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Help with a horse that rears

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  • Help with a horse that rears

    I have a horse that im really at a loss with. I've been training horses from all walks of life for over 15 years. I break 10-20 horses a year, fix "problem" horses, etc, so I've dealt with a lot. Horse is a 3 1/2 year old, paint cross. I broke him. Before i broke him he would w/t/c in the round pen or on a lunge to the right just fine, but to the left he would rear. Straight up. We worked through this, broke him, and under saddle he would go left just fine. On the lunge line, though, he would still rear. Jump to a few months later, horse had a few months off, then moved in with me because his owner just couldnt keep him. Kinda guilted me into it, but overall i like him so its whatever. Anyway, i put him back to work, going over all the ground work again before riding and the rearing came back.
    At first, my natural thought was pain, until everything was fine with him for a bit, and when he does rear, i really get the impression its his way of going "well if I rear and take off, i don't have to do circles" . Riding wise he's fine, until you tell him he can't do something, then he tries to rear. I've started riding him in a tie down because Im not risking getting flipped over on, bailing will reinforce his rearing, and it discourages him from going up.
    Today i worked him, he had a few days off, and the first 15 minutes lunging he was great. Walked and trotted totally calm, stretched out, etc. Then he started to rear. He goes up and sideways every time. Each time he'd get worse and stronger. The first few times i kept everything calm and just put him right back into a quiet trot, 4 times around, up he went. I stopped with the plain circles after a few times of this and went to some small walk circles, getting him to give to pressure, doing half circles, and then would let him out to walk a 10 meter circle, once around, up he went. We ended up with me driving him from behind and trotting quietly for a few circles and that was it.
    Ibe run my fingers down his back, no signs of pain. I've done a lot of stretching exercises with him, and overall he's a sweet, willing horse. Im calling the chiropractor tomorrow to schedule an appointment to rule out back pain before doing anything else with him, but if its not pain, what can I do? I've had horses rear before but not like this,and with work they get over it. Maybe he's taking a long time to get over it, but lets face it, he's 1000 pounds, im 125, i cant keep him down, and when he tries to take off from his rears i can only do so much.

    Also, this happens with no tack, with a sursingle, with a saddle, i don't lunge him in a bit, but do ride in a plain copper d snaffle, etc. So i think its safe to rule out poor saddle fit, or tack bothering him.
    This is probably all scrambled but i appreciate yalls patience and input! My last resort is to send him to a cowboy if its not pain, but i want to try what i can first. Id hate to do that to him, but frankly i don't need a dangerous horse, and i can't sell a dangerous horse.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Hmm my initial thoughts are that he may be in pain. Have the vet out to do a lameness exam and check out his back.

    I also think riding in a tie down would be a BAD idea and would make him flip moreso than without it.

    Have you given him time off? Maybe a couple months in the field would help.

    Rearers are no fun and generally are dangerous. Be careful!
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.

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    • #3
      I don't have an answer, but what do people mean when they talk about sending the horse to a "cowboy"?

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't know what to say.. If you believe that a "tie down " will keep a horse from flipping over, you are sadly mistaken.

        For your own safety, you need to realize that a horse can certainly flip while 'tied down" or wearing a martingale or any other equipment.

        Have the vet out and take it from there.

        Comment


        • #5
          If he does it on the lungeline, as soon as you see him start to slow, take the lungewhip and whale his butt forward until his tongue is hanging out. He should go forward immediately, be punished, and have to work hard for an extended period of time. Rearing on the lunge should be extremely unpleasant for him. You need to have a lungeline with a chain on him and some gloves so you have control, but the main thing is to make him go forward and work very, very hard. Walking circles isn't going to get it done.
          If you can feel him about to go up when you are riding him, yank a rein around to your knee, and drive him in circles. Then send him forward out of the circle and keep going forward.

          Comment


          • #6
            Neck pain?

