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View Full Version : Bucking at canter - correction? UPDATE - it's behavioural/energy issue



tpup
Dec. 15, 2009, 01:41 PM
My horse has done this in the past when riding with others on the trail. He does it when we are pointing home. Ask for canter, he canters off nicely but after a few strides or when I ask for half halt, he hops or bucks. In the past the bucks were nothing major - small ones, and I just wacked him on the butt with my crop and kept him going. Today I took him on a short trail ride alone (we ride alone alot, close to our farm and he is very good) - my plan was to make this a "training ride" - work on walk-halt, trot-halt and walk-trot transitions and also to canter him on this nice wooded trail very pretty close to the farm where he is boarded. I feel I don't canter him enough and he needs to canter sometimes.

The first canter was on the path, facing the barn (he can see through the trees)....he was perfect. Nice transition, cantered the path (several hundred yards), didn't get racy. Practiced whoa at the end and he stopped on a dime.

Turned around, trotted back to entrance of path and did it again. Nice transition, then few strides he drops his head, small buck, then medium buck, then big buck - had to grab mane - still not enough to get me off but enough to make me think, "Okay - that was a BIG one."

I have a few theories - one is I am in his mouth - before he bucks he pulls on the bit, throws his head around like "let me go!" Have to admit after the 2nd buck I knew to grab mane and was in a bit of a panic mode. In the past when he seemed "bit sensitive" in the ring with canter, I tried to canter in a rope halter and saw a big difference - relaxed, nice canter and NO behavior issues. He has always ridden nicely bitless.

Other theory is saddle fit, perhaps - I plan on having my teacher school him at the canter a few minutes next lesson (in ring)....or take our lesson to the trail and show her what is happening. I know I need to have softer hands cantering - we have been working hard at this.

Another theory is he was mad at having to "work" more vs. going back to the barn. We usually just walk this trail as a cooldown after riding. Have never "worked" out there or gone back and forth training in both directions. So one theory would be to canter him more away from the barn and see what happens.

Anyway, my main question is what is the "correction" for a buck at the canter? In the past, the crop would sometimes make him buck again....in this case, I trotted him in small circles, yielded his HQ several times around and then trotted him off the other way...in other words, no rest. Would love any advice on the correct "correction".

Thanks!

goeslikestink
Dec. 15, 2009, 02:40 PM
to sit i always put myself in a x/c position bridge the reins and then as my bums slightly off the saddle as you can tell just before they going to buck or rear so as this is a buck i prepare myself then as hes comes up my bums not there so i then sit down hard and then push him forwards pony soon learns its a no no - end of and iam in control

goeslikestink
Dec. 15, 2009, 02:58 PM
My horse has done this in the past when riding with others on the trail. He does it when we are pointing home. Ask for canter, he canters off nicely but after a few strides or when I ask for half halt, he hops or bucks. In the past the bucks were nothing major - small ones, and I just wacked him on the butt with my crop and kept him going. Today I took him on a short trail ride alone (we ride alone alot, close to our farm and he is very good) - my plan was to make this a "training ride" - work on walk-halt, trot-halt and walk-trot transitions and also to canter him on this nice wooded trail very pretty close to the farm where he is boarded. I feel I don't canter him enough and he needs to canter sometimes.

The first canter was on the path, facing the barn (he can see through the trees)....he was perfect. Nice transition, cantered the path (several hundred yards), didn't get racy. Practiced whoa at the end and he stopped on a dime.

when teaching a canter always wise to go away from the barn also when working horses the last 10mins should be an active walk home so he has time to come down and when untacking him it only another 10mins wait before you feed him


Turned around, trotted back to entrance of path and did it again. Nice transition, then few strides he drops his head, small buck, then medium buck, then big buck - had to grab mane - still not enough to get me off but enough to make me think, "Okay - that was a BIG one."


