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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Rearing when eating whilst being ridden

I have a lovely cob mare who is 15hh and 13yrs old. She is great in everyway apart from one and this has got worse recently. Whilst we are out riding she will put her head done to eat and i don't let her, most of the time she will just accept that and move on but sometimes she won't. She will stop and start rearing! Sometimes i can push her on and it stops but last night it was the worst. She kept rearing so i got off as didn't want to fall off or be crushed. I then tried to pull her head up when i was on the ground but she reared up this continued for ages. Eventually i had to get someone from the yard to come help me as she wouldnt let me near her and if i did she would swing her bum at me and flick a leg out. I'm really want to know why she does this and is there anything i can do to stop it as it spoils our rides. The best way i can describe it is like she is having a tantrum she just plants her feet and throws a strop! Help me please!!:cry:
 

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Welcome to the forum!

As you already know, rearing is the most dangerous of all behaviors. I read through your post several times and based on what I understand, you may be over your head with your horse. While there are things you can do, my suggestion would be to get a pro involved. Your horse has got the best of you and knows it. She needs to get her dominance in check and it sounds like a trainer is in order at this point. The problem sounds like it is escalating and will probably continue to get worst.
 

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^^ Yes, I was going to say the same thing. This definately has to be a dominance issue. Good Luck with her
 

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I agree that it is something that professional needs to deal with. Sometimes you can use an overcheck and/or a tie down to keep them from being able to do the motions but it can be dangerous and I don't advocate anyone but a professional using these techniques to fix a problem like this. Also, sometimes it is as simple as someone needing to have the skills and confidence to ride it out and make them realize that this is not an acceptable behavior. But again, only professional trainers should try these things.

Out of curiosity however, does she throw the tantrum after she has already gotten her head down or does she do it if she is not allowed to get her head down as well? I once had an insistent grazer that once he had his head down he'd refuse to go forward and throw mini-bucks until you let him eat. But if you could keep his head up then he was fine. He took advantage of beginners so bad that I put a halter under his bridle and tied a lead rope to the saddle horn so he could walk along with his head out but not get it to the ground. It's easy for these things to get tangled and go wrong fast however and his behavior was not nearly as bad as hers so I still advise getting professional help for your mare to make things safer for both of you. Sometimes it only takes a few sessions to find and fix the underlying problems so if you nip it now before it gets worse it will be easier and cheaper to fix.
 

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Does this happen only with the bridle on or anytime? Could be a sore mouth? Poorly fitted bit?

While everyone has stated that you may be over your head, maybe you could fill us in on your experience with horses and how long you've been with this particular horse.
 

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you do NOT need a professional trainer to fix this problem, i hate to sound too blunt but i read these kind of questions all the time and they just seem so simple to me! all you need to do is use some common sense! do NOT get off a horse when it is rearing, i am a pro trainer and this is a common problem. When you get off the horse you're rewarding her. a firm hand is all that is needed here. first of all are you sure that your horse is getting enough Regular feed before you go riding? if so all you need to do is carry a whip when you are riding when the horse starts acting up say WOAH and pull her head up and ask her to walk on, if she dosent and she just ignores you give her a fairly firm smack on the shoulder with the whip at this point she might bolt or buck just bring her back under control and continue your ride, but if she starts rearing when you refuse to let her eat (your actually quite lucky that is rearing, because its very easy to stay on a rearing horse and its quite easy to cure) when she reaches the maximum height of her rear get a good hold on the reins and mane in one hand and with the other give her a HARD smack either on the shoulder or the rump with the whip, she wont be able to do anything about it but come back down when she does tell her what a good girl she is, this will teach her that rearing is actually a unpleasent experience for her and its much more comfortable to have all four feet on the ground.
Simple hey? just be firm and you've got it in the bag. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for your replies!
Firstly NittanyEquestrian- it's a bit of both, i sometimes think she wants a itch on her leg or going to cough so i let her head down and she goes for the grass i try and pull it back which makes her rear. if she's not allowed it from the start she is normally ok its just i need to be quick enough to stop her getting the grass.
Northern Mama- its mostly when she has her bridle on as thats when i dont want her eating. i dont think its poor fitting bit as she has had it for a long time and only rears up when she cant have grass not when i just pull on the bit. she is my first horse of my own but ive been riding for 17 years now since i was 5. ive had ella for 10 years now and i think we understand each other but maybe a bit of join up and reconnection might help things.
Jewls17- i'm sorry but im glad your not my pro trainer- you say you find it easy to stay on a rearing horse but it really ain't! i'd rather get off the horse volunterarly than be crushed underneath her when she topples over backwards!!!! and hitting a horse is really not the answer either as i have tried this before and as soon as she hits the ground she is back up again! and it definately has nothing to do with her being fed enough she is very well looked after and gets plenty of feed!
I have now read up on it and most people say to keep the horse off balanace as they cant rear up when they are off balance so i will try this next time i ride. i'm not staying off her as she is a sweetheart really and its so rare that she does it, i will take in everything ive read and heard and hopefully next ride will be successful :p
 

