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Old 29th Feb 2008, 11:22 PM
Kerry Claire's Avatar
Kerry Claire Kerry Claire is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cheshire/Manchester
Posts: 1,185
How to cure a horse of rearing?

I had the vet out for Si today and it didn't go too well! He needed a jab of local, followed by his vaccination, then once the local had taken effect his microchip inserted. The minute he saw the vet and the needles he tensed right up, and as soon as she put the needle in he was straight up in the air. He didn't just go up once though, it was at least a dozen times and at full height aswell. He trapped me and the vet against the wall in the process and the whole situation was pretty dangerous even though he's only a small pony. He landed on my foot leaving me with a big bruise and he caught the vets arm on his way down at one point aswell but to be honest I'm just so relived he didn't cause either of us any more serious injuries. In the end we had to twitch him and even then he was playing up.

I'm a bit worried that he's going to make a habit of this though as although he's never reared full up before today, he has done smaller ones with the farrier, being wormed etc. It seems to be his chosen form of protest not just when he's scared but when he simply doesn't like something. I'm also worried he might rear up when ridden as I'm in the process of breaking him at the moment. Is there any way I can prevent him from getting into this pattern? I really can't think of anything I can do as obviously I can't always predict when he's going to do it. Or could someone suggest a good way to deal with it when he does?

As much as I love him I won't keep a dangerous pony if it develops into a bigger issue, but I really don't want to sell my boy! Is there any way to nip this in the bud? Thanks in advance as always.
Old 29th Feb 2008, 11:30 PM
KateWooten KateWooten is offline
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Location: TN
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You can nip it in the bud, yes, BUT you have to really nip it IN THE BUD .... that's to say, by the time he's rearing, you've already missed a few steps.

If it were me, I'd approach it by taking one situation in which he's protested by rearing, break that down into simple steps and train for it. Then find another situation where he would rear and tackle that one ... so you'd be addressing the panic/paddy/tantrum/fear whatever it is, in just little manageable chunks.

So, for example, today's vet experience. Clearly, it had to be done, and clearly, it was too far out of his comfort zone for him to quietly accept it. He pitched a fit, you did what you had to do to get the job done, and now with it in the past, you can design a little plan to train him for the next time. So, lots of approach and retreat with 'things' that might be needles - cans, flysprays, table-tennis bats, any old thing. Pick some kind of a routine to follow, I don't if there's any particular trainer you like the sound of, but most of the NH type of guys would have you let the horse move away from the thing so he doesn't feel restricted, but not let him rest till he was calm with the thing near him. Have a look at some NH type of guys and see what the y do maybe ?

I honestly wouldn't deal with it as 'rearing' across the board but just as evasion/fear. If you deal with it as rearing, you might well find you cure the rear, and he chooses something else to do instead ! But if you approach it as just a series of new sitiuations, gradually increasing his comfort zone, that tends to have a beneficial effect across the board.
Old 29th Feb 2008, 11:46 PM
julia gulia's Avatar
julia gulia julia gulia is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: GA
Posts: 4,440
I agree with the advice above. It sounds like his reaction when scared or unsure is to rear. So, in essence, It's the way he deals with fear that you have to work on. It's ok for him to be scared but how he deals with that fear is quite another story.
You mentioned that your horse trapped you and the vet against the wall. Where was your horse when he was given his shots? Was he on cross ties ? Just curious about the set up .How long have you owned him?

Last edited by julia gulia; 1st Mar 2008 at 01:23 AM.
Old 1st Mar 2008, 01:05 AM
KateWooten KateWooten is offline
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Location: TN
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ooh - yep, that pinning against the wall sounds nasty Nobody got hurt, though, right ? My little saddlebred x mare likes to opt for rearing as her evasion of choice and I hate it. Like Si, Rosie did it as a baby on the lead too, it didn't just show up under once she was under saddle - she'd do it leading to and from her paddock, leading down the road - anything really wqhere she wanted to say no, (for whatever reason) and then 'Hell NO!' and up she'd go. Frightened the living daylights outta me.

Even today (she's 6 now), if there's a real stress-situation - or one that she knows she's got my number on, she'll threaten to go up. (and never has)Fortunately, I can see it coming, and can ask for 'head down' long before it gets to that stage (although I have to admit, if it's ridden, and 'the situation' is those big loose rottweilers that I happen to know won't kill us, but she doesn't - then I do tend to get off earlier rather than later, and do a bunch of 'head down' with me on the ground rather than in the saddle where I can feel a tad vulnerable )
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 12:42 PM
Kerry Claire's Avatar
Kerry Claire Kerry Claire is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cheshire/Manchester
Posts: 1,185
Thanks for the advice guys. I've 6 months untill his next vaccination so plenty of time to work on it. Any more advice for preventing him from doing it simply because he's fed up of standing still for the farrier, or doesn't like the taste of his wormer etc etc? Basically when it's not a fear thing but simply him saying "No, lets do things my way"? Like I say he's only ever done liitle rears/bounces with the farrier etc but after the vets I'd rather not leave things to chance!

No neither of us was badly hurt thankfully. He caught the vets arm on the way down but she insisted he didn't hurt her, and other than that I've just a slightly bruised foot but he's barefoot so not as bad as it might have been! Was just scarey more than anything!
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 12:51 PM
KateWooten KateWooten is offline
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Location: TN
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DO you use a rope halter at all ? I use one all the time on my young rearing mare and it's a huge help. It's enough to just put a tug on the leadrope and say 'no' to get her attention when she's thinking about it, whereas in a wider webbing halter, she can just ignore me.