theres your problem your teaching him to canter at that spot so now every time he goes on it at canter then hes going to get excited - thats a happy buck

for exsample round my yard in any direction i have plenty of places to canter or gallop
our horses know that they can but they dont get overly excited as i we like to be in control at all times so sometimes on perpose i might wlak the whole distance or trot or canter or gallop or do all three or four paces
i make the horses learn that they can just go off when they feel like but they can go off when i tell them on occassions yeah they might buck but its very rare unless of course i have one in for training then its a case of knocking it on the head not literally but nipping it in the bud

I have a few theories - one is I am in his mouth - before he bucks he pulls on the bit, throws his head around like "let me go!" Have to admit after the 2nd buck I knew to grab mane and was in a bit of a panic mode. In the past when he seemed "bit sensitive" in the ring with canter, I tried to canter in a rope halter and saw a big difference - relaxed, nice canter and NO behavior issues. He has always ridden nicely bitless.

bitless bridles are actually more severe than a bitted bridle and should only be used by expreinced hands as they work on the nose poll and chin and it can be very easy to break a horses nose is bitless bridle

read my helpful links and read all of page one especailly link 2
http://chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=178116

Other theory is saddle fit, perhaps - I plan on having my teacher school him at the canter a few minutes next lesson (in ring)....or take our lesson to the trail and show her what is happening. I know I need to have softer hands cantering - we have been working hard at this.

you need to go back to basics and work with walk and trot with half halts and use the sschool so you can lenghten ad shorten his strides with a secure leg soft hands and independant seat

you also need to make sure your saddle fits and your birdle fits well also that his teeth are done and you also need to check what your feeding him as so many will feed high energy feedstuff as they havent a clue whats in the feed as they dont tend to read the back of the packet
so learn all about diffrent feeds and what they do
a horse should be fed to work type and height and what his enviroment is
ie out at grass or full livery with exervise without exercise etc etc

Another theory is he was mad at having to "work" more vs. going back to the barn. We usually just walk this trail as a cooldown after riding. Have never "worked" out there or gone back and forth training in both directions. So one theory would be to canter him more away from the barn and see what happens.


nope - i work all my horses outside including newbies or youngsters so barn has nothing to do with it , as i can work outside just as much as in but outside they see more to life and here we have to go on the roads to get anywwhere so road work is important and the horses must learnt o behave in heavy traffic

Anyway, my main question is what is the "correction" for a buck at the canter? In the past, the crop would sometimes make him buck again....in this case, I trotted him in small circles, yielded his HQ several times around and then trotted him off the other way...in other words, no rest. Would love any advice on the correct "correction".

Thanks!

sit into and push him forwards dont let the horse dictate to you what he likes
its your ride you take control and do as you want to

while you at read this link about mouthing and bitting
http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=223453

Beverley
Dec. 15, 2009, 03:01 PM
Assuming no saddle fit or bit fit/dental issues...

Your 'no rest' theory is the right path. But- the buck is perhaps achieving his goal of not having to work as hard, since you are ceasing to canter. The 'general' solution is indeed, they have to work harder when they misbehave than they would if they are going nicely.

From what you describe, when I've had that issue, I boot them on through the buck (assuming they aren't NFR finals quality buckers) and have a nice, loonnnggg, canter or hand gallop- extending it at least another quarter mile past when they say "I'm sorry, can we stop now?" If I have a horse capable of getting me off, and/or potential terrain issues- I'm still going to keep them moving at a good solid road trot, cantering when the terrain allows. Then I let them cool down/recover and ask for another polite canter. If that's achieved, end of work, pats on the neck, amble on back to the barn.

I don't often carry a crop, and would not use one to get through a buck- I rely on hands and seat and if necessary a snatch of a rein to get the head up, while INCREASING their speed. Most horses can't go faster and increase the intensity of the buck at the same time- and it's also easier for them to unseat the rider with a 'loss' of impulsion associated with sucking back and either wheeling around or dropping a shoulder. So- forward is always the answer- even if you have to compromise a bit on the gait for one reason or another.

