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Sadie's Rearing

Hi Franklin,

I've just got Sadie back from 4 weeks away 'starter training' with a very 'sympathetic lady' who is accomplished in many different disciplines from Western to Dressage and Driving to Endurance - but as she says, when you start a horse it doesn't really matter what theyre going to end up as!

Mostly the trainer says she was concentrating on getting Sadie to think forwards. (We all know how much she needs that!). I was v. impressed how animated and elevated she had got Sadie in the roundpen - going from trot into canter on a kiss. She was also very tough on the bit about instant reaction from Sadie - i.e. no "well I'm going to think about that" it had to be immediate. All good stuff I'm sure you'd agree. Then she did some long reining which was all good and finally some ridden in the arena where she was concentrating only on getting Sadie to go forward immediately the squeeze aid was given. All fine. By the time I got on her in the school I think she was tiring. Any how we did lots of good circuits and transitions from walk to trot (trainer has done no ridden loping/cantering yet) but after some time, Sadie started to get nappy and what I call 'light at the front'. The trainer said the only battle she had had with Sadie when riding was when Sadie threatened to rear. I have an absolute horror of rearing horses ever since I was on one that did and not only shed me backwards onto a road but fell on top of me as well. How would you suggest I nip that one in the bud? I'm planning to ride Sadie out and feel that the interest of going somewhere will take away that resistance to nap (I've led her out both on foot and off the back of her mother quite a lot and she's very free and forward going) but even so I don't want a sour nappy horse in the school so any advice on this one would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance Franklin and blessings.

Hi Fran,

Good to hear from you. Glad to hear Sadie is coming along so well. Rearing is a dangerous behavior. It seems so far she hasn't gone all the way up. Is that the case? Here a few things to consider; a horse can't rear if you are doing one handed, hind end yields, keeping a potentially rearing horse in motion in a tight circle will generally make it very hard for a horse to rear. If your horse even seems like it might rear, being to do the one-handed, yielding the hind quarters I mentioned. If you can do it well with your horse, it will immediately take her mind off of rearing and put her attention right on you (which is where you want it anyway). Make what you do not want hard for the horse. That is the principle of this. Make what you do want easy. Put a horse to some easy but active movement, generally in a circle, when he does anything you do not want. They soon learn it is easier to do as you request. Practice the hind end yield in a safe and easy place before you go out riding. Get good at it and get your horse good at it. This is because you do not want it to have to be a surprise move your horse has to do. If it is a familiar move with a bit of energy behind it, all should go well. This technique also works for nervous horses, jiggy horses, kicking horses and more. It is equine behavior modification. Let me know how it all goes. I do promise that if you and Sadie get good at this move, it will be a wonderful tool. Looking forward to seeing you in Jolly Old England.

Blessings to you, Franklin

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