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Would you buy a horse that had a history of rearing?

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  • Would you buy a horse that had a history of rearing?

    Does rearing automatically mean 'too dangerous to ride?'

    This horse is really athletic but reared a few times with the previous rider. Could be a problem with her back. She had a mild case of EPM that was treated (and I thought resolved) 3 years ago.

    I'm also in love with her pedigree and I'd consider taking her just for breeding. But then, is that the kind of attitude that will get passed on to the baby?
    Why don't I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into Jobland where jobs grow on little jobbies.
    Charlie Kelly, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

  • #2
    That would be a big ol' "it depends" for me.

    Rearing as in getting a little light in front? Rearing as in straight up? Rearing as in actually going over backward?

    And did the rearing stop with treatment?

    A confirmed "I'm going to go up and over, my rider and myself be damned" even after treatment? Ah, no. No no no. Not worth it.

    Just a little light in front or something that resolved after EPM treatment? I am far more forgiving.


    • #3
      I would (and have) bought (fallen in love with) horses who have rearing as a vice. It is a very dangerous vice but can be resolved if handled properly.

      It does sound like you're making the right approach and looking for the cause rather than a quick fix. Have your vet check it out. Consider buying her with a generous trial period while you try to hunt down the cause. (They should be somewhat flexible considering their mare is dangerous.)

      If a vet doesn't find an answer, it could be purely behavioral. That's not a bad thing, either. It just means she was never taught to offer the right answer and has always had rearing as an option. If you have access to an excellent trainer who is able to go back to the basics and virtually re-start her, you may find that her past rearing is all in the past. (I can give you the name of an excellent colt starter.)

      It's also possible that the EPM has affected her CNS causing lingering issues. If she was weakened during that time and never fully bounced back, she may just be struggling to keep up with the amount of work she is in and, frustrated, will act out.

      Having bred before, I can say that the mare's temperament is one of my top concerns. If you can rule out any issues which may be a result of how this mare was brought along, then consider it. Personally, I would like to see the mare capable of proving herself to some extent. Pedigree is nice but there are literally millions of horses with champion bloodlines.


      • #4
        No. I know I'll probably be the minority, but no way. If it's pain related, that's one thing. But if its behavior, for me its a case of rear = refusal to go forward, 9 times out of 10. I'll take a forward buck any day over a rearer. I just don't like the fact that I'm getting a very strong "NO!". As someone said above, there are different types of rearers...light in the front where hooves may barely come off the ground, and all-out "I'm going up, dammit!" If the horse is the second type I won't give it another glance. First type I would want to know if it's a regular habit, or if its happened like, twice. Either way, I'd be hesitant. My TB has flung his head and got light in front, but never actually lifted off, and he was corrected quick fast and in a hurry for it. He doesn't get to say "NO!" I'll accept a "Uhhh, really?" but never a "NO!"

        Just my two cents.
        runnjump86 Instagram

        Horse Junkies United guest blogger


        • #5
          Nope. Occasional light in the front end is one thing, but I don't want to deal with anything beyond that. It's too dangerous, and god forbid you or the horse gets unbalanced and both of you go over backwards. I took a horse foxhunting that went up twice...black stallion clawing at the sky style. Nope nope nope nope nope.

          If nothing else, I want a forward thinking horse for eventing.
          The big guy: Lincoln

          Southern Maryland Equestrian


          • #6
            Nope. Been there, done that, have the broken heart to prove it. I spent over a year and a half trying to break the "habit" on my horse. Spent a fortune on finding a physical reason WHY he started standing up. Cried a lot of tears. Amazingly, no one ever got hurt on or near him (even when he pitched a giant hissy fit ON ASPHALT at a crazy busy jumper show). But I will not put myself through that again.

            A little light every now and then? Sure. They all will do that if given enough of a reason. But I'll take a bucker any day over a rearer.


