A rearing horse is dangerous and frightening for any rider. If the horse you're riding unexpectedly rears, then knowing how to handle the situation can help to keep you and your horse safe. While we hope you never have to deal with a rear, it’s best to be prepared just in case.

Lean Forward

If you feel your horse start to go upwards, immediately lean forward so that you are against your horse’s neck. Your goal during a rear is to stay as balanced as possible and to avoid pulling the horse over backwards. Shift your weight as far forward as possible – sometimes merely doing this will make a horse think twice about rearing and return to the ground.

Grab the Neck, Not the Reins

As you lean forward, wrap your arms around your horse’s neck to avoid pulling on the reins. Pulling on the reins can pull your horse off-balance, which can cause him to fall or flip as he’s standing up. When you wrap your arms around his neck, be sure that you keep your body weight forward, rather than pulling back on his neck.

Evaluate the Situation

If your horse has stopped the rear at a particular height and seems to pause there, and if you’re balanced and leaning forward into his neck, then it may be best to wait where you are and let the horse decide to return to the ground on his own.

If, however, you feel the horse going higher and higher, or if he is repeatedly rearing and threatening to go over backwards, then kick free of the stirrups and push yourself off of him. As you push off, try to push yourself so that you will land on your feet, a ways off to the horse’s side. You don’t want to still be on his back if he does fall over backwards.

Move Forward

If you’ve managed to ride the rear and the horse has returned to the ground, then encourage him to go forward. Moving a horse forward will lessen the chance that he decides to go up again. You will need to make sure that you are not restricting the horse with the reins; make it easy for him to make the right decision to move forward instead of up.

Get Help

Rearing is a serious, dangerous issue. If your horse repeatedly rears, the problem should be addressed by a professional trainer. Many people may lend you solutions to stopping your horse from rearing. Some of these "solutions" can actually make the problem worse, or cause serious injury to your horse. Enlist the help of a professional rather than attempting to fix this issue yourself.

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Original Source: What To Do When Your Horse Rears

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Comment by Classic Equine Equipment on June 18, 2014 at 9:29am

Thank you Sandy Lynn for adding these additional insights and recommendations.  It is so important for  riders to be prepared the best they can be for the situation if it arises.  A rear happens so quickly and riders need to be aware of their options before they are in the situation.  Thank you for reading and contributing your expertise to the discussion!

Comment by Sandy Lynn Wallis on June 18, 2014 at 1:09am

This is great advice if you're riding in a flat saddle, but if you're riding in a stock saddle you should do things a little differently. In a stock saddle, you can sit very loose because the back of the saddle will keep you from slipping off the back. You do not need to hold on to the horse's neck and would not want to lean this far forward as it will put you dangerously close to your saddle horn. If the horse goes over backwards with you too close to the saddle horn, your clothing can snag on it, keeping you from getting out from under him. In all saddles, when you lean forward always lean slightly to the side so his head will not hit you in the face. Not only is getting hit in the face painful, the blow may stun you which will prevent you getting off in time if he goes over backward. If you do think the horse is going over backward, take your foot out of the right stirrup, but use your left to perform a dismount motion to the left side, letting the horse's momentum throw you clear. In either saddle, do not cling to the reins as you come off, as this may cause the horse to fall over backwards even if he was not intending to go over. 

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