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Rearing...how to nip it in the bud?

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    Rearing...how to nip it in the bud?

    I originally posted this in the Endurance forum, but thought I'd cross-post it here too since you bold eventers work with some hot horses and may have faced this problem more than most trail riders. (No offense folks, but I doubt the Haflinger/trail pony set deals with this as much as the TB/Arab set.)
    I have a 4yr old Arab mare that just this week decided that walking around on her hind legs is a valid alternative to going forward when what she wants is in the opposite direction of what I want. I think she's in heat and she can be a witchy little pony mare anyway, but the rearing is brand new and I want to nip it in the bud as Barney Fife would say, and stop it before it becomes a bigger problem. Any advice or experience from those of you with horses who are insanely light on their feet? I carried a dressage whip yesterday and a few swats on the butt when she went up helped bring her down and send her forward. Am I on the right track? This is basically a battle of "But I want to go back that way. All my friends are that way/there's a scary xxx in front of us and I don't like it," no pain or saddle fit issues that I can find. She's been under saddle for 18mos but is still rather green by my standards. Under "calmer" circumstances she gets both leads, trots over a series of poles, and crosses water with a little convincing. She's your typical reactive Arab, but is also naturally curious and takes the lead on trails frequently. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    #2
    I think you're on the right track. If she's forward, she's not rearing. It's only when she's stopped that she can rear.

    She sounds bratty, and bored. Now, of course, the appropriate response to boredom is not rearing. But if you can keep her mind busy, and her feet moving, she should find it pretty hard to misbehave. And I think you're absolutely right to get after her with a whip (I'd almost suggest a bat with a big popper on it, for the noise factor as well), since she is simply being a brat and not in pain. Good for you for checking out the pain issue.

    Comment


      #3
      This is an old cowboy trick, but I have found it very effective. When they rear, lean up their neck and get your mouth as close to their ear as possible. Then do give your best angry cougar yell. Loud, mean, like you are going to eat them if they ever do that again, right in their ear. Then praise them as soon as the are back on all fours. I might be careful doing this with a young horse, as you don't want her to be scared of being ridden. That being said, the cowboy who taught me this said he used on his colts....

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        #4
        A horse that is rearing is not in front of your leg. I have had far fewer problems with TBs or Arabs rearing (they tend to scoot or buck rather than rear) than I have with quieter, lazier breeds who are behind the leg.

        If they are just getting light in the front end, I turn them and kick and make them work by moving their feet. If they are doing the "I'm threatening to rear" I might also smack them on or in front of the shoulder with a whip, again partly as a turning aid.

        If they are actually rearing, I don't grab the mouth and hold! Generally just try to stay light and then growling & strongly moving their feet when they are back on terra firma.
        Blugal

        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

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          #5
          Stay light, go forward... make sure you're not asking for anything that she doesn't have the strength and balance to do yet. I got my little arabxsaddlebred mare into no end of unnecessary rearing trouble by asking her to walk down a slight slope too young. Turns out she just couldn't do it, with a rider, at that stage.

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            #6
            If she does it in-hand ever, if you can manage to use the lead rope to smack her in the belly that normally brings them down like lightening and they don't tend to do it again.

            If it is only under saddle then I would use another technique.
            Planting is Nap phase 1. Rearing is Nap phase 2.
            If she plants I would spin her nose to toe 4/5 times one way and 4/5 times the other way.
            If she won't go forward repeat. You are controlling the situation (controlling her feet) and secondly it becomes easier for her to quit napping and go forward.

            If she does go up again...nose to toe and keep turning.

            Others will have other techniques but this is what has worked for me personally.

            Good luck
            http://www.redhills-stud.ie/

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              #7
              Another cowboy trick - egg on nthe head while rearing. All of the forward riding etc. is of course important, but once it happens. . . .

              I am told it works because the horse thinks it has hit its head and bleeding. I'm not sure and don't care. I used to ride a lot of problem horses for people and found this worked a miracle. Of course - I did squish a few in my pocket first . . . :-D

              Some say a water balloon also works - I have not done it.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MadDawg View Post
                This is an old cowboy trick, but I have found it very effective. When they rear, lean up their neck and get your mouth as close to their ear as possible. Then do give your best angry cougar yell. Loud, mean, like you are going to eat them if they ever do that again, right in their ear. Then praise them as soon as the are back on all fours. I might be careful doing this with a young horse, as you don't want her to be scared of being ridden. That being said, the cowboy who taught me this said he used on his colts....