            I rode a horse like this for awhile. Never did figure it out. She'd do it when any bit of pressure was put on her. Super dangerous. The owner decided to just put her out to pasture until she got older. Don't know how she's doing (if she's back to work).

            Comment


            • #7
              Stop while you are ahead and uninjured. If he is rearing that many times and in different settings he means business.

              I speak out of experience and had a compound break from it. I kept trying to fix the problem I was not going to let this horse get the best of me. Well he did. He knew he could never get me off and he tried many many times. I did every trick in the book and some. It had been about 3 weeks since he reared so I thought to myself well I won. Then one day I was working him lightly and he reared half way 2 x I got after him. We finished our work out I was just sitting on him talking to some friends and students for about 10min. I started to head back to the barn He went straight up and over on purpose to get me off the only way he knew. I woke with a compound break to the Tibia.

              Send him to reptable cowboy and if he says no way, get rid of the horse.
              "An ordinary trainer cannot hear a Horse speak, a Good trainer can, a Great trainer can hear them whisper and a Top Trainer can HEAR them Think." John O'Leary

              Comment


              • #8
                I think rearing can be simple defiance. Once they learn how to do it, they do it when they dont want to do something.

                If you dont feel he is in pain, train him right - before he can rear, he needs to get his toosh moving forward. He needs to develop a work ethic. However, saying this - its dangerous to ride a rearing horse. Obviously think if its really worth your while continuing to work with this horse.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  He can't use himself enough in a tie down to even stand up. Im not an idiot, nd in aware he C A N flip, but he's much more agile when he has his face. Trust me it wasn't my first option.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I would put him down today. No horse is worth getting killed over.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                      I think rearing can be simple defiance. Once they learn how to do it, they do it when they dont want to do something.

                      If you dont feel he is in pain, train him right - before he can rear, he needs to get his toosh moving forward. He needs to develop a work ethic. However, saying this - its dangerous to ride a rearing horse. Obviously think if its really worth your while continuing to work with this horse.
                      This is exactly my thought process with him. When.i push him forward he jumps to the side and goes up. I don't put him in a round pen anymore.because he got caught up In one before, and i haven't built my solid wall round pen yet. On days he's good, i don't push him hard and he often is done work.in 20 minutes. On days he's a jerk, (like today) he worked for over an hour.

                      The way I see it is he's almost 4, And practically worthless right now. If I can't fix him, there wrangling going to be many people who can, and if I sold him as is, he WILL fall through the cracks and end up with someone who rips his face off and beats the crap out of him, or slaughter bound, and THAT i can't live with.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                        I think rearing can be simple defiance. Once they learn how to do it, they do it when they dont want to do something.

                        If you dont feel he is in pain, train him right - before he can rear, he needs to get his toosh moving forward. He needs to develop a work ethic. However, saying this - its dangerous to ride a rearing horse. Obviously think if its really worth your while continuing to work with this horse.

                        ^

                        One of my now retired horses did this when he was young. On the longe he would stiffen his neck and bolt. Riding he would stop and go up. Nipped it in the bud RIGHT AWAY. I had a guy that deals with this work him... He made it known it was unacceptable like CBoylen said....

                        13 years later he is a great riding horse and I feel very safe on him.

                        I had a OTTB that went up - it was already ingrained in his brain by prior handling. But one thing this OTTB taught me was my "human" reaction to this was to pull back to say whoa... but learned fast that "forward or else" was the reaction necessary.
                        Live in the sunshine.
                        Swim in the sea.
                        Drink the wild air.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There are two kinds of horses that rear. Those that are agile rearers and stand up in defiance, due to lack of forward riding, or out of freshness because it is their "thing". They generally will rear in response to those situations all their life, but they're rarely dangerous. Lots of successful, athletic horses will and do rear.
                          The second kind is the kind that stands up in panic and has no control over its body. Those are the ones that flip over accidentally or on purpose, and they're the dangerous ones. But they are also usually reactive in other ways that preclude them from having successful careers regardless.
                          The difference is usually pretty obvious.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CBoylen View Post
                            There are two kinds of horses that rear. Those that are agile rearers and stand up in defiance, due to lack of forward riding, or out of freshness because it is their "thing". They generally will rear in response to those situations all their life, but they're rarely dangerous. Lots of successful, athletic horses will and do rear.
                            The second kind is the kind that stands up in panic and has no control over its body. Those are the ones that flip over accidentally or on purpose, and they're the dangerous ones. But they are also usually reactive in other ways that preclude them from having successful careers regardless.
                            The difference is usually pretty obvious.



