Just wanted some opinions:
what is the best technique to stop rearing?
I have a lady that has a horse she wants trained...apparently it has a major attitude problem and reared on her daughter, causing injury. she wants the horse dealt with before her daughter rides again.
I'm not sure of the whole story, nor am I familiar with the horse at hand, so for all i know, the horse could have been in pain or what-not and the whole thing was a fluke. But, for saftey's sake, I am going to assume the worst, and go in assuming the horse will in-fact rear.
I have an idea of what I want to do, but I want to see what others have to say on the subject.
All help appreciated
It's really hard to say the best way to train out rearing. Some say you can never truly train a horse to stop rearing. Once a horse is a 'rearer' they will be for their whole lives, even if they never actually rear again. At least that's what some people say, I don't 100% agree.
I would rule out pain/fear first, of course.
If the horse rears while being ridden I wouldn't hesitate to crack a whip, egg, or water balloon on his/her head. I'd prefer the whip since the horse thinks it has hit its head, and the egg/water balloon makes them think they are bleeding which may cause them to freak out more. I guess it just depends. On the ground, by all means flip it over. I would anyway, personally. It is so dangerous for a horse to rear, I would do anything it takes to stop the behavior even if it meant shaking the horses nerves for a while. If it's just minor hops or something I would probably just ground work the horse, but a huge rear is a different story.
Actually, I don't know as if I would even try to work with a horse I knew reared a lot. Best to leave that to the experts.
If you can rule out pain first, along with any respect issues on the ground, there's a fee things I have tried and would suggest trying. If you aren't experienced at all with rearing, I would first and foremost suggest telling your friend to send it to a trainer experienced with it.
One of the first things I will do with a rearer (last horse I was leasing/training) is get a bend in them. Horses are rather self-preserving animals if they aren't purely in fear/pain, so they're not likely to go up when they know they aren't balanced enough to come back down at their will and most likely won't land on their feet again, a bend does this to them. They can be any size circle (I suggest circle because it gives the horse the least chance to refuse movement, along with the quickest option)as long as the horse keeps moving, a stopped horse can rear, a cantering horse cannot. Or you keep the horses head flexed to one side until they stop moving and then quickly cue them forward just as they stop. I usually love the idea of making them work like they're going to die for what they did.
A crop/whip/egg/water balloon is also a great way, and it does work from what over heard, but you need to know how and be able to do so correctly. Knowing isn't the hard part, actually doing so at the correct time is. If you're just moseying along and your horse freaks and rears, are you goingto have the reaction time to even think of hitting the horse between it's ears -as it goes up-? A lot of the time I don't, so I don't use this method too much. I'd much rather not correct my horse for something wrong, than just hit it for nothing and confuse it. I don't recommend using this method for this reason, although if experienced and able it is a great method.
It also depends on how big of the rear, I did slightly different things for different sized rears. For big rears, I can usually think fast enough to grab my reins and yank their head to one side before they're already up, and I prefer this method if the "work their ass off" method doesn't work well. In my experience, it makes the horse think that they're now falling because of their stupid above-ground stunt they just pulled; horses are smart, they don't like to risk injury to themselves if they can avoid it. Little hops off the ground are no big deal to me, and I can deal with them as if they weren't there in the first place and not care, but I can see where this is unsafe for an inexperienced child. So, in that case, I would just handle it the same as I would the bigger rears, since you really don't want this.
In response to the previous post, I would also refrain from flipping a horse over. I've heard stories of horses that ended up with broken withers from being flipped without a saddle on, and I'd be scared for both my horse and my $1500+ saddle. Albeit, I do ride western and you didn't state which you rode; but if a horse can break it's withers (a TB I believe it was) without a saddle, imagine what it could do with a heavy duty western saddle. I don't see that image as too attractive.
I would also have to say that most horses (about 97.8% my guess) will always revert to rearing when in intense situations that cause it undue stress, pain, fear, etc. I will never trust Dude to not rear with arena work, because he use to be able to get out of it because of his leaser last show season. He knows sure as all get out that he doesn't rear with me anymore (other than the occasional freak out because he's leading on a trail and he thinks he sees something I don't, like a horse eating tree or a deer), but I would never put a complete novice on him and let him/her try to take him to do a barrel pattern.
If you treat a horse like it -will- rear, it will most likely rear, if you're scared of it rearing, it may very well rear to get you off because it doesn't trust fear, etc. I would say that it would just be bette to sell/trade the horse and get a newer broke one for the girl, but I can understand wherethat is not the most practical choice, although it would be the safest, imho. But the owner/mother has to decide that for herself what risk she should allow her daughter to take on a horse and what is too much. I agree that rearing is one ofthe most dangerous things a horse can do, and I wouldn't take that lightly if it was my child.
But, good luck, and I hope I helped a little.
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You have to figure out first why the horse rears. Only then can you get to figure out how to correct it. Is it from pain, refusing to work, confusion, throwing a tantrum, or even that the horse has been trained to rear and you are giving them the cue to do it? Are you teaching the horse something new?
A friend of ours thought it would be cool to teach our very first horse to rear on command. Ever since he learned that and we teach him something new, if he gets confused, he will try to rear trying to find the correct answer to what we are asking him to do.
I know of a QH mare who was rode by her owner in sanctioned barrel racing competition and was a rearer because of anticipation of the run. That horse got the water ballon treatment as described above. The only problem was that mare when bridled had to have the bridle taken apart before bridling was completed.
My QH mare had reared only slightly a couple of times over the years. She was/is a very forward-minded personality. When at times she wanted to be leader of a long line of horses on Benefit Trail rides and I held her back she'd let me know she wasn't happy about it. I leaned onto her withers and neck and dropped my hold on her reins.
I do think a horse can be trained to cease a rearing problem.
I would take the horse to someone who has dealt with rearing before. Dont try the crack on the head with a whip, egg, water balloon etc. yourself. We had a mare that was a rearer years ago and we tried the above to no avail. She ended up going up and over on the trainer. He tried everything before he tried the crack on the head and she just wouldnt quit. He was so determined to stop her from rearing that he bought her from us and tried starting her completely over and she still wouldnt quit rearing. If she didnt want to go forward she would rear. Doubling back with her, driving her forward etc worked for the moment but as soon as you thought okay we have it now, she would up and rear out of the blue. He ended up using her as a brood mare because he felt she was too dangerous to sell. Im not saying rearing cant be undone, but I am saying not every horse will quit doing it. Best of luck.
I have a rearer (whom I love dearly) that I was never able to "cure". Most of the techniques mentioned in the responses you have received are methods that do work well for this type of issue, when done correctly.
I do not agree with flipping the horse over because of the potential for injury to the horse and the handler.
In this case however, I agree with Annie. The best thing for you to do is send the owner to someone experienced in rearers because this truley is one of the most dangerous things a horse can do.
A twist on the situation. Say the horse was trained to rear and thus became a rearer. Would you try to "fix" them the same way? I've seen several people lately who think it's cool to train their horses to rear. I find this dangerous and somewhat stupid (no offence to those who have trained it...it's just my opinion...you know what they say about those).
I agree RockinIt, it IS dangerous and stupid.
And GoldenHorse, I'm familiar with rearing, however, I wanted to see what other techniques I could bring to the table in case mine didn't work. I had never heard, nor thought of cracking a horse on the head with an egg or whatever, though, I guess it makes sense. However, my approach would be to first make sure it wasn't a fluke, two make sure the tack fit properly, three search for any physical pain. After those were cleared, I was going to use a tie down at first at a lunge to see how she reacted. This cured my rearer. there are other techniques as well, again, I just wanted to see what other possibilities there were.
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