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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was in the paddock with my filly (2.6 yo) and she was being her sweet normal self. She followed me around, let me scratch her, licked me (she does this a lot, I should probably get her a salt block). Suddenly she lifted her head and reared with absolutely no warning. What do you think I did wrong? I'm afraid I may have startled her somehow and I'm not sure what exactly I did. This is very unlike her, the only time she's ever reared up was on her first weeks here, she arrived a very frightened horse but since then learned to trust me and made herself at home. She's usually very gentle. Any help is greatly appreciated! I want her to feel safe here, but I also want her to be safe to be around.
(I apologise for any errors, English is not my first language).

Edit: I forgot to mention that she didn't look aggressive and didn't try to strike. Her ears weren't pinned either. After she reared she just continued with her previous calm behaviour and followed me out when I left.
 

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I think your horse just invited you to play. I've heard it's normal with frightened horses who have gotten especially close with humans. My 10 y/o gelding tried to do that when I first got him. I got him from abusive owners so it took a long time for him to trust me as well, and when he did he tried to play with me. He is very gentle, never has shown aggressive behaviour towards me or anyone else, so I was quite startled when he did that. My stable owner explained to me that it was just playful behaviour.
Seeing as your horse is very young too, I'm pretty sure that's the case. It's bad if it develops into a habit, though. Do not encourage this behaviour. So don't lead her own, run and jump around in the paddock with her etc. If she does it again ignore her and redirect her to a better behaviour. You could also tie her while you're in the paddock, but that's not something I want to do each time I see my horses...
 

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It's really hard to know without being there.

I have a horse who rears when he is anxious. He doesn't try to hurt anyone, it's just that when his anxiety overwhelms him, and he can't physically leave the situation, he goes up. He tends to internalize his anxiety for a few minutes, but then it can explode. In the minutes he is internalizing it, you really have to know what to look for to see it -- I guess you can sort of see it in his eyes, and in the set of his head. Without knowing more, I'd guess that something similar happened in your case.

I doubt the horse wanted you to play. In my limited experience, rearing as a form of play mostly happens with geldings, not mares. Although with her being young, I suppose it's possible. Again, I think you'd have some sort of warning. From what I've seen, they will sort of start nipping first, and then it escalates into rearing.

But again, without seeing what happened, there's really no way for anyone here to be sure.
 

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A playful horse will toss its head and bounce around. Some will rear but mostly it's bouncing and kicking up the heels. If you didn't see any of those things it probably was a different reason.
 

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I think she was playing. Are there other horses there or is she by herself? A young horse, still a baby really, following her person around and licking you? Rearing with ears forward? This sounds like playing to me.
 
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