Rearing - when it gets too much - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Rearing - when it gets too much

Hello, this is my first post on this forum. I'm am an adult amateur dressage rider with 20 years riding experience - most of that leasing horses and the past 5 years owning.

Love my mare but she has been difficult and I've definitely learned a lot in the past 5 years. She is a 17 h warmblood, 16 years old, and her default when she says no is to rear.

I work with trainers but nothing has gotten rid of the rear completely and she always has it in her book of tricks.

The rearing terrifies me and even though she does not go up very high, I think she would go over backwards if I got harsh with her. Getting mad at her or stern makes things 100% worse. She will not submit but will check out and try to run away from the situation.

Expensive horse, super athletic, hard working and has lovely moments under saddle. Sweet on the ground and I've bonded with her.

At what point do you say enough is enough with a horse and put them down?
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post #2 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 07:55 PM
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If she's that good of a horse, except for the rearing, maybe you could sell her to a trainer? It would be an easier decision than putting her to sleep. Also, if you can afford it, and she's great on the ground, could you keep her as a pasture pet?

I think that if a horse scares you, and you become afraid to ride because of that horse, and the trainers you're working with can't fix it, then it might be time to move on.
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post #3 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 08:01 PM
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My 8 year old TB is a rearer. She's the same, it comes from getting upset and overwhelmed. She DOES go up fairly high, to the point of it being unseating.

You HAVE to teach the horse a good one rein stop. They CAN rear with their nose on your boot, but not if you're also pushing the hindquarter over. One rein stop is best employed when the horse is only threatening to rear, because if they're already up you risk pulling them over sideways.

If you're scared of her and have the money to do it, retire her to pasture. Don't pass on a rearing problem to someone else. It IS dangerous. However, if they're not flipping, it CAN be dealt with.
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post #4 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blue eyed pony View Post
My 8 year old TB is a rearer. She's the same, it comes from getting upset and overwhelmed. She DOES go up fairly high, to the point of it being unseating.

You HAVE to teach the horse a good one rein stop. They CAN rear with their nose on your boot, but not if you're also pushing the hindquarter over. One rein stop is best employed when the horse is only threatening to rear, because if they're already up you risk pulling them over sideways.

If you're scared of her and have the money to do it, retire her to pasture. Don't pass on a rearing problem to someone else. It IS dangerous. However, if they're not flipping, it CAN be dealt with.
I know the one rein stop well and use it and yes I push the hind over as well. It works to prevent the rear but she get super upset and spooky after getting into trouble. Very sensitive and feeds off my fear like crazy.
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post #5 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Winters Edge View Post
I know the one rein stop well and use it and yes I push the hind over as well. It works to prevent the rear but she get super upset and spooky after getting into trouble. Very sensitive and feeds off my fear like crazy.
My girl too. The trick is not to do it angrily. Be as calm as you possibly can. It's hard when you're afraid! But the more calmly you handle it, the less of an issue it becomes both mentally and in actuality. Basically, treat it like it's just another thing you're asking for, and use it to prevent the rear. That way she's not in trouble, so she won't be as stressed.

Every time I just calmly one-rein-stop and move on, my mare settles. If I get mad or frustrated or frightened, stopping her from rearing is an hours-long endeavour.
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post #6 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 08:27 PM
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I have had 6 horses that reared badly over the years. I fixed them differently depending on why and how they reared. For most normal horses that rear, what seemed to work best was just "wet saddle pads", just a lot of quiet calm riding.

Since part of my joust show included asking my horse to rear, I taught a lot of horses to rear that did not rear. They never gave me a problem, but doing all that rearing in shows made me quite comfortable with rearing, which you are not. So it is different.

When my daughter was 3 years old, I bought a rearer for her. I knew she wasn't old enough to do anything but do pony rides, being led around for a couple of years, and I hoped I could get her pony going nicely by the time she was ready to really ride him. He was easy. He just needed time, love, a bit and saddle that actually fit him, and just lots of quiet riding.

My most interesting rearer was Isabeau, a horse I still have now. She has come so far from her terrible days of rearing and hurling herself to the ground in a rage, that now days she babysits beginners and she is really good with terrified riders. She wants to be in charge, and is happiest when she can be. I bought her knowing she was a serious dangerous rearer, but I figured with all my experience, I could get her out of it. It was a long loooong hard road, but she is a dream horse now. If you are interested, her story is here.
https://www.horseforum.com/member-jo...-queen-637890/

My last bad rearer was easily fixed by spinning him. (If I'd tried to spin Isabeau, she'd have come over on me). He was a bad rearer when I got him, and I tried spinning him, but he'd just rear the minute we stopped spinning. I called my friend Erica, who is an amazing horse trainer and asker her if she would help me fix this lovely horse and get him to stop rearing. She said, "Just spin him." I said, "I do, but he just starts rearing again when we quit." She said, "You are going to have to spin him for 50 minutes Whoa, what???? 50 minutes is a VERY long time! She said, "Oh, you can do it. I know you can." It didn't take 50 minutes, but it fixed him very quickly. Within a week, I could ride him anywhere. Now days, he is amazing.

Six rearing horses. Six different things I did to fix them. Each horse is unique. Also, it didn't scare me, which is a big thing to throw in the mix. Keep us posted on what you decide.
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post #7 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 09:41 PM
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knightrider- I love that photo! You're gorgeous and looks amazing!!

Lots of dressage riders have been on since I've left my how things change.

