Can rearing be "cured"?

Horseymumma

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Hi all,

I posted a little while ago about my horse rearing when napping out on hacks - this is still occurring occasionally despite me sitting quietly until we move forward which I found was the best way, fighting with him in any way only makes it worse, even gently using a whip to tap his bum sends both back legs up in the air in protest!

He has now decided to start doing it occasionally when schooling and being asked to take up the contact. We aren't talking vertically here, more of a 45 degree angle but it's worrying me that he is going to become a proper "rearer" which for obvious reasons no one wants to own!

He is being professionally schooled with someone other than me but he has also done it to them.

So does anyone have any good advice on ways that I can nip this in the bud finally and can it be a nasty habit that's completely eradicated? or am I going to be stuck with a rearing horse from now on?

Tack, teeth, back checks are all good and have been carried out recently.
 

asbo

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Have you had his pole checked? I had a BSJA mare who was sold on to me because of her rearing half way round a course, turns out her poll was misaligned and after I had that sorted and a comfort headpiece added to her bridle she was 100% better.
 
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Excellent you've done the first thought of back, teeth and saddle :) as for curing it....I used to laugh at the "egg" comments thinking people were taking the mick, but it has logic.

If you don't know, I had it explained that its makes the horse think its banged its head. Crack is hitting its head on something and the runny mess is meant to make the horse think its bleeding.
However when I've been reared on my thought is....how the hell do I crack and egg AND hack on!? Not to mention how to I carry said eggs without getting a messy pocket or hand!

Other method is lateral flextion.......or basically as you feel they're about to go up, turn then tightly, its impossible (apparently) for a horse to rear while flexed this way and with persistence they'll realise they aren't going to get up there.
 
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On and when one of my horses did it out of excitement a simple deep toned NO and a tap on her shoulder with my whip sorted her out and she knew 100% it was unacceptable and she hasn't done it since.

She's so willing to please though she doesn't like being told off so is far simpler than a stronger willed horse.
 
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Tnavas

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I hate rearers and won't even look at one that does so - can be so very dangerous.

A friends mum now has to carry a bag around as she lost her bladder after a rearer flipped over and landed on her snapping all four corners off her pelvis, one piece cutting her bladder in two.

It really does need to be nipped in the bud by a very strong determined rider who is not phased by the kicking out.
 

asbo

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I have done the tight turns when you feel them getting ready to go up and also the leg on to push them forward, works for some of them if its not a pain/fear issue causing them to go up.
 

Horseymumma

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Thanks guys, please no more horror stories though, I'm well aware of what could happen but as a natural worrier I don't want to lose my confidence too much to deal with our issue, I know it has to be dealt with now and not allowed to escalate.

I shall try padding the poll area, it's worth a shot! Thanks :)

I have thought about the egg/water balloon and similar theory but I do wonder how I would carry them around and also how I would be quick enough to whip it out and crack it over his head in time, all without falling off! I have this image on me covered in egg on the floor and my horse just staring at me! :D
 

mga4ever

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I had a pony that used to rear anything from 45 degrees to vertical when he was having a strop. He was the most talented pony I ever had but came with real attitude as he had had his own way til he came to me as an 8 year old. I had a very fashioned instructor who told me to carry a whip and whenhe reared smack him between the ears with it. After using this punishment 3 or 4 times he stopped rearing. I kept him for 5 years then he went to my friend and never reared with her either.
 

leflynn

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Currently trying to re-educate my horse who is coming back into work after over a year off who has decided that when life gets too exciting or he doesn't want to go forward he will rear (often full height). He was also broncing but only did this once as it was down to saddle fit and this has been resolved.

I was in a car accident so wasn't quite fit enough to sit all the dramatics so we have gone back to basics and are 2 line lunging then long reinging so that he gets the idea that when I ask for forward that is what he does (he was also rearing and turning in on the lunge). So far after a few sessions we are doing 'forwards' while 2 rein lunging. It's not ideal bringing him back to work this way but sessions are short and trot is very minimal (plus he's hooniging round the field of his own accord) and otherwise he'd be a field ornament atm.
He has done this before - once when smacked off his face on a conditioning feed recommended by a vet and also last year when bringing back into work and trying walking in hand (he reared in hand for 20 mins a day for 10 days before I gave up), so I too am keen to stamp it.

Hope thats a bit more positive!!
 

TequilaMist

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I have done the tight turns when you feel them getting ready to go up and also the leg on to push them forward, works for some of them if its not a pain/fear issue causing them to go up.
Ditto this.
Our mare used to rear whenever she didn't want to do something.Started as bunny rears then got bigger when they didn't work.Turning worked as every time she even started thinking about it would turn her.
She hasn't done it in a good couple of years now(touch wood) just the odd bunny rear
I always would class her as a rearer now as I don't think tbh it will ever truly leave her as its her 'thing'.Doesn't buck/bolt but if stressing and pushed this is what she would revert to.You can just feel her arguing with herself when in this mode bless her.

