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goes to bucking when out of comfort zone

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  • goes to bucking when out of comfort zone

    4 year old mustang BLM great mind, lots of ground work 2 years on/of occasional short rides asking little as he can go to bucking hard and sustained until rider is off. Refuse to give up. Suspect I have to somehow ride through the bucks and /or get back on quickly (have air vest). Considering using a whip for every buck..not sure if it will make it worse! Ideas?

  • #2
    What do you do when he's bucking? How is he bucking? Straight line back cracking, or porpoising and twisting left and right?

    The best way to handle bucking is to not allow it to start. Keep horse on a circle, <20meters, keep driving him forward with your seat and keep his head up. If/when you feel the hump in his back come up, either leg/ spur him on, drive your seat down and forward (literally pushing his hind end back down) and yes, for every executed buck, give a spank. You're doing this at canter obviously.

    Another tactic is to get him out of the arena and when he's feeling like he's going to buck gallop. HARD. In a long straightaway tract. Don't let him rest until YOU say, and quite frankly until he's begging you to stop galloping.

    It's up to you to know your horse to know which method will work best. Some horses will start to eliminate the bucking and just straight off bolt. Again, know your horse.

    Also know, that some horses will always buck. You may wish to have a trainer come work with the horse for several months to help you determine what type of horse you have .And of course... saddle fit check...

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a 10yo appendix with the same issue. I bought him when he was 7 and he would buck when out of comfort zone and/or when put under too much pressure (in his opinion...). I have done A LOT of groundwork and worked to make him trust me and rely on me when in discomfort. Now he has improved a lot but he would still buck randomly expecially when together with new and unknown horses. He Is quite reliable when alone or with horses and people he knows already.

      When he bucked I just tried to stay on until he gave up...our personal record is 6 consecutive bucks... so far😅 I don't know the english term but he bucks like a bronco, not just with his hind part but with his whole body and his head between front legs

      Comment


      • #4
        The horse bucks because
        1) it is in pain due to ill-fitting saddle, back pain, neck pain, stifles, hocks. Possible ulcers
        2) it doesn't want to work and has discovered that bucking the rider off results in not having to work anymore.

        If the horse is in pain then have the saddle checked. Lameness exam. Ulcer meds.

        If the second is true it is not going to be easy to retrain a horse that bucks until it throws the rider.

        Consult a local professional about this.

        The whip is an aid used to reinforce the leg.
        Using it as negative reinforcement is counter productive and probably wont be effective on an already dedicated bucker. Just my opinion.

        Good luck.
        Certified Guacophobe

        Comment


        • #5
          There's so much more to know before any reasonable guesses can happen. Maybe that really is his go-to reaction to something that he finds hard. But that's not most horses.

          What's an example of what you're asking? Are you asking him to canter from the walk? Asking for a baby lateral step? Work on a 10m circle? Lengthen his trot?

          What does "lots of groundwork" mean? Horses who act out - rearing, bucking, bolting, running backwards - when faced with something they are unsure of will do this on the ground too, maybe not to the degree they might with a rider on, but they will do something. So if you can do all sorts of things with him - lunge, ask him to back up, ask him to make quick transitions, and he does it when you ask, not minutes later when he feels like it, and he does it quietly and softly and not full of tension, then a harder look at ridden work is the next place.

          But if "ground work" is just lots of giving to pressure (SO boring at some point), lots of slow easy work, then you haven't pushed him enough to find out what triggers him, and when you don't push a little, to get a reaction, you can't teach him that's not an appropriate reaction.

          There are lots of things under saddle that can cause this, from straight up training, poor work ethic (can't do much about that, unfortunately, if you want a higher performance horse), to what you're asking is causing muscle engagement that hurts due to poor saddle fit, or rider bouncing around, or pinched nerves, etc.

          My first thought is that a whip with every buck is going to land you in the hospital.

          If this is just a mental/training issue, then you have to get a lot better at first stopping the buck from happening - the more he gets to practice, the better he's going to get. He IS giving signals before he does it. They might be subtle, he might to from signal to bucking in the blink of an eye, but he's doing something, so you need to figure that out.

          But things need to be done before even that. What, exactly, I'm not sure, not knowing what's going on in the context of the bucking.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            Many horses who were "bucked out" when they were started tend to start bucking when pressured later. It is better to start them without bucking.

