View Full Version : Help needed for stopping Rearing 6 year old Mare

Jun. 29, 2009, 06:38 PM
I have a QH 6 year old mare, who is very nice EXCEPT she can become beligerant on the trails. She follows behind fine. Today, when I let her lead, she refused to move forward. She reared 3 times, and I panicked. I try to turn her. The lady that I was riding with moved forward in front and my mare followed. Then I moved out in front again, and she tried the same crapola. I turned her in a circle and yelled and took he other end of he fly whisp and tapped her. She didn' rear, but he same stuff was repeated another time. I am scared o death or riding her alone on the trail ever. When she stops, I use my legs, then stick and she just stands and if I try to get her going, she just rears. Please help, do I need to send her to a trainer or sell her? She may need a stronger rider, otherwise she is very quiet normally. There is nothing wrong with her back. My friend will try ride her in front on the next trail ride.....She is a new horse for me.... had her about 4 months now.

Queen Latisha
Jun. 29, 2009, 06:47 PM
You need an aggressive rider on her, some one who is not going to put up with her crap. It sounds like she already has your number and she will continue to behave this way.
Some horses don't like to lead and will put up a fuss, when asked to do so. Your horse needs to understand that forward, means go now. She's testing you to see if she can have it her way (following the other horse).
Find somebody who can get her passed this ASAP. The longer it you allow it, the worse it's going to get.
I have a feeling a few good rides by an experienced rider, will set her straight.:D

Jun. 29, 2009, 06:48 PM
She's ringing your number. They catch on quickly if they feel you're not confident/are nervous etc. Try to set yourself up for success. Do some research in your area and find a trainer that will work with her and you, maybe with you on a different horse at least for awhile for confidence/balance/technique. Rearing is a very dangerous thing to let her do. It sounds like she needs more mileage with a confident rider. Also, you may be holding her too tightly in the mouth while kicking her on, which would confuse her, but it sounds like a trainer/instructor is the way to go.

Good luck!

Jun. 29, 2009, 06:53 PM
Yup, you need some help here. Find a trainer nearby who can rider her for 30 days or so and then take some lessons. Otherwise, sorry, but you need to sell her.

She will hurt you and her prospects for a happy life diminish greatly if she gets good at this. You need to either get help or sell her pronto.

Jun. 29, 2009, 07:25 PM
[QUOTE=Queen Latisha;4197517]Your horse needs to understand that forward, means go now.

So in the meantime, is there ground and/or riding excercises to get her to respect me in between? Also, what would you do if you she stopped and did not respond at all to the leg, and also if a horse rears?

Jun. 29, 2009, 07:33 PM
If I knew I had this problem I would not ride this horse. Find a reputable trainer. Yes, there are ground exercises that you can do for respect but that's a whole 'nuther issue. The rearing is VERY dangerous --- period. It should be dealt with by an experienced rider. No quick fix here. I don't want to see you get hurt.

Jun. 29, 2009, 07:56 PM
Some horses are very shy about being alone or in front, and it takes some practice for them to learn how to lead. Others are bad when in back! :D

I've had one of each. Because she's rearing, I would agree a trainer might be the best route.

If you are otherwise a confident rider, you can teach her to lead by practicing. Here's how we did it with my two (one hated being first, the other hated being last, so it was a great thing to practice). I'll be honest - the shy mare who doesn't like to go first will go first or alone now if she knows the trail, but she will stop and hesitate sometimes if there's something new or strange, or if she doesn't know the way. In that situation we don't go into "full attack mode" but just gently keep asking for a step forward at a time. She's 18 years old and never rode on a trail until two years ago. If you start whacking and yelling, she just gets freaked out and thinks she was right to be worried! We have all day. If she needs five minutes to get up the courage to walk by a log or cross a ditch, that's fine. Next time she'll be twice as brave. If we beat her over it, she'll be really worried next time we come to that spot.

Get a friend and ride in the ring first, then in a big pasture, and then on an easy trail. Play leap frog. Start with your mare in back. Have your friend in front. Your friend halts, you walk past her, then you halt, then she walks past you. Repeat til it's really boring. Then go do it in the pasture. Then go do it around the outside of the pasture or other place around the barn. Then do the same except you walk, and the last person trots past, then walks, then the other person trots past, then walks. Repeat til it's so boring you can't stand it in the ring, then in the pasture, then around an easy place outside around the farm. Do it with two or three people. Do it so often your horse realizes its' just a game, and fun, and not a big deal.

When you are most confident and have that all down, do trot-canter leapfrog.