            • #7
              Nope. There are way too many nice horses out there that do not rear. Life's too short.
              * What you release is what you teach * Don't be distracted by unwanted behavior* Whoever waits the longest is the teacher. Van Hargis


              • #8
                There are plenty of mares with good pedigrees out there. Why get one that rears?
                Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                • #9
                  What do you mean by history of rearing. A horse that HAS reared....once or twice when overly excited or felt trapped or a horse that stands up all the time?

                  Honestly....a few times just raises an eyebrow for me for the PPE. I also have mostly youngsters.....and many many many horses will rear at some point in their early careers.
                  ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't take a rearer for free.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • #11
                      I've seen horses that will rear from habit, from pain, or from having been cooped up with no turnout.

                      I would absolutely not put up with rearing as a vice. A small crow hop is one thing, or front legs coming off the ground a few inches. However, a full on, all the way up kind of thing? No way. It's too dangerous due to the possibility of flipping over backwards.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RedDunRoanOvero View Post
                        If a vet doesn't find an answer, it could be purely behavioral. That's not a bad thing, either. It just means she was never taught to offer the right answer and has always had rearing as an option. If you have access to an excellent trainer who is able to go back to the basics and virtually re-start her, you may find that her past rearing is all in the past. (I can give you the name of an excellent colt starter.)
                        This sounds like a mare I know. She was actually returned to the breeder because she reared on the new buyer. Breeder was baffled as to the situation -- says she's never done that before. Eitehr case it became behavioral in that no one corrected her and showed her that was teh WRONG answer. She's a very smart mare and once she was told in no uncertain terms that rearing is the WRONG answer, she hasn't done it in more than 6 months and trainer is convinced she's over that "phase".
                        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                        • #13
                          Rearing? That's a big question.

                          What I would not buy is a lame horse that had EPM. Pass.
                          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                          • #14
                            No. I had a mare go over on me. I have a T-12 compression fracture to show for it. I will not have a horse that rears.
                            When in Doubt, let your horse do the Thinking!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by runNjump86 View Post
                              No. I know I'll probably be the minority, but no way. If it's pain related, that's one thing. But if its behavior, for me its a case of rear = refusal to go forward, 9 times out of 10. I'll take a forward buck any day over a rearer.
                              My sentiments.....EXACTLY!


                              • #16
                                Depends. Having seen some amazingly rude riders ( spell that ghastly) on sensitive, and soft mouthed horses, I may give the horse the benefit of the doubt.
                                Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                • #17
                                  Nope, never. A friend of mine will never ride again and almost died when he thought he would "fix" a rearer. Horse went straight up and over on him with no reason, clear calm day, nothing going on, a group of riders stopped to talk and he went up and over.

                                  Another friend of mine with extensive training and riding was holding a horse that was a rearer when she went up and over breaking her neck. It only takes once to die.
                                  RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                                  "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                                  • #18
                                    It doesn't matter why it happens or how far off the ground they go - a rear is a rear and you couldn't pay me to have one in the barn much less think of sitting on it.

                                    Too many nice horses in the world to risk dealing with that kind of behavior.


                                    • #19
                                      no questions asked.
                                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                      • #20
                                        I've bought several horse who reared and was able to basically get rid of the behavior with behavior modification. But i see it is a dominant fear response and it can come back and rear its ugly head (pun intended) if the stressors are great enough. So while I've had horses that stopped rearing, I always know that if it gets bad enough, they will do it again. What I think I have been able to fix is when a horse learns that rearing gets him/her away from something they don't want to do. I've got a "bag of tricks" for that, the main one being FORWARD, FORWARD, FORWARD, if the horse starts backing/hopping etc.

                                        My hunch is that rearing starts as backing up or as a response to pain/fear and then escalates with poor training. I've yet to have a horse that I started myself be a rearer. A young horse may try rearing, but it gets extinguished in short order.

                                        Mick's mother was terrible rearer, and I fixed it for the most part. However, later in life, if she got frightened, she would start to rear and then stop. When I got her, she had been through all sorts of cowboy stuff and they had try to flip her (she was so agile that they never could get her to tip over) as she reared. I just turned her around and shot forward. Horses can't rear if they are galloping, LOL.

                                        Not for the faint of heart.