Last Updated on February 21, 2022 by Allison Price
Horse rearing can be dangerous. There is a good chance that a horse will rearrange and cause the rider to be unseated. Extreme cases could see the horse fall backwards, causing injury to the rider or themselves. There is no quick solution to problems such as rearing, just like with many other equestrian training issues. It is highly recommended that a professional or experienced rider examine the problem. These are possible causes of horse rearing and some ways to address the problem.
Examine for any signs of discomfort or pain
Before we can discuss how to stop horses from rearing, it is important to make sure that your horse’s behavior is not a result of pain. Like all problems, there’s always a cause. Unfortunately, pain can be the root cause. Horses will respond to pain by jumping, bolting, or shaking their heads in an effort to get out of the discomfort they are experiencing.
Before you take any further actions, consult a qualified vet, dentist, and saddle fitter to determine if there are any issues with your horse’s back, teeth, or tack. Horses in pain will not respond well to schooling or training, and may even become more difficult to train. The first step in ensuring a horse is well is to ensure that he is not suffering from any injuries.
Once you’ve made sure the horse isn’t in pain, it is safe to assume that repeat rearing is learned behaviour. Horses need consistency in their training. If you don’t get the right answers, it is likely that you’re asking the wrong questions, or asking the question the wrong way. It is important to ensure that the rider is not a novice in order to combat rearing. A rider who doesn’t know what soft hands mean could cause the horse to become more aggressive and make it worse. Sometimes, it is best to leave the details to professionals.
Find the trigger
You need to determine what is causing your horse’s rearing problems. Perhaps your horse rearranges when they see other horses on the road. Maybe your horse rears when you ask him to do something they don’t want to do or are not confident about.
Horses are often raised out of fear or disdain. These two issues need to be addressed in a different way. You must eliminate fear if it is the root cause. If the cause is fear, then you must work to eliminate it.
It is amazing how fast a horse can pick up bad behavior. Even the smallest ‘napping’ can quickly escalate into something much more serious if it isn’t addressed or noticed. You are always schooling your horse whether you’re on the ground or in the saddle. If a horse is unable to be told immediately to move forward and ‘naps’, it has learned that they are able to get away with hesitations and will undoubtedly repeat the behavior, building on the previous one.
Get back to basics
Sometimes, it is necessary to get back to basics when a horse has a rearing issue. This can help build trust between the horse and you, and it can also build confidence. Encourage your horse to lunge ‘long and slow’ and practice groundwork. Ask your horse to be calm and not react with fear or anger to pressure.
You should not let your horse rear when you ride.
Screaming and shouting rarely work and whipping will only escalate the situation while the horse is still in the air. Instead, gently stroke the neck of your horse with your hands and keep them relaxed. Next, lean forward and encourage the horse to stand on all fours.
No matter what you do, don’t pull on the reins. After rearing the horse, you must get them moving as quickly as possible. Instead of nagging the horse, which can lead to more rearing, use one rein to push the horse left or right. Then, work the horse in circles. Continue moving the horse around the circle until he can move off the leg and out of the circle. The key word here is always forward. A horse cannot rear when he’s moving forward. You can get your horse moving forward by getting them to use their brain to distract from potential rearing.
Rearing can be a difficult task. With the right experience and a measured approach, you can make your horse happy and relaxed while under saddle.
Are you looking for horse-rearing tips? Please leave them in the comments!
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!