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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

Professional support for you and your horse!

Rearing in the stall and appreciation for your work

Dear Franklin,

I have to say that I have been searching for information on horse problems and I have found your website to be the best. Your answers are so precise. You have answered a lot of questions for me about all kinds of things. I too have a horse that rests his head on mine. Your response made my heart warm. I also have wondered on sheath cleaning. Thank you.

I do have one question that I did not see on your list. I have just recently been given a 2 1/2 year old Saddlebred gelding. He is very tall 16 hands now and sweet in hand. The thing is that he was removed by animal control and passed on to a few other people before coming to be with us. He has had very little training and in hand work. He leads nice enough but is head shy. We are working on that. He has a real problem with rearing in his stall. I don't know if he does this all night or just in the morning when I go out to feed but this morning when he did it my head was right by the bars of his stall and it gave me a good scare. I don't know what to do. My other horse (who thinks I am his) sees this across the isle and gets very upset. If I turn them out together he is very aggressive towards the new horse. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Caroline,

Thank you for you kind words and your question. Sometimes a new horse can take some real time adjusting to a new home and stablemates. If he was not stalled before he will be fearful of the new, closed in environment. That would be one explanation for the rearing, also called a claustrophobic response. Find out the horse’s history and let me know. That behavior is always a fearful reaction to something. If the aggressive horse is nearby, that will make the new horse fearful as well. As the older horse is chasing the new baby around and hurting him, you might consider separating them for a while until they settle down. I can give you ways to get them acclimated to each other safely. Can you put them in separate paddocks for a while? Also, I would suggest that you put the new horse in the stall with the older one not in the barn sometimes. Spend some good quality bonding time in the stall with the horse, grooming or just being present with him. If you are only there during feeding time, it only becomes about the food. I would also suggest some play time on the ground outside of the stall with the horse if you are not already doing that. Anything you can do to get the horse more connected and relaxed around you and his new home the better. Are you skilled enough to work both horses together in a round pen or paddock? I can lunge two or three horses at one time at liberty or on lunge lines. Consider the possibilities. Both horses need to lunge well first before you try this. This is how liberty circus horses are trained.

Let me know how it goes and I’ll respond with more when I hear back from you.

Sincerely, Franklin

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