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what do I do to stop bucking/rearing?

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First off. If he is alone that's not very good for them mentally. Can you find a pasture mate for him? A goat, a mini, a companion horse? i'm not condoning his actions by any means but a horse that's alone has a lot of mental stuff going on and he might just have huge separation anxiety problems. When it's a mental problem like that you're not gonna get a whole lot of training done to improve his attitude.

That being said, maybe he's just being a *****. Does he buck then when you pull him up he rears? Or does he rear and then start bucking/hopping around? A horse that bucks and then rears goes from GO to WHOA too fast and has nowhere to go with that frustration but up. So when you feel him start to tense you need to move his feet and keep his head up. If his head is up he can't buck and if his feet are moving he can't rear. So start doing the "drunk walk" or "snake"...many terms for the same principle. Move him a little to the left then a little to the right, or in some cases do a circle to the left and a circle to the right. Don't do small circles, because that slows him down and puts him back on his haunches making it easy for him to rear. Do 10-15 meter circles or if it's on a narrow trail, turn him almost sideways to the trail, then go almost sideways the other way but keep his feet moving. If he tries to bolt, don't just clamp. Use the catch and release method, sharp tug then release for a second, sharper tug, then release or tug one rein, release, tug the other. You want to get him unbalanced and then he will slow down. Best case scenario is to make him go in a huge circle, but like I said i don't know if you're in a small trail or riding through fields. Basically you don't want to completely stop his feet, that lets him buck/rear and all the bad stuff. Keep him moving and occupied but on your terms at the pace you want.
 

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Kevins, not to steal the thread. But if you have a horse that easily collects enough to rear and/or get his head down to buck. Does it really work to collect them up with leg yields and half passes? I've always found that if you collect them up that much, you're just asking for a rear so I generally play follow the nose with rearers. If they are decently trained, then follow the nose keeps the legs moving and then they are too strung out to get a good rear or buck going. Just my personal experience talking though...always open to new ideas =P. I'm also a an event rider though so to me leg yields and half passes on a nervy or tense horse equals a fair amount of tension on the mouth and collection with your legs. Maybe you do it differently?
 
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