Is there any hope of training a horse not to rear, or once they've discovered that evasion will they always do it?

I think it is one of the hardest things to deal with and would not keep a horse that does that.

Has anyone had permanent success getting a horse to stop that as their evasion? How did you do it?

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Hi Susan, I really don't think that unless someone is VERY experienced and skilled that thay should even try to fix a rearing horse. There are ways to deal with this evasion, but they should be left to professionals. It sure isn't something that can be done on the internet. Cheers Geoffrey
Thanks Geoffrey,

I agree and I wouldn't even know where to begin (or want to!).
It's a question that comes up a lot though, because amateurs buy horses and then discover afterward that the horse does something, like rearing, that is really dangerous or difficult to deal with.
In my opinion, every horse has its "specialty" when they disagree with the rider and once a horse gets good at a specific type of resistance, it will always be the thing they revert to.
I share your frustration about a rearing horse. The key in preventing the rearing is to keep forward motion and not make a horse feel trapped in the bridle, but that is hard when they already know it's a good way to evade pressure and that it works in unnerving us and getting us off.
I won't ride a horse that rears, I save it for those who are experienced with those issues. Too many people have had their horses go over backwards or have fallen and been injured.
One very green mare I have who has the potential to rear, would want to do so if she felt trapped by my taking hold of her mouth and not letting her go forward when having a conflict, thus forward movement and circling is key in avoiding this with her along with releasing her face. She needs more work in the round pen with side reins and has to get used to giving to pressure...
My other mare would want to rear when I use a leverage bit,( you know the kind with shanks and the chain that goes under the chin)and don't release the pressure. Her only way of escaping that trapped feeling is to go up and rear to find a release and voice her complaint with the heavy hands.
As riders we need to evaluate whether our way of riding or reactions to certain situations(like spooking or a scarey situation) are causing this problem. Hopefully with good riding we can prevent rearing.
But our Arab rears very calmly as a way of letting us know he wants to avoid certain things...he has a bad work ethic and I think it has little to do with how he is handled right now....Unfortunately he used to be shown in halter as a young stallion and was encouraged to rear just to look showy and hot. That sometimes carries on into other things as we try to make them into nice riding horses :-(
I hope you can work things out and stay safe!
Stoping a horse from rearing by keeping a forward motion doesn't always work. Today my TB mare reared while canter and she was still going forward. No stoping at all.
Rearing is basically a problem with the go forward command (ruling out what other posts have said about trapping a horse with strong hands). You can reinforce go-forward on the ground from a safer vantage point. Then work up to in the saddle.
I have a pony that rears when she doesn't want to go forward. It doesn't scare me as much now as it used to and it is really a work ethic problem. She gives me lots of warning and I can generally prevent it by turning her sharply. She also is quite balanced about it so I don't worry about flipping over. I still hear about people giving the advice of flipping a horse to teach them. This is so dangerous for horse and rider that it should NEVER be done. Prevention is the key. Teach them to go forward and promote a good work ethic and have someone ride him that won't be too intimidated to press on through the rearing threats, so they learn they can't avoid the work.
Once rearing becomes a habit most professionals won't touch the horse. After all the trainer wants to live a long life and cannot afford to spend time in a hospital. These horses end up getting shopped around to various trainers. Sometimes they are sold to people who simply don't know any better. If it is a mare or stallion it might become useful for breeding purposes but if the horse has this problem it should not be used for breeding. There was a dressage colt who started rearing (potential temperament problem) so his training ended and voila he has been advertised for years as a dressage stallion. The unlucky ones go the the meat market.