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Try taking her out for a walk with and without the bridle; with and without the saddle -- just ground work; walk in the same places as you have had trouble with her before. Maybe you will discover some connection or maybe not, but it's only time, right? If she is in her teens she could be having changes in her teeth, so might be worth a check up.

Keeping her off balance will help to control/minimize a rear-in-progress, but especially since she is starting with her head down, you should have all kinds of time to push her forward and around before her feet leave the ground. You should be able to feel her muscles prepare for that. She has to have a huge weight shift before she gets up there. Be firm with her AS SOON AS you feel that preparation.

Good luck.
 

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you do NOT need a professional trainer to fix this problem, i hate to sound too blunt but i read these kind of questions all the time and they just seem so simple to me! all you need to do is use some common sense! do NOT get off a horse when it is rearing, i am a pro trainer and this is a common problem. When you get off the horse you're rewarding her. a firm hand is all that is needed here. first of all are you sure that your horse is getting enough Regular feed before you go riding? if so all you need to do is carry a whip when you are riding when the horse starts acting up say WOAH and pull her head up and ask her to walk on, if she dosent and she just ignores you give her a fairly firm smack on the shoulder with the whip at this point she might bolt or buck just bring her back under control and continue your ride, but if she starts rearing when you refuse to let her eat (your actually quite lucky that is rearing, because its very easy to stay on a rearing horse and its quite easy to cure) when she reaches the maximum height of her rear get a good hold on the reins and mane in one hand and with the other give her a HARD smack either on the shoulder or the rump with the whip, she wont be able to do anything about it but come back down when she does tell her what a good girl she is, this will teach her that rearing is actually a unpleasent experience for her and its much more comfortable to have all four feet on the ground.
Simple hey? just be firm and you've got it in the bag. :)

I COMPLETELY disagree with this. Although your methods are mostly sound (yelling whoa and then demanding she move forward, for any horse, would be confusing), a rider inexperienced with these kinds of problems (usually the ones who post the topics) shouldn't tackle it on their own. I'm sure you, as a trainer, don't hear a potential clients problem over the phone and say "oh, well here's what you do" and send them on their way. That's counterproductive for you, and probably dangerous. Horse's aren't cookie cutters, they have their own individual personalities and what might work on one horse might cause the other to flip over.

OP, having said all that, I like Northern Mama's advice. When you feel her tense up, giver her a strong push forward.
 

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Having tackled this problem before I know how hard it is to make them move their feet one their head is already down and the more you push the more likely they are to rear. The best thing is to not let her get her head down AT ALL. If she is ok as long as you don't give in, don't give in. If she has an itch, tough luck. If she coughs don't throw your reins away and bring her head back ASAP without being harsh on her mouth. All in all, you need to make her realize that her tricks aren't going to work. And as you pull her head up remember to squeeze with your legs and push with your seat. Will her with your whole body to go forward. Make YOUR AIDS stronger than her will to buck. If you try this and it still doesn't work then I strongly suggest having a professional trainer work with her.

And to the "pro" that says smack her and keep going...you're the reason that professional horse people have a bad rep. Thanks for helping to discredit those that are actually willing and able to help...
 
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