How to stop your horse from rearing as a result of learning to step backwards or 'back off' when asked to move forward
- In order for the horse to rear, it must first raise its head. The second thing is the weight the back end which can feel like a shift in the horse's centre of gravity or a step backwards.
- This is a very easy response (rearing) to teach.
- Be sure you have a solid 'go forward' cue, on the ground, before transferring this to the saddle.
- Teach the horse to back-up AFTER you have good foundation training.
- NEVER use back-up as a 'correction'.
- Recognise that your horse is practicing the pattern - there may be a certain place in the arena (often near the gate) or a spot on a trail ride where the horse doesn't want to go forward. In more obvious cases, the horse will back up or even rear in response to the 'go forward' cue.
- Remember that your horse is not being 'naughty' but is simply not responding to your go forward cue. Making the correct response the 'good thing to do' does not mean you need to punish the incorrect response. Punishment usually leads to an escalation in the unwanted behaviour.
- Have at least 3 layered cues when riding. For example: 1) A verbal cluck, 2) A touch with your legs, 3) Raising the whip and 4) Touch with the whip on the hip.
- Praise the horse for stepping forward.