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Recommendations of trainers to send bucking horse to!

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  • Recommendations of trainers to send bucking horse to!

    I have an 8 year old warmblood gelding who's ridden by a 14 year old in 2'9 hunter jumper classes. The horse is sweet as can be, lazy and quiet on the flat, but recently started bucking badly after jumps (they said he used to do this with previous trainer, but stopped, and has now started again). We've ruled out any pain issues with the vet, as well as tack issues and I've jumped the horse myself a few times to try and pinpoint whats going on and I think its entirely an attitude issue where he just doesn't want to do it and throws a fit in hopes of getting the rider off. Once you push him through the bucking and he gives up/knows he'll get in trouble for doing it, he's good as gold and jumps around foot perfect. The problem is he's quite unpredictable with it and I can't risk the teenage girl jumping him until I can feel confidant he is not going to buck her off anymore (three falls and one trip to the hospital before we took her off of him permanently). My three options are to send him away to a trainer that specializes in problem horses, such as a "cowboy", sell him as a dressage horse (he's lovely on the flat), or sell him as a jumper but disclose that he has this bucking problem and hope someone will buy him with the intention of working him through it. I would prefer to send him to a trainer to see if they can help before we strongly consider selling him, since he does belong to a teenage girl who loves him.

    Does anyone have recommendations on trainers or "cowboys" that work with these issues? We are located in Illinois but are willing to ship him anywhere in the midwest or on the east coast. The horse is a teddy bear on the ground, very very sweet, well behaved, and mostly perfect on the flat, so I do not need a trainer thats going to drill him into the ground and cowboy him around til his spirit is broken. Just someone that can put the work in over fences until he learns bucking is not an option. Any names of people or advice is greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Bucking is about not going forward. Horse goes up rather than forward. It is related to being sucked back, balking, behind the leg. Very hard for the horse to buck if he is really working.

    I say this because the solution to stop him bucking may very well be to get him much more forward, ride him between leg and hand more, get him carrying himself more in front. But in curing the bucking by making him more forward, you may also lose the lazy, quiet, horse that makes him seem suitable for a 14 year old at low level jumping. Waking up his inner performance horse and making him love to go fast might cure the bucking, but make him too hot for the kid.

    Honestly, if this is a long established habit of this horse, it might be better to move him on to a more capable rider. However, a more capable rider isn't going to love the lazy quiet sucked back aspect. And it's hard to see him being a good dressage horse if he is lazy and sucked back. Plus if he has a buck in there, it can easily come back as soon as he is asked to do anything harder in dressage, like canter transitions or lead changes.

    And dressage riders *hate* bucking! A good jumper rider will take a few kicks out in stride, will ride through a buck in a canter transition, because they have the seat and aptitude to sit a jump, and a little buck isn't much if all else is good. A lower level dressage rider is more likely to quit and call it a day

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    • #3
      I would not rule out some level of pain issue. The amount of diagnostics that you would need to find the source could be very expensive, though. I don't think this kind of random bucking is just an attitude problem if he is a sweetie otherwise.

      If he never bucks on the flat, maybe best to just retire him to the flat,

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      • #4
        How long has theteenage girl been riding him? Was it a long time before this habit developed? How does she ride through it afterwards (ie: is this now a learned behavior vs him having an "attitude")? What is her style of riding? Does she sit up to abruptly on the back side or get in his face? Is he doing the bucking with you and your current trainer as well or is it more so with the teenager? You can send your horse wherever, but if it is a rider issue (which many times it can be) then he will come back maybe ok for a bit then go right back to the same problems unless the rider issue is resolved. I'm not saying this is your rider that has led to this new issue, but something to think about. I also wouldn't rule out pain.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DressageChick2019
          I agree, and we've had the vet look him over extensively, inject many things behind, had him on robaxin, he gets the magnetic blanket and equivibe daily along with chiropractic care and I am having the vet look at him again on Friday to discuss potential kissing spine or other issues, but nothing so far has seemed to make a difference in him with the bucking. We are stumped. Retiring him to the flat is our next plan after we send him to a trainer if they can't resolve the problem.
          Front feet? Xrays of front feet and neck? Ulcers (I know, I know, just have heard so many stories of erratic behavior caused by them)?

