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Franklin Levinson's

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rearing, PLEASE HELP!


I found your web site while looking for some help with my 3 yr old mare. She has had 60 days of breaking and training, professionally. Now that she is home we are having new "issues". One that is sort of "scaring" me is her rearing. She recently decided that when I am working her (after first lunging her) she wants to go back to the barn during our ride. Unfortunately, the paddock I ride in is also the one she is turned out in and is connected to the barn, a sort of run-in set-up. I feel her begin to veer toward the barn and I try to push her forward but she tries to stop and then rears. A friend suggested a tie-down, which I think helps minimize the rear but doesn't stop her. When she acts up I try to move her around in figure 8s and small circles, it seems to help a little. I have had horses that scoot and ones that buck, but the rearing is something I really get scared of.

Do you have any suggestions, now that I have pretty much found the pattern when she does it? She also tries it on the lung line. When she is on the barn side of the "ring" she tries to stop. I try to keep her moving but once in a while she manages to stop and if I move toward her to get her going forward she will back up and begin to rear.

I have e-mailed other trainers for suggestions but I haven't gotten any response yet. PLEASE let me know if you can help! I don't want to give up on her, I love her and she is great, other than this rearing issue right now. I keep telling myself it is b/c she is a baby, but I still really need a solution.

Thank you! ~Theresa

Hi Teresa,

Yes, this is a 'baby.' She is testing the waters, being willfull like a youngster and is totally innocent. A great consquence (not punishment) for behavior you do not want is movement (also called work) and, sometimes especially with youngsters, a lot of it. Also, make certain this horse is not being grained too much for the exercise she is getting, as that will contribute to an unwanted energy level. She should be getting plenty of exercise and I do mean PLENTY. This may help get the high end energy off her. Round pen play done with skill and consistency will help. I would spend a lot more time on the ground schooling her. Even forgetting riding for a little while until she is perfect on the ground. Then restart the mare, going slower. At three she really needs a ton of exercise (also called miles). If she does not get this, her behavior will most likely worsen. I do not know how competent the trainer was she was with. Actually, unless you were there all the time to watch, you don't either, no matter what. If this behavior happened as soon as you began with her when she got back home, there is an excellent possibility the trainer she was with caused this problem in the first place. I always look to the humans with a horse for the root of a problem with horses. You need to be able to keep her moving no matter what her behavior. Try not to make a big deal or the rearing and just stay with what you are asking so she does not get out of the movement by her behavior. This way she does not win.....Try using a flag of some sort (one half of a plastic shopping bag affixed to a stock whip). Be judicious with it as you do not want to scare her. Avoid hitting the horse with the whip. Read everything I have written on rearing. Use the search engine feature in the help center of my website.

Good Luck and please keep me posted.

Sincerely, Franklin

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