Rearing. Anyone dealt with it?(9 Posts)
Dhorse has recently started balking and rearing in response to leg He's 4.5 and a TB gelding. Up until two weeks ago he was coming along beautifully; schooling small courses, working on lead changes and enthusiastic about his work. I ride him six days/week (one of those days is a lesson) and he gets half day turnout every day. Have tried all the recommended fixes...getting him forward, cranking his head around, bopping him on the head but he still persists. Had his teeth done and his back checked (twice), got a new saddle (professionally fitted) and vet is coming to scope for ulcers this week. He's good on the ground and on the lunge line but just will not do more than walk under saddle at the moment...any type of correction and he just explodes. Obviously, trying to rule out everything physical before going down the behavioral route (I have a reputable trainer on stand-by that will take him for re-schooling, if it comes to that). Just wondering if anyone has been through this and if horses can get through it and be trustworthy again? I've been thrown three times this week (I always get back on), have messed up both my shoulders and am worried that I'll never fully trust him again
You are right to get the vet out, you can't do anything until you have eliminated the possibility that the rearing is caused by pain.
Having said that 4.5yo is very young, how experienced are you with youngsters? Do you have regular lessons? I'd want my trainer to ride the horse and assess what is happening, e.g. Misunderstanding, unwillingness, fear, etc. Will he move forwards on long Lines? You may need to take a step back in his education and re-establish impulsion on the long lines. Also six rides a week which include jumping small courses and flying changes sounds like a very heavy workload for such a young horse. At this age he should be mainly hacking, long and low and forward, maybe 2-3 times a week with one, short schooling session a week. You can spend the rest of the time desensitising him to things he is likely to encounter out and about.
When you say you've been thrown three times is that backwards when he rears? If yes be very careful riding him, if he goes over backwards with you you could have a very dangerous accident.
Just my thoughts, I know you said you've had a saddle professionally fitted, but maybe you should think about a 2nd opinion?
Rearing is a horrible and frightening habit for a horse to have and I think you need to find out why. In my experience, horses rarely suddenly develop behaviour such as this without a very good reason. Does he see a chiropractor regularly? I would take things back a few steps and start going through things methodically and see what happens.
Good luck, youngster are hard work, mine turns 5 in Jan!
Yes echo the others excellent advice.
It usually has a very good reason behind it as rearing (opposed to bucking) is not a usual response for a horse, and cranking his head around and bopping him on the head are not the way to go, they will increase his fear and lessen his trust in you. I know people recommend it on yards, I have witnessed a show jumper crack an egg over the horses head as a shock but to me it's not the answer as it's not dealing with the root of the problem either.
I would look into a parelli trainer or a NH Instructor to come and give you advice, or someone very experienced in rearing horses, it is a highly dangerous vice and if not dealt with correctly can have serious consequences for you both.
In the mean time long reigning and lunging, especially working on circles and transitions, and less time ridden schooling at this age.
I also wanted to add that I hack my 4yo 3/4 times a week and only school once a week. At his age (even though he's 5 in Jan) I don't feel that being in the school all the time is good for a horse. They need down time and be able to chill out.
Maybe he just is bored of schooling?
I would have the scope, not school for a while and get out hacking if you can. Loads of walk work and hill work
Has he been turned away at all? That's another option is give him a few weeks, month off just to let him chill and grow up a bit
Do you have any chance of increasing his turnout? It sounds vastly insufficient to me.
Is all of your ridden work done in the school? Perhaps he is bored? Could you perhaps switch it up a bit and do more hacking? There are a lot of schooling moves that you can practice whist hacking. Perhaps take him somewhere different? The beach? Local woodland? The gallops, if he could do with a good run out. Try something different.. jump cross, endurance, dressage, horseball, whatever...
What are you feeding him?
Of course it could just be the peculiar change in weather and he's having a bit of "spring madness" ;)
All excellent advice. I would definitely get a second opinion on the saddle from a reputable independent saddle fitter, and also turn him away for a while. He's very young to be doing so much. My 4 year old is now turned away for the second winter in succession having been sat on just over a year ago, turned away, re-started this spring and then done nothing except hack all year. And had 2 half-hour lessons! And some trotting poles.
4 year olds are immature, physically and mentally, and he might just be imploding.
Agree re getting everything checked but I also had this problem with my Irish X tb. Although his was separation anxiety. He reared up and slipped back on concrete a few months ago. So fortunate that he had no damage (just a bit of concussion). Now he's too scared to rear.
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