wikiHow to Teach a Horse to Rear

Three Parts:Getting Your Horse Used to RearingUsing Verbal CommandsRiding Your Horse and Rearing

Teaching a horse to rear can be very dangerous. It can also be detrimental to the horse’s health. Despite this, you might have a reason to want your horse to rear – whether it be for fun or for performance. But be warned, do not attempt this unless you are an experienced rider. Horses can go up too far and tumble over backwards on top of you, an action which could prove fatal to you and/or might injure the horse. So train with caution and consult a trainer if you do not know what you are doing.[1]

Part 1
Getting Your Horse Used to Rearing

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    Lead your horse somewhere quiet so he can focus on you. A place with very few distractions is the best place. You want his complete attention to be on you. You also want your horse to be very relaxed and ready to be trained.
    • Avoid a pasture with other horses or other animals.
    • Avoid a pasture where other people are training.
    • Pick a place that is as quiet and calm as possible.[2]
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    Run forward with your horse, but with your back away from the horse. Leading and teaching by example is one of the best ways to train your horse. Run backwards in front of your horse, but not too quickly. Make sure to put enough distance between you and your horse so that you won’t be trampled or run over by accident.
    • Build your horse’s momentum forward by running.
    • Make sure your horse and you are running fast enough so that momentum is building.
    • Keep a safe distance.
    • Walk the pasture before so you don't run into a hole and hurt yourself.[3]
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    Stop your horse. Stop your horse safely and prepare to transfer his/her energy upward. Use both verbal and visual cues to stop your horse. Previous training will help immensely.
    • Motion and/or verbally command your horse to stop.
    • Keep a positive demeanor and praise your horse when he obeys you.
    • Keep a safe distance.[4]
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    Make an upward motion with your arms toward your horse. Once you’ve stopped, you need to direct your horse upward. Direct your horse upward by making a motion with your arms. This needs to be done as quickly as possible once the horse has stopped.
    • Pair your upward motion with an appropriate verbal command like “up” or “rear.”
    • This could be dangerous, so don’t get too close to your horse.
    • Reward your his behavior whenever he acts the way you want him to.
    • Do not try this with an untrained horse.[5][6]

Part 2
Using Verbal Commands

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    Stand somewhere high to direct your horse. Now that your horse is used to rearing and to your motioning for him to rear, take it to the next level and reinforce the verbal commands you may have been using before. Find a spot to stand, preferably where you’ll be higher than your horse. You’ll want your horse see you clearly and follow your direction. If you are tall, just stand on the ground in front of your horse.[7]
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    Raise an arm with a treat and command your horse “up” or “rear.” Take your treat in one hand and move it up, sternly saying “up.” He will stretch his neck to try to eat the treat. When he moves his head upward a little bit, reward him with the treat.[8]
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    Repeat this process as long as needed. Each time you repeat this, slowly raise your hand a little bit higher. Your horse will continue to stretch his neck, and then slowly move up on his hind feet. Work with your horse and don’t tease him with the treat – make sure he always gets it once he’s put forth the effort.[9]
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    Continue this routine until your horse fully rears. Eventually, he’ll rear to the appropriate level in order to get his treat. Remember several things when doing this:
    • You need to have patience with your horse.
    • Continually praise your horse and reward him with treats.
    • This process could take several days or longer.[10]

Part 3
Riding Your Horse and Rearing

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    Ride your horse and rear. After you’ve completed the initial motion and verbal training process, you can now try to rear with your horse. Make sure to do so in an appropriate setting, with someone watching you in case there is an accident. Also, make sure to lean forward when your horse rears. Leaning backwards could result in you falling off, your horse falling over, and both of you being injured.[11]
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    Use the same "up" cue when riding. When you’re on your horse, try to use your command. He may not respond, so use leg pressure, tug lightly on the reins, and press hard into the saddle. Continue to say "up" the whole time until he responds. Don’t kick or yell at him if he does not respond the way you want him to.[12]
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    Release pressure when your horse raises slightly. When he raises slightly, sit lightly, release the reins, take away your legs, and praise your horse. Reward him with a treat afterword. Also, make sure to use a positive tone when you talk to him.[13]
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    Continue this process until he gets confident, and rears on cue. Over time you’ll be able to perfect how your horse rears, how high, and when. Again, you need to be patient in this process and work with your horse as a member of your team. Don’t show your frustration, and never take it out on your horse.[14]


  • Don't 'discipline' your horse if he immediately drops back to the ground after only a small rear. He needs to develop the appropriate muscles, so expect him to be 'lazy' in the beginning.
  • Try to be as still as possible in the saddle, so you don't throw off the horse's balance.
  • Be aware that after you have taught him to rear, he could show a bit of aggression.
  • Always reward the horse so that he realizes that what he did was good.


  • Don't make the rearing cue to be a cue you already use. If you make the cue pulling on the reins, which you do to stop the horse, that will be very dangerous because even time you ask them to stop, the horse will rear. So make the cue something you don't normally use.
  • Be patient or your horse may get angry and will try to buck at the same time as they rear.
  • This is dangerous - don't just buy a horse and expect to do this; you need training.
  • Some horses once taught will try to rear all the time.
  • Don't beat your horse for not performing this trick properly; eventually the horse will beat you!
  • Like working with any large animal, there are risks. Always wear a helmet and protective gear. Practice this with a quiet horse under supervision.
  • Never work alone, if you or your horse gets injured you will need help.
  • Never dig your heels in with spurs (or just your heels) and yank hard on the reins. That is cruel and is a blatant form of animal abuse.
  • Do not lean backwards when your horse is rearing. Your horse can fall backwards and crush you. If you are riding western, it is even more important. If your horse falls backwards the horn of the saddle can puncture your chest, leading to serious injury or death.
  • Do not teach a horse to rear if they are not fully trained, confident in the saddle, and always well mannered.
  • Horses can become unpredictable once they know this trick. If you want to sell your horse, you must tell the new owner of this habit and the cues for it.

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Categories: Horse Training