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Bucking horse, saddle preference?

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  • Bucking horse, saddle preference?

    If you are riding a project horse that bucks whenever you ask it for something it doesn't approve of, what kind of saddle would you ride in? Yesterday we were working on travelling straight and having control of the shoulders and horsey did not approve of the pressure. Today we were fine so go figure.

    Lost my stirrups once or twice but for the most part it's a buck behind, pause, buck in front, pause deal and not a rodeo.

    I'm riding in my jumping saddle because I feel better in it then my dressage saddle but am wondering if a dressage saddle would be better.

  • #2
    I would personally duke it out with that horse in whatever saddle I found myself in that day and reach an understanding via the "come to Jesus" method rather than plan ahead for the next buck-fest. I don't at all mind the occasional "yeehaw" feel-good buck, and even Bonnie's big nasty bucks that she throws once in a blue moon when she's seriously spooked are not dreadful, but a horse that is doing premeditated, eff you bucking? I'd be looking for a bigger whip, not a different saddle. :evilgrin:

    I know, I know, it's just a minor disobedience, but it is one that I would want to nip very, very hard in the bud, RIGHT AFTER I was certain it was not a pain/anxiety thing.

    That said, I prefer my jumping saddle because I can shove my feet forward and sit in the back seat, which is where I like jumping saddles to put me anyhow.
    Click here before you buy.


    • Original Poster

      LOL Deltawave.

      Project horse does not like contact, too much leg, and the dreaded combo after being reefed in the mouth with a big ol bit in a previous life. She solved her problem by bucking. So any time she feels pressured she will buck to express her displeasure. If I ride her forward, ignore the bucking, and keep asking she will give up and go nicely.


      • #4
        I ride in an AP saddle with my irons a hole or two shorter than I would on a non-bucker.

        With buckers, you need to not so much sit back as much as stay in the center of the horse. It also helps to stand up during the buck -- this comes with practice, hence the shorter irons.

        A dressage saddle is just too confining in this situation. You need to be there to send them forward when they threaten to buck. Ideally, this is before they can buck, but the buck should not excuse the going forward, and you have to have the maneuverability to go with them.

        My current bucker is a 14hh short-backed, short-necked thing who bucks when you ask for any upward transition. He learned to launch the kiddies but isn't finding it so easy with me.

        enjoytheride, your mare sounds like my pony. Bucking at the slightest pressure.

        Also, you have the perfect screen name for riding a bucker.


        • #5
          I would ride the horse in a saddle that fit it well but only after having the horse's back checked to make sure the horse didn't have a really good reason for bucking.

          IMHO they usually have a REASON for bucking.


          • Original Poster

            I put a running martingale on her to control head flinging at the canter and believe it or not, it seems to help with the bucking.

            With her breed she puts her head UP to buck, whacks the martingale, and stops herself. She's a flower child with her favorite gait being whoa and I wouldn't describe her as terribly athletic so I don't feel in great danger.

            She goes forward now so now she gets to learn all the fancy stuff like how her shoulders belong to me and she can indeed travel straight down the long sides and no she does not need to offer to canter every 2 seconds.

            Reason for bucking in previous post.
            Last edited by enjoytheride; Jan. 5, 2012, 10:27 PM.


            • #7
              Jumping saddle, definitely. While it logically *should* probably be easier to sit bucks in a dressage saddle, with the longer stirrups, deeper seat and all, I will always be more comfortable in my jumping saddle. Even after months of dressage only, jumping saddles still feel like "home" to me. I'd pick whichever saddle you feel most confident, balanced, and stable in.
              "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


              • #8
                Originally posted by JER View Post
                I ride in an AP saddle with my irons a hole or two shorter than I would on a non-bucker.

                With buckers, you need to not so much sit back as much as stay in the center of the horse. It also helps to stand up during the buck -- this comes with practice, hence the shorter irons.
                I agree with the AP - I'm another one that feels like my everyday using/jumping saddle is "home".

