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Horse Who Loves To Rear

She writes...


I have a 2 year old QH filly, Who is beginning to show me that her name should be "Not So Heavenly"

Did your Bonder, followed your steps with the mentally connecting with the immature horse and did great for about 11 months..Could do anything with her.

Now I have a problem I need help understanding. (I have gone back through the round pen work many times since this started) My problem that I'm having with her is rearing. (She has been check for health reasons that could cause her to behave this way. They couldn't find a reason)

She will rear anywhere anytime. Ask her to change direction on the lunge. To her that is a reason, walk by her fence, another reason. There seems to be no direct reason, Other than it seems as if she just does it to do it.

A little history on her. She was an ugly underweight 13 month old when I got her, from the looks of the scars not only was she beating by the owners but treated badly by other horses .(I didn't care what the cost was I was getting her out of there) She was scared of her own shadow. fought you every step of the way until she learned that no one was going to harm her.

Bonding with her wasn't really a problem once she felt safe. Never reared through this period. She didn't learn the rearing part so to speak until she was pulling back trying to avoid the bad man (farrier). (Had never done this, on other occasions when he trimmed her hoofs. Only difference with that day, than any other time was he was wearing a cowboy hat instead of his normal ball cap)

Her reaction to the farrier was so quick that she pulled the rope out of my hands and the force of when the rope broke free of my hands caused her to go back....An her reaction was ... oh this cool, I like being on two legs instead of four..

She is the only horse I have. she is pastured with two goats for company. She will be in her pasture running and rearing. or could be in her stall just rearing away. How can I break her of this new habit.........Or is this, her just feeling her oats so to speak? Anything you can tell me will be appreciated

Thank you ,

Rearing is probably the most perplexing problem a horse owner can have because it can have so many causes or it can have no cause at all.

You have a number of possible causes which makes the problem rather difficult for you and for me because I'm who knows how many miles from being able to look at the horse myself. I'm only able to look at the horse through your email.

One possible cause is a physical issue.

The fact that she has been checked for a physical cause and nothing was found does not mean there isn't a physical issue. It only means nothing was found. Nothing against vets but they are best with oozing, bleeding, swollen, over-heated, bruised and other abnormal obvious situations. The reason for this is that one tends to diagnose what one sees the most of and it is a rare horse owner who presents a horse to a vet and says something like, "She's two inches short strided on the left rear. Let's find the problem and treat it."

She is quite young and you report an 11 month history during which you could do anything with her, one of which was apparently longeing, before she fell apart. Longeing is rather hard on horses if not done correctly and most don't do it correctly and is especially hard on young horses because of the torques and effects of centrifugal force on developing structures.

I'd have her seen by a chiro and having special attention paid to the cervicals - particularly C1 & C2 as well as C4. You may be able to find a chiro near you at

You may be able to get an idea of how the cervicals are by examining each side of her neck and comparing them to each other. If you find hard bulges on one side that you don't find in the same place on the other side, chances are really good she has cervical subluxations.

Another factor is almost certainly age.

Some young horses rear simply because they can and they rear more readily when they are directed to do something they may not understand, may not be able to do or while they would rather be doing something else.

Many times maturity takes care of that if it is an age thing. Training takes care of it is if it is a training problem.

Another factor may be how you are presenting your leadership actions to her. You mention my immature horses video. In it one presents the herd dynamics slightly different than one does to an adult horse. While she is still relatively young she may be bouncing back and forth between teenager and adult mindset. When she acts like an adult one must treat her like an adult - use a little more determination and pressure.

When physical issues are ruled out you may want to move to her side when she rears and just pull her down toward you with a sharp, "NO!!" Be very careful you keep enough distance so you don't pull her over onto you or onto her back. Once she is airborne you should be more able to control her direction.

I'm not real sure her pulling back the one time with the farrier created the problem. You report she pulled the rope free from your hands. I don't think there was enough resistance there to hurt her or to have her understand what happened.

I do have a video that may be helpful titled, "How To Teach Your Horse To Give To Pressure And Build Softness." It teaches horses to give to the pressure rather than pulling against it. Yours may be a little beyond the foal stage but I think the principles would still work. Click here for giving to pressure video info.

I hope this helps.

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