The Question: How can I make my horse stop rearing when saddled?

I bought a horse a year ago that had a history of bad fitting saddles and mean owners. I have spent the past year working with a trainer, but I am still struggling. Here's the problem: as the girth is tightened he spreads out and then rears when asked to move. I am lungeing before saddling. We are tightening only a hole at a time and walking in between. Any other method has made it worse. I have a custom pad and have had the saddle fit by a knowledgable trainer. The chiropractor has also been out. Everything helps, but nothing solves the problem. All other ground manners are good, and he is a gentleman under saddle. Any suggestions?

The Answer


You've got a tough one, but there are a few things you can try. First, you say a chiropractor has worked on him, but have you had a vet examine him for any pain or soreness? And was the trainer who evaluated the saddle fit trained in saddle fitting? If the answer to either of those questions is no, that's where I would start.

Next, look at the girth you are using. Does it fit him well? Have you tried a different material? Try different kinds of and shapes of girths to see if one is more comfortable for your horse.

Have you tried him in an English and a western saddle? I had one mare I fostered who could be saddled in a western saddle with no problem but would rear anytime you tried to tighten a girth on an english saddle.

If none of those things help, you may just need to keep going slow, stay calm and be patient. Unfortunately some horses never seem to get over it and keep the girthy behavior for a long time.

The Equine Behaviorist

Do you have a question? Email your questions, and it may be answered on this site.

Email The Behaviorist

2005 Jennifer Williams. All rights reserved.

Site by VanBasti Designs.