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Napping and Rearing

FestiveFuzz

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So as not to derail the other thread I thought I'd start a fresh one as I think it's an interesting discussion point.

I've been fortunate not to have to deal with too many nappy horses as most of mine have been forward-thinking spooky blighters, but the one nappy horse I did own was an absolute bugger, stubborn as an ox and incredibly backwards thinking. He knew every trick in the book in terms of evasions but rearing wasn't part of his repertoire. He was more the spinning, planting, backwards at warp speed kinda napper. When viewing horses I've also encountered a fair few rearers, some it was clear were backwards thinking and this was part of them refusing to move forwards, but I've also had a few scarier waving out of nowhere experiences, some of which were later diagnosed with a physical issue, and others that I have no idea what became of them.

Obviously any horse could rear in the right set of circumstances, but I'm interested to know whether folks consider bucking and rearing under the banner of napping i.e. if advertised as nappy would you automatically assume it rears/bucks, is napping a precursor to rearing for example or would you consider it an escalation of evasive behaviour or something else entirely?
 

ihatework

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I would assume if not dealt with correctly that yes it is a precursor to an escalation of the evasion in either the form of bucking (less likely) or rearing (more likely).

Pretty much anything I’ve ridden that has had a nap in it, could have been made to rear had I been so inclined
 

be positive

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I didn't comment on the other thread, I think napping is not always due to being backward thinking, some sharp generally forward going horses can take a dislike to something and have a nap to a place of 'safety' it tends to be those that get stuck, rooted to the spot that go up if pushed the wrong way, or what is wrong for the individual, I would not expect a nappy horse to buck although it may do if given a wallop but that will be more of a kick out than a buck.

Most of the nappy ones I have dealt with have not reared but that is probably because I try to work with them to get them going, often on long reins, rather than escalate the situation, it takes two usually to make the situation escalate and to my mind it is better to work round it, that can still involve getting tough but trying to set the horse, and rider, up for success rather than failure, the pro in the video seemed to set the horse up to fail by trying to lead, probably far too soon, and fail it did.
 

milliepops

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i consider bucking to be separate to rearing generally, I have one of each currently and they are very different horses with a different approach to life. My bucky one is not a napper in any way, he spooks but doesn't nap and bucks only occasionally, out of exuberance. there are exceptions obviously but I have found the bucky ones are usually more forward thinking on the whole.

My rearer is a confirmed napper. Her go-to reaction with anything she doesn't like is to nap and when pressed she will rear. These are generally pretty safe and balanced squats with the front feet off the ground rather than standing right up, but she has no "inhibitions" about where she will do it and it is definitely an escalation of the napping. it's right there under the surface with her, so most days if she's going to have a nap she will also have a little rear when I challenge her - and fairly often if we are working on something difficult. I feel quite relaxed about it because I know her inside out and I also know she will do it for effect more than anything, and then grumble and get on with her work, all the better for having her say! But it's one of the reasons why I'm the home for life and she won't get sold on.

I think there are nappy horses that will never escalate to rearing but it's always a possibility with an unknown one, and the ones that go up out of nowhere are a different kettle of fish I think.
 

FestiveFuzz

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Proper rearing should be identified as a vice surely?
See this is my thinking. When I sold the nappy horse I mentioned in my OP, I disclosed he had a tendency to buck in certain situations. I guess it's a question of at what point does evasive behaviour cross over into vice territory? Although I would guess it's a pretty grey area, as to a certain extent it depends on the competency and handling of the situation. For example a more experienced rider may be able to foresee the nap and drive the horse forward before it plants and evades further and therefore doesn't truly know how far the horse might go in less experienced hands?
 