          I would rule out vet issues as conclusively as possible before sending to the trainer, myself - as much as makes sense for budget and possible prognoses. You would find out about a lot of it anyway when prospective buyers PPE, if that’s the direction it goes. . .

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          • #6
            My horse started bucking after jumps in the spring. I wrote it off to being full of beans and jumping outside after a winter in indoor. Looking back, it was one of the first signs of discomfort. He was xrayed and diagnosed with coffin joint arthritis in August. For the couple hundred bucks it costs to do a lateral view of each foot, I would personally start there.

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            • #7
              This brings back memories of my first horse, an appy who bucked me off 22 times the first year I had him. He always did it after a jump. He was really stubborn and would just not go forward on the flat either, I remember a George Morris Clinic where George beat the crap out of him with a dressage whip. It was a total bronc fest until he decided to run forward. He was praised for finally going forward. Anytime he sucked back you had to send him forward with the dressage whip. He finally stopped and I learned to ride out his bucks. I was a clueless teenager and in the 1970’s you were expected to ride them out. Horse was cheap and I was so happy to have a horse, I did not realize how dangerous he was. I never was hurt enough to go to the hospital, but plenty sore. He could of been in pain, but diagnostic tools were not as precise as they are today and we all rode in Crosby Prix De Nation saddle. I have no idea if it fit him properly. Today with my own child, I would of never let her ride such a horse.

              Comment


              • #8
                This is a horse relatively new to your program?

                Is there something being managed differently? Maybe talk to previous program, including asking how they got him to quit.

                Someone I know who takes on problem horses once told me that bucking often means a front end issue, while rearing can be caused by a hind issue.
                The Evil Chem Prof

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                • #9
                  Any correlation at all between the bucking and shoeing cycle? Is the bucking always on the back side of the jump?

                  I've seen that happen with hocks, stifles, and front feet most commonly. Based on all you've said, my money would be on front feet / coffin joints. Secondary would be a neck or other spinal problem--sometimes this gives them random zings of pain which would coincide potentially with "random" bucking.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DressageChick2019

                    She has had him about two years, and besides the one period of time (not exactly sure when this was) where he was doing this same bucking thing and they worked him through it he has been great for her.
                    Originally posted by DressageChick2019

                    After that we took the ride from her and he has only been ridden by us professionals since. He does buck after fences with us riding him as well, however we can sit them better, kick him through it and continue jumping until he is quiet and doesn't buck.
                    Originally posted by DressageChick2019
                    He's only been in our program about 5 months (and has been perfect until about 3 weeks ago) but apparently had this issue with the previous trainer a year or two ago and they worked him through it and he's been fine since, so I think he's just decided to start testing the waters again with what he can and can't get away with.
                    Wait wait wait. The girl has been riding and showing him extensively for TWO YEARS, in another program. She comes to your program and within 5 months you guys deem him too dangerous for her to ride - only the pros can ride him now?? WTF?

                    I've got a recommendation for a trainer to send the horse to!

                    Whichever one he was at last, who fixed the problem the first go around before he came to your program.
                    Last edited by endlessclimb; Jan. 9, 2019, 05:47 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I've seen more than a few horses develop bucking-on-the-backside problems due to their feet stinging on landing. A couple were just seriously overly achieving over bigger sticks but most of them had issues brewing in their front feet...so that would be the first thing I'd probably xray and look into more thoroughly.

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                      • #12
                        Can you send him back to the previous trainer to fix the issue again.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                          I would not rule out some level of pain issue. The amount of diagnostics that you would need to find the source could be very expensive, though. I don't think this kind of random bucking is just an attitude problem if he is a sweetie otherwise.

                          If he never bucks on the flat, maybe best to just retire him to the flat,
                          I've ridden a horse that had been trained by one of the best BNT in the area and then sat in a field for years because he supposedly had a bucking issue. Dressage trainer I worked for started him on the lunge line and figured out which scenarios caused the buck. Turned out he just needed his stifle injected and some chiro work. Why the heck no one figured that out years earlier, i don't know.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Redlei44 View Post

                            Front feet? Xrays of front feet and neck? Ulcers (I know, I know, just have heard so many stories of erratic behavior caused by them)?

