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Talloose30 04-18-2011 09:01 PM

Rearing Demon
I bought a 8 yr old 16H paint cross gelding from a young girl as a project horse due to the fact that he had developed a really bad rearing habbit. Because she was seriously intimidated by him already she would take him directly back to the barn and turn him out to "punish" him. LOL I bought him in the fall and had good progress in the few presnow rides i got in by keeping his rear end disengaged, But this spring he seems more determined to fight than befor. I am starting back at the very begining with ground work but i was just wondering if anyone had any tricks/insight that could be helpfull? other than the rearing he is a really fun horse to ride and i do like him

Iseul 04-18-2011 09:22 PM

This is -exactly- how Dude was all last year. I ended up basically just restarting him this year; I treated him like a 2.5 year old (he has the same mental age, sadly).
This year, he hasn't reared up..yet. He's threatened to a few times, but I haven't given him the chance.
The only thing that's set him off this year has been trying to get to the barn from the outdoor (just a field above the barn). When ever he decides he's goingto have a fit and go cantering on a diagonal towards the gate I normally get his head at least halfway to my knee and get him going in a circle a little from the fence/hill. He can't go up if his hind is disengaged and his neck is flexed.
If you're using a curb bit, I would suggest leaving the halter on and having the lead on whichever side you prefer so you don't yank his mouth around too much. If you ride western (can't remember if you said or not) you can tie the lead loosely to the horn and pick it up when you need it if you don't want to hold it with the reins. I can normally feel Dude tense up before he's about to rear, so I can catch his head in time to keep him from going up.
Hope this helped, it's done a decent bit for me.(:
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mom2pride 04-18-2011 10:00 PM

Where you are starting (At the beginning, with TONS of groundwork) is the best place I can think of...a horse like that has some seriously sticky really doesn't matter "where" the issue stems from (disrespect, fear, pain, you name it...when a horse rears, it's him telling you, he basically feels he has nowhere TO go, but up in the air).

I would also double check to ensure that this isn't a pain related issue; back, teeth, hips, whatever...just get a through vet check to make sure that the issue you are experiencing isn't him telling you something actually hurts. Yes, rearing is dangerous, but there are times where it can be pointing to something other than a training issue.

Other than that (groundwork and vet check), I really don't have anything else to offer; I have never had a horse (rearer, or bucker) that the issues didn't resolve when the groundwork reestablished proper working respect and trust between horse and handler. The biggest thing here is teaching him that while he is in your control you control his feet, and somedays you will have to put some hustle in his hooves to make that point; it will mean some sweaty pony days, as well, but if you do the work properly (not just working him to tire him out), you will have a much more well tuned, well mannered horse in the end.

Some folks will use an egg or water balloon on the horse's head as he goes up, but really when a horse is going up in the air, that is the last thing I am thinking (to try and whack him between the ears with something! I will be making sure my body remains balanced and my hands aren't going to yank on his mouth and pull him over!!!)

Elana 04-19-2011 01:39 PM

When I bought spoiled horses and retrained them (it paid for college), I would get a horse like this and do two things. As you are doing, I started over from the start with ground work and driving.. miles... I walked a LOT..

Usually a horse rears out of a lack of confidence (that is where it starts). Something is missing in his foundation and he has been taken forward too fast. Rearing is an evasion that typically starts with raising the head and hollowing the back to avoid a request. It can also start out of abuse, harsh hands, etc.

So.. go back to the beginning and retrain as if unbroken.

The other thing I train ad nauseum is a default behavior. Usually this is a turn, started against a fence or wall.. the horse turns into the fence and when the horse cannot go back (is committed to the turn and the fence or wall prevents turning back) I release the rein fully. So the horse is taught to turn quickly and when committed to the turn is immediately released to finish the turn and MOVE FORWARD. Mary Twelveponies calls this "doubling." I call it getting the horse's mind off rearing and into turning and moving forward. A horse moving forward cannot rear.

As you teach this turn (and you don't start out really going fast) the object is to turn it into a default that you can use without the fence. It becomes a fast movement and it is IMMEDIATELY rewarding as you RELEASE the pressure to turn the INSTANT the horse is committed to the turn and moving on forward out of it.

Forward movement is rewarded.. and the rearing (or bucking or other unwanted behavior) is diffused and replaced with something much better and much safer.

Hitting a horse over the head for rearing is pur insanity (and cruel and dangerous) and tie downs do nothing more than create poor balance and a horse who seeks the martingale/tie down and hollows his back. I have seen a horse in a tie down still do a pretty dangerous rear!

Levade 04-19-2011 03:10 PM

We have one of these! He's a lot better now, took a good few months to fix though! And I think he will always have the tendency to be light on his feet. The first time I got on him he stood straight up (hadn't even got my feet in the stirrups!) and he has gone over backwards with my mum before.

Because of his build, he finds rearing easy and is a very sharp horse, so would do it if upset, and then because he (like your boy) intimidated his last owner, he would do it out of resistance if he didn't want to do what he was asked. He would also rear up and lash out at you when handled (putting the bridle on, catching him in the field etc) and understandably she was scared of him!

Because of his age, and as he is an anxious horse by nature, we turned him away for a couple of months to mature, and then bought him in and started with groundwork. By the time it got to the stage that he could be "lead" without a leadrope or headcollar, in walk and trot, over obstacles and properly learned to yield to pressure, he was a different horse, it's like he just clicked, and the panicked rearing response stopped. Then started under saddle, no arena work but lots of hacking to encourage forward thinking. He's such a good boy now, the trick is to take it slowly, be patient and persistant, not be phased by the rearing, and not get nervous/make a big thing about it if he does rear.

Talloose30 04-23-2011 08:41 AM

I have had him vet checked, the chiropractor has seen him, his teeth have been done, and his feet have been well checked by my farrier and he is shod. so i think i have covered the pain aspect.
I have had some really odd/inhumane suggestions though like flipping him over and holding him down and hittin him over the head with various things and i really don't believe in any of that it all sounds mean and dangerous. All though he rears very very high it is not aggressive its more like he just disagrees and is showing it he comes down and stomps him feet like a small child. He also does it when he gets sick of lounging and that is when he actually starts fighting with me so i am putting up a round pen to help with that.
I ride him western with a correction bit. I was told she rode him in a snaffle, I tried it on the first ride and had NO luck at all which i figured but i wanted to see where to start. He is very very strong in the neck ( he is actually muscled backwards from all the rearing).
He is not a BAD horse just needs a little direction. I will keep ya posted on the progress and thank you soo much for all the great advice

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