Rather than asking whether it's acceptable, it seems like the question would be "what are you going to do about it?"
If my big guy bucks on canter transition, we go back and do the transition again. No come to Jesus moments or anything.
If my little guy bucks, I know I'm making him uncomfortable and I try to get up off of his back.
But there were many CTJ moments when my big guy was being cured of his desire to shed rider when he was fearful. And I was happy to report to the goggle eyed spectators at his "first turnout in a week" show that those particular antics are now restricted to liberty.
Hmmm....well, I'll laugh about a little happy buck, but it's still naughty and he gets a pop on the rump with a crop or a nudge with my heels. But ultimately, no, bucking isn't really acceptable.
However, running like an out of control lunatic on the lunge line isn't appropriate either. Lunging is not to "get the sillies out"....it's for proper work. Turnout is for getting the sillies out. Anytime my horse is around me, whether it's leading/under saddle/on the lunge line, he is expected to behave.
So as ridiculous as you think your friend is for allowing bucking under saddle....I think you're just as ridiculous for allowing it on the lunge line.
Hmmm! Did they say they were allowing it?
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.
With my older horse, she used to buck (small crow hops) if I didn't set her up right for a canter depart - I learned to ride on her years ago, so I used to mangle the canter transition pretty badly now and then, and her buck was a frustrated response to me kicking her too hard or holding her mouth while asking her to go... so in that scenario the buck was a clear sign to me that I had made a rider error, and I needed to settle back into a steady trot and try again.
My younger mare has bucked once - today! - when I gave her a little whack on the butt with a jacket I was carrying across the ring to hand to someone. Just a little kick out, not a big buck. My fault - I surprised her with something unexpected. She's never done it before, and I'll know better than to surprise her with a whack from an unfamiliar object again! Doh. In that scenario I just carried on riding and didn't punish or correct her for bucking, because it was my error.
Now if I had a horse that bucked "on purpose" or as a resistance or just out of fun, on a regular basis, I would come up with some way of intervening to prevent it or get a trainer to help me fix it, because I don't think it's okay for a horse to buck whenever it feels like it, or just for fun, or when spooking, or anything like that. Not on the lunge line either. Work is work. Play is play. I also wouldn't buy or keep a horse that tended to buck frequently or hard - I am too old for that sort of thing!
I do think that a horse that throws in a bunch of bucks after a jump probably is more of a show jumper and less of a hunter, and probably more of a professional's horse and less of an amateur's horse. But it also might mean that being ridden once every three weeks and spending the rest of his time in his stall seeing how much grain and alfalfa he can eat, isn't working too well for him, LOL.
I think that if a horse is constantly bucking because he's pissed off or being ridden incorrectly, or something hurts him, or he lacks in some basic quality of rideability, that's different, very different, from the occasional show of friskiness.
Dobby had a nasty buck and got me off twice. That said, he wasn't a "bucker." The first time was when he was new to the barn and I had ridden him about 4 or 5 times. I was using my saddle rather than my trainer's and I could feel something different about him but wasn't sure what. We jumped a small fence, after which we could go either right or left. Since he had a right drift, I decided to steer left and had looked that way on approach, used a left leading rein in air etc. He hit the ground, started right and I asked more firmly for left and he went rodeo on me. I stayed on for a few blasts but came off when he swerved hard to avoid the wall. Turned out my saddle was halfway around him and I suspect that the saddle wasn't fitting him well and it may have shifted when I asked, then demanded that he go left. (Turns out he's bucked off his owner while hunting due to saddle fit issues.)
Later at his first ever show, he got me off again. We were schooling and he was hopping nicely over jumps in the practice area. They called the warmup (which I skipped) and suddenly, Mr Herdbound was all alone in an unfamiliar place. He took a jump and lost it! (Turns out he'd bucked his owner off hunting when the first field took off on him!)
Once I learned what all his "triggers" were, and the signs of an issue we had no further problems. He does have a nasty buck though and it only takes one to get you.
As for playfulness in the field or even on the lunge, I say better there than under saddle. Horses are big animals that were condition to be fit and strong, yet choose to keep in boxes. Just like a dog that sometimes just runs rampant around the house or yard, a horse sometimes needs to run and buck and use those muscles. While the lunge is generally a training method therefore a horse should be in "full disipline" mode while lunging, it doesn't always happen. Horses are smart enough to figure out that if they are going to buck, the human would prefer that it happen on the tape rather than under saddle.
Last edited by Linny; Dec. 28, 2008 at 08:36 PM.
Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique
Well, this'll be an outlier opinion, but here goes.
My horse rarely bucks undersaddle in the ring. But she reliably bucks after a good gallop, which we do on our "fun days" (most days she's schooling and concentrating). She very much enjoys galloping and likes to sprint for a bit and then settle into a small line of bucks. I have no doubt that these are "happy bucks". SHe's done this her whole life. I don't discourage them because they're usually easy to ride and I know she's having fun. If she's particularly revved up, I can reliably prevent them/stop them. She's an extremely obedient horse so I don't mind letting her have some fun on "fun days".