Presuming you've eliminated physical reasons. Do you know much about her history? I've known quite a few dressage horses to develop habits from their training life. I used to have to re-train dressage horses from other trainers and some were so mentally gone they had to change disciplines or came with funny habits. I had a mare who always had a running lip because the trainer she came from, though a GP rider always creates horses with strange mouth issues. Another horse I took lessons on came from her, I schooled PSG-I1 on that horse but he'd occasionally stick his tongue out of his mouth and we never had that totally solved but over time it got better. I've known a few with psychological and emotional damage and sometimes they're too far gone. Mares tend to hold onto those sort of wounds more than geldings. But I've also encountered a lot of dressage horses who might have shown a high level but they dont really understand their job. They've been made to do something and do movements but they don't really "understand." It's hard to explain.

And horses who are used to being pressured or have had knowledgeable but forceful riders can be more defensive. I rode a gelding who had been in training with an olympic dressage rider and he came back with all kinds of weird defenses. He and I got along really well, I never had a problem but he bucked off other riders and I heard would rear but I never saw or experienced it.I remember he always needed to feel like he was getting away with something. I always asked, I never told. I approached him as could you do this for me? I always had to accept "less" quality from him, in exchange for his willingness to comply. Couldnt make him do anything. I think other riders saw the talent and pushed him so much that he just wasnt willing to play that game anymore.

Ive also known horses who are emotionally sensitive and the wrong "ask" triggers it. I ride a mare who has never offered to go up on me but I've seen her go up on other riders because they didnt approach her right. I can put pressure on her but I do it in a way where she feels she has a voice. People dont talk about mental riding or how mental pressure impacts horses, some horses are emotionally sensitive respond very strongly to your mental approach with them and how you "phrase" the aids to them. When I ride I always start with my mental intent and emotion, then I position and then the aids.

I tried explaining once how to use energy to create or close off energy in the horse but I think that tends to be like trying to explain a color to a blind person. But the concept can help with emotionally sensitive horses. I rode a mare who if someone did not understand how to use their energy and mind to ride, she would just stand or back up until that mental connection was made, then she was lovely.

Though it could also be she's learned that rearing gets her her way, it's hard to say without seeing video or knowing her personally. But I do not think it's something that requires euthanasia. Have you done in hand work with her? How is she on the ground? Have you tried playing a game of where her line of discomfort is? At what point does she resist and to what kinds of questions? Like when I get on a new horse, I dont just jump in. I ask the horse "questions" How much to move laterally, how much to go forward, how much to rein back, how much to halt. I usually do turns on the forehand to feel the movement of the hind end and how much they understand crossing the inside hind to the outside rein.

I've worked with a few rearers, most I've been able to stop altogether but I had one who was a half arabian-warmblood and he was rearer. I was at his birth. He was broke by a cowboy. He scared me when he went up because he was mean, he could have killed me and not cared. He did it with everyone, Im not sure the reason or what happened to him. I thought I had it solved for a while and he was going pretty well, then I remember gathering the reins and he leaped up in the air twisting buck threw me into the wall and missed kicked my head in by a few cms. It was so close. My friend whose a very good cowboy type worked with him for a while and he never sorted through it either. Another trainer tried and no luck but he had a meanness in him.

I had another I developed who was a trakehner I rode as a 4 and 5yr old and he was sensitive but very straight forward and good. He went to a trainer who'd ridden PSG and fancies herself the only "correct" trainer but he came back from her rearing, bolting and super spooky. Im not sure what she did because when I was riding him, his amateur owner felt safe on him *Shrugs*

I had one the spinning solved the rearing. He used to go up on a loose rein because I closed my thighs and asked him to halt. When he learned to leg yield and if I didnt release in the right timing, he'd rear. The spinning fixed that with him and he stopped altogether.

My horse is a special case, he usually doesnt but sometimes he's like no way lady. An example would be I was riding medium down a long side and asked to shoulder in, he dropped back and didnt want to push through his body. So I put both legs on and he went up. I laughed so hard because it was pretty funny, did a 10m circle and asked again and he was like oh right. Or another time we were doing an extended trot and I closed my hip angle and hand, held my core asking him to come back and he went up and bunny hopped forward with him I've learned to just have a sense of humor and move on.

If you have video, you're free to PM me.

Last edited by boots; 01-02-2020 at 10:01 PM. Reason: Language. Typing around censors
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post #8 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 10:09 PM
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I personally don't think euthanasia is the answer for a horse that does a low rear. I understand she is scaring you, and you need help.

My horse that reared a lot I corrected by spinning also. We did this so much, he eventually would start to go up and spin himself!! A whole other issue to resolve

One thing to keep in mind, rearing can not happen very easy if the horse is moving. Turning is your friend, but not sharp turns of course. Focus on only using one rein out to the side, and give with the other.

Rearing is the one time when the order is different, release one rein, then add leg.

May we ask what level you are riding at?
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post #9 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 10:31 PM
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What, exactly, triggers the rear? What is she saying no to?

How much pressure is she under during your rides? Is she always being asked to collect, to hold herself, to go a certain way -- or does she ever go out for laid back, fun, relaxed rides that aren't primarily about training?
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post #10 of 57 Old 01-02-2020, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteadyOn View Post
What, exactly, triggers the rear? What is she saying no to?

How much pressure is she under during your rides? Is she always being asked to collect, to hold herself, to go a certain way -- or does she ever go out for laid back, fun, relaxed rides that aren't primarily about training?
This. Her behavior is telling you she's avoiding something. What is she doing that triggers the rear? What is she trying to avoid or get away from?
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