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Horses that rear when ridden: causes and solutions *H&H Plus*

Rearing can be dangerous for both horse and rider, but once a horse has developed the habit can it be resolved? Andrea Oakes finds out...

Rearing is considered among the worst of equine behaviours. A horse who “stands up” of his own accord can be difficult to handle and dangerous to ride; if he falls over backwards, the consequences are potentially catastrophic.

The causes of rearing can be complex and may involve both physical and psychological issues that need to be carefully unravelled. So where’s best to start?

“When a client presents me with a rearing horse, it’s important to rule out any pain that might be causing this behaviour,” says Dr Liz Barr MRCVS, of Barr Equine Veterinary. “We’re aware that horses are rarely ‘born naughty’. Unwanted behaviours, such as rearing, are more often down to failures by the owner or trainer – for example, failure to train correctly, correct badly fitting tack or recognise a physical source of pain.”

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