Oh and I am definitely not a confidet rider but am stubborn!
 

Gloi

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What happens if you work him in long reins where you can deal with any tantrums and send him forwards without being worried about coming off?
 

DabDab

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Ok so:

I have never seen anyone accomplish the egg trick successfully.

Hitting them on the head works for some but sends others ballistic (understandably), and can often make them more nappy after the event even if they no longer go up.

Lateral flexions/spinning them in circles works for some but if your horse is quick when it goes up and you catch it in one side of its mouth as it is in the air you can pull it over.


If there is nothing physically wrong with your horse then it is likely that you have indirectly taught him to rear if it is getting worse. If you are putting pressure on a horse to move forwards and as soon as it hops its legs of the ground you stop putting pressure on ('sit quietly') then you are rewarding that action and it doesn't take a nappy horse long to start using rearing as an avoidance tactic.

You need to get a strong (but kind and understanding) professional to ride him through the rearing, who isn't going to back off when he lifts his front legs up. If he really doesn't like a whip you can just use your legs or can use something soft like a piece of rope.

But yes a rearer can be cured - the best of luck with your youngster :)
 
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Polos Mum

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I'm not sure it's ever 100% gone, it will sit in their list of evasions to be tried on the odd occasion now and again to make sure you're still not going to back down to that kind of behaviour!
Mine went from rearing as soon as his feet hit the school surface and standing on the entrance drive rearing honestly 30/40 times for 20 continuous minutes as I patiently ignored it all - but didn;t get off/ let him go back to the barn, he was labelled dangerous - for obvious reasons! 3/4 months later he'd almost completely given up as he realised it didn't make any difference to what was being asked of him.

He'll now have the odd bunny hop once in 12 months - just to make sure I'm still sure I won't get off and let him go home

He had been very effectively 'trained' that a rear ment finish work by a well meaning but unconfident teenager - I suspect he learned this in a few weeks and unlearning it did take months!
 

Pigeon

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Okay, I have a few stories of rearing horses. First is my little dude, who would do little baby rears if he was confused or scared. It's just a natural response for some horses, and as he has become more confident in himself and me it has pretty much disappeared. He will always be a bit light on his front feet, but I wouldn't call him a 'rearer'. If he threatens to rear, I just calmly ignore him, wait for him to stop jumping about, and ask him to move forwards again. It's not worth making a big deal out of it, especially if they're not unseating rears and the horse doesn't feel like he's going to go over backwards.

Second is my sister's horse. He got a bit excited at a rally once and did a full rear and nearly sat on the bonnet of the instructor's car :eek: He has never reared since.

I have never met a horse who hasn't bucked or reared at least once in it's life, so don't like labelling things a 'bucker' or a 'rearer'. If a horse is displaying these behaviours, it is either in fear or evasion, and you've got to get to the bottom of these behaviours rather than tackling the rearing on it's own. If your horse is nappy, just do loads and loads of riding out on your own until she accepts it. Also what happens if you give her a sharp smack with the whip as soon as she starts to back off your leg, before it gets to the rearing stage?
 

coen

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I personally don't think it can be cured.
I honestly think if it is their default reaction it will always be there but that isn't the end of the world your horse has just learned that this is successful for him.

It is important to get the right kind of help as it can escalate so quickly and I would recommend someone with experience producing different types of horses as opposed to a great instructor.

My horse rears and that will always be there, he is a cheeky character who uses it as an evasion/tantrum. I have tried lots of different approaches but getting the right help really helped my confidence in dealing with it.
For me keeping him really in front of the leg, being firmer, lots of variety. Generally not giving him a chance to think about saying no has helped so now it isn't always in the forefront of his mind.
If it does go wrong don't dwell on it just keep riding forwards.

I also now ride in spurs & always carry a short whip.

It isn't nice and obviously is dangerous but bucking/spooking gets you off far easier :)

Best of luck getting on top of it, you can still have a great horse and lots of fun.
 

MileAMinute

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Wouldn't do the egg trick. A friend of mine tried that and now has an incredibly headshy horse, that still rears. Heard of other horses going the same way too.

Hope you get it sorted soon, OP.
 

ex racer rider

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My advice is sit, growl and smack!
Turning works in theory if you don't have a determined horse, i have had a horse flip over with me due to turning. He decided that he was going up, started yo lift his feet and i pulled him round causing him to unbalance and flip onto his back. Thankfully i got my arse out of the way so wasn't hurt.

My other mare was inclined to spinning so when she reared i pulled her round and only made her spinning worse! Till i realised and changed tactic

So now my advice is as soon as the head comes up and the back hollows out you need to growl, smack and give em' a kick, turning may work for you but watch out
 

Horseymumma

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What happens if you work him in long reins where you can deal with any tantrums and send him forwards without being worried about coming off?
He doesn't do it at all on long reins or lunging. He's very well behaved when training him in this manner (although he is known to be a little "fresh" occasionally when he's had a few days off.
 

