Bucking: Dicomfort or Just Naughty?

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Bucking: Dicomfort or Just Naughty?

This is a discussion on Bucking: Dicomfort or Just Naughty? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Horse kicks up heels in gallup
  • Back pain and bucking

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    11-05-2009, 08:30 PM
Bucking: Dicomfort or Just Naughty?

Well, today when I rode Thumper, he did a little buck at the canter. I was debating whether to continue to ask him to canter, or to relent a bit. And that got me to thinking, are there any ways/tricks to decide whether the horse is telling you that he's uncomfortable, or if he's just trying to get out of working? I don't want to go back to a walk if Thumper is just trying to get out of working, because then he'll know that when he throws a buck in there he won't have to work. BUT I don't want to continue to ask him to canter if he's uncomfortable... So are there any ways to tell, or do you just have to go with your gut feeling, knowing the horse? Thanks to anyone who can clear this up for me :).
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    11-05-2009, 10:28 PM
Green Broke
Well, for me personally, I usually examine the elements. In my experience, stall kept horses are much more prone to kicking up their heels, usually when asked for the canter. If it's just a little buck or two at the beginning and then they settle into work, I pass it off as feeling good.

A lot of people think horses only buck from discomfort, and I disagree completely with that. Watch a herd of horses in the pasture - when the herd starts running out of play, almost every horse will buck and jump and kick and spin and every other crazy manoveur. Haha, there's been a few times I've taken my Arab mare for a good gallop, and partway through she just gives this big buck into the air. It's obvious to me it's a feel good buck, it's not an angry humping of the back, it's a head in the air, ears perked, sunfish kick to the side. If she pulled rodeo, I'd be off in a split second wondering what the heck was wrong.

If nothing has changed about your tack, and your horse hasn't suffered a recent injury, I'm prone to put it off as a feel good buck. I would never immediately quit working the horse unless he went bronc on me (a blatantly well trained horse that wasn't ever prone to such behavior). I'd ride the buck or two out, continue at a canter and see how he feels. Does he settle into his normal pace? Is he relaxed over his topline, are his ears pricked or listening to you as usual, is there any tension or champing of the bit or trying to bolt or act up further?

If a horse is trying to "get out of work" or doesn't feel like working, in my experience, he won't neccesarily be tense but he will be very spooky. Spooky is not typically (that I've ever seen) a trait that surfaces out of pain. They're feeling goofy, silly and completely unfocused and just don't feel like listening today. So generally it's up to the rider to push through it, or admit he's having an off day and let it go. Some horses you can do this with, some you can't.

Hope that helps a bit!
    11-05-2009, 11:00 PM
Sometimes they just get a little excited
    11-05-2009, 11:27 PM
Green Broke
Have you check your saddle for fit and eliminated back pain? Most pain related bucking will originate from some sort of back pain.

Can you read your horse's expression when he bucks? We have a horse at our barn who is a very "expressive" bucker. He's a giant 17.3 Selle Francaise that did the Grand Prix up until a few years ago (still doing the 3'9-4' jumpers). When he's excited or playful he'll let out a happy buck or play a little in hte corners. Or if he jumps something REALLY well he'll let out a "YEAH, I jumped that good!" buck! But if he's mad? Oh wow, will he let you know! Ears pinned, tail swishing, ANGRY buck. There's no doubting he is pissed off. Or worse, a "get off NOW" buck. I've never met a horse that expressed himself so much by bucking. Hard to say what's happening with your horse but if it's never happened before and doesn't happen frequently I wouldn't worry about it. My guess is that he was feeling good (when it's cooler our horses tend to feel reeeeally good). Watch his ears, tail, experessions, etc. You know your horse better then anyone else. Don't quit working after he bucks, keep him working. If you're worried about pain get him check out.
    11-06-2009, 04:42 PM
I would carry on cantering him. If he carries on bucking, and it seems to be hindering him or you can just see that he is not comfortable at all, then it must be pain.

If he just bucks a little then settles into the job at hand, it is just playfulness or excitement.
    11-06-2009, 04:46 PM
Green Broke
I agree with flamingauburnmustang,

If your horse keeps bucking when asked for the canter or at other times then you should get your horses back, teeth and saddle checked. But if your horse just bucks every now and then out of excitment or fun then disiplin your horse and keep riding.
    11-06-2009, 04:48 PM
Okay, thanks! I was just wondering because he's basically the most 'safety concious' horse out there lol :). He acts up a little, but he's never really bucked before. I've been having a little trouble getting him to canter recently, which is why I've been wondering about this.
    11-06-2009, 05:04 PM
I think he's probably excited, if however he keeps doilng it after to pull his head up and push him on it might be because he is uncomfortable.

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