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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Rearing behavior

Dear Franklin,

I have been trying to figure out why my horse rears and I have been trying to stop him, but we just cant understand each other.

The problems I am having is when asking him to canter, he simply stops and rears and refuses to go forward. In whatever place we are its always the same, in the arena or out on a trail, once you ask for canter he refuses to go, and goes up instead. Unless I canter behind a horse then he is happy to follow in canter. On the lunge too, he is fine in the transition too. In simple terms he won't canter when I am on his back when I ask him too!!

Do you have any suggestions to what I can do as I am terribly lost??

Thanks, Regards, Sarah

Hi Sarah,

Here are several suggestions to consider. First is pain. Horses that move well when handled on the ground but do not under saddle, frequently have back pain that makes the horse not want to move forward at certain speeds. I would have a vet and an equine chiropractic professional check your horse over thoroughly. Even dental problems can prompt the behavior you are experiencing. Another thing to consider is saddle fit. You may think you have a great saddle that fits you well and is comfortable for you to ride on. It may not be that way for your horse and the saddle. This is an extrememly common cause of a horse not wanting to move forward. Also, look at your schooling and riding ability. You need to reasonably be able to assess your abilities. You may be prompting the horse by how tense you get when you ask him to canter. He senses and feels your tension and apprehension and responds out of fear himself. Also, your tools that you use when he does what you do not want are important. If all else checks out and there is no pain from any source, you are extrememly competent and skillful in your equestrian abilities and are able to follow through with some basic training princilples, try putting him to a task when he even thinks of rearing. The task would be hind quarter yields. If you can get good at this on the ground and in the saddle you will have a task to put him to when he exhibits behavior you do not want. It is a non-abusive way to modifly a horse's behavior. It requires skill you may not have as yet. I do not know. But the general rule of thumb is make what you do not want hard for the horse (by putting him to work or a task when he does something you don't want) and make what you do want easy for him.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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