The Horse Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
833 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not that I was doing any liberty work at that time, but we were in a large paddock - I put him in it to graze down the bits of grass along the edges. I see from his expression that he's a bit fresh, with the head tossing and his energy. He went to roll and came up and charged across the paddock, stopping a safe distance away from me, and proceeded to go up on his hind legs. Nearly vertical, pawing the air, and facing me.

I was surprised and waved my arms at him. He did it again a short time later, again with that gleam in his eyes. So here I am again asking what should I do. A previous owner had him doing liberty work, but I don't know what.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,952 Posts
Rearing is just playing. If he was a safe distance from you, and also loose, then I wouldn't see rearing as any different from bucking, rolling, or cantering around. If he started doing it in close enough to where you might get injured, then I'd use a lunge whip or rope to let him know he can't get that playful too close to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49,890 Posts
enjoy watching his spirit come out and be glad he has all that still inside him. sometimes a horse that is frisky like that kind of enjoys a bit of a chase game (keep well out of reach) ,, but get him to run a bit and buck and kick and rear. He will feel so much better afterwards.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,867 Posts
Sometimes I play with our pony Bella with a ball. She loves to tear around the paddock and will chase the ball if I kick it. We run towards the ball, and she gets excited and then I stop suddenly, and she stops too, sometimes she rears a little, but is rearing towards the ball, not towards me. So I don't worry about it. Just don't reward it in any way. That means don't make a big deal out of it (unless he is too close to you and then, as others have said, get out the whip), but don't reward the behavior. That can be tricky. If he loves liberty with you, leaving the ring can be punishment enough if the rears get too big or become a habit. But I would opt for redirecting the behavior. So get him moving again (he can't rear and move forward) in a calm manner. Play the stop/start game where you expect him to follow you, stop when you stop, back up when you back up. This requires a little more thought and focusing on you than just running around being foolish. If this horse starts getting out of control from the excessive energy, leave the ring until he calms down, then halter, and do some ground work to reinforce rules about personal space.

I find playing with a horse teaches you about their movements and energy just as much as it teaches them about boundaries. It helps me learn to anticipate where a horse is going next, where their mind is. You develop that 6th sense that horses already have. But safety is # 1 and you need to know when the energy is about to boil over into something you can no longer contain. Once you've established that things won't get out of control, then just play and have fun! Bring in new objects once in a while. A new ball, a stuffed animal, a dog toy (for big dogs, like a pull toy for a horse that likes to mouth things), a pool noodle, a tarp, a yoga ball... it works well to desensitize them and as boredom busters, especially during our long winters when there isn't much to do in the pasture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,375 Posts
Awww. I love playing with my horse at liberty.
She also rears sometimes, but playfully, & respectfully.

As long as your horse is minding your space, & it sounds like he was, I wouldn't stress it. :) Sounds like he was feeling good, & having fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,181 Posts
It could be that the previous owner trained him to do it as well. I know some people who teach rearing as part of ground work. I personally wouldn’t do it but the two horses I know don’t seem to suffer any behavioral issues because of it.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top