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Weird bucking problem?

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  • Weird bucking problem?

    I have a problem with my horse, not sure why he does it and what the best way to fix it would be...

    Anyways, here it is. When I get on, we usually walk around the arena on a long rein for about 10 mins. As soon as I pick up the reins, he will give a huge buck! Every time. Just one buck.

    So far I have tried ignoring it, whack him with the whip, ride a transition to the trot before picking up the reins... Same thing. It drives me crazy! Anyone ever had a horse do this?

    A little more background info on the horse: He is a 5,5yo warmblood gelding, I have owned him since birth. Broke under saddle at almost 4yo, then he had a year off due to pregnancy. I did lunge him to keep him in shape.
    He is schooling 2nd level, shown at 1st. He does have some quirks, but we're working through them. Had the vet check him out to rule out any physical issues. Saddle fits, no problems in the bridle otherwise...

  • #2
    Sounds like a quirk if you've ruled out pain. Maybe he doesn't like the work he is doing, maybe you are. Little stronger then he likes picking up?
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    • #3
      Have you tried walking on contact right from the start? He can still have a longer outline, but might be an idea to try, and see if avoids the issue altogether for awhile, until he gets out of the habit?


      • #4
        then he had a year off due to pregnancy
        That one had me confused...you must mean YOUR pregnancy!


        • #5
          Saddle fit? I'm trying to visualize your ride. When you pick up your reins your weight distribution changes. Maybe you're goosing him. The scientist in me would try the whole thing without a saddle to see if I could reproduce the phenomenon.

          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


          • #6
            Even if the horse is uncomfortable, he must be taught that bucking is not an appropriate response.

            Ask the horse to be more forward and engaged before you pick up contact.

            The other thing I'd try is; tack up and hand walk for 10 minutes, get on and establish forward and contact simultaneously. If he bucks at that, my standard solution-get off and lunge briskly for 5-10 minutes, get back on and ask again. If he gives you a good transition, hop off and put him away immediately. If he bucks again, back to the lunge. Rinse, repeat til he will work without a buck. Then put him away and let him think about that overnight.

            Try again the next day. He will soon figure out your preferred way (no buck) is the easier way.
            See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


            • #7
              So this horse was broke at 4, had a year off, came back at 5... and is now 5.5, schooling second level?

              Could this be a fitness level issue?

              I mean, introducing the collected work takes much more fitness than a training/first level horse, and it sounds like this guy has had less than a year of riding...
              IMO, that buck is to loosen his back before the work begins. My 6 yo does her one buck in her first canter depart, and is happy as a clam before and after. She just needs to loosen up her back.


              • #8
                RE: Even if the horse is uncomfortable, he must be taught that bucking is not an appropriate response.

                That is an interesting point of view. I take a different tack -if it were saddle fit (of course we're just speculating here, but for the sake of argument) I wouldn't punish the buck, I'd fix the saddle.

                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                • #9
                  Is this the same horse you were posting about back in April, 2012, where you were asking what could be wrong with him, including possible back problems?



                  • #10
                    OK, take this for what it is worth.

                    Long ago, I had a horse who was cold-backed. And opinionated. And had trust issues (with good reason to HAVE trust issues.)

                    And I bought him not knowing ANY of that.

                    He bucked almost every ride because he was (1) in pain, and (2) scared, and (3) [purely my speculation], the buck stretched whatever needed to be stretched out & he was comfortable & happy in his work after that.

                    Back to you:

                    Does the buck scare you, hurt you or annoy you? I ask because if this is otherwise a great horse for you, the buck annoys you, but doesn't really threaten your health/safety, then do you need to fix it? Can't you just ride throught it & move on to the rest of the ride?

                    I personally suspect pain or fear, so a soft response might be in order until you know otherwise.

                    The hard part of riding is figuring out whether a resistance or other acting out means, "I won't!" or "I can't!" or "I would, but it HURTS!"or "I've NO idea what you are asking for!"

                    Because knowing "why" helps determine how to respond.
                    Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


                    • #11
                      This post by you was describing his problems almost a year ago. You were going to get a vet to examine him. What were the results?

                      Originally posted by Libera View Post
                      Looking for some opinions/advice here on what to do...

                      I have a young horse, he will turn 5 in August. I broke him under saddle last year in February, and rode him up until November. (I'm pregnant, so I decide to just turn him out for the winter). I lunged him through December and January, and then got too busy and just turned him out in pasture during the day.
                      He was always a little crooked under saddle, heavier on the one rein, easier to bend in one direction, easier canter to the left, etc. I chalked that up to typical young horse stuff.
                      Towards November he started to balk a little bit at times, which young horses sometimes do, and I figured that was because the workload was increasing and we were starting to ask a bit more of him. So I figured a few months off while I wasn't able to ride would be perfect.

                      But when I started lunging him in December, I noticed that he was carrying his tail a bit to the right, on the lungeline, but also in the pasture. Also, he drags his hind toes a bit, and he doesn't want to hold the right lead canter on the lunge. He will either pick up the wrong lead, swap leads after a couple of rounds or cross-canter. His movement also seems stiffer/shorter than it did before (I hadn't lunged him since February when I broke him under saddle).

                      Anyways, towards the end of January I got busy with some other things and decided to just turn him out for a few months until baby is here, hoping the vacation would clear up any issues he might have.

