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Badly rearing

Help please!!

I've just bought a 7 yr. old quaterhorse gelding. He is very sweet on the ground but, the minute you go to ride him, he turns into a rearing fool. Its to the point that I'm becoming afraid of him.

He has been used as a hack horse before I got him so I thought he was just a bit barn sour. I can't stop his rearing and he is winning.

Please help!!

Thank you, Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,

Sounds like you need to do a lot more on the ground before you go to riding this horse. Relationships with horses are built on the ground first through lots and lots of ground play and exercises. As you just got him, you probably don't have much of a relationship with him. You need to begin one and not expect him to be push button at all. He needs to practice going forward on request. How good are your ground skills? Most folks are not very adept at this most essential part of horsemanship. They only ride (and rather poorly at that). Their only and main concern is riding the horse and not the horse itself. They try to make the horse comply. This is dangerous and inappropriate.

Do you know how to lunge your horse? Do you have a round pen to use? Do you know anything about training horses or the psychology of the horse? How good are your ground skills? Most folks unfortunately are not and do not, and this works against the relationship being successful. It becomes only about the human riding the horse. For all the real consideration given the horse in this process, it could be a bicycle that is being ridden. The horse gets blamed for being 'bad' when he is merely either afraid, burnt out, badly handled, in pain, or not well trained. Rearing is not hard to condition out of a horse, but it requires some skills as a trainer. Knowledge of fundamental horse training and horse psychology is something that is so lacking in most people riding horses. How are your skills in this area?

I would stop riding him for a little while and get him lunging on the ground or begin some time in a round pen. Without some good, solid ground work and schooling, your situation will get worse and someone will get hurt. I would focus on the horse responding to cues to move forward, yielding the front and hind quarters, side passing and as many fun ground exercises as you or some trainer can come up with. This horse does not need any punishment. It needs leadership and guidance to understand it is safe for him to move forward. I would have him checked by a veternarian as well. Have his mouth checked to see if his teeth are in order. Have his back checked for pain. Also, your tack needs to fit the horse well and not be pinching or hurting him in any way. Also and most important, he needs to know there is a leader around he can trust. Perhaps this horse is too much for you (beyond your skill level). This is something that frequently is the case. A person who is a basically a novice and has little or no skills on the ground with a horse and knows nothing of horse behavior or horse psychology, gets a horse on an emotional buy and has major problems like yours come up right away. Is there a good, gentle, knowledgeable horse trainer around there? Sounds like you could use some on sight help. Be careful and do not blame your horse. Please keep me posted and let me know how it all goes. I am interested and would like to help......

Sincerely, Franklin

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