release immediately and do it to the right. The need to get louder or more energetically aggressive is up to your horses response. While doing this, he should all the while be taking steps forward as his hind end is moving from left to right. In doing this, you change the weight from his hind end ( enabling him to rear) to his front end. A horse has the power to rear if its weight is in the back. So, you keep the back end moving. The second you feel him resolve into taking a true step forward, you release everything and let him walk on. This take tremendous timing, and could take as long as it takes. There is no guideline for how long you do this. Practice makes better timing. So long as you keep his hind end moving around either from left to right or around in a small circle he will not have the power to rear. My advice to you, however, is that if your horse resolves to going forward you allow him to do so, and then serpentine him some more. Doing it a tad past his point of submission it will take less time the next time.
Before you head out to the trail, practice a bit in the arena to make sure your horse knows the cue to move his hind end from left to right.
Remember, this exersize is not intended for it to be punishment. You will help your horse work out that it's easier to move forward then to pull naughty tricks. Its an extremely useful tool that I often use and it works wonders if done correctly. If there s someone that you know that knows this, or understands, have them help you. Martingale's are a big no-no when dealing with this type of behavior. Your horse obviously feels uncomfortable enough that he thinks he needs to leave. By restricting his head down it will only make him more dangerous.
I really hope this works. Its a complicated exersize, which is why it took so much to explain it. Let me know if you have any further questions or would like me to explain a certain something more clearly.
* Keep the weight off his hind end, and on his front, so that is is physically impossible for his front end to elevate! *
Oh, had another idea. :) If there is a horse that doesnt have any common issues, pony your horse from that one. If you have a western saddle you can use or borrow, you can use that horse to pull your horse along. The more you ride around in that sort of enviroment while your horse follows the lead of another, he'll get more confident. Use a longer rope than just a halter rope so that if he pulls away from you you still have a hold. Like I said earlier, practice this in the arena/round pen before you head out.
Thanks that was great advice :)
Although I'm a tiny bit confused about the arms up in the air part. So you're saying that I shift his hind end around with my leg aids almost like a turn on the forehand? But my arms?? Not sure what I do with these.
The weight back onto the forehand makes sense.
At the moment, he just halts (and I feel the weight immediately transfer on the back end and his back hollows out - in other words the classic pre-rear) and then he automatically begins turning his hind. My reaction to this is to keep turning him with my legs around in a circle so he's continually facing the direction he doesn't want to. Even if it means turning several times: I don't want him facing the way home. Not sure if that helps or hinders?
Last time he did it, I trotted for a few steps in the opposite direction, got some impulsion happening then cantered onto a circle, changed the rein a few times then cantered back out onto a straight line (with plenty of gutso) in the direction he was originally refusing to go in. At the time, it just sort of made sense (and it worked).
What do you think?
haha, sorry that was unclear. WHen you move his butt to the left, you use a bit of right rein, right? So instead of pulling back towards your hip, or out away from his neck,(which will allow his left shoulder to bulge left) lift your hand up. Does that make sense? So instead, pull on the rein like you're lifting a glass to cheer with, straight upwards. It wont have to be very high, depending on your horse. The higher your hand, the more movement you'll get in the back (with leg of course). It might only take you raising it slightly, you'll have to play around. Its just a more clear messege and is leaves no room for anything but the butt to move. That way you dont have to beat around the bush. :)
When he stops, and turns his hind end, i m m e d i a t e l y turn his butt the other direction. So that you are constantly contradicting his decisions. Not only is this a willingness exersize, it also gives your horse a clear, constructive, firm direction that he can follow, and learn to trust you instead of deciding for himself.
I would avoid ( if possible) the whole circles, as it ma give him a gateway to the rear unless you're on top of his steps every second of the way. Keeping his front end pointed in the direction he doesnt want to go is key, like you said. Just move his but from left to right, left to right. Once he takes a step forward, release immediately for a second, then continue on. You want to feel that all of the sudden he wants to take you past the point he was refusing, rather than you making him. If he scurries past, thats ok. Just walk on for a few then turn around and do it all over again.
Say you're trying to move his butt right but he just wont budge. You might carry a stick and pop him on the right side of his hind end until he takes a step, then switch again. Whips come in handy.
I hope that clears some things up. You def. have the right idea. Its that he's being a little naughty, yes, but prob. insecure. So if you handle this with the approriate intensities or softness, he'll resort to just moving forward. :D
Good luck! (remember to always be looking up and ahead of you, so if he pulls any spontaneous acrobatics you're ready!)
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