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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Dangerous 27 month old gelding

Dear Franklin,

What a wonderful website, thank you for taking the time to help us floundering equestrians!!! I just acquired a 3 1/2 year old Arabian gelding that is broke, but has been in the pasture for about 6 months with his herd. He reared a 'big one' when I first got him and he realized he was going to be separated from the other horses he knew were out there (visiting my cousin's ranch). I was too scared to react, just tried to push back when he tried to push his way out of the stall... After a few days I was able to trailer him home, where we only have one other horse that was separated in another corral (my 17 yr old mare). Both horses come from the same breeder who really knows her stuff. they are wonderful and the gelding is very sweet and quiet on the ground, well broke, comes up a lets me put on halter-headstall, lets me saddle, no bloating, just stands there when i get on... the issue is: He will get anxious and he tried another rear, a wimpy one this time and I was more prepared and really barked at him... He was tied because I was getting ready to tack him up (the mare was stirring up trouble behind him... when is did his little rear). I have 2 questions:

1. Is it ok when he is tied, and if he rears, will he get the idea he is on a short leash, so to speak? A neighbor said I should tie him very loosely with a hay bale string so if he rears he won't hurt himself... to me rearing, when he should be standing still, while one tacks is a real no - no.... and I am asking for disaster... if he truly has room to do a big rear...

2. What do you suggest to curb this unpleasant behavior? or am i getting to anxious and give him time to settle down? I just believe in fending off and unwanted behavior from the instant it is attempted... life is too short, know what i mean?

Thank you for your time and patience!!!


Hi Elizabeth,

Thank you for your kind words. Look for more features and services coming thru the website soon.

Do you have a round pen? This horse could use a lot of time playing with you in the round pen (or at the end of a long line or driving lines or all of the above). This horse is young and green and full or pep and needs a lot of attention and movement. He is old enough for a job that would put a lot of mellow miles on him. Sounds like he hasn't been handled for a fairly long time as well. You have your hands full. I know you are reaching out to me and I thank you for that for the horse's sake as well as yours. However, do you have the skills to continue the training for a green horse? Green means freshly started under saddle with not a lot of training on him. That is what you have and this is what people pay professional trainers for. Tell me your skill level please. Consider if you are over matched. This guy really needs a job that puts him to appropriate work daily. Can you do that? It will be 2-4 more years before he is fully mature. He is still very much a 'kid'.

That being said, tying a horse short with a rope or pullback (be nice) halter on and then setting him to pull back is a technique used to stop horses from pulling back. It has a real element of risk and should not be done unless the person is well versed in the technique (and then it still is risky for injury to the horse). If you tie the horse with a string and he rears and breaks the string, he has learned he can get away by rearing. It is true there is merit in doing everything possible so the horse does not hurt himself. For myself, I do not like restraining horses. If a horse does anything I do not like, I put him to work moving forward doing hind quarter yields or tight bends, both directions, 4-5 rotations. I do not think restraint is that great. I prefer to direct the horse's energy (movement) to keep him working. Usually circles and very tight ones at that, work quite well to modify kicking, biting, rearing, balking and a host of other behaviors I do not want. You need to practice this first with him and get good at it before it can be used efficiently and effectively when you need it. Stop trying to restrain him and when he rears put him to work doing circles. Forget riding for a while, train the horse, work with the horse on the ground. That is where you relationship is really forged. To "curb this unpleasant behavior" become a leader. Move him in circles, put him to work. If you do not know how to do this I can give you some coaching in it. If you have some good practical horse experience (other than riding) I can talk you through this. Behavior is not changed over night. It takes consistent, skillful training. Rearing is very dangerous and should not be allowed to continue of course. But restraint is not the answer. Good training over time is. There is no quick fix. Can you do it?

Sheath cleaning should be done when the horse gets his teeth floated. Have you checked this horse to see if his mouth is hurting him? At his young age I would not suspect teeth problems. But it should be part of his annually physical. Teeth problems can cause rearing. If you notice a bad odor or lesions or sores of any type or anything unusual about his sheath, have the vet come and clean it (or someone who is knowledgeable as it can be a very risky endeavor). Many horses need to be sedated to accomplish this cleaning.

Let me know how you are doing with all this and be careful.

Sincerely, Franklin

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