Be very careful that you aren't hanging on the horse's mouth when she stops or worries - she will feel that tension and worry more, and it can encourage the rearing. Try to keep a "lovely day in the country" attitude and patience all the time. Let your body and attitude tell her "this is a fun thing to do, and there's nothing to be afraid of." And let her gain confidence over many months. She's a pretty young horse, and probably inexperienced with trail riding. It's not necessarily something a horse knows how to do just by being born!

Queen Latisha
Jun. 29, 2009, 08:20 PM
[QUOTE=Queen Latisha;4197517]Your horse needs to understand that forward, means go now.

So in the meantime, is there ground and/or riding excercises to get her to respect me in between? Also, what would you do if you she stopped and did not respond at all to the leg, and also if a horse rears?

First I would ride with a crop and when the horse refused to go forward, she would get a whack. If she reared on me, I would turn her head and when she landed, she would get another whack to move forward.
It appears this mare knows, she is scaring you when she rears.
I don't know your riding level and rearing can be dangerous. Right now, I wouldn't put her in a position to rear. By not correcting her, she may start becoming more aggressive with her behavior.
You need to find a pro or a good rider who can ride through the rear and get your horse moving forward.
She needs to be taught this behavior is unacceptable.

Jun. 29, 2009, 10:08 PM
No help on the rearing.

I have seen a lot of riders love the horses they can't ride, they are overmounted.

You need to:
1. Sink money into a pro and this rearing problem may also come back a few months after she returns from the trainer.
2. Sell her and find something you love, and love riding!

Please don't rider her alone on the trails, for obvious reasons.

Be safe, so you can ride for years to come.:yes:

Jun. 30, 2009, 08:27 AM
Some horses just don't like to trail in the front or alone. They are not confident enough and she is young and doesn't have the experience or rider that she needs to help her. I don't believe in trail riding alone. At all. Even if its the deadest horse in the world. Its just to dangerous. That being said you can try a trainer but it may not work because some horses just won't do it.

Jun. 30, 2009, 08:40 AM
IMO if someone is going online to ask for help with rearing, that person is not qualified to tackle the problem themselves!

Honestly, if you don't know what to do, you should NOT be trying to fix this yourself. Rearing is incredibly dangerous. Find a professional to help you! DO NOT WORK ON THIS BY YOURSELF.

Jun. 30, 2009, 08:49 AM
Life is too short to ride horses that rear...

Queen Latisha
Jun. 30, 2009, 09:20 AM
Life is too short to ride horses that rear...

Agreed, there's too many nice horse out there. It only took me 10 years of riding a rearer, to realise that fact.:D

Jun. 30, 2009, 11:11 AM
Is this a trail horse ridden in western tack? Or a H/J horse you are trying to ride down the trail? I am a bit confused as to why this is posted here. :confused:

Jun. 30, 2009, 06:11 PM
I am taking her Thursday back to the Amish Trainer for 2 weeks at least, to work with her and also with me...Thanks for everyone's help. He was able to ride her OK, if she isn't going to work out for me, she will be for sale to a more competent rider.. She is very quiet in the ring, and a novice could rider her, this is situational on the trails, but needs to nipped in the bud...Thanks

Jul. 31, 2009, 10:49 PM
Just want to let you know, that I have resolved the issue with my Mare, she is no longer rearing, after bringing to the Amish for 2 weeks training, and learning how to disengage the hindend. Kicking a stopped horse doesn't do anything, I have learned. Also key was using a dressage whip to tap behind the leg, in conjuction with a leading rein and inside leg....it was a matter of showing who is charge with respect and trust...thanks to everyone who took the time to write in for advice. I am now riding her alone in the fields behind my house. :) She is turning out to be very nice, I just hope she stays that way.

Aug. 1, 2009, 09:02 AM
Flip her over once....she won't do it again.

Aug. 1, 2009, 09:07 AM
Flip her over once....she won't do it again.

And neither will you, with your broken pelvis and paralyzed spine! :eek:

Aug. 1, 2009, 09:13 AM
And neither will you, with your broken pelvis and paralyzed spine! :eek:

Really! What kind of advice is that?

Sorry! I have had it happen and I am lucky...my stirrup, which I had kicked free when I realized this was not going to end well was squished from it's bell shape to a crushed mess.

The horse was fine and I was too although a bit sore.

Aug. 1, 2009, 09:18 AM
I believe hunterkid means not on the horses back. But still its not the best thing to do and is really the old cowboy way. There are ways of dealing with it without trying to break the horses neck :rolleyes: And also hunterkid I had a rearer that had flipped himself over PLENTY of times, he never learned. He was taught to be a roper and when he felt pressure it meant back up fast. So thats what he'd do. Thank God he never hurt himself and now that he is retired here with me he's my big dog and hasn't done it in 3 years now.