                            I agree totally with this. My horse now is the first type of rearer.. just seeing what he could do to say no.

                            The OTTB was I don't care if I kill myself or you. I would watch his eyes roll back in his head like he just shut down and the wires fried in his head.
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't "do" rearers as a practice simply because they can do so much damage to me in a split second during a tantrum.
                              However if you can make him understand forward is the right option and you're not afraid that forward might be 90 mph it could be a retrainable horse. I have ridden 1 or 2 that were later found to have some sort of pain related to spinal conditions like wobbles, kissing spine, etc. and they were triggered going one direction and flexing, bending or going downhill or over uneven terrain. I don't volunteer as a crash test dummy trying to discern the difference anymore.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ALLIGORY View Post
                                I don't "do" rearers as a practice simply because they can do so much damage to me in a split second during a tantrum.
                                However if you can make him understand forward is the right option and you're not afraid that forward might be 90 mph it could be a retrainable horse. I have ridden 1 or 2 that were later found to have some sort of pain related to spinal conditions like wobbles, kissing spine, etc. and they were triggered going one direction and flexing, bending or going downhill or over uneven terrain. I don't volunteer as a crash test dummy trying to discern the difference anymore.

                                The positive about the OP's horse that she is training he does it on the longe. So if she can deal with it that way (doesn't have to get on) or hire someone that does this kind of thing might work. But like you say, as long as there are no physical issues. Good luck OP.... and be safe.
                                Live in the sunshine.
                                Swim in the sea.
                                Drink the wild air.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I really would guess that this horse is in pain, given that he only rears when traveling left.

                                  That said, if he is not in pain, CBoylen's advice is spot on.

                                  Also, I really would consider giving up on this one if you can't make a lot of progress really quickly. Since he is rearing on the lunge, I would get that sorted out before throwing a leg over again. If you can't get it sorted out, I would not get on him again. And I say this as someone who has owned (and loved) a rearer for four years. He is of the first variety that CBoylen described: a fresh rearer. It's not fun, but I have mostly learned over the years what I've got and I can (usually) make smart decisions with him. He certainly does not rear every day, or even every few months. But it's in there, and when he is amped, I have to be vigilant and ready to spin him like a top.

                                  With yours...I would be worried that he doesn't seem to have a pattern other than "rears to the left unexpectedly." I just don't know how you can address that. I also would not put him in a tie down. I think they can panic and really flip even if they would not have otherwise. Just my two cents. I have never during a rear thought that my horse would be better in a tie down, and I think it would impair my ability to crank his nose to my knee before he gets those front tootsies off the ground.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    First, master this"

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsLt-...feature=relmfu

                                    Or, call this guy

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBcQsVdxEA8
                                    What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      As always- I completely agree with CBoylen!!

                                      and completely disagree with Laurie...

                                      FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD is the key!! Do what Cboylen said!
                                      "If you are nervous you arent focused-if you are focused, there is no room for nerves!"

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Thanks for the links AntEup.
                                        Tha narration in your second video is just perfect!
                                        Refreshing to see people actually calmly working with a problem horse. At the barn I used to gallop at, the trainer would rather "kill" read fire me than the horse I was in charge of ;-)
                                        The horse was more valuable than a little gallop girl...
                                        But seriously some problem horses are better to be worked with by pros, being track exercise riders or cowboys.

                                        Comment

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