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What Should You Really Do If A Horse Rears?

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?

I’ve been told the crack on the poll with a stick is effective. I’ve also heard some say that if the horse is a rearer, carry an egg with you and when the horse goes up, crack the egg over their poll. Never seen it done, but I have it on good authority that it works.

I’m not a big fan of cracking the horse between the ears for ANY reason, but I do understand that it works. I think I’d prefer the tight circles, but that’s just me.

I’ve fortunately not had to deal with this so far, but a friend has been training a chronic rearer. He got her to stop by carrying a floppy hat with him. When the mare went to rear, he waved it by her eye and shoved her forward. It worked, she hasn’t reared anytime lately as far as I know.



Think people…what is the most collected movement a horse can do - it’s a REAR! A horse can’t rear if it’s nose is poked out! If you horse is getting behind the vertical…and you THINK he may be getting ready to rear…throw your anti’rear plan into action IMMEDIATELY!!! Don’t give him another split second to think about it!

This has been already said before, but yes, hitting the horse on the poll with the end of a whip or using an egg does work. And draw reins.

My horse WAS a rearer. It was her bit… a snaffle and a low mouthed palette horse does not mix, lol. No more snaffles = No more rearing for my horse

And if you’re ever in a situation where a horse rears really high like high-ho… put your arms around it’s neck so you’ll stay on.

- K a h l u a -

Coco-you mentioned that your horse would rear as you lead her…what I would suggest, if the rear is in malice, is to pull her over sideways. You don’t want o do it directly backward, you could break her back! To do this properly you have to be slightly behind her head, like at the shoulder area. And when she goes up let her go as far up as she wants to and then pull her over. Once you have her on the ground sit on her neck right behind her head. This prevents her from getting back up. Sit on her for awhile to get your point across. What you’re doing is a dominance reassertion. The horse is thinking while on the ground that you have the ultimate power over it’s fate. You’ll see stallions in the wild pin down a herd member the same way. I know that this sounds cruel, but I have done it a couple times with great success.

Now if the mare is rearing out of fear or pain, I would just let the mare rear all the while reassuring her. Then you just have to desensitize her of whatever is scaring her.

Disclaimer: I only recommend the first method if the horse is truley being malicious. Oh, and once the horse starts falling, get the heck out of the way!

full rear I don’t DO anything other than try to figure out IF they are going over - cause then I’m gonna BAIL OUT (aka fall off with intent).

I don’t think the posters were saying to spin them once they were up there and “wavin’ to the crowd”.

And was working with an excellent trainer. We worked the mare in long lines and she would flip herself over and not give a d*&^. She had no self preservation and I should have just turned her out for the rest of her life. Couldn’t sell her - liability.

Anyway, we did draw reins which DID work; but then again they were never used when jumping (yikes), were always snap in front and low onto a special girth attachment (lower than a breastplate but higher than the dee on a training girth), and NO ONE else but me and the trainer roder her. She was a flawless moving beautiful mare with a great jump - and for these reasons we tried to make her work out. But the rearing was always just under the surface and when she decided to evade anything it was the first trick out of her hat. TOO DANGEROUS. I decided there were other horses to be had and while this idiot might look beautiful and never lose a hack, pretty is as pretty does. A rearer is and always will be IMHO.

My suggestion if you have a rearer…stay with the motion while the horse is rearing and then sell it as soon as you can!!

Put draw reins between their legs, when they start acting up pull on the Draw reins and they canrt pull themselves up into a rear. Thats whay my friend does and her horses hasnt reared since.

is such a nasty habit - the ultimate rejection of the rider’s aids. It is not just no, I won’t go forward… it is HELL NO I WON’T GO FORWARD, the worst of all possible sins.

