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Horse who 'plays' after jumps

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  • Horse who 'plays' after jumps

    This is sort of a part 2 to my last thread about my rusher. He's doing SO much better and we've been able to canter complete courses and both of us have gotten so much more confident.
    That being said, he still likes to 'play' between jumps, bucking and leaping. He has a big buck to him and while he did have issues with saddle fit in the past, these are definitely a 'weee, I like to jump and run' kind of buck.

    He can get up pretty high and one day I'm probably going to sail right off. I'm not sure exactly how to treat this, however. He's a sensitive guy and he gets upset when you get in his face or get after him, and the one time I did do that he pitched a nasty one and got me off. As soon as you turn to a jump he'll lock onto the jump and usually stops the bucking, but the recovery on the other side really gets him going.

    Exercises, suggestions? I got some really great ones with my last thread about his rushing, and he's almost completely stopped rushing now and is coming right back to me, even most times after the bucking.

    Over the jump, he jumps big, but he usually quits the bucking before.
    Last edited by hightide; Aug. 30, 2014, 01:09 PM.

  • #2
    Does he buck the whole way to the next jump or just one big woohoo buck?
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by rabicon View Post
      Does he buck the whole way to the next jump or just one big woohoo buck?
      He does both, usually one big woohoo and maybe a pop after.


      • #4
        Sorry for your troubles, but you'll develop an awesome stickability I'm sure.


        • #5
          Guess I missed your earlier thread. Is he young?

          "Celebrating" needs to be handled carefully because while you don't want to stifle his eagerness and bravery, he can't learn that bucking like a fiend is an acceptable expression of his accomplishment.

          If he were mine, and you're positive it's "jubilant" bucking and not pain related, I'd probably take a step back from doing course work and go back to basics for a little bit. Trotting fences with placing poles, grid work, jumps on a curve, anything that keeps his attention to the next task so there isn't sooo much time to get silly after the fence.

          I'd have him going with soft, round contact (like you're in dressage mode) before and after the fence so he learns to stay on an aid. Not as a punishment at all, and not with unyielding hands, but just to give him some boundaries to stay within without stifling his exuberance as he learns.

          It's great that he thinks it's so much fun!

          Just my (probably worthless) .02

          Edited to add: Nice job staying in the tack!! I have a "celebrator" too and it can get, um, interesting.
          Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

          The Grove at Five Points


          • #6
            Yes...congrats staying on!! But...In my opinion...bucking is a major, dangerous disobedience and should be curbed "right now"!! One buck on a fresh, cool day is one thing...this looks like a habit in the making. For sale or not...you have to think what would happen if a friend hopped on him or a customer some day!! My horses get to do all the bucking they want out in their pastures, without tack. Tack on means play time (NOT the fun) is over. My old guy does one tempi changes when he is feeling high on himself. I call these "celebrations", but they are not hazardous to my health. One of these days he might just launch you and cause a serious injury!! JMO
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


            • #7
              Hard to say for absolute certainty, but it looks like your hanging on his mouth quite hard over the fence. It's hard not to do when you expect something on the landing, but it always makes the problem much worse.

              I think you both need to spend some weeks going through only grid work. Bucking is not acceptable, period. Bounces, grids, angles, and tight turns help. For a really bad one, I once set up the fence one and half strides from the wall. There was no room for bucking if he was listening to which way to turn. It worked!

              Probable causes for his behavior:

              Pain (even if not "lame") or nervous about potential pain
              Defensive rider
              Coming to the fences with insufficient impulsion.


              • #8
                Does he do this with your trainer on him?

                Have your trainer ride him over jumps for a couple of sessions. See if she gets the same reaction. That will at least help you figure out if it is something you are doing or the horse (attitude or pain??).


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Mouse&Bay View Post
                  Does he do this with your trainer on him?

                  Have your trainer ride him over jumps for a couple of sessions. See if she gets the same reaction. That will at least help you figure out if it is something you are doing or the horse (attitude or pain??).
                  He does do it with my trainer, though she's able to get him to keep moving and knock it off.

                  I definitely want him to stop the bucking, haha. He tends to get more excited and more excited as the course goes on and he gets unmanageable at times when he starts bucking.