I nearly always do my cantering/ galloping only going away from the barn. I might do some trotting heading home- but at least the last couple of miles is at the walk- as brisk as they want, but it must be a real walk. Otherwise, many horses are only too happy to give you a nice canter all the way back to the barn to get there sooner!

Guilherme
Dec. 15, 2009, 05:09 PM
Does this happen in a restricted environment (like the school)? If so then it's likely a physical or equipment problem. If not it's likely a behavioral issue.

If it's physical or equipment based, diagnose and treat or fix it.

If it's behavioral, then you have a training problem.

The next step comes after the questions are answered.

G.

katarine
Dec. 15, 2009, 05:39 PM
what is the quality of his canter in the arena, his transitions, etc? any hint of issues around the canter or other gaits in the arena?

tpup
Dec. 15, 2009, 05:44 PM
It has not been happening in the ring, but I'll know more Thurs. at my lesson - plan on doing lots of canter work.

Also, I have been palpating his back after rides and no signs of soreness. Getting no reaction at all and I am digging quite a bit looking for sore areas in the back.

katarine
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:08 PM
then he needs hard ass work- a neck strap to steady you if you fear you'll bonk him in the mouth.

A horse - by God- ought to do as he's asked where he's asked. Crap like we usually walk that stretch- is crap and excuses. He's broke when he opts to be, which is a one way ticket to the work express in my book.

Beverly's post is what you need.

Thinkinghorses
Dec. 15, 2009, 10:15 PM
As a general statement, I find that bucking as a behavioral issue is different than bucking as a soreness issue. As a behavioral issue, i haven't found one "correct" way of changing the behavoir.
I use the principle of making the unwanted behavior uncomfortable or hard to do. How I go about that depends on space, obstacles, equipment, rider's ability and most of all, the horse. I tend to use Beverly's approach at my place as i've lots of room to push the horse and im confident in my riding ability on a fast moving horse. However, I will use circles and yeilding the hindquarters as well. When educating the horse, I canter both to and from the barn expecting the horse to mentally stay with me, not be thinking about where it is going as in back to the barn. If the horse is bucking as an "i dont want to", then we continue to work until there is a change of attitude. One question i would ask, is the buck only occuring outside of the horses comfort zone? The buck may show up as an anxiety either about the canter itself or lack of confidence while moving at a faster pace outside of the horses comfort zone. Which leads back to a basic of the horse having trust in and respect for the person as their leader. When the behavior is anxiety based, i dont push quite as hard as the "i dont want to" correction, but i will work long enough to get a change in the level of anxiety.
Bucking as a soreness issue, I find that most often the protest will get bigger no matter what we are doing. The sorness may not even be in the back, or may only show up with the extra wieght of the rider. This is where an instructor or other horse knowledgable person can be helpful as an observer or even as a rider of the horse to see if a pattern or feel of whats happening can be established.

tpup
Dec. 19, 2009, 06:59 AM
UPDATE - well I had my lesson and here's the update. I rode him to the ring (10 min. hack at a walk) - he was fine. Lesson started with me riding at w/t - figure 8's, few patterns. My teacher noticed he had an "I want to GO" look in his eye. I felt it. He didn't feel like he was going to completely explode, but he was constantly anticipating the canter, breaking stride. We lunged him - he was fine but a bit rude - trying to drag me to one side of the ring. We fixed that, "won" that small battle and he eventually lunged VERY good but we felt like he could have cantered for hours. He was very happy to canter.

She hopped on - no buck, no mis-behaving but again, had the look on his face like "PLEASE let me run". This time I was able to see it. She cantered him for a while and he eventually relaxed.