Teach the 'head-down' cue all the time. And 'back-up' from the ground too. Both are really useful for any of this stuff.
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 01:12 PM
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Kerry Claire Kerry Claire is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cheshire/Manchester
Posts: 1,185
I do have a rope halter somewhere so will have to look it out, not too sure if it will fit him but can always get another if need be. I've never really heard of people teaching horses to put their head down, sounds useful for quite a few things though! Thanks again.
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 04:02 PM
cinammontoast cinammontoast is offline
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Location: Knee deep in muck
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Agree with the headcollar-Duallys are bril for this. Alternatively, sedate if absolutely necessary for the vet-we have to as my girl went mental at the needle last week. We gave her Sedolin powder in advance of the next visit as even seeing the same vet made her go crazy again. (She needs bandages changing every week) You can teach the down command using treats and it's great for stretching them anyway: I do it at the beginning and end of each schooling session for warm up/down so she stretches right down to the ground! To encourage yours, you can do it in just a headcollar/leadrope and bend down yourself to encourage him-he'll want to bend down to you-does he groom you when you groom him? That's handy to help him stretch. Apple slices on the end of a (non-pointy!) stick between the front legs and offered from behind are handy, too, or you could try sitting on him and getting him to bend his neck round for a treat.

Last edited by cinammontoast; 2nd Mar 2008 at 04:07 PM.
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 06:14 PM
wonkeywoody wonkeywoody is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,080
I stopped mine from a well developed rear by using NH. (he is 16.2hh!)Its takes time but you also learn to 'read' them better and have more tools in your 'box' to cope with things.
highly recommend it.
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 06:35 PM
pinkypug1 pinkypug1 is offline
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Location: Northern Ireland
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My friend had a young pony do this with her and the vet. she cured it buy making him fall over when he reared never reared again after that. He was in the stable and landed on the soft bed so no injuries! Dont think she ment to make him fall but whatever way she pulled him he did. It cured him!!!
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 06:43 PM
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chev chev is offline
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I had a gelding who went up whenever he didn't fancy doing what was asked. He did it from the age of about 6 months. By the time he got to 2 he was just starting to strike out at the same time. At which point it became a definite 'sort this out once and for all' situation.

The one thing that worked with him was carrying a short rope with me. He went up, I swatted him one across the belly, hard. I'd already found that yanking on the halter made him go higher (he went over a couple of times, and even that didn't stop him). But slapping his belly worked. I think because instead of putting him in a position of power, it put him in a risky position and left his soft parts vulnerable. I think he maybe went up two or three times and then never did again. He used to 'threaten' to go up for a few weeks after, but never actually did. And after a few weeks, even the threats stopped.
Every time I learn something new it pushes some old stuff out of my brain!
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 07:05 PM
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Is it just the jabs in particular? Rio is the most pleasant amenable horse you could wish to meet, but the moment a vet tries to put a needle in her she's up up and away. We've been half way across the yard before the job has been completed. I've tried various bits of desensitisation, but the problem is unless you can stick a needle in her neck it doesn't amount to the same thing, and hasn't helped. I get by for now by having a vet who uses a large bore needle and is exceptionally quick on the draw, it's usually over before she realises it's begun.

What I would say is having a horse than rears when faced with a needle won't necessarily have any impact elsewhere, it certainly doesn't with her.
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 07:05 PM
Lucy_Angel Lucy_Angel is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sunny Bedfordshire
Posts: 1,745
My mare is exactly the same, she sees the vet coming and automatically tenses. Takes 20 mins to sedate her or for a vaccinaton, and the dentist without sedation.... don't even go there!
The dualy (don't know if that is spelt right)! from Monty Roberts works wonders, a stud ring has also been really useful. She instantly know no messing when she has the dually on.

Hope this helps. good luck xx
Old 2nd Mar 2008, 08:14 PM
Kerry Claire's Avatar
Kerry Claire Kerry Claire is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cheshire/Manchester
Posts: 1,185
OK positives first. Today he was brilliant to ride. We had our first canters with just a small buck in the transition. Probably not a very "nice" canter but he went when I asked him, was on the right leg on both reins and didn't bronc me off, so I'm very chuffed with that! So far it doesn't seem like he's transferring the rears to ridden situations and he's also been reining back without any problems.

Negatives, I'm feeling totally out of my depth with him on the ground! I was grooming him today and whilst grooming his girth area behind his left leg (same side the vet microchipped him) he freaked and started rearing again. I think I may have caught a clump of mud which seeing as he's got pretty long hair there might have pulled and twinged slightly. But then he wouldn't let me anyway near that area and would rear if I tried. So I untied him and went to touch the area, he reared so I pulled him round in a circle and after a few more rears we were circling with me rubbing behind his leg. Tied him up and tried again and he did a small rear but after working my way down from his shoulder area stood relatively nicely but looked pretty tense as though he might try again.

I'm just at a bit of a loss what to do to stop things getting any worse. I feel quite useless like even though I'm trying to react in the correct way, if he throws something else at me that I'm not ready for I don't know how to react and either don't at all or make the situation worse. Like when I was circling he lunged at me with his teeth (another thing he's just started doing) and because it was a bad bite (he got half my arm in his mouth) my instict was to turn round and smack him.

I think I'm going to try a bit of parelli as he needs to learn a few other ground manners anyway. Unfortunately the teacher my friend used to use is now having a baby and won't be teaching again for a good while. My friend's quite experienced and has already given me loads of advice as a starting point and said she will come and help me out, but I know she'll struggle as she has an 8month old baby too. So if anyone happens to know of any good instructors in the northwest area it would be much appreciated!

In the mean time I've taken on board all the advice and am going to switch to my rope halter and buy a longer leadrope so I can get out of the way if need be. Thanks so much for the advice everyone, and obviously any more would be much appreciated!

PS Chev I don't think I'd have the nerve to stay close enough to do that when he's rearing although it does sound like a very logical solution!


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