                      Yesterday I lunged him for the first time since, and the same issues are still there... Dragging his toes, appearing stiff (of course also because he's been out of work), still holding his tail a bit crooked, falling in on the right, more difficulty cantering to the right than to the left... I had been thinking that maybe his back is a bit sore, so I felt and pressed a bit along his spine. When I press on the right side behind the saddle area he seems a bit sensitive, even tried to bite me when I did it a second time.

                      So...the question is, should I be calling my vet, to figure out where exactly the issue originates? (=My gut feeling)

                      Or should I be calling a chiropractor/ osteopathy/ other?? (=What others are telling me)

                      Does this even sound like a back problem, or could it be hocks? I'm a little lost... Any advise/insight appreciated


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't punish the buck, I'd fix the saddle.
                        Bucking can be dangerous. I like to discourage dangerous behavior in horses. For the sake of safety, it is important to teach the horse bucking isn't a choice. I love my horses and like to think they have a forever home with me. But I also think that they should be simple to ride in case someone else has to ride them. It isn't necessary to "punish" the horse , just handle them properly.
                        Beside OP says saddle fits fine and pain was not an issue.

                        I think you are right KBEquine. Some horses use bucking to stretch, I have seen them use it for balance themselves (particularly green horses learning to canter under saddle). The "why" of it is our responsibility to figure out and solve, certainly, but in the end, irrelevant to training.
                        See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                        • #13
                          It's an interesting discussion that parallels one we have with dogs and growling. Growling is definitely a form of communication. Some punish the growl and some do not. Of course there are many degrees between here and there. In a similar way I see bucking as a communication.

                          As for the saddle example; I was only speculating, and then using it in the context of this side discussion about bucking.

                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                          • #14
                            There are 3 possible responses to an animals behavior;
                            A)It is always OK
                            B)It is sometimes OK
                            C)It is never OK

                            A and C are easy to handle.
                            With B, you are at the mercy of the animal's judgement.
                            That is not usually a desirable place to be.
                            See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


                            • #15
                              Is anyone else noting that this horse had big issues a year ago???

                              Read carolinadreamings posts, folks!


                              • #16
                                Have you ever stretched both front legs after tightnening the girth before mounting? If so, what does he do? Does he let you stretch the legs or does he try to go down? Horses that try to lay down or fall down when you stretch often have a problem=bucking.
                                "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


                                • #17
                                  The best time to call the vet was a year ago when your horse first started exhibiting what might be a severe, debilitating condition that might be career ending.

                                  Now you've got a real problem on your hands. You don't have a bucking problem - you have a horse in severe pain. Something is very wrong with your horse and he's telling you in the most polite way he can. For now. Maybe the next time he tells you he's in pain he won't be so polite about it.

                                  Get the vet out tomorrow and get a diagnosis. And tell that vet that the horse has had the symptoms and pain for one year.

                                  Don't muck about with stretching legs or other useless ideas. A horse with the symptoms you describe is exhibiting pain. Pain that might be excruciating when under saddle.
                                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                  -Rudyard Kipling


                                  • #18
                                    From OP last year:
                                    So...the question is, should I be calling my vet, to figure out where exactly the issue originates? (=My gut feeling)
                                    Apparently OP didn't listen to her/his gut feeling... which is a bit of a shame after 1 yr.

                                    Why don't you call the vet?
                                    ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                    Originally posted by LauraKY
                                    I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                    HORSING mobile training app


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by nhwr View Post
                                      There are 3 possible responses to an animals behavior;
                                      A)It is always OK
                                      B)It is sometimes OK
                                      C)It is never OK

                                      A and C are easy to handle.
                                      With B, you are at the mercy of the animal's judgement.
                                      That is not usually a desirable place to be.
                                      I guess I look at it a different way. Clearly this poster has had concerns about this horse in the past. I do agree that for a horse who has essentially been recently under saddle for only 6 months that schooling 2nd level is too much. While the movements themselves may not be inherently difficult, it takes time for the horse to build the muscle strength and endurance to carry himself at that level . . . the horse should be progressing through steady and consistent work and IMHO it sounds like the horse isn't ready for this work.

                                      Having said that, it is entirely possible that the horse has been giving the OP "signals" that he is in pain, yet she has either ignored them or not been astute enough to read what they are. What then? At some point the horse may need to escalate his vocabulary so that the person understands that he is in pain. While I agree that I don't like naughty behavior, let's face it - the only way the horse has to tell us that something is wrong is by his behavior. If his behavior indicates that something is wrong (via bucking or rearing or whatever), it is our duty as responsible horse owners to follow the clues. Yes, the horse may just be cold-backed - if so then the owner needs to do what is needed to make the horse comfortable via in-hand work/lunging/hand walking/saddle fit/whatever. Maybe it is in the mouth - I've had my vet work on my horses' teeth every year and miss things that were found after I had an equine dentist specialist work on them (after said perfect horse started bucking - just once - on the RL canter depart).

                                      I would say this horse would benefit from more sleuthing. Does he do the same thing on the longe without a rider? Does he do the same thing with a bridle but no saddle? Does he do the same thing with a saddle but a bitless bridle? Lots of factors to consider.
                                      "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                                      • #20
                                        Working Hunter

                                        ... Had the vet check him out to rule out any physical issues. Saddle fits, no problems in the bridle otherwise...
                                        Sure sleuth away.

                                        But when a horse bucks, it should be corrected. I am not saying my horses never buck. When they do, they are corrected.
                                        See those flying monkeys? They work for me.