            I would look at a physical issue for sure. Have you had your saddle checked? His back checked?

            I would back off and take little tiny steps (after checking for a physical issue.) Stay within the comfort zone for a while to re-establish trust. Once going well you can start very gently pushing on the edges of the comfort zone.

            Whipping for bucking would definitely make it worse. A good solid way to get you hurt and ruin your horse!

            Comment


            • #7
              I would not whip at every buck. Doing this is adding an additional stimulus which will likely encourage the horse to buck more, not stop. Horses don't understand punishment in this way.

              If you are sure this is a mentality issue, you are going to have to resign yourself to sitting with him every time he goes to bucking and making it as difficult for him to do so until *he* makes the decision that this is no longer a reasonable response.

              Riders often assume that they must stick with a bucking horse - or get back on after they've been bucked off - because they must "show the horse he cannot win", or something similar. This is egotistical thinking on the part of the human because the horse has no concept of winning or losing. He in uncomfortable and so he finds a way to remove the discomfort.

              What getting back on after being bucked off or riding through the bucks actually does is say to the horse "OK, buddy, I see you're having some trouble, and I care about you enough to risk my own hide to help you get this sorted out". It is the epitome of coming from the other side to help the horse. You either are able to find it within yourself to do this or you aren't. If you aren't, that's okay, but if you want this horse to be in any way safe to ride you need to find someone who is.

              My other concern is that this horse isn't really actually all that broke. There are some horses (I've ridden a few) who just always carry with them a propensity to buck throughout their lives. They are typically owned by old, tough cowboy types or professional riders who know the horse well, can sit a good buck and can get on with the ride without carrying over any tension. But a horse that chooses to go through the physical effort to buck someone off at slight provocations (you haven't said WHAT you're asking for when he bucks) either has a bit of a screw loose or is actually not broke to ride.

              We are assuming, in this case, that this is not a pain issue.
              Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                He bucks straight with head straight down lifts high. When his head is down it's pretty much over, at least for me, so far.

                Yes I can feel it but I leaned back and pulled up hard which prompted a rear and I was not finessed and balanced enough leaning back for the bucks using reins too much had to let go and fall. Ground work is driving, long lineing, saddles, saddle fitter, massage person, vet, teeth, proper bit/proper fit, professional help (once a week), easy saddle time (relaxed rider lighter than me not fearful and just at a walk).

                Really it doesn't seem to be avoiding work but seems to be unusually sensitive to his fear mode, like he checks out. I suggest the whip ( yea I know it is an aide and he is not afraid of it, can place it all over him and smack nearby) only because someone else had the problem and that's what they ended up doing (it worked), although they did not have a mustang.
                I am wondering if that would bring him out of his gone somewhere else mode. I feel like i need to ride through it somehow as he has bucked me off twice, the relaxed rider as well after weeks of riding him, and the "cowboy" trainer who first backed him. ....he tied up one leg and actually rode him that way at first but even after 6 weeks he got bucked off..was a different saddle probably did not fit or feel good, in his defense.

                I had my first post about him about a year ago when I was doing basics ground work etc, he had run over me, and I got great suggestions from people on this website. He is now excellent on the ground better than other horses I have had or dealt with. Would never run me down now, good at space etc. Polite and easy even if fresh. So, I figure we may get past this.Just not sure how as yet.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  The first time he bucked with me I have no idea why it was straight away as soon as I picked up reins and asked for froward walk. Saddle was not a good fit so it could have been the reason. Same for guy who originally backed him, he had been riding him then asked for a change of venue, leaving the round pen, head came straight up in fear then around and around in round pen bucking, relaxed rider was asking him for A LONG time to go over a ramp which he finally did but fearful head straight up then at the end of the ramp he went right into his bucking, First he gets scared then he unloads.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When a horse "checks out" like you describe they are generally in pain or they are in fight/flight/freeze mode where they just react. It sounds like he has been afraid through much of his training. I have worked with many horses who do this and it is like PTSD. I would suggest you drop the cowboy stuff and go to TTouch.com. We deal with horses like this in a completely different way. You have to get his head down and his body relaxed to make any kind of progress with them. I am a TTouch practitioner with more than 30 years experience with all kinds of behavior problems.

