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  1. #1
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    Dec. 8, 2012
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    Winterfell, aka New England
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    Default Horse loves bucking in the field....What to do?

    I have a 14 year old paint gelding (bought when he was 3). He absolutely loves to throw bucking fits when horses canter/gallop up behind him.....obviously I do not! This past fall I went to a foxhunting clinic and would have loved it, except for the bucking I was subjected to for the entire 2 hours. Anyone with any tips? It isn't like he doesn't get enough turnout, he lives outside on an acre and this has been ongoing since purchased. Even in the show ring he has been a disaster. Anyone with experience on this issue?



  2. #2
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    May. 5, 2011
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    Is it a bratty thing? Is it a pain thing? Is it an insecurity thing?

    If its a bratty thing, I'd punish the heck out of it. Several good smacks on the butt with a crop (hard enough to make your point, but not so hard as to leave marks), shout KNOCK IT OFF! and move off and go do a minute or so of something he finds difficult to execute (I tend to use really collected work in figure eights or other patterns or something like leg yields with collection). Then I relax and go back to the leapfrog game. Rinse, lather, repeat until he decides its really just easier to behave. Praise profusely when he does behave when another horse comes up behind him. I would start with one other horse. Then work up from there.

    If its insecurity, don't punish the misbehavior. I'd use a verbal correction "Ahh ahh!" and put him to work to get his mind off of it. I'd stay on the general path I was on, but ask for a leg yield or more collection or whatever to get him focused on me instead of what's happening behind him.

    If its a pain thing? Fix it...


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  3. #3
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    Jul. 5, 2010
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    Northland, New Zealand
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    Default

    If he's been doing it since you bought him (11 years ago) then it's a well and truly ingrained habit by now! And if he only does it when horses canter past him, it's unlikely to be pain related. Some serious discipline would be my guess. Bucking is never an acceptable behaviour.


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  4. #4
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    Dec. 8, 2012
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    Winterfell, aka New England
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    Yes he has zero back pain (chiropractor says his back is perfect). He is an very much alpha in the pasture, I'm thinking he is doing the whole "you aren't allowed to run faster than me" thing. At the clinic I'd gotten so frustrated that I resorted to punching him in the head....next time ill be carrying a crop!


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  5. #5
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    If its purely bratty, I'm pretty harsh with punishing a potentially dangerous behavior. Horses aren't dumb. Even after 11 years he can certainly learn to knock it off.


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  6. #6
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    Dec. 8, 2012
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    Winterfell, aka New England
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    Default

    Thanks for the replies everyone! I think I'll order a nice big jockey whip and hopefully get out hunting before the season is over



  7. #7
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    Jun. 9, 2005
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    Unionville, PA
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    Default

    My horse does this and he bucks HARD (think rodeo bronc). I had to resort to pro help. I just couldn't stay on him long enough to get to the discipline part. So basically when we can my trainer takes him out and I ride my other horse. Hopefully we will get this issue resolved, if not he is a pretty nice eventer!
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/


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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
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    midwest
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    I hate to be Debbie Downer but if your horse is a lifelong, card carrying member of the "Buck Club" the odds of that habit stopping now in a hunt field are not very high.

    Years ago I had a very nice gelding that did everything we tossed his way at the top of his game- trail riding, showing, parades, all things urban and suburban. I decided to give him a go at hunting. After one season I realized I had a "round peg, square hole" situation with him and hunting. The only reason I wasn't injured was that his bucks were so smooth and round that I never came off. I recall I cracked a couple teeth from being jarred around.

    Anyway, that grand gelding is now 26 and has taught two more children to ride since I sold him to a family years ago.

    Good luck.


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  9. #9
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    Aug. 14, 2004
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    7,540

    Default

    another thought: its hard for them to really buck if they are galloping so i would really ask him to move ... then i would also get good pro help to help with this.



  10. #10
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    Oct. 1, 2005
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    Sandy, Utah
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    Quote Originally Posted by SugarRush View Post
    Yes he has zero back pain (chiropractor says his back is perfect). He is an very much alpha in the pasture, I'm thinking he is doing the whole "you aren't allowed to run faster than me" thing. At the clinic I'd gotten so frustrated that I resorted to punching him in the head....next time ill be carrying a crop!
    In my experience the best horses for hunting are NOT the alphas, but rather the middle to bottom of the pack horses. I did successfully hunt an alpha warmblood- though he was more enjoyable whipping in than in the field. My own amateur theory is that there is a fundamental 'insecurity' for lack of a better word- that when they are under saddle and therefore supposed to do what rider says, somehow there will be payback from some other horse that they can't react to. My guy was 'a little' concerned with speed from behind- but more concerned with folks swirling off in different directions.

    That said- no matter the explanation, there are no 'excuses.' No bucking. Period. However, I'll echo others who say that given your horse has this well established habit, it will be a long row to hoe to get him where he needs to be. If I were going to go about it, I'd get some friends and set him up for a 'hunt field buck' simulation, in a place where once he starts the bucking, I can give him a really good sweat inducing gallop for a few miles. And I do mean for a good half mile or more after he says 'uncle.' And recover, rinse and repeat until he processes that when 'working,' energy should be conserved for when one needs it.