Her assessment is this: Winter footing, hard ground, snow - horsie has too much energy and needs a good, long run. She feels on the trail, the short canter "training" we were doing was ticking him off. He wanted to keep going vs. doing transition sets. Her advice was to lunge him first, then riding let him have a good canter if I can find a place/footing to do it, or take him to the ring and canter a while....then start "real work". She felt him to be 100% sound, saddle fine. Keep in mind this is a 21 yr old horse who over the last 2 years has become very fit and sound (after hock arthritis treatment, good joint supp/Platinum Perf CJ, and moved barns and he is being fed alot more hay and overall has much better care, footing, grass, etc). She thinks he feels VERY good, has a lot of energy and isn't the old lazy and "not feeling great" horse he used to be. He is also on 100% alfalfa hay which she recommended cutting back to more grass hay. He never had a problem with alfalfa but she thinks in winter with less exercise and play, it might just be too much for him.

I am glad he is so sound and feeling so great, but I need to get fitter ;) to handle it. So she gave me good cardio and strength advice. I do work out but I think I need to up the intensity and duration.

So that's it - the bucking is most likely behavioral - which is in essence, disrespect, but I have to remember he is a horse and I want to meet his energy needs also.

Beverley
Dec. 19, 2009, 11:15 AM
Glad to hear you've gotten some insight. Indeed too many groceries can be a big issue! More grass, less alfalfa solved my little mare's problem last winter.

One observation though- when you longe a horse before riding- what you get is a fitter horse who therefore wants to go more! Personally I like to make sure they have at least 30 minutes of turnout before working when full of vim and vigor- I like to let them be horses and run and buck to their heart's content and THEN- whether longeing or riding- they know they are expected to work sensibly.

matryoshka
Dec. 19, 2009, 12:29 PM
I had an exuberant bucker. Off the track, and having thrown jockeys regularly was part of the reason he was retired (found this bit out later). He'd buck when he was excited, when we spent too much time standing around after mounting, when he'd see another horse crest a hill, etc. I kept his head up and pretty much kept a light seat or rode two-point during such times. Heck, he occasionally bucked when tied to the trailer if it was taking too long for everybody to mount up (we usually mounted up last). I had religiously checked for back soreness and kept on top of saddle fit (his back was gradually widening over time). I did not have him checked for kissing spines.

He might also buck from irritation, such as a new saddle pad rubbing his hips, or being forced to ride in the back and the other horses going too slow. Again, I'd mostly keep my weight off of his back during such times if I didn't want to be thrown forward.

He even bucked me forward of the saddle going up a steep hill. Not sure what triggered that particular buck.

However, it was easy to miss a theme running through this behavior. His bucking got more serious whenever I asked him to come off his forehand. He liked going on the forehand and was pretty determined to stay that way. With all the other exuberant bucks, I missed this important connection.

Even though your horse is bucking for other reasons, please don't stop looking for physical causes. Ulcers, for example. Or a sore LS joint. And religiously check your saddle fit and back comfort. Keep your mind open.

Also, building your strength as a rider is important. I took my bucking wonder on an endurance ride, and I had to spend the first 5 miles in two-point. He had a big fat red ribbon in his tail, and we tried to keep clear of other riders, since I'd worried he'd kick out while bucking. Keep a lookout for people riding up behind you, because they are at risk. My boy's hind feet were kicking pretty high, and he'd kick trees as we passed, wood chips about my eye level. Other horses and riders are at risk, and you have a responsibility to look out for them, knowing your horse bucks.

Also, you might warn others that your horse bucks before you set out. Some horses (and riders) are very upset by buckers. I didn't blame people who did not want to ride with me and Butch. We often rode alone and planned out group rides carefully.

I no longer have this horse, BTW. When I got more insistent about him staying off his forehand, the bucking got nastier, and I decided that it was too risky to ride him. I didn't mind the fun bucks so much, but when he started to try to get me off, I gave up on him. I have children and a business. I miss him, because he was fun to ride and fearless on the trail despite the bucking. Also loved his easy gallop. He didn't have a rodeo buck--it looked worse than it felt. But reality is that I'd have gone off at some point, and he didn't care whether he was bucking on a narrow steep trail with rocks at the bottom of the ravine or in an open field.