leasing a horse right now and if she doesn't want to go then she rears. Not very
high, but just enough to get annoying. I have tried her with other rider, saddles,
bits, bridles and with and without splint boots. I have no idea where this is
coming from. I was
wondering if I should just find another horse to lease
and give up on Scooter or if I should keep looking for the root of the problem?
Miranda from British Columbia, Canada
think it is admirable that you are trying to find a solution this horse's problem
but I want you to know right away that there are two habits that I think require
the assistance of a qualified professional horse trainer - rearing and kicking.
Both of these habits are very dangerous. You should be working with a qualified
instructor who can help you diagnose this horse's problem in person.
Although the mare you are leasing isn't rearing very high now, such behavior
often gets worse rather than better. The big risk, of course, is that
when a horse rears, you can easily fall off, and often when a horse really gets
into rearing, he can fall over backwards which can be deadly.
But let's talk a little bit about what causes rearing and what you can SAFELY
try to eliminate the bad habit.
an "avoidance behavior" - the horse is trying to avoid going forward.
This usually occurs when a horse has not learned that when you say go
forward, he must go forward, so he is confused and needs progressive training
and a review of the basics.
OR it could be a horse
that is becoming herd bound or barn sour and does not want to leave a certain
area where she can see the barn or her buddies. The horse is saying "NO".
This is more of a psychological problem. The horse needs to develop security
and confidence in the rider.
OR it could be a
horse that has at one time or another has received a sharp jerk or rough
handling when he DID go forward so now he is afraid of the consequences of going
forward. When a horse that tends to rear is switched from a curb
bit to a snaffle and the rider is very good with her hands (following
the horse's movement), the horse tends to move OUT (forward) rather than
UP (rearing). It is important that when you apply the leg cue for the horse
to go forward, you don't pull on the bit as that would be conflicting signals
which would confuse the horse.
rule out physical causes by having a veterinarian check the horse's mouth
and back to be sure there are no dental or spinal problems.
You can also review "forward" lessons in in-hand work (walk out
and trot out promptly when leading) and longeing, concentrating on the horse working
in a long, low frame with lots of extended trot type work, rather than collected
work. Collecting a horse too soon or improperly can lead to rearing.
Since you are leasing this horse, you should ask the owner for insights to the
mare's behavior. If you feel unable to resolve this problem with the help
of your instructor or trainer, then yes, you should find another horse to lease.
It is not worth the risk.