While I was riding last night, there was another rider on a horse who was having difficulties going down a line in the hunter ring. The horse did not want to jump the second fence, so would stop and then duck out to the side, but as soon as the rider put her legs on to send the horse forward, it would rear up. The first time it wasn’t so bad - more like little hops, but on the two more subsequent attempts the rearing got very dangerous and high up off the ground.
The girl riding him (who I should mentioned is a competent rider, and known for being patient with young horses etc.) made a point of going with the horse as he went up, and not pulling on the reins, and then trying to send him forward once he landed. Despite her patience and attempts to stop the rearing, the horse proceeded to rear again, and this time the girl gave him a good crack between the ears with the end of her crop just as he was leaving the ground - interestingly enough it worked, and obviously got the message across as the horse stopped. I have heard many people say never hit the horse over the poll when it rears, and then some say that that is what you should do.
This whole episode made me realize that I really don’t know what the correct method is in dealing with a horse that rears. Aside from not pulling back and staying with the horse.
So, what should you do if your horse rears, and what do you do to stop it if the horse continues to do so?