Dwyran_gold

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I’m the same, in my riding heydays I rode nappy horses but never a rearer. My friend owned a horse who would nap by walking backwards, spinning to change direction and plant but never reared napping, that particular horse was a rearer through excitement though, enter a field or an arena full of jumps and she’d rear a few times to eagerly get going (half off the ground not vertical).. I think they are all different.
 

milliepops

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See this is my thinking. When I sold the nappy horse I mentioned in my OP, I disclosed he had a tendency to buck in certain situations. I guess it's a question of at what point does evasive behaviour cross over into vice territory? Although I would guess it's a pretty grey area, as to a certain extent it depends on the competency and handling of the situation. For example a more experienced rider may be able to foresee the nap and drive the horse forward before it plants and evades further and therefore doesn't truly know how far the horse might go in less experienced hands?
I think it probably depends on how avoidable the problem is. The only way to prevent mine from ever rearing is basically to leave her in the field and never do anything with her. she's a ruined horse, through and through, it just happens that we have an agreement between us that she has found a job she enjoys despite that ;) though I would describe her as being a rearer, yes, its a vice.
With my TB, I don't consider his occasional bucks to be a vice because if he's in proper work then he doesn't really even consider it - it's only when he's had time off and is finding life quite fun.
 

Caol Ila

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My first horse was a quarter horse who had turned planting into an art. When she was unhappy about something, she would glue herself to the spot and not move for love nor money. Never once did she give any indication that she would rear. And I was 13 on my first horse, so I sure as hell didn't know how to override that behaviour. It wasn't dangerous, though. You weren't going anywhere. That was the problem. Although it was frustrating, it was the safest evasion in the world. The habit eventually went away with correctly-fitting tack and the help a few skilled, patient trainers.

To be honest, "napping" is such a catch-all word, and when used in an advert, it could mean anything from, "Might balk a bit but is okay if you know how to ride and use your leg," to "completely psycho and will throw itself over backwards if you try to make it do anything." Because I'm cynical of horse ads, I would automatically assume it's more likely to be a euphemism for the latter and not bother with the advertised horse.
 

Bellaboo18

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The previous thread actually made me think of another question, what would make you think a horse was too dangerous to sell? Or what 'issues' would a horse have to have for you to feel it was unsuitable for rehoming?
Maybe I'll make another thread.
 

Misty 2020

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My horse is very nippy but has never reared on me. She would literally just come to complete stand still and if I make her go forward she will literally walk backwards. Unfortunately I think sellers use that word to hide other serious behavior issues .
 

Polos Mum

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If I read 'nappy' on an ad I'd definitely assume it reared.

If a horse doesn't want to go forward and is pressed and pressed to do so I think it's a very natural response.
Mine rear at each other for fun in the field I rarely see them buck but they are waving front legs at each other several times a day.
 

milliepops

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The previous thread actually made me think of another question, what would make you think a horse was too dangerous to sell? Or what 'issues' would a horse have to have for you to feel it was unsuitable for rehoming?
Maybe I'll make another thread.
I would not sell mine, unless the most spectacular home was recommended by someone that knows her, quirks and all (e.g. my trainer). She is a difficult horse. she's got so many foibles that require special arrangements, fairly awful separation anxiety, the napping/rearing, she's as strong as a flipping rhino and has a pretty well ingrained flight instinct. Being only 14.2, a pretty colour and with a fairly good understanding of advanced dressage she might appeal to a child/teen with a dressage bent but she'd be thoroughly unsuitable in most homes. I have learned that to get the best from her you have to accept all that and work with it, worth it for me because of what we've achieved together (and she's cute as anything) but I think it would all go wrong if she was approached differently. I think she's unsellable.
 

honetpot

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I would assume if not dealt with correctly that yes it is a precursor to an escalation of the evasion in either the form of bucking (less likely) or rearing (more likely).

Pretty much anything I’ve ridden that has had a nap in it, could have been made to rear had I been so inclined
Pretty much this. Its something no one really teaches when you learn to ride, when really the horse going forward and not blocking the movement, usually caused by rider tension, is a really basic rider skill.
 

Widgeon

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Because I'm cynical of horse ads, I would automatically assume it's more likely to be a euphemism for the latter and not bother with the advertised horse.
Yes agreed. If it's bad enough to mention then it's probably bad enough that you can't fail to notice it! If a horse was only mildly nappy in particular circumstances and could be easily pushed through it I would not expect it to be mentioned in an advert.
 

holeymoley

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No I would not think a napping horse would automatically rear. Depending on how extreme the napping was, it's definitely able to develop in to a rear though.

