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Handling the rearing horse on the ground
Last Post 18 Feb 2014 12:51 p.m. by Dusty. 17 Replies.
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otagoite (in chch)User is Offline
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04 Jan 2014 06:14 p.m.
    One of the fun* things about my job is that I deal with a few (not very many, but a few) rearers. Usually it's ok. However, a question: How do you stop a rearing horse getting a leg over the rope? This happened to me today, and the horse got away as a result, which isn't ideal. I am guessing moving to the side? Or raising the rope (which I worry will encourage the horse to go higher)?

    Some constraints: the longest lead rope we have is 6 or 7 ft. These horses do not have good ground manners, so they don't give to pressure or stay out of your space. Working on their ground manners isn't an available option. We do have (and use) anti-rearing bits (they are no substitute for manners, but they can mitigate some of the bad behaviour). The one who got away today rears right up, often repeatedly.

    Thanks in advance

    *not actually much fun at all.
    TIGGUser is Offline
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    04 Jan 2014 06:33 p.m.
    When Kody was young,( read a yearling) he was a rearer, one day he went up and I flicked the rope at him, it wrapped around his foreleg and I pulled. (reflex not intentional) Anyway, when he came down I let the rope go and he took off and then returned to me with his head down waiting for me to help him, he never reared again. Your horses are probably too old aka experienced at it to learn from a 'knee-jerk' reaction, but my thoughts are they need a consequence they see as being 'a consequence of their actions' not a punishment inflicted by you.
    "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears" - Arabian Proverb.
    JennyRUser is Offline
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    04 Jan 2014 06:58 p.m.
    Oh, joy. Other people's horses. Yuck. So I'm guessing getting in their faces and pushing them backwards isn't an option either? That's what worked with Ardashir on the ground - he never went over, but it gave him enough of a fright to make him think before doing it again on the ground.

    Sorry, but I don't have any other answers for you other than staying safe yourself, especially with such short lead ropes. Doesn't really give you a whole lot of options - so while a loose horse might not be ideal, it's better than them being all over you. Especially if your place of work doesn't take health and safety that seriously, and doesn't consider investing in some longer lead ropes to keep it's staff safe an option. Might be worth a mention.



    It's not that my glass is half full or half empty, it's just that it's twice as big as it needs to be.
    Miss MollyUser is Offline
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    04 Jan 2014 07:49 p.m.
    Andrew mclean says that the trick is not to let the rope go slack. The purpose of rearing is to get away and slack in the rope re-inforces the vice. Anyway, I read that and used it with molly. When she went up I pulled on the rope and kept the tension up, it worked. Oh, there is always the option of a Chifney (anti-rearing) bit, that works too!
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown
    DaisydonkUser is Offline
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    04 Jan 2014 08:59 p.m.
    Chifneys can make things worse with some horses. I always use a lunge line for leading rearers. I too keep tension on and will use a nose chain on persistent offenders.

    If the horse is on last chance saloon then I also try to shake the rope and get them to go high enough to flip over. This often scares them but can cause serious damage to backs so is a last resort.

    A friend has had good results by flipping the end of the rope and whacking the horses belly as it goes up but this takes timing and being positioned close enough.

    Most youngsters grow out of it.
    GG RiderUser is Offline
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    04 Jan 2014 10:02 p.m.
    I found with the rearing race horses I had to deal a series of strong tugs downwards on an angle as they went up was enough to discourage them.
    Its hard without a long rope as a well aimed swing at the hind quarters was usually enough to stop anything I was ground work training from rearing. But I know with the race horses we didn't have a luxury of long ropes or time to spend on the ground with them. Time is money etc and groundwork isn't viewed as important.
    It does look a bit icky, but the horses hated it so they stopped rearing.
    The key is to get that timing just as they begin to push weight on the hind and begin to lift, a well aimed yank down and they unbalance and come back down. If you dont get the quick timing then you pull them over to the side. Its a good trick for a horse rearing under saddle, it becomes very hard to rear if you have them bent and most of the weight on the inside leg. I worked with colts so it was essential they didn't get up too far in case one was bad enough to aim a front hoof my way. Usually well behaved, but then once they know they have you it gets pretty dangerous.
    So many things that I want to say, that I shouldn't really say, that I just say anyway.
    otagoite (in chch)User is Offline
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    05 Jan 2014 12:31 p.m.
    Thanks for the replies They always *always* have anti-rearing bits on. Yes JennyR, other people's horses indeed! Most of them are extremely good at finding a way to misbehave.

    Thanks for the advice about the pressure MM & DD. The horse from yesterday usually goes up when I release the pressure when we're walking back (as a 'reward' for jig-jogging slowly/keeping three feet on the ground at once ).

