One horse that I have seen was bolting and bucking with its rider who lost confidence and the other that I am due to see is rearing. Both sets of owners were unsure what to do next. The predicament is that you cannot sell a dangerous animal, but at the same time the horse is costing in excess of 500 pounds per month to keep in livery - what do you do?
First port of call should be the vet to diagnose any physical problems. Now, fortunately (or not depending on how you view this) after I rode the horse a few times and it relaxed a little, we found that the first horse is actually lame in front, his behavior could therefore come from the pain and unwillingness to work as it hurts. However, to add I do think the horse is a pushy brute that will test his rider with or without lameness. BUT, first step is to try and get the horse sound and take it from there.
The second horse rears. I do not yet know the veterinary history. The horse is due to be PTS imminently. Now, in my view the rear is the most dangerous thing a horse can do, mainly because if it rears and comes back down on its owner, you are in huge trouble. I take a rearing horse very seriously.
From what I have been told, this rear arises from napping, i.e. an unwillingness to move forward and it has learnt that this behavior has the desired effect of removing the rider - it then repeats this as required. In a horse that is lazy with no desire to work, the rear is more prolific unfortunately as it is merely a more forceful expression of having no desire to move.
How to treat? There are no hard and fast rules here as I am sure you can imagine. My top tips for a rear would be:
1) Do not pull on the horses mouth as it rears - grab a handful of mane or anything else apart from the reigns;
2) Try and move the horse forward - always think forward; a horse cannot rear whilst it is moving, it needs to stop, if you can get it moving, even if sideways, this will lessen the chances of it happening again;
3) If you are scared of your horse, do not ride it again - seek help from a behaviorist and your vet to see what the cause is;
My main advice is not to ride a horse if you are nervous in any way, shape or form. The horse will know this and react in a non-positive way. Get some help from someone who has been recommended to you. A horse beahviourist will help you to work out the cause of the rear and a way to deal with it. Your vet will help to ascertain if any physical ailment is causing the rear.
Coming back to my main point on PTS - the horse I am going to see today will most likely be PTS unless I can offer it a home. I will only offer it a home if I see a flicker of hope that the horse can reform. How do I gauge a flicker of hope? Well who knows, its simply a gut instinct that will come from spending some time with the horse and seeing how it feels when ridden. Update to follow..........