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Advice needed please?

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  • Advice needed please?

    Hi all,
    I'm mostly a lurker but hope that no-one will mind me posting a pretty long 'what would you do' post?!
    Long story short I bought a horse as a project a year ago, knowing that he 'bucked' and was too much horse for a small 14 yr old that'd come off ponies. He's super to hack but in the school will rodeo bronc like I've never seen I *mostly* stay on but the last couple of weeks he's got really bad and i've come off twice. He's had the vet who thought that the problem was v bad shoeing before I bought him (collapsed heels/long toe) and this is hugely improved now (he's shod by a fab remedial farrier with bar shoes and gel). Vet re-assessed him just before his bucking rearing spinning got much worse and was happy he was sound. Physio every 6 weeks at the mo, saddle checked in Jan and re-due in May (he has gone from a n/m when I got him to a wide!!). Teeth done in May (no problems) but will be rechecked next week.
    Excellent (well I guess I would say that wouldn't I?) instructor once a week or so who says horse is a git and bucking etc will lessen as he learns that its just harder work for him.
    Pain or naughty and more importantly what do I do next?

  • #2
    Is when he misbehaves consistent? Does he always buck at canter transitions? Is it more of a spook type evasion? If it's consistent, might still be a pain issue. If it's just an evasion (that sometimes works when he gets you off), then probably just learned and can be corrected under saddle.
    When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


    • Original Poster

      Hi thanks for replying!
      Originally he bucked in the canter transitions (and before jumping at a show) but since he's got worse again now it seems to be totally random (which is part of the reason I've come off recently, cos its so unpredictable!). Or if there is a pattern I have NO idea what it is- seems to be random to me... He's not really spooky tho.

      I don't know show wise as I haven't taken him out since he's been 'fixed'- was just about to and then he's kicked off again so I figure theres no point trying to show him if I can't stay on at home.


      • #4
        Have you had a chiropractor look at him? Also, have you considered ulcers? Those are the two areas I would look at if you have already considered teeth and saddle fit.


        • #5
          For horses that are randomly bad, my solution is to never give them time to come up with their evil plan! I use LOTS of circles, shoulder in, ground poles, spirals, change of direction, change of pace, etc to keep their mind on me, not bucking, spinning, or other bratty acts! I also agree with above poster, maybe put him on some cimitidine or ulcer guard, see if that gives you some relief.
          When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


          • Original Poster

            He's not had chiro since before the vet as vet recommended that physio would be better for his problem. I could get the chiro back out again tho I guess? Physio is coming on Mon anyway (as I'm kinda hoping he's muscle sore again and thats why he's been so bad recently).
            Haven't checked for ulcers tho- i'd say he's pretty low risk (was out 24/7 until dec when he decided he wasn't waterproof and started doing really badly so I brought him in), is now out days in nights with adlib hay. I've cut his mix out too (since yesterday when I came off again (very nearly came off twice lol) so just alfalfa. But my vet is coming tomorrow to do my old boys teeth so I'll ask her- thanks.


            • #7
              Looking at physical problems is a good start! So many issues are physical, not behavioral-it's the only way he can tell you if he's in pain!

              BUT, what do you know of his history? I once was asked to reschool a OTTB who had been bucking with his owner. I'm not a pro, and was (for good reason) hesitant. But i asked the right questions and the answer was crystal clear. His owner was overmounted, and horsie was pretty smart. Girl fell off him once-and got scared, so she put him away...and fed him treats and such. She did the same next time she fell...it didn't take him long to learn that he was rewarded if she fell off, and to learn to try and facilitate that. Once I learned that, he was an easy reschool-once he worked W/T/C without bucking, he was rewarded-he was NEVER rewared for bad behavior-and he learned in about two weeks not to be a jerk. Granted this is a rare situation, but learn what you can about his history!


              • Original Poster

                Henry- I think you've already met my boy!! That's him all over, he's got away with it before (previous owners had him 2 years but he was turned away for the last 6 months) and now he's not getting life all his own way he gets cross (well he is chestnut and a sizeable welsh/tb cross) and the best way i can describe it is that he has a tantrum. He is kevin the teenager in horse form....
                Maybe I could do more that way- I try to always tell him good boy and scritch him when he relaxes and works through, but he is food orientated so I should prob use that more, I'll have to remember to buy him some sweeties for tomorrow in case he's good!
                Fizzy, you may well have a great point there-he tends to be worse in my lessons, and i'd always put that down to having to work harder (i'm more easily pleased than my trainer so we tend to compromise on the level of work I get from him if i'm on my own) BUT we do tend to mostly work on a circle around him in lessons to get him properly through and accepting the contact etc, so he does have a lot of time to think naughty thoughts- I'll try to mix it up lots more and see how that goes.
                Thanks all, this has given me lots more things to try!


                • #9
                  How does he behave on the lunge line?
                  Have you tried lunging him under saddle?
                  If he's worse lunging under saddle than without.... it could be the saddle.
                  Is he any better to ride after lunging?

                  How does he behave in the pasture... Is he a nut in the field in any way. Have you observed him moving while turned out to look for behavioral quirks.

                  Is he herd bound in any way... When he unseats you does he run somewhere or just stand there?

