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The BUCK... Stops here. Please?

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  • The BUCK... Stops here. Please?

    Before I describe our problem, please note this is NOT pain related. Its weather freshness related. Has been a "winter issue" for a long time.

    Wonderful packer horse. Winning 3' and 3'6 hunter, no stop, and in the good weather no buck, rear, suitable for a log to ride kind of guy. However, in the COLD weather, especially if he has had a few days off, he likes to buck!

    He is not the forward type on any given day, which I know is part of our problem. He would rather suck back and leap up in the air and let one fly, than to scoot forward when he needs to expel energy. In the summer (or fall/spring), he doesnt feel the need to expel energy, so he plods along all happy and ready to work (at his pace). I know he will be in this crazy winter bucking mood when he is fresh (he squeaks and carries on).

    Yesterday, he was in this mood. Coach finally got on (after I was cantering backwards to fences in fear I was going to get launched) and rode him FORWARD, be bucked once or twice then quit it out. Jumped around nicely. I got on, finished the ride on a beautifully forward non-bucking horse.

    I KNOW the fix. I have to ride him forward, and when he is, he doesnt sit on my leg. But, Im nervous of those first few (to several) initial bucks. They will happen, thats life, and once they are out of his system he is lovely.

    Lunging isnt always an option as I am at a boarding barn and others ride.

    Help me learn to deal with the buck and ride forward. I like to be able to just sit a buck and ride forward like nothing happens...but I know what CAN happen and both me and the horse anticipate danger. Any tips? Im 30 now, so falling off is not an option LOL (things were oh so much less complicated at 29!).

  • #2
    The one good thing about fair weather buckers is they typically are not trying to get you off, and they're not bucking like a bronco with a bucking strap. They're just kicking their heels in the air with good-natured enthusiasm like Dick Van Dyke singing Chim-Chimney.

    With that in mind, don't visualize yourself crashing to the ground. Visualize you and your horse doing a happy heel-touch to the side while singing about the glorious winter weather (in his opinion).

    Keep your weight in your heels, keep his head up, and push him forward. Sit lightly, don't fight against his movement, let your hips be loose so they move with his hips, keep your heels down and your leg wrapped around him. Squeeze for forward with your whole leg, not just your heels. A light half seat can be helpful to keep you "hovering" above him.

    Also, try to restrict his "play" bucks to one part of the ride, so you can be prepared for them then and not worry about it later. My big horse, though well trained and a total slug most of the time, likes to play in the canter. He's allowed to play on the first circle of canter, but then it's down to business. He usually operates within these parameters, but if he keeps playing, I pop him with the whip and he reforms himself.

    Comment


    • #3
      have you ever sat one of his bucks?
      We had a mare at a barn i worked at years ago that was the same way. Looked like HEEEUUUUGE bucks, but in reality they were more like a croupade. you barely felt any displacement at all. they actually made me laugh

      weather bucks do ride differently than f-u bucks
      www.destinationconsensusequus.com
      chaque pas est fait ensemble

      Comment


      • #4
        Weather yippee! bucks ride like a big canter stride. Sit it, push the horse forward, and ride like nothing happened.

        Comment


        • #5
          Honestly, how good are you at sitting the buck? Is there danger of you coming off? Because if you're not confident in your ability to stay on him, and it sounds like you're not, someone else with more stick-ability can help you fix this problem.

          I can sit a pretty good bronc'ing and my first inclination would still be to stick him on a longe line if at the start of your ride you think he's going to buck. It allows you to enforce the forward that you want while not putting yourself in danger of becoming a lawn dart. Once he's gotten his winter horse maneuvers out of him, get on and have a nice ride. Can you adjust your riding time to make it less likely to have others in the ring, or take him out to another ring or round pen? If you know he's going to buck and you can't put him on a line, I would suggest asking someone else to get it out of him first. It isn't worth getting into a pattern of backwards, fearful riding because he's acting like a horse in cold weather, and there is no shame in not wanting to end up in the ER if you doubt your ability to stay on. It's more complicated to fall off and break your arm when no one is making dinner for you!

          On the other hand, if he's just acting like a big fat porpoise and you know you can stick on, grab mane with one hand. Lift your other hand to try to get his head up. Lean back with your upper body, and keep your hips loose and your leg on. Do not be afraid to drop your stirrup if it will help you put your leg in a secure position. You have two options- you can pull him up, or you can kick him forward while he is bucking. Either way, once you feel in control, immediately move forward with purpose.
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            The lazy fat porpoise can buck something good.