Cracking the horse a good one between the ears, in my opinion, is not a bad response - many horses are cured after one such experience, having become convinced that there is some mysterious monster lurking “up there” ready to inflict a good whack… ditto the use of eggs, water balloons etc (the theory is that the horse thinks the water, gooey egg etc is really his BLOOD) but both are tough to do unless you have an absolutely independent seat, hand and leg. It is quite easy to overbalance a rearer when you are lifting your hand/arm etc to deliver the punishment.

For that reason, I am in favor of the turning in circles method- preferably as the horse is going up, before he gets up too high - but I have used all three methods and have found them all to work about the same.

VA, it’s not that the method you described doesn’t work… it’s just that I don’t want to die if he loses balance on one leg and falls over on me as I jump off.

Some training methods work, but to quote a business axiom, the price of acquisition simply isn’t worth it.

what can help with the quickness and aim (to reduce chances of striking the eye) is to carry the crop inverted like a jockey. This places the crop end closer to where you want to use it reducing swing distence & preventing the horse from seeing it coming and twisting away. It also prevents you from hitting too hard in temper, making it a correction, not an abuse.

Are all wonderful ideas and I’ve been told (never seen it done) numerous times it works.

One problem - to use the egg, baggie, whatever means you are getting on a horse with the expectation it will rear. IOW you have previously ridden this horse and it reared and you didn’t fix it the first time.

That’s why I like the keep em moving forward, sideways, cirlces (whatever given the situation) method. It can be used when you are on one you don’t expect to rear or on a greenie who you have no idea if it will rear (hence you didn’t bring your egg).

The bottom line is - anyone who rides strange horses or works with greenies should at least be a little prepared with how to deal with a rear. If you don’t know how to correct it then my advice is simple. GET OFF the horse after the first rear and find a pro to deal with it.

It’s one of those situation where it needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP or you end up with a dedicated rearer.

<BLOCKQUOTE class=“ip-ubbcode-quote”><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I don’t think the posters were saying to spin them once they were up there and “wavin’ to the crowd”. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

ROTFLMAO…you mean I am the only one that does that?

We’ve had a couple of horses that reared … but both were three year olds at the time, they both did it when they wanted to go see another horse and the rider insisted that they carry on with the work they were doing … was more like a spoilt little kid having a temper tantrum … we did the crop handle on the poll … took just the once with the mare and she never reared again - went on to bucking! and the stallion took three or four times then never did it again.

For real Jair, email Colin…she helped me solve my horse’s rearing problem. Her and DMK both…I am dead serious, ask them.

What worked for me was, As soon as I thought that he may even be thinking of rearing…I dug my left spur into him and pinned his head to my knee and made him do some tight circles for a while (to let him think about what he had done LOL). This worked like a gem and he rarely think about being dumb…knock on wood.

related to our assessment of the entire picture - that my horse hadn’t been started correctly and had no respect for his people. So first, in the round pen, we established respect. Then, we had a running martingale on, for additional leverage (he’s big and strong), and I did the head to knee thing, with lots of kicking, yelling and some dressage whip. We kept circling till he stopped, then I made him go forward. After about three half-hearted attempts (after the round pen, only the first was really high and scary), he has quit and hasn’t gone up for at least a month!

I think one of the most important things is that now I feel that I can control him if he is stupid. That is, in my conscious mind. My subconscious is still quite nervous.

My trainer mentioned the egg thing, but I am not convinced that I am coordinated enough to do that while a horse is rearing - same with hitting with a crop.

You wouldn’t catch me doing that, unless I was on a 12 hand pony and my feet were already touching the ground.

I should have made the subject Don’t try this at home!

someone said that the crack on the poll only works a few times… probably if you get it hard and sharp the first one or two times, the message will go through completely and the horse will decide never to rear again. unless its a really consistent rearer.

Hey there…let me clarify for ya’…

Pull head to left (or right) knee first…then kick kick kick with inside leg…make him turn in small circles…

Obviously I wouldn’t try to pin him to my knee while he is in mid-air…as that may cause him to fall onto his side - you are right there

I know that they need to go forward, but it doens’t have to be in a straight line.

Does that help?