    I will add that since you say he also does this in the arena, that's a good place to start w/buddies. Teach him that bucking leads to a lot of work. Most folks quite understandably try to 'stop' a horse when they misbehave. That only teaches a horse that misbehavior means LESS work. So one needs to teach them the opposite!


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  11. #11
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    Dec. 8, 2012
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    Winterfell, aka New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    I hate to be Debbie Downer but if your horse is a lifelong, card carrying member of the "Buck Club" the odds of that habit stopping now in a hunt field are not very high.

    Years ago I had a very nice gelding that did everything we tossed his way at the top of his game- trail riding, showing, parades, all things urban and suburban. I decided to give him a go at hunting. After one season I realized I had a "round peg, square hole" situation with him and hunting. The only reason I wasn't injured was that his bucks were so smooth and round that I never came off. I recall I cracked a couple teeth from being jarred around.

    Anyway, that grand gelding is now 26 and has taught two more children to ride since I sold him to a family years ago.

    Good luck.
    That's what I'm afraid of The funny thing is, he is a total babysitter type otherwise. He just showed an entire season of leadline with a 35 pound kid and in the spring was team penning with my friend (great cow horse). Isn't spooky ever, does almost everything you want.......till you get to the bucking part he sounds like the perfect hunting horse. I do agree with you Beverley, he may just be too alpha to relax (and hates being away from the herd--when he gallops back it feels like you're strapped to a rocket). This guy is so much an alpha that he almost took down an entire line of fencing to fight/murder the young stallion boarded next to him this spring



  12. #12
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    Jul. 14, 2000
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    midwest
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    The gelding I mentioned never, ever bucked except in the hunt field. It just was not in his DNA to hunt but heaven knows he overflowed with other gifts. I had not bought him to hunt so it wasn't a big deal. That might be the case with your horse too. A bucking horse in the hunt field is dangerous, especially if he gets you off and keeps going with the field because a loose horse darting around can cause horrible wrecks. Loose horses happen in the hunt field but members try to start out with a horse that is suitable.


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  13. #13
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    Jul. 28, 2011
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    I had the privilege of riding one of the master's horses at the beginning of the season while I got up the courage to ride my green bean. He successfully bucked me off 3 times, before I decided enough was enough. Truthfully, though a made horse, he was a true whip horse, and not very nice in the field. Our entire day was spent arguing between the speed at which we would carry ourselves, and ultimately he would win deciding speed could best be achieved without me on his back or face (some very impressive bucks with a twist). And yes, the athletic Thoroughbred types can most certainly buck low, twist, all whilst maintaining a hand gallop!

    While fortunately I was not hurt, nor anyone else, it was not a wise decision to continue to ride him in the field. Your horse, should you take him out again, most certainly belong as the back of the field, and perhaps in a very slow field if available to teach him patience. I'd also evaluate the bit you are using to ensure you have enough staying power and respect without jarring him too much to exacerbate the situation.

    I have to say, though, hunting is the most fun I think you could ever have on a horse, but on a dangerous animal it's the most miserable time out. You may consider switching mounts.



  14. #14
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    Apr. 9, 2007
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    Default

    I had a trainer tell me once that a forward horse couldn't buck...if only they had watched me at my first opening hunt. Sooo soooo wrong.


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  15. #15
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    May. 25, 2003
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    Orlean, Virginia
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    Wink yeah sure....

    Sounds like a non hunting trainer for sure. The problem is often we can't LET them be the forward horse they yearn to be!!!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
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    Jan. 23, 2004
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    Camden, De
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    The reality is that some horses just never deal well with crowds and no amount of training can overcome the issue. I have a lovely connemara/tb that has evented, trail ridden, paper chased and packed my hubby around like a seasoned pro for years but holy heck is a total pain in the butt in the hunt field. He knows how to behave but he just can't contain himself. I did hunt him for a few years ago and hunted him enough to give him a chance to improve but he never will. I ride almost strictly ottb's and every TB I have ever hunted has been quite good and more enjoyable than my conn/tb who has a ton more training than the rest of them. My horse is out for the season so I hunted the conn/tb again and was reminded how I really hate hunting when I am not on a good horse.

    He bucks, squeals and constantly challenges the pace all day long. He also sounds like 10 horses because of his grunting and loud snorting. He never trots..so it is canter..canter..canter omg will you just trot..for god sake please trot. Nope, canters everywhere we go. He gears up not down so you can be out for 3hrs and he is even more up than when you left the trailer. I can handle him but you never get a chance to just enjoy the hounds, the country and the people. He would likely be an awesome whip horse but riding in the field will never be his thing.