I suppose it actually depends how you define napping. Some horses won't walk forward or won't go or do x, y or z. This is effectively napping but depending on a number of factors it can determine as to whether this horse puts up a bit of a fight (ie walks backwards then gives in) or whether it goes the full hog and creates merry hell.

When I bought my guy as a 3 year old he had such a rubbish start that he hated an arena. He was backed and ridden too early, hated everything about life. Any time you took him near the arena entrance he would stop then reverse backwards. There was no way he'd go near it. It got to the point he wound himself up so much that if you tried to make him, or got strong with him he would drop the shoulder and bog off if you tried to make him go forward (I was very novicey at this point). I was carted off with many a time because he didn't want to go in, but NEVER at any point did he ever rear. Just wasn't his thing!
 

TheHairyOne

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When I moved yards my previously amazing hacking horse turned into a nappy arse - there is a thread on here somewhere.

He was a refuse to go forward sort...and would go backwards at speed if you put the preasure on with the odd kick out with a hind leg, but not once in his life has he even thought about standing up and rearing. He does have a bloody big buck in him though, but thats nothing to do with his napping and he hasnt pulled one of those out in years - thankfully!
 

ponyparty

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My boy, now departed, was nappy (and spooky, actually - best of both worlds!) when hacking solo - he knew every trick in the book, if he really didn't want to do something! Backing into hedges, ditches, backwards at speed, planting, trying to spin. And if you REALLY pushed him, front feet off the ground/little bunny hops. I have no doubt that if I had pushed him harder, rather than tackling it differently (sometimes playing a rather long waiting game!) he would have gone up properly - for example, when trying to pass something he was genuinely scared of.

He really took his confidence from other horses; he was smashing in company and would lead (unless we met something terrifying, of course).

I'd rather not try and push a horse through a situation like this, especially on a public road. Tarmac is unforgiving at the best of times, and I've got nothing to prove. Often they just need time and patience. We ended up reining back about 100 yards to get onto a bridleway he'd decided was going to eat him once! He wouldn't go forwards, so he jolly well did it backwards. There are plenty of ways around napping that don't involve pushing a horse so far that it resorts to going up.

If I get another horse, hacking alone will be a "must have". It's too annoying when you want to go to local clinics etc. Having to allow an extra half hour (or more) because you know you're going to have a battle to get there, and being exhausted before you've even arrived!

Would I sell a horse like that on? Objectively/hypothetically, as I would never have sold my boy: yes. If I imagine there was some situation where sale was necessary and he'd had no other health issues to complicate matters. I would do so with full disclosure and most likely a reduced price. Much like the seller in the other thread.

Rearing out of nowhere is almost undoubtedly a reaction to pain/a physical issue and a totally different matter. If I couldn't find the cause, I'd retire or PTS; definitely wouldn't sell on.
 

annagain

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I've had a rearer who never napped and a napper who never reared!

Eb would rear out of pure excitement, especially in a group (at pony club) if other horses jumped before him. He'd just get himself so wound up that if he couldn't go forwards, the energy had to go somewhere. He never went past the point of control so it never bothered me but it frightened instructors so they used to insist I go first. Once he'd jumped he would be happy for 10 minutes but he knew when every other horse had been and woe betide us if one had another go before he did! At shows we often had to reverse into the ring and then spin round and go once the bell rang. It was all too exciting. Once he'd done the last fence though, he'd stop automatically and walk out like butter wouldn't melt. If there were extra fences for the jump off or other classes though it would be an interesting exit. We were banned from doing gymkhana games for the safety of others!

Arch was a napper when I first had him but he was the pretend to spook at something, spin and try to head home sort of napper. We have a few circular routes with shortcuts home and he'd also try to drag me off down the shortcuts. He planted once at the turning for one of these short cuts when I wanted him to go the long way but I got him past it. The next time I took him out alone, I went armed with two schooling whips, spurs (I don't normally wear them for hacking) and a determined attitude. At every junction, I took the option heading away from home, ready for the battle but it never came! I think he sensed my determination and maybe that gave him confidence in me. He's never really done it since. There's the occasional sideways shuffle towards a shortcut home but as soon as I tell him no, he listens. When we were competing he'd often nap going into an arena or back to the collecting ring when he went past the entrance if we were jumping but we soon realised it was because it hurt him. He never did it doing dressage.
 

