Rearing Horses And Why They Do It

Rearing horses are a very scary experience especially when you are not expecting it. I can assure you there was a warning prior to the event. There always is. The same goes for biting horses.

The question is what did we miss? Throughout all my experiences with rearing horses there has often been something that induced pain to cause the reaction first.

Often the cause of pain comes from bits, poor fitting saddles, imbalanced riders, dental problems or other physical ailments you could be unaware of at the given moment. The rest of the problem lies with a lack of understanding from the horse’s perspective in their training.

First thing to do is get back to some good horsemanship basics on the ground. Remove painful bits and try a bitless bridle. Have a qualified barefoot trimmer assess hoof care. Consider an investigation around nutritional requirements. In other words be very sure that pain in any area is not the source.

Now that you are absolutely positive that the cause of pain has been removed we need to look toward the training aspect. The bad news is once rearing horses have had a successful time of getting rid of their riders, it will take some time to convince them this tool no longer serves their best interest. It may feel like a horse game to them!

When a horse has learned a behaviour that I do not want it is imperative that I do not bring about the circumstances that would cause the reaction again. Instead I need to overwrite their memory file with new productive information. Horses have a tremendous ability to remember so discerning what they do well is the place I go to first.

Here is where Clicker Training has proven to be of high value. It is the most accurate way to communicate to the horse what behaviours are acceptable and which are not.

The opposite way of “up” is “down”!

Start reviewing head lowering tasks, teach touching objects that are placed on the ground maybe push a ball around or pick thing up with his mouth. Follow up with natural horsemanship ground skills like moving the front and back quarters.

See ground training a horse.

horse touching target



What not to do with a horse that rears!

Please do not try and solve this one with the myths of cracking an egg on their head when they rear or kicking them while you are up there. These are silly and ineffective not to mention rather traumatic for the horse’s mental condition.

Listen to your heart and your horse. They are both trying to tell you something.



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