Gee, that's a bit of a damming statement on professionals. It is true that not all trainers want to or will deal with a horse that rears, remember that when things go wrong with the horse 95% of the time it is rider error. Any disobedience ,however small, can lead to major problems, What I was trying to say my previous comment was if people went to the trainer sooner or even asked for advice sooner , these problems are much less ingrained and easier to work through. But in my experience the trainer, professional trainer that is not the guy next door or the girl up the road, is the last resort. Only getting to see the horse after someone has come off and gotten hurt . Dealing with these misbehaviour's , once they have become habit, you can never get rid of it completely, you can dull the poor response by layering other responses on top, so unless you are training the rider at the same time, the horse goes back to the same evasion after a while, if the owner isn't on the same page as the trainer. So the poor old trainer gets a bagging . So again I SAY go to a professional sooner and more often., and make sure who you are going to is a professional with credibility. Just as a foot note , all good professionals do go to clinics and ride or watch with other professional .Beware the one's that don't .Cheers Geoffrey
It is not a damming statement. It is a reality. I have been a pro trainer, I have worked for BNT trainers and I currently know BNT trainers. If you tell them the horse has a rearing problem straight out most will find some excuse to return the horse. A very small few may try a few things to see if the problem is the rider or the horse. Even if the trainer can "fix" the problem the trainer is still stuck with the orginal rider who may be too scared and/or lacking in skills to prevent the rear from happening again. Then the trainer gets blamed for being a poor trainer. The trainer is a businessman as well and cannot afford bad press or a personal injury.
When I was a pro trainer I had a chestnut QH come in for training. Owner said the horse needed more training. No more information than that. Not knowing anything about this horse I tried rebreaking him as this is a good starting point. I sent him back as he liked to rear over fall down. Before I sent him back I questioned the owner about this and she said the horse liked to lie down a lot with her. This is what she called rearing. Ignorance is bliss. I told her she should get rid of the horse and all I got was a dirty look as she stalked away.
Another horse I had to train was an OTTB. I got on him and asked him to walk through a puddle in the dressage ring. He immediately reared over on me. I got off really fast and refused to train this horse. I found out later that this horse had been shopped around to BNT trainers and they had all sent him back to the owner.( This horse had been ruled off the track for rearing in the gate). The owner decided that she was the only one who could train the horse as all he needed was TLC. She was a middle aged rider who was only average. She got on and the horse reared over on her and broke her back. That was the day the horse got shot. She was a paraplegic for 30 years. The moral of the story is that it is not the horse's fault but some of them do have severe problems because of humans and the best result for these is euthansia. There is no shortage of cheap horses to start over with.
Rant over, I could go on forever with lots more examples.
I believe there is hope for a horse that depends on the extent of the problem. I also believe that you can take that horse back to the place it started the habit and teach it the "cues" it needs to not automatically slide into the habit as an easy way out. There are many natural horsemanship trainers out there who have the patience and skill to deal with this problem and many others, (ie. John Lyons, Stacy Westfall, and others). Like life threatening habits in humans who can learn 'cues' (skills) to get them away from the habit takes time and most trainers who are on an employers schedule and people in general don't have the time nor do they care to give it, for many unknown reasons. I'm not trying to accuse anyone of anything here, this is simply an observation.
When my 19-yr-old mare was 4, she started rearing sometimes, so I would slap my hand on her neck toward her poll and say "no," and push her forward. She eventually stopped this bad habit. I'm glad - she's been a successful event horse! Now she's gentle enough for my grandchild.
Hey is the horse rearing on the ground or undersaddle?
On the ground: put a chain UNDER your horses nose, if you use a chain. The chain over the nose can lock over his nose and scare him into rearing so hard he falls over.
Undersaddle: when the horse rears, pull hard on one rein to turn him around and basically pull him to the ground. This worked for a chestnut pony mare, and knowing the pony mind and the chestnut mare mind (having one) they are very difficult to sway.
By pulling him to all fours again, he will be discouraged by the fact that you can bring him down very quickly. Even if you feel him rising, turn him in a small circle to get him listening and figuring out that this will prevent him from rearing.
There IS hope for a rearer but you really need the right professional and to catch it as early as possible. My youngster started this, the first time was overexcitement and sendon time was obstinance.

After the second time he went into training for a month and trainer sorted out the 'forward' issue.

So you can retrain but its not for the faint hearted!


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