                Considering that the classic response to Cougar on Back is Flip Over and Crush Cougar, I'm not sure that's one I'd try. Now, a move-forward-before-I-kill-you growl might be more in order.
                I always have a little chuckle at the "he can't rear if he's moving forward" mantra. While that is true for most horses, I've come across plenty that can leap skyward on their hind legs from a gallop and even hop like a kangaroo for long distances. Funny thing, though....they're all related by blood....
                "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by fatorangehorse View Post
                  Another cowboy trick - egg on nthe head while rearing. All of the forward riding etc. is of course important, but once it happens. . . .

                  I am told it works because the horse thinks it has hit its head and bleeding. I'm not sure and don't care. I used to ride a lot of problem horses for people and found this worked a miracle. Of course - I did squish a few in my pocket first . . . :-D

                  Some say a water balloon also works - I have not done it.
                  You seriously think the horse has the mental capacity to think "oh no, I am bleeding, that is a bad thing." Maybe buy your horsey a first aid kit so he doesn't worry about bleeding to death?
                  McDowell Racing Stables

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                    You seriously think the horse has the mental capacity to think "oh no, I am bleeding, that is a bad thing."
                    no. As I said, I don't care. Yes it sounds silly, I thought that too. As someone that used to ride the most riuined poor creatures, I found this to be an untraumatic way to get the horse on all four feet and back in a learning frame of mind.

                    From your couch, this may be hard to imagine.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by JackieBlue View Post
                      I always have a little chuckle at the "he can't rear if he's moving forward" mantra. While that is true for most horses, I've come across plenty that can leap skyward on their hind legs from a gallop and even hop like a kangaroo for long distances. Funny thing, though....they're all related by blood....
                      I rode one of those once (and only once, after two rears from a trot I was done. I don't do rearing.)
                      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

                      My CANTER blog.

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                        #12
                        The couch where I spent the past 20 years training race horses? That couch? I imagine if it did work it was because you hit the horse with something, not what that something was. Punishment for unwanted behavior goes back to the stone age, not exactly inventing the wheel with that one.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Remarkable Leather Goods
                        Triple Stitched Halters, Hand Made To Order in US

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                          #13
                          turn and kick. Trick is to start turning before they go up.

                          Make sure YOU are not causing it too. Some horses do it because they feel trapped...too much pressure. Especially mares. If you are forceing them to go somewhere--what they are unsure of combined with you sending them forward often can cause them to go up.

                          With mares IME, you don't force. You wait them out more, get them confident more and use more finesse. I don't let them get away with rearing...because that is an unacceptable response (so I will spin them around, kick, yell a bit then be done--so they know that was unacceptable)...but I also try hard not to put them in the situation where they think that is their only option. I make sure that they go forward from my leg easily (in the ring/basic training)...and I am quicker to change my tatics. I will not drive them toward what they are unsure of...they need to take me there. For example, I will circle and work and let them know the choice is for them to go in that direction on their own (with lots of pats and good girls from me)--or work a bit harder right here.

                          My current OTTB mare can go up easily. When teaching her how to go into water...she was on edge. I had a steady eddie horse as a lead but still. If I had gotten into a battle...she would have reared for sure. Instead, I got off, got her feet moving and walked her in on foot (lots of patting while she stood on the edge and I stood in the water--waiting while she decided it was safe). In she went and Big reward. Then I got on and rode her in an out--she was then having fun. Took less than 10 minutes and not a big issue. But If I hadn't gotten off so fast--and had instead pushed her more to force the issue with me on her back...she would have fought more, stood up more and it would have taken at least twice as long and not been a good experience.

                          So you have to know your horse and understand the situation you have her in too. It isn't just about the "rear" or even getting them in front of your leg.

                          Good luck!
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                            The couch where I spent the past 20 years training race horses? That couch? I imagine if it did work it was because you hit the horse with something, not what that something was. Punishment for unwanted behavior goes back to the stone age, not exactly inventing the wheel with that one.
                            Yes. Agree. Not sure why you would need to be so snarky if you have experience and I'm sharing something that worked for me. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

                            By the way, I found this to work MUCH better than just hitting them on the head. Again - if doesn't work for you, that's ok.

                            Completely agree - that trick is preventing.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I have a mare who was a terrible rearer as a young 'un. I was also really young and it led to a terrible accident where I got hurt pretty significantly (4 broken ribs, broken nose, concusion) and which shattered my confidence. We DID get through it eventually, however, and from then on she has been almost rear-free. Here's what worked for us:

                              When starting to rear (and I'm still relatively balanced and in control of my faculties) I take the crop behind my leg and give her a WHACK! No pussy-footing around with this one. A solid whack is what is required. This has also worked for me for horses that prop and crow-hop. But be prepared - they ususally lunge forward (which is what you want them to do - as others have said, "forward" is what we want to tell them in this context).