                I disagree with standing for the buck - and here is why: It may be easier to ride that way, but if you sit back it means the horse has to work extra hard to buck at all. Anything that makes bucking more work then behaving is what I would do.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Far_North_Equestrian View Post
                  I disagree with standing for the buck - and here is why: It may be easier to ride that way, but if you sit back it means the horse has to work extra hard to buck at all. Anything that makes bucking more work then behaving is what I would do.
                  I didn't explain it well. You are sitting (if the horse allows you to sit, not all do) but then for a split second toward the end of the buck, you stand up just a little in the irons. It's a timing thing and an experience thing; it's quite common to do this if you have a lot of experience with clever buckers. It's not something you think about, it's just how you ride the bucks. The shorter irons give you the independence, the leverage and the ability to adjust.

                  Also, you really have to think about staying in balance with the horse. If I sit too far back on a fussy short-backed horse, I'm likely to make them fussier and therefore buckier.

                  My cute bucking pony did manage to dump me last week. Why? I was sitting well in the back seat, reins slightly out to the sides to encourage a good stretch. Another horse ahead of us spooked. The pony leapt forward, catching me completely unawares. Then he started bucking, and because I was so far behind him, I couldn't get back to the center. Ended up hanging over the side and decided that it was easier to drop to the ground (about 12" down) than to clamber back up. But it was a good warning to remember to stay in the center of the pony, at least for the time being.


                  • #10
                    This is true too - some horses do NOT like riders that ride with a deeper seat. I don't personally buy that type of horse, so mine tend to be ok with me in the "back seat". I have to ride the forgiving types because I'm out of shape!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                      LOL Deltawave.

                      Project horse does not like contact, too much leg, and the dreaded combo after being reefed in the mouth with a big ol bit in a previous life. She solved her problem by bucking. So any time she feels pressured she will buck to express her displeasure. If I ride her forward, ignore the bucking, and keep asking she will give up and go nicely.
                      I'd duke that out by putting her on the lunge line with a vienna rein and a VERY forward trot for a month.
                      Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                      • #12
                        I know the logic of the jumping saddle, however, I like my AP when I feel my horse might be on the "fresh" side. It's an AP-dressage, and deeper than my CC, but I can have shorter stirrups and its leather is so sticky, I feel very secure in it, whatever she may throw at me (one of her favorite moves is the stop-spin-buck).

                        I don't like "resistance" buckers. I would try to find the source of it (cold back? hocks? Dental problems? etc) and try to avoid discomfort in the horse, and if everything checks out, I would try to "skirt" the resistance to avoid the bucking in the first place. But it all that fails, I am ALL for nipping it in the bud right away.

                        I remember when my Ottb was green and hot, I used to lather my jumping saddle with Lexol for grip, wear full seat breeches, and I always rode her in a running martingale. I'm SO glad she's grown up now. lol
                        Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post
                          LOL Deltawave.

                          Project horse does not like contact, too much leg, and the dreaded combo after being reefed in the mouth with a big ol bit in a previous life. She solved her problem by bucking. So any time she feels pressured she will buck to express her displeasure. If I ride her forward, ignore the bucking, and keep asking she will give up and go nicely.
                          Until the next issue arises when you try to teach her something new, and you're back to the pissy bucking.

                          That said, it really depends on your riding style. Might try the dressage saddle since you lost a stirrup here and there, it doesn't sound like she's going to dump you over it. I prefer my jumping saddle over my dressage - don't like getting hit in the butt with the cantle and I can 'float' as JER was trying to describe.


                          • #14
                            Most horses have a specific way of expressing their unhappiness, and if this one happens to do so by bucking then it's likely that will always be the case. Doesn't mean it's acceptable for her to act out this way with every little "ask" on the part of the rider. That is a temper tantrum and is dealt with as such: by putting the screws to her.

                            Thank heaven most disobedient "eff you" buckers are not committed to really, REALLY bucking, because the ones who just get a bee in their bonnet and go on a bucking jag tend to be a lot harder to stick to!
                            Click here before you buy.