                            I would rule out vet issues as conclusively as possible before sending to the trainer, myself - as much as makes sense for budget and possible prognoses. You would find out about a lot of it anyway when prospective buyers PPE, if that’s the direction it goes. . .
                            The horses I've seen that had kissing spine became scary violent. As in, if you fell off, you basically needed someone to act as your rodeo clown to distract the horse from coming back around and trying to stomp you to death. Stranger things have happened, but it doesn't sound like this horse has kissing spine.

                            I agree with Redlei - i wouldn't rule out ulcers. Also, what's your arena footing like?

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                            • #15
                              Yes Pentosan and Equioxx were a big help. He actually just had his coffin joints injected for first time on Tuesday so we’ll see how that helps also.

                              Don’t know if this girl trail rides or what terrain is like in your area, but my horse also got really stubborn about going down steep hills. He didn’t want to shift the weight to his sore front feet.

                              I wish I had xrayed about 2 months earlier than I had. I actually ended up taking him to vet because he was just overall body sore and losing muscle. Turns out it all stemmed from sore front feet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                As you say, checking every last physical possibility can get expensive, but then, sending him off to a trainer could be pretty expensive too.

                                My favorite horse-related quote ever is "horses don't do things just to piss you off" (from Gail Greenough). They are logical animals. He's not just being naughty, he's trying to tell you something. Playing on the backside of the jump is one thing, but a big buck designed to unseat the rider is quite another.

                                If he were mine, I'd xray his neck and back, and his front feet. It's great that you've already tried a few things, but Robaxin, magnetic blankets and chiropractic work won't help you diagnose or address what's actually going on. They're at best supportive therapies once you've figured out the underlying issue. Get a good vet in there to do some imaging first, and go from there.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Something doesn't add up here, too. The parents are willing to splash out on trainers and, let's be honest, a new horse at the rate this is going. But don't want to spend a few 100 on radiographs? The phrase penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind. Last time I had front foot radiographs done it was so inexpensive that I thought the vet's billing office made a mistake.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Wanderosa View Post
                                    Something doesn't add up here, too. The parents are willing to splash out on trainers and, let's be honest, a new horse at the rate this is going. But don't want to spend a few 100 on radiographs? The phrase penny wise and pound foolish comes to mind. Last time I had front foot radiographs done it was so inexpensive that I thought the vet's billing office made a mistake.
                                    I note also that the trainer blurts out "pain issues have been ruled out by vet" and then later indicates only a basic manual palpation has been done - no xrays, no blocks, no nothing.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      IME, most horses don't just "try their luck" at bucking you off. Even the ones that might have appeared to do so because of the "randomness" of it turned out to have another issue. One that sounds quite a lot like you describe turned out to have terrible arthritis in the withers. That occasionally came out with flatwork but jumping was much worse. Or she was perfect. You'd never know, but when she bucked it was VERY hard to sit.

                                      Other examples have been with horses with sore stifles, sore hocks. Sometimes this comes up as also lead change issues (as well as anticipation of the change), which you don't have, so I'd put them lower on the list.

                                      The most common IME for your issue is front feet. Spine (including neck and pelvis) would be secondary but less likely if he really is that good in flatwork. Now, there are plenty of reasons this problem could go away temporarily. More comfortable footing, could be as minor as how much moisture you have and how the ring was dragged that day. How high the jumps are--might be fine when they are lower. Where the horse is in the shoeing cycle and how the horse was trimmed that cycle. I had a horse who needed a lot of foot. He would not act foot sore until you jumped a big oxer then hold on! Left him a bit taller/longer and no problems. Some horses might need pads/pour ins. You may have very low grade, chronic subclinical laminitis that flares up from time to time. Knew a horse like this who was "randomly" very dangerous, especially jumping. Until he got a full blown case of laminitis that he didn't recover from. Radiographs showed he had chronic inflammation in the foot for a long time. You may also have coffin joint arthritis issues. Mild navicular issues. So many things can be going on in the front feet that could potentially ebb and flow. While bucking can turn into a habit, if this horse really has the temperament described, I think it's got to be pain, and it's highly likely to be in the front feet.

                                      Perhaps putting him in boot camp makes him suck it up for a while, but it doesn't mean there's no pain. After all, it's not like he immediately goes back to being perfect for a pro. Might just get lucky that the stars align for a while and there's less pain.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Have you considered doing a bute trial to see how he goes then? Some people try it for a few days, some for a week or more. Whether or not it helps can provide clues as to what's going on.

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