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pioneergirl 05-19-2010 08:28 AM

Riding past the neighbor's......
Hello I'm new here, and other than the intro thread, this will be my first "official" post. Let me start by saying I haven't ridden in 20 years :shock: and just purchased a paint mare about 2 weeks ago. Its been a learning curve for sure.

When I first got her, she had to board at the neighbor's place for about 3 days. She was in the pasture with his mare and gelding, and in a separate pasture was his paint stallion. As you can imagine they talked a lot!

Anyway, after about 3 days we moved her to our pasture (fencing issues delayed her immediate living arrangement) and although she can still see him, he is a fair distance away. They still talk, but its the short long distance chats. I've been riding her every day that its not pouring rain, and we've been doing well learning each other. Unfortunately, her previous owners taught her to rear up (sp) while in parades, and she seems to think she can do it at any given moment. Especially if I try to make her stop for any length of seems to be her cue to do it.

Fast forward to was a beautiful day, and we headed out for a ride. For the first time since I've had her, we were both very relaxed. Her head was low, not the usual "high alert" up and snorting. She wasn't trying to "parade prance" and she was doing great. That is, until we circled around to go by the neighbor's place. It was all fine until she got to their driveway, then it hit the fan. She wanted to go to him sooo bad! I tried to keep her moving past, no dice. I spun her around and it got worse. Then she started rearing up. The first 2 were small, but the third was so high we both almost went over backwards. She actually stumbled back! I immediately dismounted and walked her home. I didn't even let her turn her head in his direction.

So my question is.....what would you do? I don't know if I can break a 14 year old horse of her rearing up, since trying to make her back up triggers it. And it seems to be a "tantrum" thing as well. Making her stop for any length of time will induce this behavior as well. And it doesn't matter if her chin is on her chest or not, up she goes! I don't have a problem staying on when it happens, I just don't want her to get too panicked and go over backwards.


ilyTango 05-19-2010 08:35 AM

Does she do it when you're leading her? Because that might be the best place to start breaking her out of the rearing. If she rears try and get her off balance...either going forwards, or off to the side-because if she needs all four feet under her she won't be able to rear up on two. I've sat out some rears on my horse like this, but they were never huge, and she's not a chronic rearer.

pioneergirl 05-19-2010 08:42 AM

No, she only does it while I'm on her. If I lead her past there, she might be slow, but I keep her moving and once a good distance past, she is much better.

rtdonell 05-19-2010 09:51 AM

I don't know but I would have messed in my pants and proly fell off.

somekindalexus 05-19-2010 10:00 AM

you could use the redneck trick way and crack an egg over her head every time she does it...or hit her with a two by four on her
that would be interesting...haha
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Chella 05-19-2010 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by rtdonell (Post 637715)
I don't know but I would have messed in my pants and proly fell off.

I am with rtdonell on this one:shock:
I have read that when they rear up and you are ready for it you should snap them on the head with a crop as soon as they go up.
Good Luck.

Wallaby 05-19-2010 10:25 AM

I actually broke my 25 year old mare of rearing, so it can be done. However, she just did it when she got too over stimulated and confused. I started carrying a crop when I rode on the road (where she would rear if I stopped her then asked her to go forward or she got scared of something and I wanted her to go past instead) and I'd pop her each time she would stop going forward. Somehow that made our arguments significantly lower on the drama llama scale and she's stopped rearing.
In her case at least, when I would circle her or ask her to back up, I think that somehow got her more and more worked up until she "had" to rear. With the crop there was no discussion, she was gonna get smacked to high heaven if she didn't go forward, no questions asked. Thankfully, she figured it out with only one or two smacks so I never had to go to town on her, but I would have.

If you choose to use the crop, I'd carry it at home a few times, just to make sure she's not spooky about crops. And, when you use it out on the road, don't worry if she shoots forward or goes sideways in a forwards direction. Any sort of forwards is fine, as long as she's going forward.

Good luck! :)

maura 05-19-2010 11:07 AM


Rearing is primarily a disobedience of not going forward. If you read your description of the behavior above, it's clear your mare is saying "I don't want to go and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME, Nyah, nyah" when she rears. Backing up is the wrong thing to do and may actually encourage this behavior.

Getting off and leading her is fine as long as you're leading her in the direction she doesn't want to go; don't get off and lead her back home; that will reinforce that the rearing is a great technique to get what she wants.

There are two things that you can do to address this behavior -

First, really work on making sure she's forward and in front of your leg. Away from the problem area, work on lots of upward transitions and make sure she's promptly obedient about forward.

Second, introduce lateral work and be able to move her hind end at will - if you can prevent her from planting her hind feet, you can prevent the rear.

Next time you approach the spot where she likes to stop and rear, drive her forward - ask for a lengthened walk or trot, reinforce with a stick and/or spur if you don't get it. If she suceeds in stopping, turn her in tight circles, leg yield or do turns on the forehand - keep her hind end moving so she can't plant her hind feet and rear.

Eventually as she settles in and works, she'll be less herd bound and this will be less or a problem, but you must address the rearing as it is dangerous.

I would disregard the advice about cracking the egg or using a stick between her ears - while it's true that both this techniques can work, they depend on timing (you have to do it as the horse is going up) are extremely difficult to execute correctly.

Good luck!

PS - Wallaby snuck it and posted before me - good advice there too.

themacpack 05-19-2010 11:53 AM

Excellent advice, Maura!

kevinshorses 05-19-2010 11:59 AM

Keep her body bent and it is impossible for her to rear then drive her forward. Also make sure she is ready to stop before you ask her to stop. In other words ride the you-know-what out of her then ask her to stop for a minute and ride off before she is ready to go.

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