|West Virginia 2 year old TWH ridden in
and western /simco pleasure in large round pen, open trail by good rider.
Question: I have a rearing problem.
I have handle this colt since birth and he is an exceptionally good natured. I started ground training him and he has progressed very well with riding. I am presently riding him with a tom thumb bit. He has not been ridden hard about 20-30 min per day for about 3 weeks now. Under 1 hr total for trail.
He is good with leg aids in turning right and left, stopping and going forward and backs a few steps (still needs improvement in backing straight). There is still some head tossing and mouthing the bit.
The rearing under saddle first started when he was on longe line, and
I believe the line had got snag on the saddle. (When he came up I
did bring him over --for such behavior which obviously cannot be
tolerated)! Then the first episode on trail is when we went to cross a
Last night I was making the circle again but in the opposite direction. When asked to go forward to somewhere he was fearful of he seemed to get higher rearing and now is straight up. I do not believe this has started from riding as I stated earlier. But has carried over into the saddle.
My plan of attack is to hit him under the belly with a whip or rope when is comes up with me. I do not want him to relate this to rider and since this is a vulnerable area to horses I hoping this will make him think twice for exposing this area. My question is -- Is this appropriate and if not what is your suggestion in handling this given situation.
From Panelist Erica
First I will say - do not hit him from underneath! This could cause him to go up higher and actually flip over, many horses have died from this!
Second, when he goes up when you are on him, do not pull back on the reins at all. It will be harder to make him come down with a curb bit in his mouth as you do not have single control over each rein like you would a snaffle (even with a broken mouth). What you will want to check before riding him again is - saddle fit, be sure there is no other body pain that could cause this, bit fit, check teeth as well and be sure that your bridle fits appropriately and that there aren't any rough edges that could poke into him and cause pain. Now, rearing is usually one of many "escape" routes a horse will try. Usually rearing is when the horse feels that the rider is telling him to go forward but he either can't, isn't comfortable doing so, or is being told at the same time not to. When you tell him forward be sure you are not pulling back on the reins at all or telling him otherwise not to move forward. When he comes down from a rear be sure to reward him for coming down - do not discipline him once he has all four feet on the ground, it will do him no good.
If you are on the ground and he rears you want to take a whip and hit
his front feet on the cannons until his feet are on the ground. When he
has all fours on the ground again reward him for coming down. Be sure to
give him more praise than discipline! Under saddle I
From Panelist Lee
Horses rear under saddle for a number of reasons ... fear, evasion,
confusion, lack of forward impulse, restriction or pain in the mouth/back.
They rear on the ground for other reasons. (dominance and "horse
play" being some of them). I don't think this horse is rearing with
you on him just because he rears on occasion in his stall. They are two
separate issues. While the whip to the belly method might work on
him from the
So, to solve this problem while you are riding, you need to rethink
some things. First, does your saddle fit, and is the horse in any
pain in his body from carrying you? Remember that he is young, immature,
and soft. What might not be stressful to a mature horse can be to him.
If the saddle fits and he is not in pain, then, IMO, ... you need less
bit (a regular snaffle, full cheek is preferable) and a strategy to pursue
when he first starts to think of rearing. As you well know, if this little
habit continues for very long, it will become dangerous. If you are
not confident in your ability to ride this out, find a pro who can deal
with it. But, if you want to deal with it yourself, first be honest about
your ability to ride, be
If this continues to be a problem on the trail, try riding with another horse to give this young one some more confidence, (and to have someone there to pick up the pieces if you do come off). It is not an easy problem to solve once ingrained.
Good luck with your horse.
From Panelist Liz
I first of all think this colt is to young to be going undersaddle.
Not only because of being structurally immature yet but also mentally.
Give him time and the ground work is fine but should not be over done as
well or you will burn him out early. It sounds to me like this
Now he is in a tom thumb bit. Have his wolf teeth been removed and have
his teeth been floated before starting to bit him up. Next he should not
be in a curb bit. As soon as that curb hits him under the jaw the one reaction
to the uneducated horse is to go up. He
Good luck and hope all can be repaired
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