How to Stop a Horse from Rearing: A Guide for Horse Owners

Nov 05, 2023 | Super Equestrian


How to Stop a Horse from Rearing

Imagine, on a sunny morning, you take your beloved horse for a beautiful ride along a warm sandy trail and you experience something that you didn’t expect to happen. You started to panic and tried to keep control “Whoa! Easy, boy! What's wrong?” your horse rears up suddenly and starts neighing loudly. Your only concern is now how to stop your horse from rearing !!   

“Horse rearing” A true nightmare for all horse owners. It is true that horses can have many bad habits but rearing is the worst of them! Rearing is a horse's perilous behavior where they suddenly stand up in an irrational way out of fear, pain or sensing any threatening unfamiliar objects. So , how to stop horses from rearing?

You can apply some effective techniques such as direct rein technique, circle technique, counter-rearing technique. And yes, another feasible way to overcome this poor habit is to build trust and a positive relationship with your horses. 

Rearing can be a dangerous behavior and harmful for both horse and the rider. Because it becomes difficult to control them and making it hard to perform certain activities. So, stopping horses from rearing can prevent injuries and improve their performance. 

We’ll go through the depth of horse rearing in this blog, including what’s the cause of this startling behavior, how can we minimize risks of rearing, what are effective methods to overcome this disaster situation and how can we ensure our further safe riding. So, with grace and courage, let's embark on a journey to control the untamed power, and train the majestic horse to conquer its fears and stay grounded!

The Reasons Behind the Startling Behavior of horse 

The mystery of the horse's behavior lies not in what it does, but in the reasoning behind its actions. For example, while grazing horses heard a loud noise, such as a sudden clap of thunder that startled them and they became frightened and began to run, bucking and kicking. This behavior was a result of the horse's instinctual response to the perceived threat. 

Same goes for horse rearing. There are various reasons behind their startling behavior. Such as fearing any loud noise or unfamiliar objects, feeling discomfort or pain(e.g unfit saddle or poor hoof condition), incorrect or inconsistent training. Aside from that, when horses are tacked up or ridden in a new place, they may rear in joy or anxiety. In some instances, horses that lack respect for their owners may rear to show dominance or to escape control. 

Before rearing, a horse may show multiple symptoms, including:

  • Lifting their head and neck in a defensive or aggressive stance
  • Swishing their tail to expressing nervousness or anxiety
  • Flaring their nostrils while preparing to rear
  • Horse may tuck their ears back against head
  • Changing their feet position is like getting ready to make a dire move.

Recognizing the reasons behind a horse's rearing can help avoid potential hazards for both horse and rider and promote safety for all involved. Similarly, it can aid to improve a horse's behavior or overall performance and will lead to thriving veterinary care and well-being for the horse.

There are some people who are wondering if there is any possibility of facing horse attack during rearing. Let's redeem you from this baffling thought. If you are concerned about attack then this is a must read Why do horses attack!

Strategies for Minimizing the Risks of Horse Rearing

A wise horseman doesn't have to be told about the dangers of horse rearing, he takes proactive steps to minimize the risks. Because an experienced and knowledgeable rider will take some steps or follow strategies to minimize risk of rearing after recognizing the causes. So, what are the risks? 

For example, if your horse rears, you risk being thrown off, knocked over or hit. On the other hand horses may lose their stability and fall, causing harm to themselves. Additionally it can lead to injury and damage other riding equipment. You may be wondering what could be the wise steps to minimize the risks of horse rearing!  

Here are some effective strategies such as,

  • Having professional training: A proper or professional training can aid to minimize the possible injuries and casualties. Train your horses to respond calmly with different environments and teach them to endure being handled or stroked.
  • Adequate conditioning: Both physical and psychological conditioning can help to minimize the risk associated with horse rearing. Such as proper maintenance and care, regular exercise can level up their performance. In addition, let them experience different stimuli with a control and safe manner to develop their resilience. 
  • Build trust and create positive relations: As a first rider, you may also be an unknown object from the horse's point of view. So, it is essential to build trust to reduce the risk of their startling behavior. Spend time with your horses doing different activities like grooming, feeding , haltering, or leading your horse. Thus will allow the horse to know you and feel more at ease with you.
  • Regular veterinary check-up: Latent medical or physical issues can cause a horse rear. So make sure to maintain their regular veterinary check-up such as performing physical examination, evaluate their overall health condition, monitoring their behavior and identifying if horses are in any pain or discomfort.
  • Using proper equipment and gear: Sometimes wearing unsuitable equipment or ill-fitting gear can be the reason behind rearing. Use properly fitting equipment(e.g saddles, bridles), quality bits, comfortable rein and try to avoid using cumbersome or heavy gear. 
  • Handle your horses with love and care: The famous theory “ every action has an equal and opposite reaction”. This is also applicable in horse-human relations. So, it will be wise to handle your horses with love and care if you don't want to experience any of their aggressive behavior or appearance!!
  • Having emergency planning: Emergency planning for dire situations is the smartest move for a horseman. Carrying emergency equipment, assessing the environment, and most importantly taking a defensive riding course to learn how to handle your horses in such circumstances. 