            Appreciate the advice, I think I need to suck it up, jam those heals down and demand forward, with hopes that after the first 5 minutes (if I survive) he will be fine.

            I do not have a velcro butt, but am a fairly competent rider. When he bucks, its big, he twists and throws his head to the ground. Im thinking when he is more forward, this will be harder for him to do (but the velocity of being thrown into the groud may be even greater!).

            I think this week with the weather being in the -15 range, he will get a lunge before the ride. I think they are the F-U, why am I not in Florida bucks

            Comment


            • #7
              My mare is a bucker. And a scooter. And I think that she does the macarana sometimes too when she's really fresh.

              I was nervous the first couple of rides, but after I rode through it successfully, I just laugh at her now for being an imjit. Can you sing? I mean really... when he's being a patootie, just start belting out some Lady Gaga or Twinkle twinkle. It'll help YOU relax and ride through his shenanigans. I think that you are over thinking everything a bit, and that's not helping. Trust me. I know this.

              If lunging isn't an option, and you really don't want to ride him through this. Have your trainer warm him up.

              Comment


              • #8
                Can you put a martingale strap on for your security? It doesn't have to actually be a martingale, just something on his neck so you can hold that and work on controlling his head during the bucks with a bit more stability. That may make you feel better as well

                The good news is after riding through these issues you will have a much stickier seat!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tell yourself that your horse cannot buck as hard if they are going forward. And they REALLY can't buck much at all if their heads are UP.

                  So raise your hands at first. Pick his head up and kick. Tell yourself that you will put yourself in such a solid position that he won't be able to get you off if he tries.

                  Do this, and he will be less able to get in a good buck. And once you sit it, kick him a couple of times and send him forward. Discipline him a bit, and make sure he knows you are not intimidated.
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  "I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." --Vincent Van Gogh

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                  • #10
                    Oh my dear, and you are ONLY 30 years old??

                    Heavens to Betsy, what will you do when you aren't a young thing anymore, when you're old and crotchety and stiff like us really old girls? What I wouldn't give to have the body and joints of myself at 30!

                    If you can jump a 3-3'6" fence, you should be able to handle even a big, naughty buck. Forward is your friend.

                    Back in the day, when I had to ride the naughty buckers before the owners got on, it went like this.

                    NB: Yippee! It's cold! I LIKE THIS... big twisty buck....
                    ME: Yippee! It's cold, leg spur, forward =buck = a big wap on the ass with my whip.
                    NB: NO Fair, I was just having FUN... big buck
                    ME: We'll jump BIG fences when you stop bucking ...WHACK
                    NB:Buck - but just for show
                    ME: BIG WHACK "knock it OFF"
                    NB : cantering really forward now, "ok, yes ma'am, I'm warmed up now, can we jump?"

                    Me: We're warmed up, put the last fence up to 4'.

                    Buck, smack, rinse, repeat. Eventually, you'll allow one little feel good buck in the change or on the first canter work, that will make you giggle (have you ever watched the jumper Mr. Whoopie?") but trust me, it will be just a token buck. Naughty boy knows you'll suck back, that equals he doesn't have to work as hard.

                    a sort of upright two point is your friend, as is a grab strap. The more forward he is, the less he can use that power against you.

                    Sounds like you might need to fall off a couple of times, just so you remember it's not a big deal, once you realize oh, I didn't enjoy eating dirt, but you get up, catch bad boy and have a 'oh no you're not" conversation between him and Mr. Dressage whip, you 'll be back in control.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Unlike the previous poster's advice, I wouldn't smack a bucker with a crop if I didn't want a repeat of the buck, nor would I suggest falling off a couple of times just for the experience.

                      I would start out going as forward as you can and try to give him a good gallop around. I'd also slap on a pair of draw reins to start (I know, it's sacrilege to say that on this board), clipped to the ring on a breastplate, so that you have some additional control of his head when he roots down to buck. That way you can move his head laterally more easily and keep him more up in front when he wants to drop his head and bronc. Hard to buck when flexed to either side and forced to work work work.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        i'm with wanderlust on this one. i've found cowboying up and smacking a bucker with a crop results in more protest than forward work.

                        if i figure the horse i'm on is feeling full of beans, i go right to work from the moment i'm in the saddle. my old horse would try to throw any number of curveballs at me the moment he got behind my leg, so if he was feeling frisky i'd send him into a big trot or canter on a loose rein until i could feel he was ready to get down to business.

                        and i can sympathize with not wanting to turn into a lawn dart. i'm in my twenties and probably more springy than most middle-aged riders, but none of us are as quick to bounce back as we were in our early teens. haha!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 2ndyrgal View Post
                          Heavens to Betsy, what will you do when you aren't a young thing anymore, when you're old and crotchety and stiff like us really old girls? What I wouldn't give to have the body and joints of myself at 30!

                          If you can jump a 3-3'6" fence, you should be able to handle even a big, naughty buck. Forward is your friend.

                          Back in the day, when I had to ride the naughty buckers before the owners got on, it went like this.

                          NB: Yippee! It's cold! I LIKE THIS... big twisty buck....
                          ME: Yippee! It's cold, leg spur, forward =buck = a big wap on the ass with my whip.
                          NB: NO Fair, I was just having FUN... big buck
                          ME: We'll jump BIG fences when you stop bucking ...WHACK
                          NB:Buck - but just for show
                          ME: BIG WHACK "knock it OFF"
                          NB : cantering really forward now, "ok, yes ma'am, I'm warmed up now, can we jump?"

                          Me: We're warmed up, put the last fence up to 4'.

                          Buck, smack, rinse, repeat. Eventually, you'll allow one little feel good buck in the change or on the first canter work, that will make you giggle (have you ever watched the jumper Mr. Whoopie?") but trust me, it will be just a token buck. Naughty boy knows you'll suck back, that equals he doesn't have to work as hard.

                          a sort of upright two point is your friend, as is a grab strap. The more forward he is, the less he can use that power against you.

                          Sounds like you might need to fall off a couple of times, just so you remember it's not a big deal, once you realize oh, I didn't enjoy eating dirt, but you get up, catch bad boy and have a 'oh no you're not" conversation between him and Mr. Dressage whip, you 'll be back in control.
                          Agreed! I remember doing that when I was a pony kid (and still have to do it on occasion). It's not an acceptable behavior - period. If it's not pain-related, it's not allowed. Works much better to set horses/ponies up for amateurs or little kids when the horse knows that that's out of line.
                          http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
                          Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post

                            Yesterday, he was in this mood. Coach finally got on (after I was cantering backwards to fences in fear I was going to get launched) and rode him FORWARD, be bucked once or twice then quit it out. Jumped around nicely. I got on, finished the ride on a beautifully forward non-bucking horse.
                            So, if I'm understanding this clearly, it's when you are attempting to jump him that the "Hoobah!" bucks come out? He's fine in the flatwork/warm-up portion and doesn't offer the bucks then?

                            To me, that says that you need to re-evaluate and change your flatwork. "Plod along" and "at his pace" gives me the impression that he wears the pants in this relationship and you are not doing anything to change that. Just because he is a packer doesn't mean that a rider can give the horse the control and not expect any hiccups.

                            This is what I'd do if I was riding him - change the mindset COMPLETELY. From the second your rump touches the saddle, it's work time. Horse is in front of your leg and waiting for your instructions, or Mr. Crop will come in to sharpen up that attitude. Even when doing the warm-up walk on a loose rein, make that horse march - 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3,4 on a brisk beat. Same with trot and canter work. WORK that horse down until he is truly focused on you - circles, serpentines, figure eights, up/down transitions, halts, lateral work, etc. I would want this horse good and moderately tired before even attempting fences.

                            Now, if you are doing 3'+ now, I'd change this too. Set up some single, low inviting fences around 2'6" and get yourself seriously comfortable hand-galloping to and away (if you are truly not okay with that, then push for a super brisk and alert canter). If you feel him even slightly approaching a "WHAH!" moment, forward forward forward 10^nth power.

                            I think doing this you will eventually get more confident in your abilities to ride him through his sillies, and find the moments dissipating. But you have to be seriously dedicated to keeping his attitude under your thumb.

                            And don't forget your crop
                            Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My trainer is in the camp of "this is not allowed." I'll be interested to see if others agree with this, but my horse was not permitted to display these bad manners. If he offered to buck, his nose was pulled around to my boot so that he couldn't respond with more bucking, and he got two to three disciplinary swats behind the saddle, and then we went about our business as if nothing happened. It seems to have cured him as he hasn't tried bucking in a long time.
                              Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                UPDATE!!