Wishfilly

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I wouldn't always see napping as synonymous with rearing, but I would ask lots of questions before viewing. I think anything that walks backwards, for example, has the potential to rear, especially if they feel trapped- their weight is already getting into the right position, so it's not a big step towards rearing. The sort that spin for home, perhaps less so. With planting, it depends how they plant, but I would assume it could escalate if the horse was put in the wrong situation.

I agree that for me hacking alone is a must- probably moreso than good behaviour in the school!

The previous thread actually made me think of another question, what would make you think a horse was too dangerous to sell? Or what 'issues' would a horse have to have for you to feel it was unsuitable for rehoming?
Maybe I'll make another thread.
I mentioned this on the other thread, but I think it's not so much a particular issue (provided I thought they were safe to ride in general) but how much effort you have to put into managing them. Realistically, I think a lot of riders with "quirky" horses adapt their management in lots of subtle ways to try and make sure the horse is never put into a situation where their worst behaviour comes out. If I owned a horse like this, I would try to be honest with myself about just how much I was doing to manage the situation, and if that could reasonably replicated by the average owner. If I felt I was doing a lot to manage the horse and keep everyone safe on a day to day basis, I'd think long and hard about how the horse would cope with different management, and what the likely outcome would be if someone couldn't manage him in a way that kept him happy.

I think it also depends on the horse a bit- e.g. a horse that won't hack alone but is a showjumping machine is more likely to find a suitable home than one who won't hack and isn't talented in another sphere, for example.
 

MiniMilton

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I‘ve thankfully only had 2 nappy horses (both of which I kept as I was afraid where they end up) with 2 very different forms of napping.

First horse will plant and run backwards. Extreme running backwards, into cars, wire, thorn bushes. It is an extremely dangerous nap as he will run blindly backwards, and the more things he bangs into the more panicked he gets. But in 25 years of owning him he has never reared. Rearing just isn’t in his head. It’s just backwards.

Second horse will nap, refuse to move, get very panicky, try to spin and and threaten to rear if you prevent him from turning. If you kept pushing him and pushing him he will probably eventually rear. Backwards just doesn’t seem to enter his head at all. his only route of escape is up (aside from forward of course which he doesn’t want to do)

First horse I wouldn’t sell, far too dangerous when this occurs. He did this with pro riders too. He was unfortunately my first horse that I got when I was 15 With his quirks undisclosed. He was sold to me an a quiet 5, rising 6 year old, it turned out that he was actually 3, rising 4. The sellers knew he did this as a few weeks later I had a lesson from a freelance instructor that told me he witnessed the horse getting caught in fencing during a lesson and the entire fence needing to get dismantled to free him. Then various other reports from people who recognised the horse. I guess his ability to go backwards so fast was a memorable one and he stood out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons.

The second horse I would probably be able to sell if I disclosed he was a napper, as a confident and competent rider would be able to work with him. I would still be worried sick about him if I sold him on though as he is a sensitive soul and can work himself into a tizzy and then take months to recover from the perceived threat.
For peace of mind I just sell the really straightforward ones.

I do think that most nappers will eventually rear, there are exceptions though.
I wouldn’t consider bucking to be related at all.
 
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zandp

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My elder horse had a drop shoulder/spin round reaction to things that scared her - until she got to know me and then that all stopped. I wouldn't describe her as nappy though as apart from that she always did what was asked and if you were jumping you had to be careful what you pointed her at as she would jump it.

My younger horse has always been sharp, I've had her since she was rising 2. She first reared when being started - at the time we thought she'd got stuck in a corner of a strange school, unfortunately she reacted so well to me asking her vocally to move forward I bounced off her neck and fractured my cocyx. We moved yards to be with my RI so she could help and her behaviour became appalling. Later she had issues with her SI and when younger had locking stifle and a kick to the stifle as well so I'm very aware of potential pain issues. She's been checked regularly but I still think there's something there.