Moreover, always prepare for the worst situation while riding, try to stay calm, protect yourself and move to a safe place until the situation is under control. 

Following these steps can minimize the risk of horse rearing and it will help you to be prepared to handle an emergency if one arises.

Effective Approaches to stop a horse from rearing

We have mentioned all the possible strategies to minimize the risk of horse rearing. But what about to stop them from rearing ? Don’t worry, we are here to guide you how you can stop a horse from rearing. Here are some effective techniques-

  1. Direct rein technique: The Direct Rein technique is a common method for stopping a horse from rearing. It entails pulling the rein down which creates a force on the top of the horse's head. This pressure prevents horses from raising their front part off the ground. 
  2. Circle technique: Circle technique is another technique to stop horses from rearing. This approach involves creating pressure in the horse's neck and hind legs, pushing them to move in a circular way and lowering their head.  
  3. Counter-rearing technique: Counter-rearing technique is also the same as direct or circle method. You have to apply pressure to the horse’s hindquarters with the hand or whip, assisting to lower their front body. Then horse’s are urged to stand gently and shift their weight back onto its hind legs. 

While executing those techniques remember to follow this steps:

  • Make sure you approach the horses with a confident and gentle demeanor.
  • Hold the rein to control action as soon as they begin to rear.
  • Maintain the pressure and keep your body steady and straight
  • Lead them to move ahead and make them follow the directed path you have created with reins.
  • Release the force on rein once they lower their head and walk peacefully.

Don’t forget to observe their reactions while applying each technique. It will help you to understand their behavior, condition and how they are adapting with those approaches. Also it will aid to ensure their safety and effectiveness as well.  

It is normal to find difficulty while reading those lengthy and tedious lines. If you find any rigidity of understanding this concept then it will be really a distressing situation for you. Keep that in mind, we attached a visual representation to make it a little bit easier to learn, enter How to stop your horse from rearing and redeem your distress!   

Factors and Precautions for Ensuring Safe Horse Handling

Horseback riding may be a joyful and rewarding experience, but it can also be hazardous if you do not take any adequate safety procedures.

  • Taking safety precautions when working with a rearing horse: Working with a rearing horse can be dangerous. So, you need special safety precautions for example maintaining control with keeping the lead rope right, avoiding startling movement which may frighten the horse. 

Besides, remember to use headgear for protection, keep a distance from a rearing horse to avoid being bucked or knocked over.

  • Be patient and gentle with your horse: Rearing horses can be impulsive and may react with fear or aggression. So make sure to approach or handle them gently and patiently. Give your horse time to calm down and acclimate to your presence. Speak to them with a soothing and soft voice.
  • Seeking professional help when necessary: If you find any difficulty to handle or control a rearing horse on your own, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help. They can advise you and assist you in addressing the root cause of their startling behavior. Also they can provide you proper guidance on how you can stop their rearing.

Furthermore, you can hire any professional or reputable horse trainer to assist you in horse training. If you are wondering how to find one then this is for you How to find a reputable horse trainer

Enclosure

The behavior of horses can be puzzling, but the reasons behind their actions are not difficult to understand. Horses may rear due to fear, discomfort or pain, inconsistent training, or showing dominance or escape control. Understanding the reasons behind rearing can help to minimize risks for both the horse and rider, improve the horse's behavior and well-being, and reduce the chance of a potential attack. To stop horse’s rearing and ensure safe horse riding you can follow our effective approaches. 

There is a saying, “ An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. So make sure to consider all these steps we have mentioned in this blog to make more convenient your horse-human relationship.

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments if you have encountered any rearing incidents.

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