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365 Days in Horse Country – Rearing

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | October 16th, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Rearing



From the human perspective, one of the scariest maneuvers a horse can execute is rearing.  When a horse stands on her hind legs, lifting her forefeet off the ground, the rider fears for his or her life, and with good reason.  Rearing horses can easily flip over backward.

Rearing can be caused by the following factors:

  • Spooking
  • Reaction to a severe bit or mechanical hackamore
  • Resistance to the rider
  • Excitement
  • Play
  • To avoid work

In particular, horses that rear to avoid work are dangerous to their riders and need to be retrained by a professional trainer.  This is a tough habit to cure and takes considerable work to correct.

You can’t do much to stop a horse once she’s in the midst of a rear, but you can avoid pulling her over backward by leaning forward and loosening the reins.  If you know your horse is going to rear, try to move her forward and use one rein to turn her head to the side to prevent it before her front feet leave the ground.