                  Have you gone out riding with another horse too see if it helps?

                  Is he on any grain? His feed could be making him hot... Some horses do better on high fat, low starch feeds.


                  • Original Poster

                    He lunges fine (he still bucks but he obv can't do spinning etc on the lunge), I haven't ever lunged him with his saddle on or before riding him- thats the plan for this week to see what if any difference that makes.
                    He's fine in the field, very easy on the ground to handle, not herdbound- when he's dropped you he stands next to you and looks at you on the floor like 'yep, thought you'd end up there, wanna go again or are you done yet?'. Git. Bizarrely, if you end up half on/half off he stops bronking and waits for you to get back in the saddle fully, and then kinda goes "Game On" and kicks off again?!!! So he has a good sense of humor and fair play,


                    • #11
                      Have you thought of having someone video you to see if you can pick anything up about what he is doing?

                      It may be the opposite of pain. He just may be feeling good for the first time in ages and is kicking up his heels. Look what I can do Mom! C'mon, this is FUN!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SearchingforSchwung View Post
                        I *mostly* stay on but the last couple of weeks he's got really bad
                        Originally posted by SearchingforSchwung View Post
                        Haven't checked for ulcers tho- i'd say he's pretty low risk (was out 24/7 until dec when he decided he wasn't waterproof and started doing really badly so I brought him in), is now out days in nights with adlib hay.
                        Could the change in turnout be a factor?
                        Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                        Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SearchingforSchwung View Post
                          He lunges fine (he still bucks but he obv can't do spinning etc on the lunge), I haven't ever lunged him with his saddle on or before riding him- thats the plan for this week to see what if any difference that makes.
                          He's fine in the field, very easy on the ground to handle, not herdbound- when he's dropped you he stands next to you and looks at you on the floor like 'yep, thought you'd end up there, wanna go again or are you done yet?'. Git. Bizarrely, if you end up half on/half off he stops bronking and waits for you to get back in the saddle fully, and then kinda goes "Game On" and kicks off again?!!! So he has a good sense of humor and fair play,
                          If he does end up lunging the same under saddle, and no other physical cause becomes evident, then you'll be dealing with a behavioral issue......

                          If this becomes the case then...

                          I've ridden lots of horses that have bucked with every rider, It was just their personality. What helped some was to correct the behavior in appropriate ways at the appropriate times... For example on some horses who buck I can sense the moment just before they put their heads down, and I give them an upward shot with a rein to keep the head up, and correct them.

                          Some horses who've reared would get a crop between their ears. Some horses just need you to put leg on and ride them through it with subtle corrections along the way.

                          Some horses just have trust issues that go away after they get to know you, and you bond with them.

                          In all cases a rider needs to have the experience to "feel" what each particular horse needs, and the ability to ride through it, and make corrections that are appropriate for the horse, and not escalate the behavior.

                          The bottom line with a horse that bucks due to a behavioral issues, is that every time he gets you off his back you are reinforcing the behavior.

                          This is why some horses are not appropriate mounts for certain individuals, and certain riders are just better suited to ride/train difficult horses.

                          Horses that buck you off regularly are not fun to ride unless you like the feeling of hitting the ground.

                          Some people like to ride through bucks and think it's fun, but they don't come off.

                          What I'm trying to say is that horses are fun so don't wast time with one that is not fun for you. Get one you can enjoy. I know so many people who have had horses who were wrong for them, and worked so hard at trying to make their bad horse "relationship" work.

                          Riding is fun when you have a horse who is a good match for you.


                          • #14
                            Because you're saying he's tending to do it on the transitions e.g. to canter and prior to a jump I'm wondering if either:

                            he's unbalanced and trying to sort himself out? (what's he like if he is going uphill? better or worse? or maybe you haven't tried that??)

                            you're inadvertently giving him some signals - e.g. forward with legs and restrain with hands?

                            I'd be inclined to lunge him and ensure he's not full of pent up energy before you ride him - perhaps more turn out. Sod the rain. He's a horse and he is waterproof!

                            Assess him under lunge - with saddle etc and see if there is a pattern here.

                            Also get your instructor to help you by showing you how to keep his head up and keep him going forward and to stop him having the opportunity to buck.

                            I'm thinking he needs to have a ridden assessment too by a quiet confident rider that can get him to get his mind off the silly games.


                            • #15
                              I would be worried about getting hurt by a horse with that kind of issue. You also mentioned having him as a project. Does that mean a resale project? I personally would not want to continue with a horse that is getting more aggressive in his attempts to hurt me and I would not want to sell that horse to someone who may end up injured. Even if you manage to stop him bucking you off he may get back to his old tricks with the person you sell him to. I have been in horses for a long time and I dont have patience with horses that have dangerous problems there are too many good horses out there.


                              • #16
                                If you rule out physical pain - and I would check for kissing spines disease - then work on behavioral.

                                I love to ride a serious bucker in an over check on the flat(only) it really fries them when they can't get away with it It gives you a slight advantage to work them through it. My philosophy is that if they are bucking because they know they can, then they need to work 6 times harder than they want to.

                                Horses have a horrible work ethic. No doubt this guy has learned bucking has it's own rewards - you need to convince him that bucking = WORK hard work.
                                "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"