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Horse Help Center

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Rearing horse problems

Good Morning,

I found your web page this morning and I'm looking for help with a 3 year old quarter horse gelding. Two days ago he began rearing when I was leading him out to the pasture. The weather had turned cool that day; but, it now seems that he is using rearing to manipulate me. It is working. I had a very bad experience with a horse a year ago that lasted several months and that has destroyed any confidence I once had. I have owned this horse since May and he has never been any trouble. As a matter of fact he has been so quiet and easy to handle that my 17 year old daughter with down's syndrome has ridden him quite a bit. I know that if don't get this behavior under control pretty quickly I am going to be in a bad way. Can you offer some suggestions to help me? I know that if I am shaking with fear when I handle him I'll be sunk. Help.

Sincerely, Barbara

Hi Barbara,

You need to keep in mind that this is a very young horse. While he may have been fine for a while, his youthful behavior will show up eventually (like this). Once he gets he can intimidate you he will. Unwanted behavior needs a consequence, not abusive punishment. My rule is that I put a horse to 'work' immediately when he does something I do not want. I may have the horse do hind end yields, circle around me on a line or in a round pen. For rearing I generally bend the horse tightly to the side and have him do a few vigoris hind end yields in both directions. You may not be able to get him to move foreward or back, but you can always bend them to the side. Do you understand what I mean? If you are not confident and afraid, he has in his 'pocket'. Do more ground work in an enclosed area, lots more. Get your confidence back and gain his (or get some help). It all happens through the application of good ground schooling first. Keep it simple for a while, but active. Don't set up a situation where he may rear. Do things that you know he'll do without rearing and do more of them. He needs a lot of exercise as well and not having enough will contribute to unwanted behavior. Good luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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