                            • #15
                              Must have either a bucking strap on the saddle or a breastplate to use as 'Jesus handle'.

                              Agree re: slightly standing up. I don't have a ton of experience w/ riding bucks (thank you, Katy) but when I have needed to, weight in the irons was safer than feeling like I was getting launched from the seat.
                              I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
                              I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


                              • #16
                                I worked with an "intolerant" horse for a couple years...but the "intolerant" phase only lasted about 3 months. He was much as you describe: don't use your leg, don't touch my face, I'm lazy and I want to be left alone. He had a nasty habit of popping his croup to get your shoulders forward, and then immediately throwing his head in the air to whack you in the face. Not pleasant.

                                A martingale was a life saver for him. I used both standing and running; standing for flatwork only, especially in the beginning. Once he popped himself on the martingale, he learned his "boundaries" and I could safely put my leg on. Limiting his evasions meant he HAD to work, and he learned it really wasn't all that bad. I had a very light, following contact and slowly pushed him into it, doing LOTS of serpentines. This horse followed my body very well, once he trusted that I wouldn't be rough with his face. By moving his parts around and changing directions frequently, he accepted my hand and became a very lovely, easy horse to ride. He grew a healthy work ethic and was lots of fun after 6 months.

                                I have had success riding out a pissy bucking pony mare in my deep seat dressage saddle. Full-on bucks, brief rears, spinning hissy fits when she thought she was "done." On the little monsters, my dressage saddle was great-- let me sit into their backs, wrap my legs around the belly, and KEEP KICKING until a forward working attitude was re-established.
                                “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                ? Albert Einstein



                                • #17
                                  Last night, maresy threw in one of those "eff you, you're asking for too much" kind of bucks. Now, she hadn't been ridden in over two weeks - not an excuse, just a reason for the attitude adjustment she apparently needed. I was in my dressage saddle, an Albion with a fairly deep seat/high cantle combo. When I mounted up, I asked her to walk off, and I ALWAYS want a forward, marching walk. Mare was behind the leg, shuffling, head up, back dropped...in general, complaining. So, I asked gently with my leg for more, got no response - so I kicked her like the kid on the Thelwell ponies. She immediately leaped in the air and cracked her back in a huge buck. The cantle caught me and I felt my spine cracking all the way up to my ears. My FIRST thought was, "Gee, I wish I were in my jumping saddle." The cantle threw me forward, and for a split second I saw only black mane and ground. Through some miracle, I was able to shove my feet forward and save it (and then have a "discussion" of sorts with the mare and Mr. Whippy).

                                  So, moral of the story, if you have a higher cantle on the dressage saddle, it may work against your ability to stay in the middle of the horse, like JER said. It may "seem" more comfortable or safer...but it can work against you.


                                  • #18
                                    Standing up allows you to ride over the buck and keeps you in control. I actually prefer using my exercise saddle for buckers because there is no chance of getting hit by the saddle and getting knocked off balance by it. In just one buck I flew right out of a dressage saddle because the back of the saddle hit me so hard; sold the saddle but kept the horse


                                    • #19
                                      Another vote for jump saddle - I want a good angle in my leg so I can sit or float as - ahem - circumstances demand, and I want the flexibility to keep my leg under me during all phases of the - ahem - airs above the ground.


                                      • #20
                                        I feel like most eventers are more comfortable in their jump saddle, call me weird but my dressage saddle feels the most comfortable to me. Part of it is that I have such long legs it took me a long time to find one I liked, so I didn't always feel super secure. But also I rode in a wintec AP for a long time and the first "real" saddle I got when I stopped growing was my dressage saddle, which felt so far and away different and comfortable from the Wintec I rode in it as much as possible and jumped in the Wintec. If I'm going for a trail ride/hack I will choose my dressage saddle over my jump saddle (even though I do have a nice one now and have for several years). I don't usually ride any buckers but I feel like I would be more comfortable in my dressage saddle. I feel better being able to utilize my long legs and get them around the horse to hold on and move them forward!