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My Rearing Warmblood

Hi Franklin,

I recently bought a almost 5yr old Dutch WBxTB. At 1200lbs and 17 hands I was glad to find him at a reasonable price, and he seemed to have a very good mind though he was very green. I bought him to use as a lower level combined training horse. After working him for 4 months, basically teaching him where his feet are and how to coordinate them all at once he had put on a good deal of muscle and was coming along well. Focusing mostly on transitions/circles and low jump work he was "working" but not to a point past his physical capability. He is lazy by nature. One day we were working on doing really small circles, gradually making them bigger to get him under himself. He decided he was working to hard and in protest tipped his nose in the air to the left, rolled his eyes back in his head, groaned and up he went. Vertical in the arena. After 9yrs of riding OTTBs I can honestly say I have never had such a scare. He did it w/ more intent and thought then I have ever encountered. I did not get off him, we continued our lesson that day and he seemed to come out of it. Well, he has learned that rearing is his best re-course for getting out of work. He now rears or threatens to ever time he feels he should be done w/ his training for the day. I no longer ride w/ spurs,or do any small circles. He is not in any physical pain, has been check and cleared by my vet. He has also started pinning me up against the arena wall and then threatens/ or actually does rear. You can not turn him or send him forward or he rears over those things too when he is having an episode. I am working w/ a trainer that tells me to just keep nicely asking him to go forward but he will have nothing to do w/ it. I think he needs to learn in one way or another to respect me when I tell him to go forward. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Hi Sarah,

Begin to train this horse on the ground. Forget focusing on under saddle work and go to ground schooling for two weeks. Do this every day and have a good program of lungeing exercises as well as interest ground games to ask the hrose to do. Too much emphsis on one thing is not good. It is not just one thing anyway. His behavior is symptomatic of a larger problem. Make a radical change by going back to the basics of 'moving forward' on the ground with the horse. Keep riding but don't ask for something that prompts him ,as he will continue to learn the rearing serves him. After two weeks of this new routene, begin to ask for whatever you want and see what happens. You may need to go another two weeks for it to be fully effective. Be patient, go slow, change the action. Get him good at forward motion on the ground. Perhaps have someone lunge the horse as you ride him. This is a very good and effective exercise for many reasons.

Good Luck and please keep me posted. Sincerely, Franklin

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