Horseymumma

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Thanks so much for these replies, really helpful.

I am going to persevere, build up my assertiveness and carry on.

He's not the easiest of horses at times but I do love him and really want to get him going well and safely. Hopefully we can work it out. :)
 

GeorgeyGal

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If you have the money try Richard Maxwell or Michael Peace, the horse is obviously getting something out of the rearing so needs a confident, sympathetic rider who can break this habit. A horse can't rear if they are moving, don't give them the chance, turn, push on, zig zag, back up anything that will avert before they get the chance to prepare to go up. Hope you get it sorted soon.
 

asbo

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Would never go with hitting on the head or between the ears, my new mare was beaten with a whip over the head and is totally headshy.
 

mulledwhine

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No useful advice , plenty of my own stories to tell but won't !!!!

I hate a rearer, give be a bucker any day of the week!!, however....

Have you found the trigger for the behaviour? One if mine was tight across his poll, one night I was just giving him a 'massage 'and his poll clicked, he jumped , by came back for more, he was so relaxed, never reared again .

I know that he was probably a one off though.

Try to identify the trigger and work from there , and do ground work, so you can get really cross, and let him know that that behaviour gets him no where.

Other than that, good luck
 

Twinkley Lights

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Good luck OP. I bought a horse last year who was totally unsuitable for me and way overhorsed me. Dopped when I tried him:rolleyes: He is now with an eventer and hasn't reared for around 8 months. The strong feel was that he wasn't strong enough in his body to do the work at the level asked by his prev owners and his confidence was shot too by being overfaced all the time. This had made him unlevel and crooked which caused pain and exacerbated the weakness his escape from the pain was to rear and he was good at it. He is now alot stronger along his back and is a totally chilled out dude - his spooks are normal horsey spooks now with no sign of past behaviour.

Don't give up hopefully you will find the cause and help your horse thru this.
 

thinkitwasjune

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I persevered with a rearer for a year and a half, he just got worse and worse until I got my losses and got rid of him after he went over backwards and continued to rear. I wouldn't have one near me now, sorry.
 

ellijay

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One of Monty Roberts techniques is to ride the horse in a fly mask with small peices of tape stuck on the mask above the eyes. The theory is that a horse will not rear if it can't see above it. You then make the tape smaller and smaller until you take it off. This is obviously only after you've checked all possible health issues. It might be worth getting hold of an Recommended Associate from IH who is familiar with the method to help you. Good luck.
 

Echo Bravo

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He's trying to tell you, but no one is listening. A horse doesn't rear for the fun of it or being nasty, something is wrong, it's for you to find out what it is.
 

TeamChaser

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Mine was dreadful when he first arrived at yard and literally would not leave yard - would stand on back legs continually, completely vertical. Took a full 2 months day in, day out to even get him to leave yard without rearing

As someone else has said, there was a reason for this, he didn't just one day decide to become a "rearer". Having been overfaced as a youngster in a competitive environment, poor thing was just at the end of his tether and couldn't face life in general :(

I would never kick/smack/bellow at a horse like him - he'll just panic. Wouldn't entertain taking a whip to him or smacking him on the head with anything. We ended up having to go everywhere backwards for a while and this worked for him. He hasn't gone up at all for a year - last time was my fault, did something stupid! Can't remember last time he tried to nap, but all I need to do now is reverse him a couple of strides (in the direction I want to go in) and he happily toddles off without any rearing

I suppose what I'm saying is that patience is some time the only answer and especially when you have a horse that is totally worth it! Mine just needed to get back his confidence and realise that the rearing would not result in him being able to evade the job he didn't fancy. Consistency also absolutely vital - ultimately when he threw a complete wobbly, he still had to leave the yard one way or another

Best of luck, persevere with him - to me it definitely doesn't mean a bad horse
 

coen

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He's trying to tell you, but no one is listening. A horse doesn't rear for the fun of it or being nasty, something is wrong, it's for you to find out what it is.
Disagree with the above, to be honest I held that kind of view before I had a naughty horse but the truth is they all have different personalities and some will be naughty if they think they can get away with it.
 

Wagtail

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Sounds like pain to me. Just because you have had his back checked does not mean there isn't an issue. For example, two vets, a sports physio and a Mctimmony chiropractor all said my boy's back was fine and pain free despite him 'exploding' after girthing. I kept pushing for a diagnosis and asked for back xrays. He was found to have the worse case of kissing spine the vet had ever seen.

A mare at our yard would frequently rear and go over backwards, both hacking and schooling. The vet could find nothing wrong until finally she was sent to Rossdales. When they nerve blocked the hind suspensory in one leg she went badly lame in the other, and vice versa. She was found to have PSD. Since being operated on, she has come back into work and has never reared since.
 
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