                    A TTouch practitioner can help you and we have several in CA. Go here: https://ttouch.com/cgi-bin/healing/page.cgi?g=77;d=1

                    Look for one that is EQ practitioner 2 or more for the best help.

                    Lots of books and videos available at www.TTouch.com

                    Good luck and stay safe!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kevdeb View Post
                      He bucks straight with head straight down lifts high. When his head is down it's pretty much over, at least for me, so far.

                      Yes I can feel it but I leaned back and pulled up hard which prompted a rear and I was not finessed and balanced enough leaning back for the bucks using reins too much had to let go and fall.
                      A horse can still buck with his head up A much better approach to shutting down a buck is to use one rein. How much to use it depends on what he's really doing, as it's possible to pull too much too hard and make him flip on his side. It's really hard to put into words exactly how, but putting him a circle using 1 rein is more effective than using both reins.

                      Ground work is driving, long lineing,
                      But has anything "hard" been asked of him there? A horse who lacks confidence can be great with in-hand close up work, lunging, long lining, anything where it's like they are still *with* the handler, can see them, etc. Ground driving ups the game as the handler gets behind the horse, so all of a sudden the horse is leading the way. The same happens with a rider on board - obviously the horse knows he's up there, but it's a very different game not to have the person there where the horse can see him. Ground driving in the comfort of a ring, doing nice easy things like walking and turning, it's really challenging a horse. So I'm still curious what all this work has entailed. Many horses are quite willing to follow a person on the lead line when it's their idea, when they don't have anything else distracting or challenging them, but actually don't lead well at all because they will stop or bolt or run backwards the first time something doesn't go their way.

                      saddles, saddle fitter, massage person, vet, teeth, proper bit/proper fit, professional help (once a week), easy saddle time (relaxed rider lighter than me not fearful and just at a walk).
                      What kind of "professional" help?

                      Really it doesn't seem to be avoiding work but seems to be unusually sensitive to his fear mode, like he checks out.
                      If he's really checking out, he needs to go way, way back to the beginning and find the first hole in his training. A horse who checks out as a go-to is not a safe horse to ride.

                      I suggest the whip ( yea I know it is an aide and he is not afraid of it, can place it all over him and smack nearby) only because someone else had the problem and that's what they ended up doing (it worked), although they did not have a mustang.
                      Being a mustang has nothing to do with it. Being unbroken in all the wrong places has everything to do with fear responses And fear responses don't have any business in the same arena as physical punishment. Absolutely, a good whack across the butt for a horse who throws in a buck because he can, no other reason, is not necessarily inappropriate. But that's REALLY different from a horse who has checked out due to fear and is auditioning for the rodeo.

                      I am wondering if that would bring him out of his gone somewhere else mode.
                      I'm not opposed to a physical "come back to reality" moment if you're on the ground and the horse has checked out and is in the process of getting ready to bolt. That does not necessarily mean physical contact, and I'm not going to go into scenarios of what I might do when because SO much depends on readings in the moment. But I very much disagree that any whalloping of a scared senseless horse bucking like a seasoned bronc is a good idea.

                      I feel like i need to ride through it somehow as he has bucked me off twice, the relaxed rider as well after weeks of riding him, and the "cowboy" trainer who first backed him. ....he tied up one leg and actually rode him that way at first but even after 6 weeks he got bucked off..was a different saddle probably did not fit or feel good, in his defense.
                      Ok, back the truck up here. This horse is 4 (was he from a wild horse roundup? Mustang born in captivity?), and has already bucked 3 people off AND had a leg tied up? You need a whole new team around you because that is NOT professional, and it's no wonder this horse is likely terrified of certain things at this point. NOBODY in their right mind rides a horse with a leg tied up. EVER.

                      I had my first post about him about a year ago when I was doing basics ground work etc, he had run over me, and I got great suggestions from people on this website. He is now excellent on the ground better than other horses I have had or dealt with. Would never run me down now, good at space etc. Polite and easy even if fresh. So, I figure we may get past this.Just not sure how as yet.
                      You really need some good professional help on this, this is not something COTH or any website can help you with. This horse needs to be entirely re-started, because everyone around you, including the "professional" mentioned above, is missing something way back.

                      This is not something (yet) that gets worked through by riding out the bucks. That is never where you start.