Aug. 1, 2009, 10:33 AM
Keep a very strong wooden spoon in your hand like a crop ( One of the big spoons you might cook with). At the very moment she begins to feel light in the front end use the spoon and come down HARD on the top of her head between her ears. IMMEDIATELY make her go forward. If she doesn't....hit her again.
This worked with a boy we had that had started rearing. He still has the propensity to rear, but we are now very aware of his actions before he comes off his forelegs and we take care of it before it is a problem.
Unfortunately, sometimes, you can't correct the situation. In that case, you should think of getting rid of her. Rearing is extremely dangerous to you.......not worth permanent injury.
Good luck

Aug. 1, 2009, 10:40 AM
Please enlist the help of a good trainer as soon as possible!! Rearers who learn thatr this is a viable otions can kill or maim someone. We just got in a pony that was cute, moved nicely, went to the fences with her little ears up and jumped cute. She was purchased at an auction (not by me). I was immediately susicious becasue *usually* good moving, cute, auto swap ponies that jum cute do not end up at the auction.

She started doing the "yank the reins out of the kids hand and dropping the shoulder to dump the kid" routine soon after she came in. We had a bigger kid get on her and "explain" to her that this was not appropriate behavior. Once her kid learned to ride her through this behavior, the real trouble started. One day, she literally reared up and flipped herself backwards onto to kid. Thank God kid was ok.

I have never seen anything as horrific as a pony rolling off a child. I was literally sick.

I suggested pony be euthanized. They took her back to the auction :(

My point is that, as someone already said, a habitual rearer has a slim chance of finding a happy life. I willl always wonder if this one could have been "saved" if she had been corrected early in life. Once she purposefully threw herself backwards on top of a child, I was done with her.

Aug. 1, 2009, 12:32 PM
Keep a very strong wooden spoon in your hand like a crop ( One of the big spoons you might cook with). At the very moment she begins to feel light in the front end use the spoon and come down HARD on the top of her head between her ears. IMMEDIATELY make her go forward. If she doesn't....hit her again.
Good luck

And you still live? It's the send forward that fixes the rearing, not hitting them over the head with anything. Sheesh. That and flipping the horse are like some sort of weird 19th century wives tales.

I've had one that was a big strong nappy fellow who learned to rear--I rode with a dressage whip in each hand so that I could turn him to disengage the hind end and drive him forwards from either side with equal efficiency. Rowel spurs from my dressage coach on loan also got his forward gear engaged.

Rearing is about not wanting to go forward, whether because the horse is simply behind your leg and seat, is frightened by something in front of it, herd or barn bound, or just confused. Hard turns and kicking on before they get themselves up is the safest and most effective way to block the rear and correct it.

Aug. 1, 2009, 01:17 PM
I'm not sure what experience you have bringing on young horses and in a new environment but I'm suspecting perhaps its limited and you might be better getting a trainer to help you with her.

The reason horses nap as you describe is because they don't trust their rider and it's quite a common problem with a young horse in a new environment and a nervous rider that's not being the horse's leader.

She's young and inexperienced.

She's a flight and fright animal.

She's not sure of you or his surroundings.

You're not sure of her

You don't trust each other.

To bring on a young horse requires a quiet confident handler/rider. No more and no less. You don't have to be stylish or be able to school a horse to fantastic top level.

But you have to be able to sit quietly and confidently and be able to persuade your horse that nothing is a problem and it should just go forward. In turn your horse learns that things are not a problem and has confidence in your ability to never put it in a position which would endanger it and because you're not making a fuss or getting in a panic.

However that isn't what we have here. What we have here is a young horse that knows nothing and an owner who is concerned and worried for her safety and that's not a good combination at all. In all likelihood the horse is going up because you're tensing up with the reins. It might help if you use a neck strap but you will need to develop the technique of all tension off the reins and get forward and quickly.

Now I don't know what experience you already have of bringing on youngsters, but I'm thinking not a lot despite what you said and because of the questions you've already asked and how you've expressed your concern.

I've never known a confident experienced horseman yet be concerned about safety just because a young horse is napping and stopping and attempting a rear. You've made a quantum leap in your imagination from what is just normal young horse behaviour to a dramatic consequence. And that makes me think that you're not actually concentrating on the job in hand - you're busy thinking about "could haves, might bes, what ifs" And all that will transmit straight down reins to your horse.

Also when you work from the ground, what are you actually doing? Lunging? Longreining him out? Where? How often? What are you "exposing" her to?