Actually it just may mean you're a good trainer. I think horses can be a lot more expressive and joyful and enthusiastic about their work if allowed to do this. Too, a horse may be expected to perform for 17 - 20 years of his life, there has to be something fun in it for him to keep him doing it.
Like others, I think it depends on the type of buck. Greenbean crowhops? I don't expect them per se but you have to be prepared for them nonetheless. Hissy fits? I hate those, and it normally becomes my way or the highway. In both cases I sit up and send them forward to get their mind on WORK. I choose not to ride the broncs (thanks to my boss who has never asked me to!). I would NEVER EVER praise a horse for bucking, but I would ignore it in some cases.
PJ doesn't buck, though he sure can. Seen him do some great ones out in the paddock AND I've seen him "pop" his back up and chuck one really good rider and unseat another very advanced rider. His feet never leave the ground, he just does this ejection button thing. And both times he looked perplexed afterwards. Anyways, that was back when he was super-green and he was a bit confused I think.
He has never bucked with me and there sure have been times when I've messed up while jumping, or he's real fresh, etc. I never lunge him. He's a good boy. He WILL put his head a bit below level and shake it around in the first canter if he's been on vacation for a while, or after a particularly fun jump or line. But thats it, and if he feels me tense up during his head shaking he stops immediately and gets back to being steady. I love him for obviously trying to take care of me.
My other horse, who is 4.5 years old is all business under saddle. Has never bucked in his life. He was started under saddle very lightly at 3.5 years old and has been in fairly light work on and off since then. He'll go into more serious work this spring but he's always good. Easiest horse in the barn to ride.
When I was younger I didn't mind bucking but generally did get after the horse for it, usually just by getting them super forward. I can still ride most bucks, but really, I'd rather not deal with that sort of behavior anymore.
Happy, healthy, properly fed horses don't buck. If the horse bucks there is a reason for it. Find the reason, remove it and everyone benefits. Ignore the reason and it will continue until the horse generally needs to be put down.
Wow - That has to be the most ignorant thing I have read on COTH in a long time.
My lovely 21-year-old retired TB hunter, who can buck like a maniac while being lunged, bucked under saddle last week for the first time in the nearly 15 years I've owned him. It was a cold morning, he had an extra day off between rides, and I put my leg on him with extra pressure as we passed the open gate. He put his head down between his legs and let out a pretty good sized buck. I was SO proud of him that he could still pull stuff like that! I pulled his head up and we continued cantering as if nothing had ever happened.
God love the oldsters who can still surprise us and make us laugh! I gave him extra carrots after the ride.
I don't really believe in lunging to get out the bucks but turnout or free lunging instead. I agree with those that say the lunge line should be for working. If you want your horse to burn some excess energy free lunge and play games. That way the horse can differentiate between working on the lunge line and "play time".
I think there are many degrees of bucking some harmless some not. Under no circumstance should bucking be rewarded imo. I would never choose to ride a habitual bucker either, I leave them for the pros or the very brave ammies that still bounce.
My 17 year old usually only does little playful 1/2 bucks under saddle, they're really more like cow kicks. He always stops when I correct him verbally by saying "South!" in my angry mommy tone. But believe me the horse can really buck in turnout. God help me if he ever decides to buck like that when I'm on him!
He only does it if he hasn't been in work regularly and we are cantering. Like if he goes 4 or 5 days without being ridden due to crazy weather. There was one day this year after 5 days off ( and he is turned out 24/7) that he started hopping, jigging, snorting, throwing his head and getting just a wee bit too hot for my comfort in the open. We were hacking around the property. When I got off and was leading him in hand he was throwing in some good bucks too. This is extremely out of character for him.
I turned him out in a nice big grass paddock that has better footing than his own. Chased him around a bit and he galloped, bucked and jumped around at liberty for a good 10 minutes. Got on the next day and he was quiet as can be. If I had put him on a lunge line he would have been pissy and cranky. I believe it puts unneccessary stress on the joints if your not actually working the horse properly but rather just playing around. I agree with those that say bucking on a very regular basis is a problem and should definitely be discouraged.
My greenie does her little bucks and has thrown in some big ones, usually when she hasn't been ridden in a while. I believe that bucking on the longe line or under saddle is showing that the horse doesn't respect you. My mare is out 24/7 in a pasture with shelter and runs and bucks all the time. When I'm in the fencing, she calms down and shows me respect. I only longe if I need to reinforce my position in the 'herd', something that was taught by the cowboy that saddle trained her.
Usually if she bucks undersaddle, something is irritating her or I'm not giving clear enough signals and we stop for a minute. Now she just shakes her head to give me a heads up so I can slow down and evaluate what we're doing. If we're just trotting along on the trail and she bucks with no real reason, I reprimand her.
