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1st Show Freakout

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Published on Sep 4, 2006

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This is a young warmblood mare I used to work with. This is a video clip from her first show and one of her classes. (Training Level dressage test) She had been on outings prior to this and handled everything well. She was wonderful on schooling day. (those clips are uploaded too) Being 'alone' in the show arena can be a bit more difficult for horses new to showing for a bit. So, this was her reaction.

She does has a history of rearing and flipping over. When I first started working with her she had a terrible problem with rearing and attempting to flip over (had previously). We worked through that many months prior to this show and she had shown no signs of that problem. However, anyone who knows these problems know they can be helped, but it will never be truly erased. The tension of everything got her and she reverted to an old habit. 'A' had been a sticky spot the previous day. I asked her to keep going she she felt like she couldn't got forward so she felt blocked. In reaction she reverted to her old habit and went up - and tried to go over. I knew her well enough afterwards I could pull myself back up - and obviously she just stood there waiting for me. She was understandably a bit tense for a bit after, but she worked through it towards the end.

WHY I REACTED THE WAY I DID:
I have a lot of questions and honestly bashing about my reaction to her rearing. So, I am going to explain in here.

Typically the best and most well known way to react to a rearing horse you to go 'up' with the horse so the upper body stays vertical and balanced and push the hands so as not to pull or unbalance the horse. Also push to horse forward as soon as possible. (moving feet means horse cannot go up as much)

Unfortunately this is a horrible idea for a rearing and flipping horse. The rider may be ok while the horse is rearing, but if the rider remains inactive the horse is going to continue and flip over - on top of the rider. This is obviously going to cause serious injuries (if not kill) to the ride and even the horse.

So, now why I did what I did. I pulled down and out on one rein, a bit off angle, but it was a very quick moment. The idea is when I pull one rein on a flipper I am going to throw her balance off and that direction - yes throw her balance off. The balance on a flipper is already going in a dangerous direction if they're going up. When I pull one rein and change that balance instinctively she is going to want to re-balance, which requires her to come back down. (If someone were to pull your arm suddenly one direction you are most like to step that way and catch your balance and not fall on your face, just on instinct - same idea) It is possible she is not quick enough to catch her balance it is still a dangerous movement for a very dangerous habit. Pulling the balance to the side is still a lot safer. If she did fall she is and the rider as less likely to sustain injuries falling to side rather than falling backwards and it also gives the rider a chance to push away.

Hopefully that explains a bit more. Even so, please don't go out looking for a flipper and trying these different methods. This is all still extremely dangerous and I do not say it lightly.

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