Rearing?-question for the trainers out there
***Just as a note: I do NOT have a rearing horse. Nor have I ever had to deal with a chronic rearer, and no, I do not plan to purchase a rearing horse at any time in the future***
I just wanted to ask this, out of curiosity.
Whenever you get the threads where people are asking for help with their rearers, I've found that the replies often tend to go two ways: 1) Hit him on the poll with something, or 2) GET A TRAINER! I understand everyone's hesitance to give advice to someone who may take it, use it incorrectly and get killed, but...
What do the trainers do? What is this mystical cure for rearing that nobody wants to speak? I'm thinking that if the horse rears out of fear or pain, that would be easy enough for a trainer to clear up just by taking care of what's bothering it, but say if the horse learned it from a multitude of bad past riders and reared constantly just out of habit? How do they "fix" it? That is, of course, if they'd take a rearer at all.
Generally speaking, the best way to break the habbit of rearing is to push the horse foreward! By all means, do not let the horse get up enough power to lift his front end off the ground. And if he tries, he has to work, hard.
My sisters gelding went threw a rearing stage at one point and boy did that little horse get his bum ran off. Of course, it is always easier to correct a habbit before it gets out of hand!
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Personally my first concern is the cause. Understand the cause and the behaviour is then easy to interrupt and redirect. That's the most ideal scenario as you can then permanently 'cure' the behaviour. Otherwise you are just masking it or dissuading it but with a risk of return. As you have to be with the horse to identify the cause with certainty that is why advice for a trainer.
However, in terms of a physical solution I ask people to consider sitting on a bike when they were a kid. Stood stationary, apply the back brake and then try lifting the front wheel up off the ground (like a wheelie). Now try it without the using the brake. It's a lot harder of course.
Horses cannot rear if they cannot lock up the back feet. It doesn't change the behaviour but it makes it difficult to carry through.
I dealt with one mare several years ago that was the poster child for chronic rearing, she went straight vertical at the slightest pressure from anywhere. Epitome of health in general terms, no teeth, back, pain issues but had trauma issues. She was a severe case in several respects, she had scars on her sides from being gouged with spurs and a scar across her tongue where it had been sewn back together from excessive bitting. She was definitely an abuse case. She'd threaten to go up with any leg or mouth pressure. We did LOTS of ground work & desensitizing first, then just like any other that would try under saddle I kept her moving. I'm certain with her that her instinctual first response to go up is still there but as far as I know she hasn't done it in a couple years now and is a regular trail mount who goes bitless with a very gentle handler.
There's nothing mystical. It's all in timing & that is not something you can explain. You have to know when they plan on rearing & stop it before it happens-every time. Keep them moving forwards or in tight circles or laterally, anything but backwards ( but that depends too as lateral & back will sometimes work). You have to catch them as soon as the thought of rearing enters their head, before their bodies can do it.
A die hard rearer will sometimes do it while you're trying for forward movement (sometimes leaping) & then the trainer has be able to ride it out without pulling back & use correct timing to disengage the hindquarters or whatever they chose without pulling the horse over.
Timing is important as in reading the horse.
People are hesitant to explain because each rearing event has its own cause & style & it can change by the second. There is no one way.
Rearing is one of the most dangerous things a horse can do, it's a dirty trick so many trainers don't want to deal with it. Also the trainer may be able to prevent it but then the horse gets sent home, the owners miss a few warnings/cues, the horse tries to rear again, gets away with it & the owners say the trainer didn't do their job.
That's how I see it anyway.
The problem with fixing rearing is this: Let's say a person spurs a horse to go and he rears. As soon as he rears, they stop spurring because they feel he's gonna flip over. Horse learns that if he rears, the spurring stops.
A trainer hops up there and when the horse rears, his spurs keep diggin' in, maybe even harder. Because he knows that the horse is expecting relief. And when the horse doesn't get it, he learns rearing is a waste of energy.
Every rearing problem I've seen was man-made. It;s very easy to cause it. I caused it swinging a rope on a green horse one time. I shook out a loop and swung and she went up. I quit swingin' cause I thought we might go over, and the bad habit was formed. They learn bad habits as fast as good ones.
It's just a problem that takes a certain amount of experience and savvy to fix, and not all horse owners are up to it.
Also I agree that keeping one moving forward sometimes stops rearing...........But what happens when they rear when you try to make them move forward? Last week a friend brought her horse over that was rearing every time leg pressure was used. And if you spanked or used other methods, she still reared. At first, I told her I don't ride other people's horses. But when we saw how scared she was, my wife made me ride her. Just a few times of keeping my feet in her when she reared fixed it.
IMO you can never get the rear out of a horse. Once a rearer always a rearer. If the horse is put into a bad situation with an unskilled rider, the horse WILL go back to rearing. Honestly it goes into prevention work, figuring out how you can avoid all situations that cause the rearing, and then showing the horse that it is not in it's best interest to rear. (Extra work, hitting on the poll....works different for every horse) They can get out of the habit of doing it.
Horses can go years without rearing, before randomly being put in a high stress situation with rough hands/legs and bam. You got a rear. I have rode horses that rear little, a lot and horses that just don't even think about.
amazincaucasian, it's all in the hindquarters as doe said. ideally moving all 4 feet is enough to solve the problem, but if the horse refuses to do that i'd settle for moving just the back 2 feet. same for a balking horse or a 'dead to the leg' horse.
I have been reading this post with interest because as some of you might remember I am an older lady returning to riding and bought a supposedly safe trail horse about 3 months ago. A month ago the horse bucked a bit one day while asking for a canter I pulled him up and we started again walk and trot was fine so I asked for a canter and he bucked again. I stopped him again. we were standing still and I was calling to my husband who was riding a ways in front when suddenly my horse reared straight up and flipped over on me. I didn't notice any warning signs, the horse was not fidgiting to go and I had a loose rein and did not apply any pressue with my legs or on his hackamore. The accident caused me 8 broken ribs, lots of internal bleeding, and damaged lungs. I would have to say unless you were very confident you could tell all the warning signs and deal with them properly please leave the retraining to a professional. As I was being airlifted to the hospital I remember thinking how lucky I was not to have been killed. Dealing with a rearer is not worth your life. I personally don't think you can ever trust a horse that does this, and you can bet I will never ride this horse again.
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