She has been checked by the vet and has had her saddles fitted. (Yes, I own 7 saddles for one horse. All different types so they can be switched when the time is needed so I don't cause pinching during training.)
Well then, I guess Ruby needs to be put down.
She bucks when she is mad about something. It is her way of showing her refusal. Sometimes it comes up when I ask her for something simple, like a canter depart. She bucks hard, too. I've never come off of her because I can sit out bucks extremely well.
Since she's a stubborn little pony, you have to be careful about how you go about it. You have to calmly reprimand her [one sharp tap with the whip]. If she doesn't respond, or bucks again, she either gets another reprimand or ceaseless tapping until she responds correctly. If she's being a real cow I will smack her with the whip harder than usual, but that doesn't happen as often anymore. Sometimes we will be in the arena bucking and refusing to go forward for a long time before she gives in. The second she responds correctly, she is rewarded and we move on like nothing happened.
She is not in pain, all her tack fits correctly, and she is well cared for and happy. Bucking is her way of showing defiance, and since she's an opinionated little mare, there's not a whole lot I can do about it. She's a bucker, plain and simple. She'll never be completely cured of it. And I don't mind riding buckers at all, so we're a good match
I don't think bucking under saddle is proper, if they're being disobedient. If it's a happy, I'm-so-excited sort of bucking, it's different, and while it probably shouldn't be encouraged, some people tend to forget that a horse is still a living, breathing creature, not a machine. Ignore it and move on.
If it's an I-am-hurting sort of bucking, it should be taken very seriously and the problem should be found and removed, if at all possible.
I let her buck on the lunge line. I encourage it, in fact. She knows the difference between working on the lunge and playing. If I could free-lunge her, I would. She loves it and it is very good for her. Alas, I have no where to do so, aside from the small roundpen, which she doesn't like nearly as much and can't buck and play in as well.
I don't lunge her before I ride her, because it's not necessary. Some horses, IMO, do need to be lunged, whether it's to loosen up their back or to let them get a little excess energy/bucks out.
Well, I've only ever had one that was a confirmed, buck as soon as you are in the saddle because he wanted you off, kind of bucker. He went on to a lovely career as a saddle bronc horse. He was an OTTB and who knows what had happened to him at the track, if I had had the time and could have worked him through it he'd have been a heckuva horse. But he like his rodeo career just fine.
I've got one who gives a playful crowhop from exuberance now and then. It's easier to ride than many horses' canters. I laugh and go on with life, it's kind of like disciplining a kindergartner while trying very hard to keep a straight face because the no-no has you rolling on the floor, inside.
If I get one who wants, for whatever reason, to develop the habit of bucking under saddle, I'll set them up for that buck, in the arena or on the trails, and when it comes they will be put in high gear for a good 15 minute or so hand gallop to gallop- with a few minutes extra after they say 'can we stop now?' They soon get the message that a buck is going to cost them a bit of extra sweat.
Generally though, when one 'suddenly' bucks a propos of nothing at all, I'll be looking for ill fitting tack or some other 'owie.'
For my personal horse I do not thin kit is acceptable, although I have to expect it with him at the moment. He is green, and maturing to the point where his body is there, but his mind is still in baby stage. That combined with his personality and spookiness leaves me with some pretty nasty explosions at times. I ride them out and make him move out, NOW, at all costs. never does he get to stop b/c of one. But at the same time I do not discipline him for them. A quick smack or leg jab if nec. or he is not paying attention but then back to doing exactly what I was doing before he lost it. It is all about keeping the satus quo with him. he has to learn that no matter what he does we are still going to be doing what I am asking.
I would never praise him for bucking. Although I do think there is such a thing as a happy buck (like after jumping, assuming there is no pain issues, I have known some horses to throw a buck out of excitement. however, I do not think it is something to praise. My boy will buck if he is enjoying himself (e.g. .. if there are puddles in the ring and he splashes through them, I know to expect a "yippie! buck" after he throws in a few lead changes .. he also does that when he is enjoying himself) But by no means do I praise it.
True love is taking their pain away and making it yours ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~ ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~
Acceptable hehavior when working, no. Understandable behavior, sometimes. No matter how well we may train or ride, horses are living, sentient beings with a mind of their own.
And sometimes stuff happens.
It's part of horsemanship.
Acceptable hehavior when working, no. Understandable behavior, sometimes.
The words I was looking for!
I took the OP's use of "acceptable" to mean "not appropriate". Her friend that praises bucks? Silly and perhaps bordering on dangerous. I do not think bucking, rearing, spooking, etc are appropriate under saddle, but they can and do happen. Do I ignore the behavior or worse yet, reward it? No way. But the action I take directly correlates with the severity of the behavior. Little hop? Little kick. A real buck? A real big whap on the ass with the whip, accompanied by a lot of leg. And my reaction also depends on the horse. My 13 y/o mare who's seen everything and really has no excuse? My reaction is harsher with her than with the 3 y/o I broke this summer. With both horses, my reaction is immediate.