                              Alternatively, I have also found success with bopping them on the crown of their head. I use the bottom of my closed fist (the pinky finger side) followed by a big kick when their front feet hit the ground. I don't hit that hard (think tapping in a nail carefully) and only do it once. I do find that they think there is nowhere to go up so they go back down. This is particularly helpful if you don't have a crop or have a horse that is terrified of them.

                              I certainly do not advocate hurting horses or uneccesary hitting, but rearing can be VERY dangerous for horse and rider and it has to be nipped in the bud. It does sound like you are on the right track but be careful! I wish you luck!
                              "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by fatorangehorse View Post
                                Yes. Agree. Not sure why you would need to be so snarky if you have experience and I'm sharing something that worked for me. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

                                By the way, I found this to work MUCH better than just hitting them on the head. Again - if doesn't work for you, that's ok.

                                Completely agree - that trick is preventing.
                                I've never tried this but it does sound interesting. I don't like hitting on the head but I prefer it to getting flipped on! Thanks for sharing.
                                "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Laurierace View Post
                                  The couch where I spent the past 20 years training race horses? That couch? I imagine if it did work it was because you hit the horse with something, not what that something was. Punishment for unwanted behavior goes back to the stone age, not exactly inventing the wheel with that one.
                                  Yep. I'm embarrassed to admit that my "egg" was a stirrup at one time. I was teaching a lesson with a very sweet little girl using a been-there-done-that lesson pony. Pony went up for no good reason except that he felt like being done. I climbed on, but with the tiny pony saddle on him I just crossed the stirrups. When he had the audacity to stand up with me, I just instinctively grabbed the stirrup hanging in front of my leg and clobbered the pony over the head with it. Yes, I realize it could have really hurt him and many would think it unfairly brutal, but I have no use for a rearing pony. If it hadn't had the desired effect? Oh well.
                                  Anyway, pony never, ever reared again. His name was "Red Wagon" and one of the boarders in the ring during all this was doubled over laughing when RW was trotting around on the buckle like a little angel after his stirrup-ing. She said, "Well! I guess you fixed his little red wagon, didn't you!"

                                  OP, I don't know your experience level or why your horse is rearing, but be forewarned that some horses have quite a violent reaction to being clobbered over the head with anything when they rear (or at any other time). If you're confident you can deal with this yourself, at least have a set of eyes and hands on the ground in case you need some backup.
                                  "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
                                  http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory

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                                    #18
                                    OP I know you meant nothing by it but.........the only horses I've ever had rear on me have been a STB and a QH. The only horse that dumped me (as an adult) has been a Hafflinger. And I have and have had TB's and I have an Arab.

                                    So there .

                                    (just teasin', but you asked for it!).

                                    And my constructive addition is to reiterate FORWARD, but you're already working on that....but please don't try the leaning forward and yelling in the ear unless you have one of those face mask things that the bronc riders wear. Ouch! And obviously hitting a horse in the head is just a terrible idea no matter how many ways it's spun. Don't do that.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      I will say the one time I almost flipped over was from bopping a horse between the ears when they reared....they went STRAIGHT up as a reaction (was a very reactive horse). So that might work for some...but please be very carefull.

                                      They can not go up unless their head is straight which is why you hear a few of us saying turn as you ask for forward. (and by ask--i do use the whip behind my leg HARD)

                                      And about the egg thing....not really something easy to do (carry the egg and have coordination enough to get it out of your pocket and break it on their head while they are rearing)
                                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Lyra0502 View Post
                                        Planting is Nap phase 1. Rearing is Nap phase 2.
                                        If she plants I would spin her nose to toe 4/5 times one way and 4/5 times the other way.
                                        If she won't go forward repeat. You are controlling the situation (controlling her feet) and secondly it becomes easier for her to quit napping and go forward.

                                        If she does go up again...nose to toe and keep turning.

                                        Others will have other techniques but this is what has worked for me personally.

                                        Good luck
                                        Yep, this works the best of anything I have tried. You do have to be careful about timing because you don't want to try to spin them once they are already up in the air (can pull them off their feet). But if you catch them the second they start to get light in front and spin them like a little top...then kick them out of the spin into a forward trot...you should be good to go.

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