                  Thanks for the idea about grids, that sounds really helpful. I don't doubt that it's me, he was a big step up to me from my last horse.

                  As for the simpler stuff, we spent the entire winter doing that and it really did help for his rushing and the bucking. He's been checked out by vet and chiropractor this winter and checked out fine, considering we've had back problems with him in the past he's muscled up quite nicely and is going better than ever. It definitely makes sense to take him back to that for a while. And he's 12, haha.

                  Thanks everyone! This was super helpful (again).


                  • #10
                    Oh, I didn't know he was 12. I guess I assumed we were talking about youthful antics! He is old enough to put this behind him.

                    Do you have a round pen big enough to place one fence along the rail? Send him over it for several laps and watch his behavior without a rider or tack. If he bucks regardless it may be time for a CTJ meeting. You or your trainer ride him over the same fence on the circle, use a neck strap, and when he lands send him forward! Even if it means a swat on the tail and a momentary temper tantrum.

                    Eventually he will realize that the bucking is causing entirely too much work. As hard as it is, resist the urge to pull up when he bucks (that actually reinforces the behavior). They MUST go forward.

                    Back to grids and curves and basics too. Again, just my little tiny .02. There are lots of ideas and experiences represented on COTH and many are valid. Hope you find the one that works for you.

                    Good luck!
                    Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                    The Grove at Five Points


                    • #11
                      Yikes! He is very athletic. I am fortunate that my guy does not buck after jumps, but has an equally athletic buck that he has been known to exhibit when fox-hunting or otherwise galloping (or even trotting) behind another horse. MOSTLY I feel that it happens when I hang onto his face too much, so I agree with the "send him forward" approach (easier said than done I know). My trainer has been working with my guy, galloping him behind me on my other horse and she also fox-hunted him a couple of times this past season. If you do feel you are hanging onto his mouth too much, maybe have your trainer jump him exclusively for a while and see if he gets better.


                      • #12
                        Oh, and I also agree about the neckstrap. Mine gives me lots more confidence, and I can also use it some to regulate his speed.


                        • #13
                          Not to be a Debbie Downer, but my last horse used to do big playful bucks after jumps and my trainer and I always thought it was him just being silly/proud of himself/excited (he LOVED to jump). Turns out he had a broken neck (as a baby) and was probably expressing pain when he landed off the jump. He had to be put down about two years after I bought him. When a horse consistently bucks coming off of a jump, I'd have a vet out, just to be sure there's not a pain-issue that jumping is exacerbating.


                          • #14
                            Is he generally a quiet, laid back type? Does he buck on the flat or just after a fence. A 12 year old horse always bucking AFTER the fence is usually pain related. I too had a similar situation like blame_the_champange.... Horse had a broken neck as a baby(we didn't know) and consistently bucked after fences. I see lots of horses with poor saddle fits that buck after fences due to discomfort...sometimes it just becomes habit.


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by iluvponies View Post
                              Is he generally a quiet, laid back type? Does he buck on the flat or just after a fence. A 12 year old horse always bucking AFTER the fence is usually pain related. I too had a similar situation like blame_the_champange.... Horse had a broken neck as a baby(we didn't know) and consistently bucked after fences. I see lots of horses with poor saddle fits that buck after fences due to discomfort...sometimes it just becomes habit.
                              Thanks everyone!
                              He's a hot, forward boy all the time. He'll buck on the flat if you piss him off (too strong with hand, mostly) but not always. He doesn't buck all the time after a fence, either. Thought I mentioned that in the OP but maybe not. He does it especially after singles, rarely in lines. If there's another jump coming soon after the first one, he won't buck then either. It's the long stretches that get him going.
                              I should mention that he was a successful Training horse before I got him, and he does buck far less as the jumps get bigger.
                              I believe the barn get is coming out soon, so I'll have her look at him. I've ridden this horse when we had all kinds of saddle fit/back problems and I can tell you these are entirely different bucks. These feel to me and my trainer far more playful then those, but I definitely understand having him checked out if pain could be the cause.

                              Thanks for everyone's thoughts!

                              ETA: My two saddles (jumping and dressage) are both are checked frequently. We went through a whole thing of saddle fit issues, so I am aware of that.