                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You did ground work for a long time and you can really see the results. I wonder if you have pushed him too fast in his under saddle training? Asking for things which he looks to be ready for on the outside but really he is not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Agree, and to add to that - if you're not pushing him outside his comfort zone on the ground, in very controlled settings, to start teaching him more appropriate responses to being unsure, then don't get on him. It's sooooo much easier, and safer, to get those buttons pushed, and install new reactions, from the ground.
                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Captured sept 2016, about 1 year old (don't know birth date for real), adopted from REALLY good TIP trainer 05/2017 good to halter, pick up feet, trailer. TIP trainer now resides in Montana, would have given him a good start. Yes, acknowledge bad start with "cowboy" trainer re backing with hobbled leg etc..but RESTARTED all over. Ground training includes driving him around at a walk as I can't gallop behind him. Professional trainer once a week did go back to basics and did a great job but I need more than once a week hence the relaxed rider who doesn't ask much and when she did it was bronc time. Probably more like 4 1/2 or 5 now. LOVE him. Cannot give up. Wanted to try to ride today but did large teddy bear flopping around in saddle instead (he was fine). Fearful myself, lots of ideas but not sure what will work. Appreciate the one rein idea, EVERYONE has contradictory stuff but it is because it is individual to horse and rider. After using 2 reins ending in a straight up rear next I am planning on one rein no matter what some people say and laying down is possible but still seems less deadly than a rear (he really looked like he was going to fall backwards on me). I am strong but 5-8 1/2 and 200#...I thought maybe my weight and saddle fit but I have ruled those out. Re smaller riders both tossed. New saddles both fit good. He is only a problem when he is afraid and he has such a good mind his fear is not so easy to instigate...I will try more driving in areas that are not so easy to be relaxed in. Yes he is calm and easy to trust when I am on the ground. Thankyou. On my first post last year about ground issues I followed what many people suggested (round pen jiggle lead rope whenever he was lookyloo etc) and I now have a sane horse on the ground.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: tying up the leg or roping a leg - this is not actually a "should not be done ever" scenario but really is a last resort. I.e., someone brings a professional a horse that is truly rank (and honestly has usually been made that way by people) and it's a last ditch effort to try and get the horse rideable. The next stop would be a .22. Not surprisingly, it generally isn't successful as far as I've seen not because it cannot create positive change in the horse but because by that point the horse is so dangerous that only a professional can or would want to try and get it worked out and it's usually not worth the time and risk to a human.

                              You're going to have your work cut out for you, OP, hate to say it. Horses that "zone out" like this are a danger to themselves and their handlers/riders. I would not be getting on this horse's back until I have done every fear-inducing thing I can think of on the ground and the horse goes to napping in response.
                              Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not. Remember that what you have now was once among the many things that you only hoped for.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Fair enough on the leg tying appropriateness scenario. Still totally unacceptable, never ever should be done in the context the OP described

                                I want to add some clarity to the last sentence, just because I'm not entirely sure the OP knows how to tell the difference between napping, and zoning out. A horse who is "napping", but is really shutting out the world, is dangerous, because anything that startles him out of that doesn't usually just make him jump and go "oh, that was interesting". They are likely to react fairly violently as if their life depends on it.

                                Teaching a horse whose first reaction to things he doesn't like or that scare him can be such a painfully slow process while you find things that start getting him upset (afraid, uncomfortable, nervous, whatever), and not only never let it escalate, but also teach him the reaction you want, which might be to just plant his feet. But even then, some horses are worse if they are made to stand still, so some horses need to move their feet, but in a controlled manner.

                                I hope the OP gets professional help on this one.
                                ______________________________
                                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My horse too was started from a cowboy trainer who uses to tie and throw down every horse he breaks. My horse was very scared and didn't trust any human being...he just looked kind of petrified until he exploded. You need to make a lot of good experiences with him, he needs to understand that if you ask him somenthing new nothing bad will happen. Start with small things, first from the ground then repeat from saddle. Work at walk only for the moment, I understood that speed would make him more reactive. When he'll be safe at walk you will ask more. And give him some time to think about exercises, don't push him if he's not ready .

                                  The cowboy trainer gave him zero time from his request and used spurs and whip immediately if he didn't do what he had asked for. The result was that if the horse didn't understand/like what I asked he would buck badly

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Random thoughts...none of which replaces ideas already offered. Just adding to them. Your truth is going to be a combination, not a single lightbulb revelation.

