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rearing thoughts

   Just some thoughts on handling the rearing problem.

   First of all let me preface this with my rearing
problem. Daisy has reared with me when she gets very
excited and just can't seem to contain herself. She is
normally a very laid back filly and I have found the
more training I have put into her, the less this
happens as she has a better grip on her emotions and
dosn't "lose it" as often. The one time she went over
backwards she was on a lead and not being ridden. She
was not hurt, just surprised and startled..kinda
looked at me like "how did I end up here?" Because any
rearing horse is capable of losing their balance and
flipping over, this is a very serious training issue

  Anyway, here is how I've handled (managed) her
rearing. Because Daisy tends to get very light in the
front end (nice way to say potential to rear) when she
gets excited I have found I have to keep her moving
FORWARD, ie put weight on her front end. Doing "horsey
ballet" dosn't help here this just makes her lighter
in the front and gives her more of an opportunity to
cease forward motion, thus rear.

  As Howard pointed out 'a tired horse dosn't rear"
Using this concept, if Im in a place I think she might
try to rear I will find a spot to lunge her first just
to get the edge off. The one time she did rear at a
CTR ride I was in a hurry and just saddled and climbed
on...WRONG.. the lunging just lets her blow off some
steam, she's not tired but she is able to mentally
focus better after one of these lunging sessions. I
will lunge her until her attention is on me and what I
am asking her to do.

  Then of course, I've been working on the training
aspects and really teaching her the "calm down" cue. I
have found that generally people who say they have
used the head down or calm down cue unsuccessfully
really haven't taught their horse this cue, just
merely introduced it to their horse. They haven't
progressed up through the steps with this cue; their
horse hasn't really learned this cue and have it fully
ingrained in their training. For example if your horse
won't respond to the cue at a dead run in the arena or
pasture then why would you expect it to work when he's
in a situation where's he's really excited and is
tuning you (the rider) completely out?

   As for the tie down issue, I view it as a quick fix
and not a training tool. When you remove it and your
horse rears then he hasn't been trained not to rear.
Any gaget, in my book, that when taken off and the
horse reverts back to the behavior you were trying to
fix is just that..a quick fix. Lets face it training
is a long, sometimes very slow, boring process and all
many of us just want to do is go ride. So we look for
the instant solution to what ever problem has
surfaced. I have been quilty of doing this and it has
always come back to haunt me in the long run.

Penny & Daisy ( is there a stress management class for horses?)

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