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Rearing when being mounted

Hi Franklin,

My name is Jamie an I have been working with horses for years...I recently bought a TB mare 14 years old and very sweet.....she was perfect when I test rode her....and all seemed fine. I got her to her new home and the first time I saddled her she was ok...When I got on she reared and seemed a bit spooky...I chalked this up to being in a new home. Then I went out and tried to saddle her again the other night and she went into violent rearing after the girth was applied gently to her.....we took the saddle off and tried to resaddle to see if the saddle was pinching but it fits her fine....she just seems very grumpy about her girth area....although her prior owners state that she has never even offered to rear due to saddling or mounting...what do you suppose the issue is and how do I fix this???

Thanks, Jamie

Hi Jamie,

  I would suggest doing more on the ground to establish a relationship with your new horse. Sounds like your focus is only riding. Your relationship with any horse is formed first and foremost on the ground and not in the saddle. Your new horse has no history with you so why should it trust you? Perhaps the 'energy' is not right and making the horse nervous. Perhaps you are asking too much, too fast. When I get with a new horse, any horse, I do some good dancing on the ground first to get some trust going and good communication. The I address whatever issues may come up. Perhaps you are trying to ride her too quickly. Forget riding for a week or more and only play on the ground and lead the dance wonderfully well without riding her. You say you have worked with horses for years, so this should be no problem and you understand exactly what I am suggesting. For girthiness, I suggest using a terrycolth towel or a fleece girth cover and begin to work the horse's girth area in a sea-saw motion (two people, one on each side of the horse). Handle the girth are a lot (brushing, etc.) until the horse shows no sign of nervousness. You can also have someone lead the horse in a small circle while you gently play with the girth and billets. When a horse is moving it can only focus on moving and not anything else. As the horse settles you can stop her and should be able to continue handling the girth and that area. Too much, too fast and no trust could be the main issues. Do not assume a horse should do anything. You must have an appropriate relationship with anyone before making requests that involve mutual trust. Let me know how it goes.

Sincerely, Franklin

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