Archives MAIN PAGE

Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Help with Rearing Horse


I took the liberty to write you about the problem I am experiencing with my horse cause I need help from an expert.

I am nowhere near the US and also my English is not so good but I will try to explain what's going on. I live in Greece, Europe and I have a 6-year old gelding, who never bit or kicked anyone ever! not even other horses.

So, his problem is that after riding him for a while he just refuses to do more... and just goes for the stable. however, if you try to push him (keep his head on one side and push with the legs) he walks sideways to what ever there is cliff... pond ... pole...etc. and if I push him for a little while he REARS BIG TIME!

So as you see I have a horse that is not willing, and if you press him he REARS (never bucked in his life, just REARS)

After reading from your webpage I realized I need the help of an expert. Is there something I can do?

Finally, you will laugh here but I have to say it anyway.... I fell off and I broke my back I stayed in the hospital for 1 month and it was kind of recent so I am also scared of my horse. I dont want him to REAR anymore. I wish he could just stop doing it. I don't really ride him for that long just 3 times a week and I use the softest bits. I just want to do easy stuff any horse can do, and he just will not go, even with the other horse I have in front he follows him for a while and then stops...

I tryied everything like:

  1. 1. I changed the feeding time at night so after we are done for the day he goes in the stable and for 30 mins or 1 hr he doesn't eat anything so that he will not think about food.
  2. In some of the rearing I threw water on his head (to think he was bleeding - someone told me) worked for a few days
  3. I hit him (in a reasonable manner) quickly after the REAR I dismount hit him and get back up, cause I don't want him to rear with me on top (this is the only thing that works so far but can't do it all the time).
  4. I have done on the round pen groundwork (that trot and canter on the ground in a circle) – to make him associate the REARS with more work.

This is it... people tell me I should get another horse, but I think all horses can change. I love my horse, and I trully know that when Im on the ground he respects me but on top he is in charge, because I am scared.

PLEASE ANY ADVICE WILL BE NOTED Here we do not have qualified trainers just people who owned horses for a long time and apply old school knowledge....on how to break a horse.

I live in Rhodes, Greece, Europe, so I am kind of far from you. :)

If anyone can help me I would really really appreciate it.

Looking forward to hearing from you
With respect Mary

Hi Myriam,

I live on Corfu. So not so far from you.

Horses exhibit behavior we do not want mostly because of fear. Fear of pain is the most common. Fear of discomfort or unpleasant experiences. Nobody wants pain or unpleasant experiences. Fear from pain can often be alleviated first via a thorough vet check for pain in the back (most common), the neck, the mouth (extremely common as equine dental care is almost non-existent here in Greece), improper bit, heavy handed rider, too much weight on the animal’s back, bad saddle fit (very common), poor hoof care (bad trimming or improper shoe fitting) and more. The rearing is extreme resistance. If you were in pain and someone was wanting you to perform physically, you would resist too. Your horse is not being bad. It is afraid of whatever the bad/painful experience that has happened will continue. Even if the source of the pain is found and removed, the horse is habituated to feeling the pain or anticipating the discomfort or unpleasant experience. Therefore it can take more time for the animal to learn that the source of the pain has been removed. Old habits die hard for us and them. Also, your horse has been trained to resist this was as you were not able to deal with the behavior in such a way that it did not escalate. In other words, what you did when it first began to happen, reinforced the horse in doing it. By you continuing to try to force the horse forward, a war has begun. He will win the war always now. What needs to happen is simply what you do with him. Everything needs to change. I would urge you to forget trying to ride him for a while. Have him looked over as I suggest by a very good veterinarian, equine chiropractor and equine dentist and farrier. After you sort him out physically you need to begin to develop some trust with him via playing on the ground doing simple games and exercises with you as the great leader of all movement. You make a simple request (two steps forward, whoa, two steps back, whoa) and immediately give a reward (complete removal of all pressure which means stop asking for anything and stand peacefully and quietly for 15-20 seconds). Then you can GRADUALLY ask for a bit more. You gradually build on this over time. You will notice your horse becoming more compliant, respectful and trusting if you do this. Also, keep appropriate boundaries all the time (do not merely let your horse walk into your personal space whenever it wants to). This develops respect for your from your horse. Respect works both ways. Respect his spatial boundaries too by not touching his face, nose, mouth. Standing by his neck/shoulder and not right in front of him. Consider learning about positive reinforcement (rewarding what you want and ignoring what you do not want). Now you are using only negative reinforcement (force, punishment, etc.). Probably you do not understanding how to recognize efforts at compliance from your horse.

Evaluate what you expect from the horse when he is ridden. Keep it simple and easy for a while. Only go out for a few minutes and come back. Gradually increase the time out. Try to not reach the point where you begin to battle with him. If you vary things, he will get out of the habit of expecting the same thing every time. Once the possibility of pain is removed, you need to dramatically change the pattern of what you are doing.

You can come to Corfu and work with me here if you like. I offer internships, private instruction, seminars and more. There are reasonably priced accommodations nearby. Also, I can some there to work with you and your horse. So, give it all some thought and let me know any questions you may have. Also, I have written a lot about horses that rear. It is all available for free within the help center archives of my website. Please take a little initiative and have a look. There is an easy to use search feature within the help center.

Best wishes and Good Luck to you,

Sincerely, Franklin

Look for: