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Little bucker

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    Little bucker

    I have a 5 year old gelding who is rather green (started late by previous owner). I've had him for 2+ months now and I'm bringing him along with trainer's help. We've been making steady progress....until yesterday. I was flatting him in the midst of a kid/pony lesson (which we ride in traffic all the time, so NBD). He was "up," but nothing I felt I couldn't handle. About 15 minutes in, he exploded and bucked me off. It wasn't a was just spontaneous. Trainer lunged his naughty arse for 5-10 minutes and I got right back on. He was great then. We finished well.

    I get it, he's 5. Babies do baby things. BUT, I want to nip this behavior in the bud. Some baby behaviors are acceptable to me, but being a rodeo bronc is definitely not. Any advice?

    How much is he ridden? For how long and how intense? How much hay and grain is he getting and is he stalled or turned out?
    I’d rather ride on a Mustang, than in one.

    BaileyAnn Neal


      Originally posted by WildGooseChase View Post
      How much is he ridden? For how long and how intense? How much hay and grain is he getting and is he stalled or turned out?
      Fair questions. He's ridden about 5x/week, about 20-30 minutes. Mainly flatwork, but he works.

      Basically free choice grass hay. Half a coffee can of strategy & 4 cups Equijewel (a rice bran) twice a day plus beet pulp.

      He is on night turnout about 5-6 times a week (from 4:30pm-8:30am). During the day, he is stalled.Too many horses at the farm and not enough usable turnout prevents him going out 7 nights a week, though I agree that would help.


        He told you and you chose to ignore it. Sometimes I ignore "up" too, but realize it may turn into more and more and more "up".


          What were you working on with him when he was up? Were you keeping him occupied or giving too much credit to him being up? Ie were you just trotting around or actually having him pay attention to where his feet are? Disengaging the hind end, bringing the front across, serpentines.. He’s a baby who is still learning what he’s suppose to do. I would say a 5yo should be in a lot more work than 20-30mins. If he was 3yo then ok but he’s mature enough to start working like an older horse. This is all part of having a young horse. I have a soon to be 4yo that I’m bringing along. He was started over the summer and was in work 60mins or so per day 5-6 days a week.


            Amen he warned you and you ignored it. He needs an outlet for his energy. If you chose to continue to try and stifle that energy, you are attempting to defy the laws of physics and that won't (didn't) end well for you.

            Stop trying to dominate the horse and acknowledge that it's a horse that will act like a horse and give it an opportunity to act like a horse in a positive venue. Lunge first until this extra energy phase is in the past. Give him a good chase once a week. Put him on the lunge before you ride, let him get the yaya's out. What ever you allow a horse to practice they will get really good at. Keep letting him practice bucking u/s and he will get mighty good at bucking u/s. We are supposed to be the smart ones.
            Power to the People


              5 year old is no baby and is he now considered 6, foal of 2014? Might be green but that’s not the same thing. His “ up” needs to be redirected before it gets to the blow up stage and both you and trainer sharpen up your skills in seeing and feeling it coming. Might be ears, might be shifting weight back to light the jets, tension along the neck and back. But there’s a set up before it happens, learn what that is.

              Just guessing here but from what you have told us, this horse has never been real work for week after week, month after month in a real program, sounds like he’s just figured it out and doesn’t like it one bit. He’s being a brat about it as many 4 and 5 year olds do.

              Another complication is ” newhorseitis”. When they first move in, they are scared, don’t know the humans, don't have any horsey friends, don’t know the routine. Often they aren’t quite as healthy as they should have been, little light in energy from a less then adequate diet, maybe slightly sore feet from neglected farrier work or bad work and angles. They hit about the 6-10 week, start to feel better, get comfortable and you find out what you really bought. The fact it’s late winter going into early spring is not helping, that gets most of them a little nutty.

              Would be remiss in not mentioning that 6-10 week time period is also about what it takes for certain substances to clear the system, did you pull blood in the PPE? Doubt this is the case but you never know.

              IIWY wouldnt hesitate to put trainer on him before you get on, this is best ridden through but if you have to, lunge him around in tack including bridle before you get on...discretion being the better part of valor and all. Don’t set him up to blow, block it, teach him what to do not just what not to do.
              When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

              The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                The moment you feel the ‘up’ I would put him to work- leg on and go forward until he relaxes. He needs to learn that if he begins to misbehave, its just more work for him. I suspect that you felt he was on edge, knew there was a kid around, and put your kid gloves on to try to calm him down- trying to keep a lid on it. If he’s telling you he needs to work off some energy, give him something to do


                  I come here for straight talk and I get it! Thanks, you all. I can accept the responsibility for ignoring his "up." I should have gotten off and put him on the lunge line. Yup. That's exactly what I'll do next time.

                  He came to us totally and completely out of shape, so yes, he has changed. His nutrition/fitness/feet/teeth are all improved, and that's made him different. In some ways that's good (he was dead to the leg when he came) but in other ways, it's created challenges (much more spooky now). But I have no suspicions about drugging for several reasons. I really just think he feels better.

                  Does everyone agree that 20-30 min/day x 5 days/week is NOT enough work? I am a little surprised by that TBH. I could see extending the ride if we're having challenges, but I'm not big on drilling a horse who is being good. Correct me if I'm wrong.