                                    Well, from what OP said, this horse started feral and is missing early interactions and observations of horses interacting pleasantly with humans. Then got rounded up so had a fearful experience. Followed by a group holding experience treated like cattle. Not an ideal foundation as a youngster to build on.

                                    So then had good handling but only for a short time and not under saddle. And then got saddle broke the old time cowboy way when they had 2 hours to get them trailing cows all day so they were too tired to do much. Except bucking out each early morning, which they rode out and then went to work. We don’t saddle break them that way much anymore. Certainly not as a novice mount. Riding out the bucks only teaches them anything if you can stay on and have a plan to continue the session after he gets too tired to continue. Done right, they figure out its too much work to buck if they are going to have to work anyway. Doing it right does not involve a whip repeatedly. That’s a single buck reminder to knock it off on a horse that knows better.

                                    Tying up a leg has its place with very experienced handlers but is more a restraint forcing compliance. It teaches them nothing, nada, zip but can scare them. hopefully he didn’t fall over and get scared worse.

                                    Then you, meaning well, have inadvertently reinforced his idea that bucking=not having to work. And he knows you are scared of him and won’t force him to work more then a short time or do anything he even hints at objecting to. Bringing a Pro rider in once a week is not often enough to teach anything that will stick and does not allow for correction and building on each lesson day by day. Which is how most horses learn best, consistent repetition by every rider, every time, every ride. Instead he forgets and dumps the trainer the next week. And that very quiet, soft rider isn’t asking him for anything but he knows he can eject her too.

                                    IMO, the short version here is you are currently over horsed. You may love the horse but he is not going to reciprocate once you get on and will hurt somebody seriously in the near future. You need to get some help and get him seriously ridden every day so there is a path to progress for him. You also need to keep in mind he has no early bonding experience with humans and the ones that followed were scary plus he did get roughed up in early saddle experiences so he does not have the level of trust and willingness to accept the demands of humans riding him as other horses with different career paths.

                                    You don’t have the skill set for this issue. The, longer you allow it to continue, the more ingrained it gets. So please get help on a regular basis, like every day. Or see if you can rehome him with disclosure.

                                    Some BLM horses do train up very well but have yet to see one born and living feral for at least a year turn into the kind of dead broke saddle horse domestic raised horses do. There’s always that bit of doubt and suspicion in them from growing up as a prey animal...and they don’t tire and will fight. Might not be the horse for you by nature, not deliberate on his part but just not ever going to accept the training from you. Or, anybody, possibly.

                                    No way condemning BLM horses. Very individual. But the ones captured still on the dam or born in captivity are better choices, particularly if they have nit been scared and roughed up early in their interaction with humans. It’s not the horses fault, it’s how they were raised by their mom early on, their early interactions with humans and what they are at heart.
                                    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Really good advice. And hits hard. Can't give him up. First horse I gave up was huge mistake. Unforgivable except for ignorance on my part. Will not do it again. Older now if riding him never works out I will just find fun on the ground. Meanwhile, the trainer has agreed to twice a week starting in january and I have looked into sending him to a professional trainer for full time training, just haven't found one either willing or does not follow the harshness of olden days.

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                                      • #20
                                        Oh, keep looking for the right trainer. Broaden your search. Look at trainers in other disciplines too. You don’t need just a colt starter here, you have a rehab project that learned the wrong things from his lessons. A GOOD NH type trainer that has proven results under saddle, not just ground games, might be your best bet. One that will teach you to work the horse the same way, that’s really important.

                                        If you don’t mind, where in Cali are you? Sure somebody will have some recommendations for you. Might want to post asking for this type trainer recommendations over on the Off Course Forum. Not Off Topic, Off Course. That one gets more traffic and more readers then HC or Western. Reach out, this board is a resource that can reach much further then you can imagine.

                                        Theres also a bunch of videos on YouTube, I like Buck Brannamen (and his daughter). Videos of his clinics are easy to follow and he’s great at installing trust in problem horses. There’s others too, most very good. Some are fluff and nonsense designed to get you to spend, spend, spend for speshul must have tools when, in reality, you just need a decent halter and some rope plus the willingness to be consistent and follow the program.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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