I'd personally start by longreining the horse and once it's going out confidently I'd then suggest you need a good quiet confident rider. NO grabbing reins or gripping or tensing up otherwise the horse will nap as you are experiencing. Quite simply it's just a sign that the horse is not confident in being out and dealing with hazards.

What you can do immediately is a lot of work from the ground so the horse starts to listen and trust you and you start to get to know her better and trust her.

Aug. 1, 2009, 01:36 PM
This is my opinion based on my experiences. You don't have to agree or disagree - in fact I am wondering why I am even posting this, but since I took the time to type it I will leave it on the cyberspace wall.

If you have ever been on the back of a rearing horse, you would know that sometimes it happens quickly and there isn't time to turn or "kick on". The horses that are half-hearted about rearing and only get their front legs off the ground a few feet, you can turn them and/or kick them on and be OK. However, you try that pulling their head around on a full fledged rear and you will pull them over on you. I know, I have been on rearing horses that have gone over - some because of my unintentional actions, and some that just went straight over backward (there is no stopping those, no matter what YOU do). I don't advise the turning technique on those horses that are serious when they rear. Those horses will rear even with their head near your stirrup. You are just asking for all kinds of trouble.

I know this answer doesn't help, but alot depends on the horse and why it is rearing. Half-hearted rearers you can whack them because the rear is usually an evasion, and they are being ornery. If they are truly afraid, then waiting them out can be a good option. My horse doesn't rear thank goodness, but he isn't the bravest trail horse, so he stops sometimes. I have found waiting him out, letting him process, not giving him the option of turning around works well for him - if I wack him too soon, he will melt down and get onery about being wacked and really not go. Also, leg yielding before and after the scary object works wonders. The toughest part is relaxing and adopting that walk in the park attitude like a previous poster mentioned. The calmer you are, the braver they get too.

Waiting the horse out is just one option. There are many different methods, you can circle, or you can turn and back them past the scary object, leg yielding - sometimes one or all of those options will work too. You have to know your horse a bit, to know if they are scared of something or being ornery. And then know how your horse will react to the crop and/or spurs, or even to moving their feet when they are truly scared.

OP you did the right thing, by sending your horse out to a trainer. Thank goodness you didn't let ego or pride get in the way and try to remedy this yourself. Rearing is an escalating evasion - it just gets worse if you don't do something about it early. You saved yourself and your horse from heartache by getting help. Kudos!

Going back to regular programming now...

<edited to add> as for the hitting them between the ears comment - having been around awhile, I have seen that technique in action as well. I have seen it work in alot of different ways, but not usually turn out too well. It takes timing that most people do not possess for it to work at all - so I don't suggest using the "hit em between the ears" technique. Even though I have seen it cure a rearer, cure a rearer just to that rider (another rider, and the horse would rear), I have also observed that it can make the horse head shy. I have seen it make the horse worse by escalating the horses reaction. The one technique I have never seen used in person was the water balloon technique - anyone seen that one work??

Aug. 1, 2009, 09:47 PM
No...I didn't mean on top of yourself. :lol: I'm not completely retarded.
Some horses learn when you flip them over to never rear again and that is exactly the experiance I have had...3 different light ended horses (2 geldings and a TB mare) and all 3 times they never offered a rear again...it's worth a shot before you go give up and sell her.

Aug. 2, 2009, 12:01 AM
You (op) are right in turning her when she rears. You need to get her moving in some direction - ANY direction at first will do - aggressivly.

You could also try a "neck stretcher". I used on on a gelding that wanted to rear and it changed his mind in a hurry. Most of them need to bring their head back and up to rear, and the neck stretcher discourages that.

If you are not a confident rider, I'd get some professional help before you get hurt. Good luck with her.

Aug. 2, 2009, 08:32 AM
No...I didn't mean on top of yourself. :lol: I'm not completely retarded.
Some horses learn when you flip them over to never rear again and that is exactly the experiance I have had...3 different light ended horses (2 geldings and a TB mare) and all 3 times they never offered a rear again...it's worth a shot before you go give up and sell her.

So how does one do that without hurting themselves or the horse?
I am still not convinced this is a training method...

Aug. 2, 2009, 08:44 AM
My feeling on rearing is that if you have to ask for help to deal with it...you should not be dealing with it. It is not for the fainthearted and cannot be done by-the-numbers with directions from someone else.

I have a rescue mare that was a chronic rearer and I *think* I have broken her of it, although I will never trust her 100%.
It was a fly by the seat of your pants sort of retraining and I don't recommend it.

Talk to a professional who has multiple skills to try to deal with it.