She is very sure about telling you what she doesn't like / doesn't want to do / thinks she can't do. In hand rearing used to happen all the time, not wanting to go into the stable for example - worked through carefully and slowly and she hasn't done that in hand for a while. Last time she was ridden it was a small hack and there was nothing, but the time before - our last time in a school - she ran backwards at speed and reared about 6 times . I've just heard the vets are open again so am booking her in for a full check up and am praying it's not pain. Currently I couldn't sell her and wouldn't, I'd have to pretend to be 16 and beg, borrow, steal rides as would have 2 that aren't massively ridable. She's sound and happy in the field.
 

Ownedby4horses

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My mare naps (early days it was planting followed by reversing into anything - we once reversed into a ditch when i dared to stop to chat to the postman on the driveway), nowadays if she gets worried she just plants and shuts down and I just hop off and we walk for a bit and i jump back on, she absolutely would never dream of rearing, just isnt in her toolkit (and she'd probsbly see it as too much effort). She's just a worrier.
 

SatansLittleHelper

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I'm not sure I would assume that a nappy horse rears to be honest. But then I never consider those stupid front feet off the ground bunny hops as rearing...though perhaps a precursor to a "proper" rear if the horse was pushed.
 

oldie48

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To some extent it does depend on what you would term as a "rear''. Rose will "bunny hop" with her front feet off the ground but it's not a proper rear, I guess if I socked her in the teeth and walloped her she might go up vertical but I don't. I've only ever had one horse go up vertical with me and that came completely out of the blue and was linked to separation anxiety. We were standing quietly in some woods and my two companions trottted off to pop a few logs and he panicked. Not pain related just total panic at seeing his friends move away.
 

Pinkvboots

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i consider bucking to be separate to rearing generally, I have one of each currently and they are very different horses with a different approach to life. My bucky one is not a napper in any way, he spooks but doesn't nap and bucks only occasionally, out of exuberance. there are exceptions obviously but I have found the bucky ones are usually more forward thinking on the whole.

My rearer is a confirmed napper. Her go-to reaction with anything she doesn't like is to nap and when pressed she will rear. These are generally pretty safe and balanced squats with the front feet off the ground rather than standing right up, but she has no "inhibitions" about where she will do it and it is definitely an escalation of the napping. it's right there under the surface with her, so most days if she's going to have a nap she will also have a little rear when I challenge her - and fairly often if we are working on something difficult. I feel quite relaxed about it because I know her inside out and I also know she will do it for effect more than anything, and then grumble and get on with her work, all the better for having her say! But it's one of the reasons why I'm the home for life and she won't get sold on.

I think there are nappy horses that will never escalate to rearing but it's always a possibility with an unknown one, and the ones that go up out of nowhere are a different kettle of fish I think.
That's so interesting as I have 2 that are exactly as you describe, one of mine will lift his front legs off the ground it's never a big proper straight up rear, and he will nap at basically anything and doesn't like hacking alone he does like going into reverse mode as well.

My other horse can buck mainly out of excitement and he doesn't have a nap in him it wouldn't ever cross his mind.
 

Ambers Echo

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I would assume if not dealt with correctly that yes it is a precursor to an escalation of the evasion in either the form of bucking (less likely) or rearing (more likely).

Pretty much anything I’ve ridden that has had a nap in it, could have been made to rear had I been so inclined
This has been my experience too. I would never buy an out of the blue rearer. But the nappy horses I have owned or known could rear if the rider reacted to napping with leg off/ grab rein - as so many do - instead of riding very firmly forward. I would not consider that kind of napping a deal breaker though I don't much like it.
 

SpeedyPony

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I'm another one who wouldn't assume a horse described as nappy was a rearer, although I'd definitely ask what form the napping took! If the default is to spin and b**ger off, that's far easier to deal with and wouldn't necessarily put me off.
Rearing I would say isn't always related to napping. I've seen a few rear because they're impatient and not being allowed to go forwards, and a couple go up because they've got the results of an all-comers smithing competition in their gob and a rider with less than sensitive hands.
 
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