                  P.S. Just came back from the barn and he was fine today. Actually, he seems to have really worn himself out with yesterday's antics, because he was kicking quiet.


                    Originally posted by gertie06 View Post
                    Does everyone agree that 20-30 min/day x 5 days/week is NOT enough work? I am a little surprised by that TBH. I could see extending the ride if we're having challenges, but I'm not big on drilling a horse who is being good. Correct me if I'm wrong.
                    You don't have to drill. For example one day a week go for a LONG hack outside. You don't even have to go above the walk if you don't want to. You can do a 45 min brisk walk (no meandering) up/down hills and just get him moving out. It'll do wonders.


                      Do you know before you ride if he was out the night before? 5 days turnout/5 rides per week... theres a chance he is stuck inside 24/7 for a day occasionally. I would just make sure if he hasn't gotten turnout/ride the day prior to let him spin around in the indoor or something before you ride.


                        I'll add you don't even need to ride to put him in work. Tie him in the area while other horses work. His work is then learning to stand tied quietly. 20 minutes is not enough work for a greenie. That is 23 hours 40 mins of free time per day.

                        ETA: this is just an example of no-riding work. I'd encourage a wide variety!

                        Bit Chair:


                          Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                          He told you and you chose to ignore it. Sometimes I ignore "up" too, but realize it may turn into more and more and more "up".
                          When my horse is " up" they get a lunging or free lunge before riding no exceptions. When they tell us we need to listen.


                            I would have to disagree with just getting off of him when you feel he’s up. That’s teaching him that if he acts like a yahoo then mom gets off and let’s me do what I want. Give him something to do while you’re on him if he wants to give you more energy than you’re asking for. Get him busy.

                            Riding him more than 20-30mins isn’t drilling him. There’s a bajillion things you can work on to fill an hour. Yes, if he’s being good for 1+1 then move on to something else but don’t just let him do that then quit. You’re not going to make any progress that way.

                            If you can’t handle a young horses antics then maybe you should let you trainer ride him for a while. This is how you become a better rider and develop a better seat etc.


                              I doubt anyone would get off and then just let the horse do what he wanted.. The usual protocol is to get off and lunge, which means that the horse first works on the lunge and then gets an additional workout u/s after that.


                                30 minutes is okay of work.

                                Where people get into trouble with ottbs is that 20 m circles in w t c and jumping jumps is not work.

                                Work is collecting and extending and lateral work.

                                So you end up with a very fit happy horse. A fit happy horse is not so good for the rider.

                                If you want to up more than 30 minutes a day you can always start riding twice a day with a young horse.

                                I think we have all agreed that he is a green horse and not a young horse.

                                Also do not ride young horses if you cannot sit a buck!
                                It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


                                  Originally posted by SuzieQNutter View Post

                                  Also do not ride young horses if you cannot sit a buck!
                                  Your advice is appreciated and noted, but this comment is not totally fair. I'm happy to ride through his greener moments, but this time he wanted me OFF. I'm not going to stop riding him because he dumped me once. Just need to get better and be smarter/more strategic.


                                    I agree, I can sit A LOT but I've also gotten bucked off horses that meant it. I'm no bronc buster, and at the age and training this horse is I'd expect to sit spooks, crow hops, and kicks, but not a full out rodeo.


                                      20-30 min is fine for some rides, but other rides might need to be longer. Or that amount of time following some in-hand work. Variety is important. With his age, he should be able to handle 5 days a week, but whatever you do, maybe have in your mind that yesterday was a really hard day so today he might be lazy and I need to work on that. Or, yesterday he had off and it's cold so maybe he will be wild today and so how am I going to structure this session? As you focus on jumping, maybe those days you don't go so hard with the flatwork--that depends on the individual mentality of the horse. Some lazy teenagery types might just need a quick warmup so they aren't too tired when you try to jump. Some anxious types might need more flatwork to get the focus before jumping.

                                      I hate hate hate the idea of chasing him around to get the bucks out. I do not want the longe line to be crazy time, and over time it creates some really bad habits that affect things like being able to do a vet exam, deal with less than ideal longe areas at shows, etc. It also allows them to tune you out and be a yahoo. If you are attached to them and working them, they need to be paying attention to you. Now, this might be a work in progress, and I've definitely done some arena skiing myself, but you should not be just chasing him around or trying to get him to be a loon. Developing a habit of running him around also makes a FIT HORSE who will be MORE FRESH and still hasn't learned how to work. But by all means, do work on some of these manners while you are in a safer position from the ground if you need to. Teach him to pay attention to you and not spook and blow up. Work on transitions and poles and such from the ground.

                                      Work with your trainer to be smart about it. The down side to late started horses is that they are more physically mature and strong but still might have some of the attitude of a younger horse if that is their nature. So the bronc moments can be more athletic than if he was a year or two younger. So, don't treat him like a 3yo even if his training is that of a 3 or young 4yo.


                                        First of all, give yourself a break, you’ve only had him 2 months, he’s at a punk age, it’s winter, etc. You’ve got to allow some time to learn his tells. If he seems up or it’s super windy/cold/whatever, have him work on the longe before you get on.

                                        IPEsq is right on—if he’s on the longe he needs to be working, not yahoo-ing.

                                        At his age, I would be aiming for more in the range of 35-45 min rides. If he has a great day once in a while, by all means get off after 20 mins.