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  17. #17
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    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by reay6790 View Post
    I had a trainer tell me once that a forward horse couldn't buck...if only they had watched me at my first opening hunt. Sooo soooo wrong.
    This is VERY right!! Love it when people say things like that..."he can't buck at a run" or "if you go fast enough he can't refuse a jump"!!! That would be an incorrect statement!!!
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma



  18. #18
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Beside Myself ~ Western NY
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    Quote Originally Posted by reay6790 View Post
    I had a trainer tell me once that a forward horse couldn't buck...
    That would be sort of like trying to convince a Saddlebred owner that a horse has to get his head down in order to buck. Not.



  19. #19
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    Dec. 31, 2003
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    Central Ohio
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    Jlee, your description of Junior in the hunt field once again reminds me word for word of our dorky little Morgan, Valiant ---who is exactly like that and I have such a hard time describing how he goes! Never. Gets. Tired. The fat little cob is ridiculously fit and will never slow down. He DOES trot but it's super fast and he refuses to let anyone get ahead of him, so hunting is a torture test. But oh well! Some things never change. He's a lifer at our barn, so I just try to go with the flow. He rarely bucks though, so that's good!



  20. #20
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    Nov. 20, 2010
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    Oh, just dying to tell you... because I've just solved my horse's bucking problem. But it should come with a warning - must be done with a professional who knows how to teach this...

    My OTTB was fairly successful at the track. Which means attitude. Given to me when he retired, not able to take him at first. Gave him to friend for his first year, who couldn't do anything with him. She thought it physical.

    I took him back. Had thorough exam, ordered custom saddle. He had some issues, but not anything that was really felt to be tied to this behavior - just that he was so full of himself. He'd buck any time you asked him to canter. He didn't know how to "just canter", so would have a fit. Then it lowered to asking him to move at the trot. He was just so fit, and then he didn't like if you used your leg. He didn't like this/didn't like that under saddle. On the ground, he was quite good, and frankly, very personable and a lot of fun. But he also was very heady when racing, so don't think it a total surprise that he was going to run things here, too.

    Had read/heard a horse couldn't buck if circled. And in years past, had used that successfully. Well, what did I know? Depends on how coordinated they are! I'm not a professional, but neither a beginner. Was bucked off twice last year - once on the road on a nice winter's day when I took him out away from the barn. He used to get jiggy when on the roads sometimes, but had never misbehaved that much. Just was feeling so good... I tried to contain him when he started. Tried circling, he planted his feet. Let me tell you, his hind end can get well above his hips...

    Moved him from barn where BOs consistently failed to provide requested turnout, to 24/7. Got better with all the turn out, but was still reactive at certain times. Fields hayed - let's have a lesson there? No, let's go ballistic! (He did race on turf...) Try an eventing clinic (where he was stabled overnight). No, let's go bonkers! Other strange horses! New things! Whooppee!

    Into my life comes the answer to our prayers. Trainer now traveling between areas, and based near us in the summer. She is very experienced with high end horses, and with difficult horses. But I'm at a private barn - she just comes for our lessons, and isn't present all the time. This was truly an attitude issue. She taught me how to get control of him. Taught me how to do this, since I am usually on my own when he's being worked. She has a name for it, which I won't say here.

    But she taught me that the second he misbehaves (and not just the bucking - he can have a snotty attitude sometimes using the stick, or kicking at a wall if he doesn't like something - just attitude), to immediately turn him in fast circles, kicking him or using the stick. But the key to staying on - to stopping the behavior, and his very agile bucking, is while grabbing mane, and keeping hold of the reins, to lean well over to the side - almost level with his withers. Throws him off balance so he can't buck... and he gets his little feelings hurt and next thing you know, it's "Ok, ma..." As soon as he gives, you do as well, and suddenly, we're listening, and behaving.

    This really had to be taught in my trainer's presence, and was a bit frightening for me at first, but boy, did it work. My guy can still have some attitude, but let me tell you, he listens to me 99% of the time now. We still have work to do, and plenty of new things/places/experiences to try, but there is no more track attitude. And things get testy again? It's time for "blankety blank".

    If you can have a professional do this, and can teach it to you so that he understands certain behaviors are not tolerated, you may have a new horse. I have ridden/trained/schooled dozens of OTTBs in the past, but none as difficult as this guy. We have all kinds of possibilities now. Which I'm very enthused about as he's a nice looking guy and a lovely mover. Let alone my heart horse. I bought into him after seeing him across the track. And amazingly lucky enough that he was still in the partnership when retired, and they hadn't dropped him into cheap claimers to be lost. I got to keep him, and to figure him out.

    Other trainers in the first barn where I boarded him said they "knew Thoroughbreds". They really didn't. Friend who had him first year works with many good trainers. But no one really wanted to deal with it. Honestly, I was being a bit too touchy feely with him as well. But when it comes to this kind of behavior, you have to do something about it. That, or for this OTTB, what kind of a job could he have?

    I'm so very glad I found the right trainer to work on this with me. It has changed everything. Good luck!

    NB I know this is the hunting forum, and my guy may very well not be best for this. But if you can recreate the scenario with others when your horse reacts this way, and you show him it's not acceptable, hopefully he'll "get it".
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes


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