Many horse riders believe that by rearing up, the horse is attempting to show he is "the boss" and so the way to respond is to punish the horse and so re-impose their own authority.
However, the rider is almost always in the wrong by responding in this manner.
A wiser method of solving horse riding problems is promoted by the Parelli horse training system.
It is vital that, if your horse has a tendency to rear up, you learn how to stop him doing so.
Your horse is at risk of injury to himself and to others, particularly if you take your horse onto the open roads.
One of the most successful ways of changing your horse's poor behaviour is to teach him that he can trust you.
The Parelli system of natural horsemanship supports the idea that the horse by nature is a creature of prey, not a predator, and so the rider must learn how his horse thinks, how best to understand him and to use that knowledge to engender trust and confidence between himself and his horse.
So why do horses rear? Well there are normally two reasons: either the rider is holding the horse back or the horse is fearful and feels trapped or cornered.
A horse's natural reaction when fearful is to run, but if he is being held back he cannot run, he can only move upwards, hence he rears.
So if you approach your horse differently, demonstrating empathy, and understanding his reactions, you can begin to anticipate problems and avoid them, much like dealing with very young children! There are a number of practical steps you can take to prevent your horse rearing: Learn to control your horse with one rein instead of two, Our automatic reaction is to pull on 2 reins and this can only make the situation worse.
The horse will feel blocked, could panic and worse still could be pulled over backwards.
In Parelli natural horsemanship training the rider learns to disengage the hind quarters with one rein, and thus avoids pulling or holding back the horse.
(This is a process taught over a period of time starting in walk with a halter - please don't try this without instruction from a licensed Parelli instructor).
Learn to think about WHY your horse is being held tightly.
Is your horse spooking? Wanting to turn for home? Running off with you? Won't stand still, etc? By working through Parelli's foundation course most of these issues can disappear and your horse will be a joy to ride!