Moonfire - Fixing a Rearing Problem - Sitting a Rear
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   10th Mar 2012   •   8,974 views   •   14 comments
In the previous articles, we discussed Moony’s rearing problem, a rider’s usual approach to a rear, and how to correctly approach a rear. To sum up, when your horse rears, you do not want to make a big issue out of it – because that is what will lodge it in his memory. You want to wait for him to come down, give him a calm word of scolding, maybe a nudge with your heels – then carry on doing exactly what you were doing.

In this article, we will be looking at the correct way to sit a rear:

What NOT to do

Never catch your horse in the mouth.
When your horse rears, the last thing you want to do is balance yourself on the reins. If he feels pressure on his mouth, he will probably resist by going up higher. He will also remember the pain, and possibly become frightened, which could cause further rearing. He will remember the unpleasant experience, and will be more likely to remember ‘rearing’ when he is searching for options to avoid his work in future.

Never let your weight slip back.
If your weight slips back, especially if you balance yourself on the reins, you could pull your horse over backwards. I don’t need to tell you how dangerous this is. You could hurt your horse, and hurt yourself VERY badly by pulling half a ton of horse to the ground on top of you. DO NOT slip back. DO NOT balance on your horse’s mouth – it is indescribably dangerous. Rather drop the reins completely, even if it means slipping off his rump, than balance yourself on your horse’s mouth.

Keep your body straight.
Don’t let your weight lean too far to either side, or you could overbalance and fall.

Try to jump off.
Think about it. If you were on a ship, would you ‘abandon ship’ into shark-infested waters? No. So don’t try to ‘abandon horse’ into hoof-infested airs. It is safer to sit out the rear than to put yourself in range of your horse’s hooves. The only time you should try to jump off your horse is if you feel him going over backwards – then you need to get out of the way. In such a scenario, try to throw yourself as far sideways as you can, and curl yourself into a ball so you roll when you hit the ground.

Fixing a Rearing Problem

What TO do

Lean forward.
Do I even need to tell you? It’s common sense. Throw your weight forward onto your horse’s neck so you push him back down to the ground, rather than leaning backwards – which will obviously pull him over.

Duck your head sideways.
When you feel your horse about to rear – don’t just stare at his neck, unless you want a mouthful of it. When he goes up, duck your head sideways so his neck doesn’t catch you in the face – but not too far, mind; you don’t want to overbalance and slip off the side. Keep your cheek against his neck, so you protect your face and keep your balance all at once.

Hold around your horse’s neck.
When your horse goes up, give the reins forward, and wrap your arms around the base of his neck. The BASE! Don’t strangle him, and lean back for all you’re worth – that’s just asking to pull him over.
But holding around the base of his neck - leaning FORWARDS, note – will serve the dual purpose of giving him the rein, and helping you to keep a good, steady balance.

Be prepared.
You can almost always tell when a horse is about to rear – so when you feel it, make sure you have your stirrups, that your reins aren’t too short, and fix your balance. Think about the steps you have to follow, and get ready to use them quickly.

Keep calm.
Never panic and take rash action – just think about what you have to do, and calmly run through the steps. As soon as you panic, logic goes out of the window, and you’ll balance in the first way you think of – which is usually to lean back on the reins. It is very difficult not to – so make sure your concentration is absolute.

I know that some riders find rearing scary. If you don’t think you will be able to keep calm and safely sit your horse’s rears, then I would suggest that you find somebody else to ride him through his rearing phase, to ensure that it does not become permanent. The worst thing you can do is to always get off your horse when he rears, and stop riding him – this will teach him that rearing is an effective way of escaping work, which is the last thing you want him to think. Get a tactful, sensitive and brave rider to help you out.
Note: This is not something that I have researched. I am not parroting back whatever I found in some book, or on the internet. I am speaking purely from experience. I’ve had plenty of rearing experience recently, and these are the methods that I have developed for keeping myself and my horse safe. They have worked perfectly for me, so regardless of whether or not they are internationally accepted techniques for sitting a rear – I feel confident sharing them. You are fully entitled to disagree, but I know from experience that this works.
  Mar 10, 2012  •  7,915 views
Starlight Farm  
I've just been curious (mostly because I really admire you) - I know you say to make nothing of a rear so that it becomes no big deal, but what if the horse thinks that doing nothing about it means he's getting away with it? I really value your opinion so I just wanted to ask :)
  Mar 11, 2012  •  7,962 views
Polo the Weirdo  MOD 
Note: 'Keep your body straight' should be under the 'what TO do' section. And 'try to jump off' should be 'NEVER try to jump off'.
Sorry, I didn't make it as clear as I thought. :P Just read the descriptions, then it should make decent sense.
  Mar 11, 2012  •  7,924 views
I never actually knew you were meant to hold round their neck, it just became habit during a rearing session :P Once I was riding a youngster (She's started that rebellious stage that they all seem to go through) and I began to duck my head to the side of her neck, got the timing wrong and got butted in the cheek by her neck xD I was so glad it wasn't my nose!
  Mar 11, 2012  •  7,924 views
Double Spur Ranch  
Very great article!
  Mar 11, 2012  •  7,938 views
Awesome article, as always! I'm glad the only rears I've had to sit were tiny little spin-rears. Making them keep working is definitely the best solution. :)
  Mar 11, 2012  •  7,926 views
Rusted Faith  
I am hopeless at sitting a rear, especially on Mercutio as he bolts, stops, rears, bolts, stops. I've re-read your suggestions over and over so hopefully next time he rears I can stay on.
Great article!
  Mar 12, 2012  •  8,278 views
Amazing article!
  Mar 12, 2012  •  7,918 views
wow this is awsome
  Mar 13, 2012  •  7,961 views
Folie A Deux  
Thanks for stating the correct position!! I know a lot of people who hold their heads above the neck, and the horse's pole hits their neck.
  Mar 14, 2012  •  7,921 views
Run Free  
my friend's instructer had a horse that reared and when he reared she would push herself back and then hit he chest off the horses neck in such force that it would push the horse further down and as it was a sensitive horse who was extremly smart she would say 'no' in a stern voice when she was in the air and praise her when she went down so she accociated going up to be a bad thing and coming down to be a good thing
  Mar 14, 2012  •  7,982 views
Sapphire Flames  
great and well written! :)
  Mar 20, 2012  •  7,919 views
Southern Devil  
I know that whenever a horse rears straight up in the air, then I always turn them. That's what I was taught to do, and it has saved my butt A LOT of times. I love this article Polo, you are gifted with horses and I know you will go far.. :)
  Apr 3, 2012  •  7,926 views
Laugh and Ride  
Great to know, thanks!
  Apr 7, 2012  •  8,124 views
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