    GGRider, I will definitely definitely try the angled tug downwards next time!!! They are all prone to rearing, but it is a real habit for some

    The other issue I find is one in particular that double barrels viciously & without warning when you take him out Some horses need to come with their own police escort for the sake of everyone around them
    WendyUser is Offline
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    05 Jan 2014 07:49 p.m.
    Keep tension on the rope - unless he fore-foots you. If that happened to me I think i would get into the horse big time. Rear if you like, but back off!! Especially with a repeat offender.

    Given that rearing is commonly said to be a reluctance to go forward, I'm wondering: if you carried a long whip in your left hand, could you give the horse a flick on the HQ from behind you, when you sense that the horse is going to rear?

    Would distraction work - such as turning a circle - when you sense he's going to act up?

    I realise it would take a bit of practice to get the timing right, but would be an interesting exercise. And of course you may not have the time, although if you were handling the horse regularly it would be worth making the effort.
    Allah's blessing . . . I have created thee Arab. Success and happiness are bound to thy forelock; bounty reposes on your back and riches are with you where ever you may be. And I have endowed you to fly without wings . . . . ..
    Sunny CJUser is Offline
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    06 Jan 2014 08:53 p.m.
    Yearling sale prep by chance?

    When I've handled strange youngsters the first few times or if I notice mine have got a bit up themselves in the paddock I carry a short whip when leading and doing groundwork. Basically to act as an extension of my arm, so if they are complete asses and try to rear or barge forwards I can pull down on the rope but still maintain a safe distance or use it to distract them by waggling in the air, tapping the ground etc. If colts front foot then yes they get a well timed, stingy whack on the offending leg but I don't touch them otherwise, just find it's safer to have. As mentioned above it gives or implies a consequence which is often enough to make them cut it out.

    Whatever you do, make sure you keep yourself safe.
    ClinUser is Offline
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    14 Jan 2014 02:52 p.m.
    Yep it's a matter of playing the angles. Try not to give the the horse a chance to pull head on. Pulling at 90 degrees will put them off balance. The leverage will give you the advantage.
    DustyUser is Offline
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    15 Jan 2014 09:47 a.m.
    Always step to one side as they go up. It puts you out of "the line of fire" and gives you the angle to put the pressure on. It also helps prevent getting the lead near the front legs.
    DustyUser is Offline
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    15 Feb 2014 01:08 p.m.
    Otagoite, did any of the suggestions make life easier at work?
    otagoite (in chch)User is Offline
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    15 Feb 2014 05:03 p.m.
    The advice given here has made me feel a lot more confident dealing with them I haven't had any get all the way up since. I've been using the strong angled tugs down and sideways that GG Rider suggested when I can feel one starting to go for it and so far the offending horses have all reconsidered (whether that is due to what I'm doing is hard to say, but the de-escalation is welcome regardless of the cause). So thank you!!!!! It has made my job easier and safer

    Every step taken without fireworks is a step closer to me being able to put them back in their yards and forget about them for the day.
    Miss MollyUser is Offline
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    16 Feb 2014 12:03 p.m.
    Haha, Naughty Molly had a crack at it last night! I wasn't ready for her, she is so evil! Didn't do it today though, she thought it through and decided that a fast walk would probably be enough!!!
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown
    MrTUser is Offline
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    16 Feb 2014 01:03 p.m.
    Wear a hat, carry a stick (not a stingy whip) and get a longer rope - that's the basics your employer should supply you with, makes one wonder about the outfit you are working for, honestly.
    How much do they pay you to take those risks?
    How much do you value your health over your job? Esp. since you seem to know better. I hope you find a way out of the dilemma before you get hurt.

    I tend to generally do not get to phased by rearing unless it's aggro rather than 'I don't want to' as i lived with one until he was cured. Those horses usually do not tie up either so lack in basic training.
    Keep calm and keep asking for the forward while staying out of the way, they can only stay up for so long. Keep the slack out of the rope but do not pull as they just resist more, people think they pulled the horse down but they actually have to come down anyway so why take extra risk and energy.
    DustyUser is Offline
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    16 Feb 2014 02:59 p.m.
    I learned to ride on a very opinionated mare that would go up under a rider if they P--d her off and she could intimidate or slide them off. She was so well balanced that she could judge her height to perfection. I learned not to pull on reins, very quickly.
    Miss MollyUser is Offline
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    16 Feb 2014 03:49 p.m.
    Dusty, Molly's relative perhaps?
    I only saw her do it with one rider, you know, said they could ride and proceeded to hang onto her mouth and kick at the same time, up she went! My jaw dropped and the rider admitted they had only ridden at commercial establishments!
    On a positive note (though off topic, sorry), she had a major gallop this morning and pulled up sound!
    All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day. ~Author Unknown
    DustyUser is Offline
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    18 Feb 2014 12:51 p.m.
    Blue was half TB so a distant one possible. More likely she went to the same school haha. Once I made the discovery that she just hated any bit with a joint in it, we had few issues. My 12 yr old son won a six bar event on her, at his first PC ribbon day. She loved it almost as much as chasing cows.
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