                                Great ride today. It was COLD and WINDY, and he was great. I lunged him for 20 minutes to let him get the energy out. He had a few bucks on the lunge, but then I let him canter it out until he decided enough was enough.

                                When I got on, I insisted on a FORWARD trot and the most forward canter we could achieve (he really isnt the galloping type). He was great, not a single hint of a buck.

                                With a forward horse, I could understand stopping them and pulling their nose around, but with a behind the leg horse - I think this just rewards the behaviour. When he slows down and defies the leg, thats when he bucks. Forward moving and he is in work mode and not bucking.

                                I am not completely terrified of a buck, I can usually ride through them no problem. The issue is, we have history together - and in the past he HAS tossed me into the boards. He's wipped me over his head, and he's steped on me. Its those memories that sometimes get me a little too cautious. But, move forward (literally and metaphorically!) and todays ride has proved that with the proper expel of energy, we CAN have good winter rides!

                                Also, he totally wears the pants in the relationship! LOL! He doesnt buck while jumping though, we actually have a great jumping relationship. He's a pretty seasoned 3' and 3'6 hunter and the bucking is generally when he's excited and something "happens" (ie. a horse farts, a horse passes too close, someone jumps a fence....) Its generally when we are warming up. But, when he's REALLY fresh, he gets silly through the corners going to fences. Once he is straight going to the fence, he is totally fine, but all the cantering inbetween can be sketchy! Thankfully, that doesnt happen too often unless I create the issue by getting tense and pulling on his face.

                                (And no, I will not whip him for bucking)

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  First I am glad you had a great ride. Nothing better to put one in a good mood. But let me say something that I say often about myself - I AM AN AMATEUR! I do not ride 15 to 20 horses a day for the last 30 years like my trainer and that's okay.

                                  If you are afraid you need to go with your gut - your horse feels it too. Until you feel more comfortable or like today and are able to longe then do so. If not; that's what you pay a trainer for... and hopefully your trainer can get this buck stuff resolved.

                                  I am not saying to be a fraidy-cat; I rode one of my silly horses yesterday that was full of it - I know him, I am comfortable with what he dishes out so I let him do a bit of hand gallop (keeping his head up) while he threw a few bucks. But what I am saying is if you feel uncomfortable there is NOTHING wrong with asking for help.

                                  We do this for fun and being safe is a big part of it. Glad you had a great ride... and don't feel bad for feeling this way; horses are bigger that us and there are many of us that know were amateurs..
                                  Live in the sunshine.
                                  Swim in the sea.
                                  Drink the wild air.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mojo7777 View Post
                                    My trainer is in the camp of "this is not allowed." I'll be interested to see if others agree with this, but my horse was not permitted to display these bad manners. If he offered to buck, his nose was pulled around to my boot so that he couldn't respond with more bucking, and he got two to three disciplinary swats behind the saddle, and then we went about our business as if nothing happened. It seems to have cured him as he hasn't tried bucking in a long time.
                                    This with a variety of techniques!! As in "NO" and snatch him on his butt!! It is not YOUR job to learn to ride/like/tolerate his bucking...that always ends poorly in my mind/experience...it is HIS job to ride politely even when he has the urge to celebrate!!! He should not have to be raced forward to keep him from bucking...he needs to be schooled out of the behavior...NOW!!! And the more you need to lunge....the more you need to lunge!!! Do you realize how far a horse travels when lunging for 20 minutes??? I'd cut his grain back ,too.
                                    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think that most of us reach a point in our riding lives when we no longer care to "suck it up and get over it". Maybe we don't ride as often due to family and work committments. Maybe we are afraid of getting hurt because it would result in missing work and lost income. Maybe we are just over the stage of life when we bounced and got right back up up and dread another trip to the ER like the last 2 falls resulted in. Whatever.

                                      But there are time honored solutions available to avoid placing yourself in that situation.

                                      1. Go to Florida.

                                      2. Don't jump when the horse is fresh.
                                      a) lunge first-in sidereins with whip
                                      b) do more flatwork..move more for longer
                                      c) go faster in your flatwork-trot out, hand gallop, keep going until he is tired.

                                      3. Let your trainer train as you are paying them to do. They can get on him first.

                                      You don't HAVE to fix everything when there is somebody more qualified and a better rider that can help. No shame at all.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        How about a Back on Track back pad? It seems to help my bucker get through those first few minutes...
                                        Boss Mare Eventing Blog
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